The beginning, or what brings me here.....First of all I was not suppose to be able to have children.  I had 3 miscarriages then nothing for 5 years.  I was continually ill from crohns disease.  On major drugs for pain, nausea, diarrhea and inflammation.  I remember, as usual in the fall,  my period stopped, but it did that every winter.  Strange but true.  I woke up one morning violently ill, from what I assumed was crohns.  called the Dr and made an appointment for the next day. I had been through this a hundred times.  I would have an infection or something, and the Dr would put me on the industrial strength drug, and he would always say, "take a pregnancy test before you take this"   So I decided to one up him, the next morning I decided to pee on the stick BEFORE I went in. 

It was a very surreal experience.  I had taken hundreds of pregnancy tests over the last five years all with the same result.  So when the first line turned pink, I immediately assumed the pregnancy test was bad, they had made it wrong, put the second line in the wrong spot, or it had been in my medicine cabinet too long. Then the second line turned pink.  I sat there and stared, and stared, and stared.  Until my husband seeing an odd look on my face asked what the hell was going on.  I told him it was positive. He snatched it out of my hand, and then began to grin like an idiot.  I of course was in shock.  My mother was visiting, so I ran into her room crying, at 4 am no less.  She said "I told you it would happen!"  She knew I had given up years before.  I was doing volunteer work for a dog rescue, and preparing myself to start showing my horse again. And this threw a wonderful wrench into the mix. 

Then the panic set in, how far along was I? how many harmful drugs had I already exposed my child to?  When I got to the Dr, the nurse asked me if it was another crohns flare, she knows me well. I said "nope just pregnant"  She about jumped up and down with excitement, and since this was my family Dr he knew all about my past problems, she yelled down the hall to his office and told him, he said "I'm so excited you would think it was mine!"  Then the bad news.  No meds, no medicine for pain, nausea or diarrhea.  He said that the ones I had taken so far should not hurt my child, but they all were high risk, so no more.   Considering the fact that I need two Imodium in the morning to be able to make the 45 min drive to work, this was a very bad thing. The next few months were living hell.  I was weak, I almost passed out every time I stood for more than ten minutes or so, I was anemic, internal bleeding will do that to ya.  I was taking massive amounts of iron, which is supposed to constipate, NOT EVEN!  I was always on the verge of vomiting and I honestly told my boss we needed to move my desk to the bathroom.  And the pain, it was so bad!!  I could barley function.  My friend lived across the street from where I worked.  I would go lay on her sofa for half an hour, drive to my Mom's house around the half way point, take an hour nap in her bed, then my husband would come there and follow me home from work. My house was a mess. I could do nothing but lay in my recliner and read every pregnancy book I could find.  At my 32 week appointment My OB asked me if I had any pre term labor symptoms, like nausea, cramps, diarrhea.  I laughed, yes all day every day. She decided to do a fetal fibronectin test, she said if  it comes back a low positive, it is still positive and that means bed rest.  So that night while eating dinner OB called and said to go directly to the hospital as the test was positive and I needed to get the steroid shots to develop my son lungs.  They would be waiting for me at the Labor & delivery check in.  So off we went.  When we got there apparently half the state went into labor that night.  And I didn't look nearly as preggo as the other women, so when I told the woman at the counter my Dr sent me in, she bit my head off before I could finish and said I would just have to wait. Off to the side was a nurse with a wheel chair and a worried look on her face, lo and behold I started to have contractions right then.  The nurse asked me if I was ok, I said I thought so.  She asked me why I was there, I said my Dr had sent me in for pre term labor, she asked my name, and when I told her she was like "OMG you are the one I am waiting for!!!" I was in that wheelchair and up to a room in less than 5 minutes.  Got my shot, was told to drink a ton of water, was given meds to stop contractions, and told to be back tomorrow night at the exact same time.   That night my kiddo was doing aerobics, he kicked and hopped and jumped ALL NIGHT, and most of the next day.  Went back got my shot the next night and was told, if contractions don't stop, come back.  They did stop, so I went to work then next morning, and noticed kiddo had gone from rowdy to scary quiet. Other than him getting hiccups I felt no movement. And my arm was red and swelling from the shot.  I called the Dr and they said I better come get the arm looked at.  Little did I know this was the beginning of the most traumatic experience of my life.  If I live to be a thousand I will shudder every time I think of this night and the month to follow.

They decided that my arm was not bad, just a local reaction, but the fact that my son was extra quiet was worrisome. They said his heart rate sounded good, but the lack of movement was making them nervous, so they scheduled me for a biophysical profile, to test the baby and see how he was doing.  It was a long three hour wait for that appointment.  And although they could find nothing wrong on the ultrasound, my son would not move.  And he wouldn't take practice breathes. Nothing.  They tried using this thing that made a huge noise and buzzed him, and still nothing.  After a half an hour of watching him, the high risk specialist decided to admit me and get me on fluids and see if my dehydration was bothering him.  Also they could monitor him closely.  I remember moving to my room and them hooking me up on all the monitors, they as usual had a hard time finding my son's heart rate with the monitor.  But she finally got it set, and my very painful IV in, and I of course got sick.  My intestines were stressing out, so I had to be unhooked from everything to make a bathroom run!!! Once back I got all hooked up again, got my fluids and my husband decided to run out to his truck and call his boss as he was going to stay in the hospital with me.  He was gone about 5 minutes and I was enjoying the peace and quiet and not having to be at work when the technician who did my ultrasound came in.  She looked at the monitors, looked again and asked me where my nurse was.  I said I hadn't seen her since I got out of the bathroom about 20 minutes ago.  She bolted from the room, screaming at the people outside my door at the counter "WHERE IS HER NURSE!!!!" Suddenly there was mayhem, people everywhere, 5 nurses, Dr's, the specialist came running in began moving the monitor around on my belly.  The tech came back with the ultrasound machine.  The room became really quiet, she carefully and quietly located my sons heart beat, placed the monitor over it, so you could now hear it on the monitor.  She took a deep breath and said "where is her nurse?" No one knew.  The high risk Dr looks at me and says "You are having a baby tonight." And she tried a weak smile.  I asked if they were inducing, her reply. "Honey his heart stopped for a moment, we called your OB, she is on her way over here to do a c-section right now.  Labor is too dangerous, he needs out now."  My poor husband comes in to people running all over, and me sobbing.  I was terrified of surgery, and terrified he was going to die inside and terrified that it was too soon for him to be born.  Finally the room calmed down to just me my husband and my new nurse, I never saw the first nurse again.  She prepped me quickly, and kept reassuring me he would be fine, I had the shots, the ultrasound showed him to be close to 5lbs.  Everything would be fine.  Within minutes my husband was in his blue outfit and we were on our way to the operating room.  My surgeon was there in the operating room, she is a wonderful Dr, and she smiled.  I was so grateful as it was her day off and she came in to deliver my son, thank goodness she only lives ten minutes from the hospital.  

Round two of awful began then, they could not get my spinal in.  They kept hitting something and a shock would run down my left leg.  The first anesthesiologist gave up and a second stepped in.  By then I had been poked about 25 times. He could not get it in either. The two people waiting for my son were over by me helping.  One was rubbing my shoulders, one was telling me jokes and doing weird yoga poses.  By now I had been in the OR for 45 min, they sent a nurse to tell my family they were having trouble,  My Dr and the Ped waiting for my son were freaking out.  Finally one of the anesthesiologists said they were going to put me out, they needed to get the baby out.   "I said ok." But the other anesthesiologist   said  "no please" and she jumped in again, this time they didn't  numb me they just stuck it in and the Dr sad "I got it!" 50 minutes later it had finally worked! I felt the warmth in my left leg.  And in seconds I was on my back, and they Dr was looking for my sons heartbeat.  The room stilled for a moment until they found it.  They all were relieved.  I knew he was still there, I felt him move as they stuck me the last time. And then I don't remember much.  I was cold, shaking and shaking.  And drifting in and out of consciousness.  I remember the anesthesiologist telling me that he may not cry. That he may not be able to breathe well.  The next thing I know they showed me my son.  A wet red creature.  I was so stoned, I just stared, it wasn't real.  I was dreaming, this was not the birth I had imagined, that tiny red thing was not the baby I had imagined.  Then I heard him cry.  I didn't expect it, but I heard it.  He was crying, he HAD to be ok. They called my husband over to cut the cord.  And I was gone again.  I was awoken again and shown my baby, he was wrapped in a blanket, a little hat on his head.  Was he mine? I was in such a drugged fog. I couldn't process it.  I just stared at him and asked why he still had blood in his mouth.  Then he and my husband were gone.  And then I began to really shake.  Massive convulsive tremors.   And I remember someone saying they were going to give me something to stop the shaking.  And then I only remember waking up off and on. I remember people talking, and counting.  I remembered suddenly that when my Mother had a c-section they had not counted anything and left a sponge in her.  So I told them not to leave anything inside.  They assured me they wouldn't.  Then I was in recovery, and my Daddy and brother were there.  My brother had pictures on his cell phone and they told me how they had seen him on his way to the NICU and he was perfect.  I kept asking them to feed my husband as he gets low blood sugar and he needed food.  Then I went to sleep again. Then my mom and friend were there, telling me how wonderful he was. And my mom said the nurse had plunked him in her arms, she had gotten to hold him!!!  I hadn't. and not only had I not held him, I was not there when my entire family got to see him for the first time.  I missed it!!! I missed showing my beautiful son to everyone.  I was just glad my husband was there, and I made him tell me the story over and over.  Then I went to sleep again.  I know I awoke for a second when my mother in law came to see me, and they threw her out as they were squishing clots out of me.  Then I remember the ride to my room, and my sister's voice going "Is that Bare?"  (my nickname)  And after they got me in my bed everyone was there, telling me how wonderful and perfect he was. The only one not there was my older sister, who was in the NICU guarding my son like an old mother hen.  In fact I hear some nurse was doing a bad job putting my sons iv in and my sister demanded a new nurse.  My husband had put her as the only person allowed near him on her own. 

I remembered my wonderful nurse Annie telling me as soon as the spinal wore off I could go see my baby.  She said it would take about 5 hours.    So everyone left and I settled down to stare at the clock.  My husband fell asleep in the bed next to me snoring loudly.  I sat there and tried to move my legs, nothing.  So I watched an Indiana Jones marathon on TV, in between staring at the clock. The first thing I started to feel was itching, I expected pain, but there wasn't pain, just itching.  So I told the nurse and she gave me a shot.  Then the feeling came back, and it was time to see my baby.  And it all went downhill from there.  My new nurse told me I couldn't see him until I walked down and saw him.  So I tried to stand up.  The room swam violently and I had to sit right back down.  I asked if we could go in a wheel chair and she said nope, I had to walk.  And I couldn't so I cried. I tried again an hour later and I made it to the bathroom, got washed up a little, but almost passed out.  Back to bed.  My husband decided to run home and take care of our dogs and I had my mom and sisters and mother in law there.  I asked to see my baby again as it had been like 14 hours since he was born, and was told not yet.  That was it, I lost it, I sobbed hysterically, for half an hour, cried until my husband got back and settled me down.    Then I decided I was going to see my son come hell or high water.  Using a wheel chair as a walker I walked down the hall, ignoring wave after wave of vertigo.   And the massive pain in my side.  I had not had painkillers until just a little before that as they realized no one had given them to me (bad nurse) but she decided I could go to see my son.  With my husband's help I made it down the hall and into the NICU to see him. 

He was so small, in that box with all the wires, his nurse explained everything and let me touch his hand.  He was on oxygen and iv's and lots of wires, but no ventilator or cpap, which was good.  He of course chose that moment to have a bradycardia episode and scare the bejeezers out of me.  So from that moment I felt fear whenever I was near him.  Fear that he would die.  Fear that I would have to watch it happen. It was horrible.  I would sit and stare at his monitors for hours on end.  He was actually doing very well, he only had two episodes and I just happened to witness one of them.  He got better every day.  I did not, I had horrible pain, in one little spot, and the same spot just refused to heal. It was miserable, and then I noticed women in the NICU in wheel chairs, turns out I could have gone that way all along, I just had a fill in nurse from another hospital and that was their rule.  GREAT. I had to be in bed in those damn compression boot things, it was so painful, felt like there were fire ants under them.  And I would make my husband turn them off.  Then I had a nurse force me to take laxatives, I know people generally have to do this after surgery, but I have the opposite problem, I told the nurse I could not take them, as I had no way to run to the bathroom if I got sick, she insisted and sure enough I got sick, and had to have my husband haul me out of bed.  She apologized later. Finally they sent me home on massive antibiotics and pain killers. 

 I remember the day I had to go home without him.   It was the darkest day of my life.  I think there is no worse feeling than leaving the hospital without your child.  The only thing that kept me going at all was that I knew he would be home someday. I was depressed but went back to see him that afternoon and stayed until he went to sleep at 9.  That began my routine.  I would go the hospital each morning so I could be there after the nurse switch.  I would get up 4-5 times a night and pump, and then freeze it and take it to the NICU.  I would sit and hold my son until noon, then I would take a break and get lunch.  Then I would go back to the NICU until 4, then go to meet my husband, then we would come back at 6 and stay until 9 or until he was asleep.  We did this every day.  I cried all the way home every night.  He was doing well, he just didn't know how to do the whole suck, swallow, breathe thing. But he had wonderful doctors and nurses who encouraged me every day.  Until week three.  It was a holiday weekend and there was a fill in Dr.  I hated this woman yes HATE!!! She was a rude condescending bitch from hell. I was sitting next to my son in the NICU while he slept.  Staring at his monitors as was my custom.  And my phone buzzed, It was the NICU calling, but I was sitting right there,  So I didn't answer it.  Now please keep in mind I had been with my son every day from sun up to sun down, since the day after he was born.  Only leaving to eat and pee. When I got home that night this was the message on my phone "Hiiiiiiii, this is Dr. Ignorant Bitch, I just wanted you to know I looked at you son today (must have been while I had been getting lunch) and I know you haven't seen him, but he is on room air now! (I had been next to him when they took him of the oxygen the day before) And he is doing really well, he even took an entire feeding without falling asleep! (Duh, I was sitting with the nurse when he had it) So just wanted you to know he is doing well, maybe you could come see him, huh????"  WTH!!!  So the next morning I told my sons nurse about what happened.  And how while she was leaving this message on my phone I was sitting next to him.  The nurse just rolled her eyes, this Dr was not well liked. 

Now this was Tuesday, on Monday and Sunday, both his Dr's had assured me he would be going home this week as he was doing so well.  We just needed to make sure he kept his feedings up for a few days.  And sure enough my boy was sucking down a full bottle every opportunity he got, even though he had to have formula part of the time as a stupid nurse threw out all my pumped breast milk as she thought it was someone else's who had already left.   Ugh, I cried over that. Especially since the meds for the surgery infection were drying up my milk.  And I was so sick from the stupid infection and the hospital was being remodeled, I was supposed to be resting and not walking, and I literally had to hike from a parking garage across an overpass, through a medical building across a walkway to the hospital and up to the NICU, it was miserable.  So one morning after my hike up there, Dr Ignorant Bitch comes over and in the same sickening sweet, rude condescending, mother talking to a baby tone tells me what she had left on my voicemail.  I told her, "when you left that message I was sitting here next to my son." 

"Ohhhhh, hahahah, I just didn't seeeee you earlier when I was checking him." I apologized for going to lunch then explained I was there all day every day. She stood there smiling.  I then said since he was doing so well, other Dr told me he would be going home this week.  She started in on "OH NO!!!! he is not even close to ready he will be here for another 2 weeks at leeeeeeast! " It took all I had to not smack her, because just the previous day his regular Dr told me he was all but ready to go. 

So I woke up on Thursday 5/28/08 two days after the talk with condescending bitch,  and the Nurse Practioner  who was in the NICU called and said bring my sons car seat as he would be going home that day!  She said he had taken full feedings for 3 days straight was on room air and holding his temp, the nighttime Dr said he was good to go.  So I showed up that morning, car seat in tow.  Passed my OB in the hall on the way to the NICU and we hugged and cried.  This was what I had been waiting for!!! So I handed his car seat over to Rachel one of my sons regular day nurses, she says they will do the car seat test, and as long as he passed he could go home.  So I asked if I had time to run to the store and get stuff we needed before bringing him home. She said go right ahead and she would call me when his discharge papers were ready.  So I was happily shopping away when my phone rang, my sons nurse was in tears.  "I am so sorry but Dr Ignorant Bitch said he can't go home today.  I am so sorry."  I saw red.  I knew she was just doing this as she was on a power trip.  So I very calmly told his nurse "I do not want that woman near me or my son, she is not allowed to treat my son, and I WILL be taking my son home today."  Rachel brightened "I will pass that info on right now." She said happily. 

When I got back to the hospital the nurses were all smiles and the hospital admin and the head nurse were waiting to talk to me.  So I sat down with them and evil Dr.  and then I told them all what she had done, how she was rude, condescending and treated me like an idiot, and since she was saying something different than all his other Dr's I didn't trust her.  She started crying.  She said that she knew preemies better than I did and even though he was doing great now, he could quit eating.  So I said "do you honestly think that if my child didn't eat, I wouldn't bring him right back in?" She just stared.  Then cried some more.  She said what if he didn't gain weight.  I explained how he already had an appt for the next day at his pediatricians office and one on the follow Monday and one on every Friday for two months so they could make sure he was gaining weight properly.  The head admin and head nurse looked at her like "Now what?"  I also said I didn't need this crap from her, she had already ruined what should have been the happiest day of my life and I had Crohns disease and a massive infection from my c-section and I didn't need this stress.  She continued to cry.  I said fine if he needed to stay he would stay, but she was not allowed to treat him.  She was like "What are you going to pay to take him to a different hospital?"   I said I would if I needed to.  Then the head of Admin said to her  "So you are keeping him here because you think he may suddenly stop eating?" Apparently that was her excuse.  The Admin said that I should get to go ahead and take him home.   After a lot more crying, she said she would discharge him, but only after she talked to his pediatrician.  So she called and verified everything I had said.  And a few hours later I got to take my son home.  Although It was still a wonderful day, she did place a dark shadow over it.  All that matters is I had my beautiful healthy boy home, and by the way, he never even slowed down his eating, in fact, he rapidly increased!

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