Since mother’s day is approaching, I thought it would be a fitting time to tell the story of how I became a mother. There are no words to describe what a whirlwind Jolie’s birth was. I’ve tried writing this so many times now and I’m really struggling. Nothing I write seems to express how emotional and deeply personal the experience was for me. This is the best I can do…
The evening started off fun! I met Stacy for dinner at Tup Tim Thai and we had a lovely evening catching up! I felt completely fine. Later that evening, I felt a small rush of fluids. Nothing big (a couple tablespoons at best). I just chalked it up to weird pregnancy stuff (which happens a lot). Then it happened again about 20 minutes later. By the 3rd or 4th “rush” I started to get nervous. This just didn’t seem normal. Derek was convinced that I was overreacting, and I figured I probably was too. Regardless, I called the nurse hotline. They told me that it was probably nothing, but that I should come in just to be safe. So we jumped in the car, determined to make it a quick trip.
To my surprise they told me to get comfortable because I would not be leaving the hospital until the baby was born (so much for having a bag packed and being ready)! My water had broke. They explained that in cases of a premature rupture there is increased risk of infection. That being said, it was still important for the baby to stay put and develop. The ideal situation would be for me to hold out until 34 weeks at which point they would induce. However, if I started laboring sooner than 34 weeks they wouldn’t stop it. On Wednesday night when I checked into the hospital I was 32 weeks and 5 days
By 3pm the next day I started going into labor. I was completely panicked – it was too soon. What happened to my week-long hospital stay?!? SCARY! I’m not going to go into too many details here, but I labored and labored and pushed and pushed. And finally after being in labor for 15 hours the doctor determined that I had the wrong pelvis shape to deliver the baby. A c-section was ordered. About 20 minutes later (at 6:23am Friday morning), my beautiful daughter Jolie was born. She surprised us all and tipped the scale at 5lb 2oz and 18 inches which is huge for a 33 week old baby. Jolie spent the next 34 days in the NICU and came home with us on January 18th.
Jolie’s birth and subsequent NICU stay was the single most emotional and trying time in my life. I was completely unprepared for the intense love and deep anxiety that goes along with having a preemie. There is just no way to prepare for it. We were so lucky to have a wonderful medical care team and a strong support system in our friends and family. Thank you to everyone who called, texted, visited, prayed, etc – we are eternally grateful. I do have a couple people I’d like to thank individually.
Dr. Cricket Davenport (OBGYN) and Dr. Andrew Beckstrom (Neonatologist) – Thank you for your compassion and strong leadership. When you’re faced with traumatic situations, you want confident and competent doctors – which you were. We deeply appreciated you taking control of the situation while carefully explaining what was happening to us. Thank you for delivering my healthy baby girl.
Barb the NICU Nurse – There will always be a place in my heart for you. You were the first person who let me hold my daughter and you were our biggest advocate to release Jolie from the NICU. You were always there with words of encouragement, practical advice and hugs when we needed them. I will forever be grateful to you.
My sister – I will never be able to thank you enough for your support. Sitting with me by Jolie’s crib for hours. Keeping me company. Driving me around. Making me eat. Listening to me cry (which I’m sure got old).Celebrating her milestones. And snuggling with the boot when I couldn’t be there. I can honestly say I would have never gotten through it without you.
My mom – Who shows me by example everyday how to be a good mom. We are so thankful for all your constant love and support.
Derek – I didn’t think it was possible to love you more than I did, but I do. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and involved husband. You were such a pillar of strength for me – never once getting frustrated with my never-ending flood of tears. My heart grows every time I see you with our daughter; she adores you. And we are both lucky to have you.
Jolie – My sweet baby boots. You are so amazing – thank you for being such a fighter! You have brought so much joy to our lives and I cannot imagine life without you. I’m excited to see you experience all the wonderful things that life has to offer. I’m honored to be your mother.
Here are some of Jolie’s first photos. She looks so different now, it’s hard to believe she was ever so small and fragile.