Mar 30, 2013

The Power of Mother's Intuition: A Preemie Story.

I found this post in my drafts and realized that I never completed it.  I thought it was definitely something important to post, so I am now completing this. :)

I was inspired to write this post by reading one of Theta Mom's posts on mother's intuition.

I had been in early labor for two weeks with my oldest daughter.  I honestly had absolutely no idea that I was in early labor.  I felt occasional contractions, some painful and some just tightening, but that was it.  Of course it was uncomfortable, but anything after 30 weeks should be uncomfortable -- or so I thought.

35 weeks I went into the ER because I had a suspicion that I was leaking fluid.  They hooked me up to the machine  that monitors contractions, did a paper test to see if I was leaking fluid and did an internal to monitor any cervical changes.   The next thing I remember hearing, "I hope you're ready to have this baby tonight, because you're being induced."  

Turns out, I had been leaking fluid for a few days, I had a very high fever and my blood pressure was through the roof...  I was borderline pre-eclampsic until that night, they then diagnosed me with full blown pre eclampsia.  They were petrified that I would seize because of how high my blood pressure was so they immediately rushed me up to labor and delivery.

Since I tested positive for Strep B, I was hooked up to an amoxicillin IV and also hooked up to Pitocin to induce my labor and Magnesium Sulfate for the pre-eclampsia.  I was just a hot mess when I was in labor.  I ended up having a high fever, couldn't hold anything down including the Tylenol they gave me, the epidural made everything below the hip completely numb to the point where I felt like I was paralyzed... I'll save the entire birth story for another day!

After a 14 hour labor, my daughter was born.  Since she was born at 35 weeks, they considered her premature.  Even though she was 8lbs 7oz, she had complications as any preemie would. Her sucking reflex was non existent. She wasn’t able to suck on a bottle to drink at all. So they had to insert a gastro tube to get any formula down to her AT ALL.  I couldn't see my daughter at all the first day, aside from when they quickly let me hold her after she was born, because I was supposed to be in bed for 24 hours after being on the Magnesium Sulfate and my daughter had to be in the NICU.  From everything I heard, she was perfectly fine the first day and a half until I saw her.

They wheeled me down in a wheelchair a day and a half after I had her so I could see her in her little isolette.   To make a long story short, every day she did take a little more formula by bottle, although her sucking reflex was not developed.  Unfortunately, what she did take down came right back up.  They tried many different formulas, did many different tests and spoke of doing surgery; the word surgery petrified me, as she was just a few days old and my little baby.

I was a mess.  Every day I had to leave the hospital I cried uncontrollably, I would cry myself to sleep, I would pray and would beg the NICU doctor (Ironically named Dr. Stork) to please let her come home.  I even went as far as to threaten to sign her out AMA (Against Medical Advice) because I wanted my baby home with me.  Obviously I didn't -- but only because they told me that my insurance wouldn't pay for any of her treatment if I signed her out AMA...

One day as I was talking to my friends on the JustMommies Oct 05 DDC (Due Date Club) I found out something that the doctors hadn't even brought up at that time -- there was a formula that they had not tried that was specifically for babies with digestive issues and reflux; Similac Alimentum.  I went to the store, purchased special Dr. Brown bottles, the Similac Alimentum and brought it to the NICU with me.  I told the nurse, Carol, that I wanted to try this and backed it up with research I had printed off.  She agreed to let me do whatever I had to do.  Guess what?  Within 4 days it was working and Alayna had been gaining weight consistently.  After a month and two weeks in the NICU, my baby was coming home and I was ecstatic.

I owe a lot to that nurse, she was there to comfort me when I had nervous breakdowns, she explained as much as she could in such a soothing way, she made sure that Alayna was taken care of every minute of every day and she allowed me to try what I felt was right, as a mother.

It just goes to show that sometimes mother does know best, even when the medical professionals overlook something so easy.  Sure, she was on acid reflux medication until she was 2 years old and she still has trouble drinking or eating anything acidic, but she's the most beautiful and healthy little 7 year old any mother could ever ask for.  She's my best friend and I wouldn't change it for anything.  I'm glad I listened to myself before agreeing to anymore tests or any surgeries for my baby.