Welcome to the BIG, BAD, MEAN world
Quinn Colice Beck
I'm not sure what made me set up the tripod while the kids were at school last Monday, but it dawned on me that I only had 1 other picture of being pregnant with Quinn and it was from months ago. I really thought I had at least another week. Then while I was editing the photos I started feeling weird. I was having a lot of contractions and cold sweats. I wasn't really in a lot of pain; I just didn't feel right. In conversation with the nurse practitioner we decided it would be best that I go in to the assessment center to get checked out. At my appointment the Thursday before the NP said I was 3 cm dilated and I shouldn't work in Baton Rouge that weekend. I chose to go to work anyhow because I couldn't imagine starting my leave and not having her yet. That just didn't make sense to me. I'm glad I went to work. I don't, in any way, think that contributed to having her early. It was an easy weekend shift (they aren't usually). So back to Monday: since I wasn't feeling right and was 3 cm dilated I went to the assessment center. The nurse put me at 1.5 cm dilated with consistent contractions, but said they weren't strong. So they sent me home. I was TICKED! What do you mean? The NP got it wrong? It's a really good thing I went to work over the weekend. I probably won't have her for another 2 weeks.
So I spent ALL day Tuesday attacking my house. Denis couldn't figure out what I was doing. I said to him that when you are pregnant, hormonal, and angry for having to cancel a paid photo shoot with a repeat client so you can "get checked," you take it out on your house. I didn't want to have her Monday, I didn't want to have her before 38 weeks. Regardless, I sure was mad about the false info. from the NP and new info. from the assessment center.
I wasn't so angry by Wednesday. I was feeling better about things and glad I could go to work the next day. Denis and I took Etta to school, went for a free pedicure (I had an awesome coupon), and went to lunch. It was a wonderful relaxing day together. He even said "I'm trying to take advantage of this time with my beautiful wife before we have a baby in tow. I'd like to be able to take you out at least one more time before we have her."
Thursday morning Denis went to my appointment with me. He had his day planned out for after and I was headed to work. Well my clueless self went in to my appointment and the doctor said, "you are 4-5 cm dilated and 60% effaced, you can go have a baby today if you want." Wait, what? What did you just say? I'm not ready for this. I'm going to work tonight. Denis said, "um, no you aren't. Even if you don't go to the hospital you aren't going to work. Not an option. That's not safe." The doctor wasn't comfortable with me wanting to go home and stay home. She really felt like I'd go into full labor within the next 24 hours and accidentally have her at home (my last labor was unbelievably fast and I barely made it to the hospital.) Knowing she was a bit early we felt it best to go in, start antibiotics for GBS, and break my water at lunch time to increase the contractions. So we went home, got the camera, Denis ate a very early lunch, I snuck a banana, and he started picking up the house a bit. I'm standing there crying and saying if you don't hurry up I'm changing my mind and we aren't doing this today! So he stepped it up a bit. He worked the night before and got about 4 hours of sleep. He got up to run that morning, put all the kids on the bus, took Etta to school with me, and then went to my appointment. He'd already had a full day and we knew it was about to be even fuller. Good man; what a good man.
Waiting, and waiting, and more waiting...
We were spoiled with how fast the last baby arrived. We didn't know what to do with ourselves while waiting on antibiotics, waiting on the doctor to break my water, waiting on contractions to pick up, waiting...
Once they picked up it was manageable, but miserable. I wasn't making much progress. Then all of a sudden the contractions started getting strong. Really strong. However, when they checked me I still wasn't making much progress.They swore it was just transition and I swore they better start some pitocin to make things happen faster. So they humored me and started it. I had her 10 minutes later. Oh and why did I have to push again? The last baby fell out. Literally fell out. I was not a happy camper that I actually had to push. Of course everyone else thinks that's funny. Well I don't.
I got to hold her for about an hour and eventually convinced her to nurse. As soon as she did I jumped up for a shower and handed her to Denis. Riley and Nanny came to meet her and each had a moment holding her. As soon as they left I noticed she was nasal flaring and grunting. I didn't think her color looked good either. I called the nursery nurse and they took her right away. They attempted with O2 in the nursery to just give her a little boost, but that obviously didn't work. So she was whisked to NICU and went downhill over the next 24 hours.
Looking back at this photo I can see how terrible her color is. I don't know how we didn't notice it until 10 minutes later!
Sweet baby girl didn't get a bath for 4 or 5 days (I don't remember when exactly, just that I cried for 30 minutes after I found out the night nurse bathed her without me when I still wasn't allowed to touch her). That matted hair was driving me crazy for days.
She ended up on 5 LPM and 100% O2 which led to intubation. They were worried they would blow her lung and need to put in a chest tube.
Again, these were some initial stats that slowly declined over 24 hours. Her little lungs were definitely not ready for this world. She ended up in the 70's with tachypnea and wouldn't improve.
True liquid gold here. I was devastated they couldn't give it to her initially. It seemed like forever, but they were able to add in feeds through the OG sooner than later.
Nanny Jaime welcomed Quinn with a beautiful flower arrangement that made my room smell amazing and brightened my spirits! Nanny to the rescue (as always)!
I was able to hold her the morning after she was born (with a lot of begging). Denis had gone home for a bit so I advocated for him to hold her when he got there as well. So when he did he scrubbed in and put a gown on. Then the NP came over and read us the riot act. Basically she needed to be minimal stimulation and we weren't allowed to touch her, much less hold her. What?! They were trying to avoid intubation. So I asked for skin to skin contact in an attempt to regulate her breathing and they didn't go for that either. So my momma heart was broken once again.
I had Denis stick his hand in for a photo despite their rules. Which calmed her a little (no surprise), but I had to be able to trust our doctors and nurses even if I didn't agree with them 100%.
I couldn't believe how great she looked while on the vent. It gave me way more peace than when she was on vapotherm. I was terrified she would poop out with that kind of breathing and tachypnea and they'd need to emergently intubate. I've seen enough of those in my job to last me a lifetime. I knew we were better off with it controlled. About 34 hours after birth they decided she wasn't going to adjust to this world on her own and she needed surfactant though the vent. She got 2 doses 12 hours apart and stayed on the vent a while after. She transferred back to vapotherm with success a while later. She stayed on vapotherm another several days and they VERY slowly weaned her off. This momma thought it would never happen.
My awesome friend that's had 2 preemie babies came to check on me Friday. She walked into my room and shoved this little bunny down my shirt before hugging me. Huh? Oh! I get it. It's to leave my scent with my baby that I'm not allowed to touch. Thank you dear friend. I know this brought me more comfort than it did Quinn. I am eternally grateful for that comfort. It seriously helped me to know I was leaving part of me with her.
These were 5 very excited siblings that were super sad very soon after when they learned they couldn't see their new baby. They've handled all of this so well. I think it would have been easier if they weren't on break. The normalcy of school would have helped them even more. Despite their freedom of Thanksgiving break, they were amazing with the whole situation.
Here they are getting their first and only peek (except Riley - she did get to come hold her the night she was born) through a window and across the NICU.
I think I can, I think I can, I know I can. Ugh, setting an alarm to get up over and over in the night to pump is terrible. It's completely different then getting up to snuggle and nurse your newborn. This is 100% impersonal, lonely, and never ending! It did get slightly easier when I realized I have 3 sets of pump pieces so I don't have to wash and steam them during the night. I could just use a new set and then clean them all in the morning.
Charlie's Rite of Enrollment was scheduled when I was still in the hospital. Paul knew it was something I would have been taking pictures of, so he pulled out an old camera and tripod that I gave him and said, "Come on, let's take a picture for mom." This boy is surely after my heart. Thank you dear son. You are amazing.
We still aren't home with our baby girl yet, but we are so close. We are planning for tomorrow. I am so emotionally tired. I have to ask permission from everyone just to go see my baby. I have to ask the NICU, I have to ask my husband when he's home (he went back to work so he can be off when she comes home), or I have to find a sitter. It is near impossible. I might get to spend 2 hours with her each day. There was one day I got about 4 in a row. There were a couple where I was able to go 2 times a day. The last several it's only been once a day and for just a few hours. Even then it is inconveniencing other people and taking my time away from the other kids while they are on break. For example, last night I just wanted to go back to the hospital with Quinn, yet I wanted to go to the Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut down a tree like we always do on Thanksgiving. I was so torn and ended up doing what would please the most people. Our tree is beautiful (crooked on the stand, but beautiful) and the kids love it. They had a great time running around the farm and critiquing the trees until they decided the one their dad and I picked was the best one after all.
We have the house ready for Quinn and we are just waiting on her to finish healing so we can bring her home.
Thank you all for your love and prayers. We have felt them through this all.