Our baby girl has been home now for a week! We saw our palliative team today, and the biggest news is that Grace has gained almost 6 ounces since she was discharged from the NICU! Go baby girl! We are so in love with her.
I wanted to post about my perspective of Grace's birthday, March 4, 2011, mostly so that I will not forget. So here goes...
First, I guess it starts with the night before (Thursday night), when our church family had a time of prayer for Grace and our family. So many people that we love were there and prayed with and for us, as we prepared to meet our baby girl the next day. That night, Chad and I felt incredible peace as we waited. We slept well, and woke up early Friday morning to head to the hospital. We had to be at the hospital at 6:00am, I think. After we got to the hospital, we checked in and headed to the Labor and Delivery floor. The nurses were great, and asked me lots of questions. They hooked me up to the monitors, started my IV, and gave me a few medicines. Many, many people came to celebrate Grace's birthday with us, including our families, our church staff, college friends, and coworkers.
All the doctors started coming in, including Dr. Edwards, the chief resident, Dr. Bean, my OBGYN, Dr. Bethea, my anesthesiologist, Dr. Bofill, our maternal/fetal specialist, Dr. Boyte and Jackie, our palliative care team, and I'm sure some others. Everyone was great! Chad and I continued to be filled with peace and joy as we waited to meet our precious daughter. We said our goodbyes to our families and close friends, and they took me to the OR by 7:30. They gave me spinal anesthesia, and prepped me for the C section. Chad finally got to come into the OR! My nurses Anita and Daphne were precious. The anesthesiologists kept me updated on what was going on and let me know what to expect. Daphne and Chad were by my head the whole time. Finally I heard the words, "It's a girl!" I didn't immediately hear her cry, which of course made me anxious. Finally I heard the precious cries of my baby Grace! Dr. Bean asked if I could see her, and I said, "No!!" So she held her up higher over the drape, and I laid eyes on the sweetest and most precious baby girl I have ever seen. They immediately took Grace to the next room, where she was evaluated by the NICU team, including the great nurse Katie. Chad got to stay with Grace, as Daphne stayed with me and held my hand the entire time. Grace got 8 and 9 Apgars and only needed a little blow by oxygen and drying off. She was FINE! She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 18.5 inches long. She was perfection.
As they closed me up, Chad brought Grace into the OR, so that I could meet and kiss my precious angel. We were so proud! After they finished the C section, Grace's nurse Katie took her to meet everyone else. She was a celebrity! I remember thanking everyone in the OR, and then they took me to the PACU, and they actually brought Grace to me (they don't normally do this). Chad and I got to love on her while our Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, Andrea, took pictures of our new family. Next, our families got to come to the PACU (they also don't normally do this) to celebrate Grace with us. After a while, Katie took Grace to the NICU to be further evaluated, while they took me back to my Labor and Delivery room. After lots of pain medications, I was finally comfortable. I was allowed to see several people who came to celebrate Grace's birthday with us, until one of my doctors finally said that I had to rest. They brought Grace back to us, where Toni, the neurosurgery nurse practitioner, evaluated Grace.
Next, they took me to the Postpartum floor. I don't remember a whole lot at this point, but I know I continued to recover here as well as love on my baby girl. We were surrounded by family and close friends as we got to know Grace.
The next few days consisted of continuing to recover from my C section, as well as "rooming in" with Grace (this is not normally done with NICU patients). Thank goodness the doctors and nurses from the NICU understood our request to spend as much time with Grace as possible, since we didn't know how much time we would have with her. Amazingly, she did much better than expected! Dr. Bean, along with another amazing doctor, Dr. Barry, got it approved for me to stay in the hospital for 5 days (normally a C section patient would only be in the hospital for 3-4 days), so that we could spend time with Grace. As for Grace, she had an MRI at 4 days old, and surgery to remove the encephalocele at 5 days old. She stayed in the NICU almost two weeks. She is an amazing gift from our Father, and we are so thankful for her life! She is doing great!
Here are some pictures from Grace's birthday!