Premature but perfect: The birth of Caitlyn
It was summer and we were out of town visiting family and friends.
To this point my pregnancy had been picture perfect, no morning sickness, weight gain was good, I was feeling great, and at my 27 week appointment my blood pressure was 120/80. But that weekend everything changed. My feet were becoming noticeably swollen and beginning to hurt. I blew it off as nothing and said they would go down when I got off them for a while. So I did just that. However, I was wrong. The swelling didn’t go down no matter how long I stayed off my feet. At church, a friend pointed out that my face was also swollen which was a bit alarming. I knew from reading all the books that this was not normal. We returned home later that evening and I promised to call the doctor first thing in the morning.
When I called the doctor the next morning I was told to come in that afternoon. When I was finally checked out, my blood pressure was 150/110. I was told to lie down in the office for an hour to see if the blood pressure would drop, which unfortunately it didn’t. So I was put in the hospital—which is where the fun really began.
There they found out I had preeclampsia and I was given IV magnesium sulfate and steroid shots for the baby, since I was only 29 weeks and 4 days along. They also started to prepare me for what was an inevitable early birth. The hospital was not equipped for that kind of situation, so I was transferred by ambulance to a different hospital where they could handle a premature baby. For three days I laid around, bored to tears, waiting and hoping to be released home on bedrest.
On Thursday night, I started having breathing trouble which I thought was asthma. The doctor ordered a chest X-ray where they soon found out that the fluid I was retaining was going to my lungs. The following morning I spiked a fever and the doctors made the call that I had to deliver.
So at 30 weeks and 1 day I was going to give birth to my child. I was scared and unprepared for the long road ahead. That morning at 10:16 a.m. via c-section my 2 pound 10 ounce baby girl Caitlyn Ann was born. Much to my surprise she screamed as soon as she came out. The doctor quickly let me see her and then she was rushed into a room nearby. There she was given surfactant to help her lungs inflate. Later she was placed on a ventilator for less than 12 hours and then put on acontinuous positive airway pressure machine. My baby girl would spend the next 5 weeks in the NICU growing and feeding. At five weeks old and 4 pounds and .4 ounces we finally brought home our very tiny but perfect baby girl.
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