After over a year of trying for Baby Tristan, we succeeded in February of 2018. I will never forget the day I found out. We had been trying so hard with no success and decided to just take a break and go on a vacation to Mexico…(Just the two of us) We had never vacationed kid free before. Our tickets were booked, the hotel paid for, and then I was packing and picking out outfits for our trip and felt a sudden rush to head to the bathroom. When I was done throwing up I figured I was coming down with some stomach bug from my son’s school. I had my ovulation and pregnancy test all laid out on the counter and thought “what the heck” I set the test down on the counter and went about my business. I ran back to the bathroom forgetting I tested and saw this teeny tiny faint line that would confuse anyone. I then proceeded to take the remaining 12 test I had in boxes stuffed away. I was PREGNANT.
With every mindset and intention of having this glorious and happy ever ending type of pregnancy I endured quit the opposite. My first two I was the glowing, perky, and barefoot pregnant lady everyone expects in their mind. This pregnancy was different in every way. The nausea did not subside for 7 months, the energy and “nesting” never surfaced, I had to completely stop working for six months and go into a survival mode to mom with my other two littles. It was like having a seven month-long flu with no control over my emotions.
I worried every step of the way, every doctor appointment I just had a strange feeling something was wrong. It was horrifying as a mother to feel these feelings and something I never wanted to voice out loud with fear of being judged or mocked. Mom guilt snuck in so hard…Am I over doing it? Do I not nap enough? Am I not eating healthy enough? Why is he not kicking as much as my other two? Did I lift up Audrey and hurt something?
On October 14th I woke up like any other day and got out of bed to get dressed to pick my son up from a slumber party. When I woke up I felt this weird trickle down my leg and thought “DANGIT I just peed myself.” I walked to the bathroom and while walking a trickling line of what looked like pee dribbled behind me. There was no blatter control but it didn’t feel like pee. The strangest feeling ever. When you think of your water breaking you think of a dam breaking loose and Niagara Falls flowing out in full effect. This simply was not all the theatrics I had imagined in my mind. My first two children were scheduled c sections so going into an actual labor was something I’d never experienced. After calling labor and delivery they wanted me to head down and just get checked out. I picked up my son from his slumber party and threw my daughter in the car. We cruised down to the hospital and I told my husband (who works over three hours away) to just stay at work because I was just going to get sent home. When I arrived to labor & delivery my nice little trickle trail continued all the way to the room they checked us into. I never saw a doctor or nurse…A surgeon came in with an ultrasound machine and asked how soon my husband could arrive to the hospital. My children were in the corner trying to play doctor while destroying the room and fighting. I thought “NOT TODAY” he can’t come today…I have a plan. I have a plan. I have a plan.
This was notttttt the plan.
After calling my friend who was taking the kids overnight and my husband who was over 3 hours away they took me to the room to prep for an emergency c section. My dear friend arrived within 20 minutes and helped calm me down and took the littles. My husband arrived in less than an hour (we will never know how he managed that.) They immediately took me for my epidural which has also changed extremely since my other two. They took me alone without my husband and the epidural was completely painless a little pinch and I was laid down on the table ready for surgery. I still had this feeling inside that something was not okay but they assured me Baby Tristan was healthy and ready for his grand arrival.
The surgery went perfectly smooth and I heard my sweet baby cry for the first time and all just felt right in the world. I was expecting them to put him on my chest for the immediate skin to skin while my surgery was wrapping up and minutes went by and my baby was nowhere to be found. I looked over and saw him under a monitor with doctors and nurses surrounding him. The doctor continued to reassure me everything was fine but he was having trouble breathing. My husband talked them into giving me one second with him and as tears were streaming down my cheeks and he was taken away to NICU. I had no idea what was going on, what was wrong with him, when I could see him. I just sat on this ice-cold table unable to do anything. They transferred me to recovery and as I sat in this room by myself I have never felt such an emptiness in my life. The sobbing was so out of control after thirty minutes my eyes were literally swollen shut. The nurse just sat with me while my husband went to go check on the baby. The nurse informed me that I most likely would not see my baby until the next day because I needed to recover. After demanding to see my baby we came to an agreement that if I could wiggle my toes she would sneak me down in a wheel chair. Within 30 minutes after surgery I was wiggling my toes, and after an hour I was walking to the Nicu to meet Tristan.
When walking in the fear that overcame my body made me feel like I could just collapse right then and there in the middle of the NICU. Baby Tristan was attached to every cord known to man. He had a feeding tube up his nose, a breathing mask on so I couldn’t even see his little face. My husband and I just sat there while I sobbed. He had to leave after 24 hours of being at the hospital with me to be with our other children and explain why baby brother was not coming home just yet. Every care hour I could, I was walking to the NICU to sit with Tristan by his POD. (The first couple days we were only allowed to hold him once a day.)
After day four I was allowed to breast feed but was also being discharged on day four. The walk of leaving the hospital was probably one of the hardest things I had ever done. When you walk to your car with no baby it is the emptiest tunnel vision feeling ever. My body kicked into survival mode. We live over 40 minutes from the hospital so we drove down to be with Tristan for every feeding for the remaining week he was held in the NICU.
Once all of his tubes were removed the wanted to monitor him for another full week and I begged the doctor to let him come home. I knew we were capable of doing what ever it took to ensure his health and safety at home. The feeling of being RELEASED was the happiest day of my life. My children were jumping up and down when we came home with him and our party of five was officially complete.
Having a preemie baby is a completely different experience then having a full term baby. After thinking I was a professional at this mom thing, I had to relearn everything in a new way. The way they eat, the way they sleep, the way you burp them. Everything is different. You can only imagine the caution and concern coming home had for my husband and I. We began researching every product known to man to help us transition with ease. The doctors had recommended after a couple of months that Tristan nap in his crib or play pen vs. co sleeping so he can sleep better and get on a consistent schedule early on. My children have always co slept so this was all a new experience for me. I found a product called Levana Oma Sense and it was the most genius product for babies which I have come across yet. Instead of your traditional baby monitor this clips on to the babies onsie and monitors the breathing. If you are like me I am paranoid of SIDS and if my baby is breathing during naps so I am constantly running over touching their tummies while they sleep. The peace and ease this product allows me to feel through nap times is priceless. Get Yours Here
We now are celebrating month two of Baby Tristan and he is happy, healthy and thriving. We even went to a baby party last weekend where he was the chunkier one of them all! I hope this gives your some ease and grace if you’re an expecting mama or a fellow NICU Graduate yourself.