Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Birth of Amelie Jane Rennie



Our daughter was born Monday, April 13, at 6:55 AM. Despite being 3 weeks early, she was 9 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. We were so amazed at her beauty from the moment we first saw her, and remain so now.

Her first 24 hours were a little scary, especially for former NICU parents. She went to the nursery, as all newborns do, but while she was being assessed, they realized her oxygen saturation was quite low, and she was breathing about twice as fast as she should have been. This was because she was born with fluid in her lungs, a fairly common result of C-section births. Because c-section babies don't go through the labor and delivery process, a lot of fluid doesn't get "squeezed out." She also had low blood sugar when she was born, so they started an IV. They tested for infection, but had to wait 48 hours on cultures to be sure, so they also gave her antibiotics. Since I was recovering from surgery, of course I couldn't see her or know what was going on. It was very frightening and frustrating, to say the least. For the first day, I was miserable, because my pain was fine, yet they wouldn't let me out of bed to go to her. I never got to hold her until the next morning at about 4 AM.

When they took me down, they were frustrated because she was on oxygen through the air around her (she was in an isolette with a hood), but as soon as they would turn it down, she'd desat. They let me hold her (JUST while they changed her bedding, mind you). It was supposed to be a "quick switch" kind of thing. But . . .it was a miracle. When I held her against my skin and started talking to her, she immediately woke up. She looked at me with the most incredible look in her eyes--like, "I KNOW YOU!" She looked incredibly happy and suddenly interested in the world around her. From that moment on, her sats were great. She was off oxygen within a couple of hours, which was purely protocol for her protection. She never really needed it again. By later that day, they started turning down the bed temp to wean her off of it, and by the next morning she was in a regular bed. They continued to keep her on monitors and watch her for the next 24 hours. During that time, Daddy got to give her her first bath! We taped the whole thing--it was really fun. We also found out she didn't have an infection, and her blood sugars had been good, so they removed the IV.

However, by the time she was ready to come to our room, she was quite jaundiced. So we were told we could either go home later that night (Thursday) or early Friday morning, depending on her blood draws to do Bilirubin counts. She got to come to our room, but we had to leave her under the Bili lights. Sawyer's NICU nurse, Emma, came to visit. It was a nice surprise to see her, and she said they'd posted Amelie's pictures at the St. Francis NICU break room. We were so moved that they still remembered us and were so happy for us.

Thursday night her jaundice levels peaked, and she was allowed out from under the lights, but we had to wait until the next morning to have her final blood drawn. We were told we could leave after her 6:30 draw (about an hour later). My doctor discharged me at 3 am, so we were just waiting on her. We waited. And waited. And waited. In the end, we managed to get home around 2:00. Everyone in town knew, as my parents had posted an announcement at the bank. It was really cool to see "Welcome Home Amelie Jane!" as we came into town.

Apart from these minor blips along the road to home, it was quite a nice hospital stay . . .if you HAVE to stay somewhere, you might as well try and enjoy it, right? The staff was great, and we were especially fond of the nursery nurses Stacey and Tricia. Tricia is actually the wife of one of my old college friends, Josh! It was so cool that she was working there!

I am holding her in my arms as I type this, and part of me still just can't believe she's really here, and she's really ours. Jim and I both cried as we came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. It was an amazing feeling for us, being able to walk out the hospital doors with our baby. I realized how happy I am knowing that from now on, wherever we go, she goes with us. We often sing to soothe her, and her theme song has become "You Are My Sunshine." And she really, really is.