The People I Find: Premature

The People I Find started back in February and the very first post was about Whitney. She shared her thoughts about being on bed rest, and how hard it was. I have followed her story of infertility and miscarriages on her blog, and always kept her family in my prayers. Whitney is a fighter, and it is one of the traits she passed on to her son Jude. I have had a lot of inquiries on how the mom and baby were doing, and so naturally I asked her to do a follow-up blog! This is an incredible story of a how  a mother, a nurse, and wife deals with a premature baby. Feel free to read this one and her last post and share! If you haven’t yet, go like THE PEOPLE I FIND Facebook Page for more stories.

Whitney: Part Two

whit 2Our sweet little Jude was born February 19, 2014 at 24 weeks and 6 days, exactly two weeks after my water broke. I remember that terrifying and beautiful day like it was yesterday.

Since I had no amniotic fluid to buffer against an infection, I developed Chorioamniotitis (an infection of the membranes and amnion). With this infection, the only way to cure it is to deliver the baby. Basically, my body was no longer the safest place for Jude and he would have a better chance at life on the outside.

I remember feeling sad and thinking this was happening all too fast. While I understood it was time, I couldn’t help but feel like I had been robbed. I hadn’t had a normal, full term pregnancy. I didn’t have stretch marks. And I sure wasn’t ready to give up my baby bump that was the product of thousands of prayers and a pharmacy worth of fertility drugs.

But I didn’t really have a choice and decided to try to enjoy the process of my son being born.

The nurses started medications to start labor and we waited. Slowly, I started to feel contractions and make progress. But after a few hours, Jude’s heart rate began to consistently drop during each contraction telling us he was having a hard time.

The reality of meeting my son made me giddy as the decision to have a c-section was made. The induction turned out to be too stressful for him and I wasn’t progressing fast enough.

The room started to spin with nurses and doctors to prepare me for surgery. Ben donned a bunny suit and cap to wear during the delivery and my epidural was dosed to the max on the way to the operating room.

I heard heavy doors being opened and the wheels on my bed squeak around corners. I felt the chilly temperature of the OR and heard packages of sterile tools being opened and plopped on trays.

The procedure started a few minutes later and I felt the uncomfortable tugging and stretching as my skin was opened. I lost my breath as hands plunged in my abdomen and freed Jude from the sac that held him. He was born seconds later.

whit judeI caught my first glimpse of Jude as he was taken to the resuscitation room where the NICU team was waiting. He was fighting, kicking, and trying to cry. And seeing him so strong made my heart soar. He looked even more beautiful than I had imagined.

Jude was taken to the NICU and stabilized over the next few hours. After I was cleaned up and comfortable, I was wheeled to the NICU to see him. This was technically the second time I saw him, but I was nervous for some reason.  As they wheeled my bed next to his isolette, I went into nurse mode, not ready to face that moment as a mom just yet. I sanitized my hands, donned gloves and slid my hands through the portholes to touch him.

His vital signs were good, lines had been placed in his umbilicus, the oscillator was helping him breath, and he seemed calm and stable. I tried to force the nurse in me out and look at Jude like his mom, but it was too hard. If I looked at him like a mom, I would see a tiny, helpless one-pound baby hooked to too many machines and wires and tubes coming and leaving every part of his body. If I looked at him like a nurse, I would see a 24 weeker who was a great size, had amazing blood pressure, and looked extremely stable.

As I looked at his tiny little face, my heart swelled with love and admiration for my little boy. I knew the next few months would be an incredible and frightening roller coaster, but it would be worth it.

Luckily, Jude had an extremely good course. His 103 days were full of manic highs and soul crushing lows, of course, but there were more good days than bad. I tried to find something about each day to enjoy or be thankful for. Sometimes it was hard; especially on the days when he had to have blood transfusions or had to be re-intubated or another needle poked into his tiny body.

whit 1Jude was a hero through the months and taught me so much. He showed me what real strength is. He reminded me of how incredible life is. He taught me to love my family more deeply. He let me cry…and cry…and cry some more. He allowed me to hold and hug him, his skin on mine, until it felt as if he were melting into my body again. He was poked, prodded, and cut open and remained happy. He had uncomfortable eye exams every single week. He gagged on tubes, yanked them out of his throat, and had them shoved back in. I watched him stop breathing and finally catch his breath. He was in my arms when his heart stopped beating and I made it beat again.

I saw one eye open, then the other, two weeks later. I watched his face develop from a one-pound fetus a gorgeous, chubby boy. I was there the day they removed the breathing tube from his throat and I heard his soft, weak cry for the first time. I was finally able to hold my boy for the first time, almost three weeks after his birth and I wept tears of joy. I saw him hit two pounds, then three, then four, five, six, and seven.

The day he was finally ready to come home was a dream.  I had fantasized about that day for months and seeing him in his car seat made my year. He has continued to be an inspiration and joy to all he meets and is the light of my life.

He is my little (now ten pound) miracle and is just the best thing that ever happened to me. I would do it all again tomorrow if it meant getting to cuddle this amazing little boy in my arms.
whits fam

(C)LVB-2014

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