Christina & Sydney

Christina & Sydney at Blank NICU when she was 1-2 weeks old.

I went into premature labor on Friday November 3, 2006.

I was admitted to the hospital and given steroid shots to help our baby’s lungs mature. I got one shot upon arrival and another 24 hours later. I was also given magnesium to stop the contractions. This medicine made me terribly sick, but it worked temporarily…long enough for the steroid shots to do what they needed to do for Sydney. The doctors then stopped the magnesium but said if the contractions returned. I would be forced to deliver her early.

Sydney - age 8

Sydney – age 8

On November 6th at 27 weeks, 4 days gestation, I had an ultrasound to check Sydney and they discovered I was already fully dilated and effaced. I was moved to delivery where she was born just 19 minutes later. Sydney was only 2 pounds 3 ounces and 13 3/4 inches at birth. The delivery room was full of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. She was taken from me immediately. I didn’t get to see her for hours after her birth.

Medical teams had to stabilize her and get her set up in the Blank NICU. She was admitted for prematurity, possible sepsis, and respiratory distress. Sydney was intubated and on the mechanical ventilator. She was also given surfactant therapy. Sydney was treated with phototherapy for 7 days due to severe jaundice. She was anemic and required several blood transfusions. She had many Apnea/Bradycardia episodes and had mild ventriculomegaly (brain bleed). Sydney also had Retinopathy of Prematurity Stage 2. In addition to all her other challenges, she had a double umbilical hernia.

Sydney’s first “real” bath at about 1 month old. Everything prior to that was a sponge bath in her isolett

Sydney’s first “real” bath at about 1 month old. Everything prior to that was a sponge bath in her isolett

Finally after what felt like forever, she started to get stronger and began breathing on her own. Then it became a waiting game for her to grow enough to be discharged. Sydney was discharged January 3, 2007 after 58 days. She weighed 4 pounds 4 ounces. After going home, Sydney received physical therapy for low muscle tone and torticollis. She was born during RSV season, so we were on lockdown at home until it was over. We did not take her out of the house for months except for required doctor visits.

In addition to the emotional anxiety of watching our firstborn child struggle with medical problems, we were also burdened with financial struggles. I was on maternity leave and not receiving full income. I had medical bills starting to come in from my hospital stay and delivery. We had a newborn baby that would have ongoing medical concerns and I knew my maternity leave was going to run out before she was released from the NICU.

I was broken inside when I had to leave her in the hospital and go back to work. I could not concentrate on my job. I was constantly on the phone with the nurses for updates and drove to the hospital every day over lunch to feed her and spend time snuggling her. I returned to the hospital immediately after work.

This was a very trying time for us. I didn’t have the option of NOT returning to work because I had the health benefits for our family at the time and we couldn’t live without my income. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression because it was just all too much to handle. I wish there would have been a charity around like Cradling New Life to help make things a little easier for our family.