I have no idea where the past 365 days went. One year ago today, I was lying on the couch on bed rest, 29 weeks pregnant. Shannon had actually gone into the office for the day. I was chatting on facebook with one of my best friends, talking about how I was so tired of the inactivity and wondering how I was going to make it through the 8 weeks I had left. I had no sooner typed that complaint when my water broke. The last thing I typed to my friend was, “My water just broke. Shannon’s not here. Ambulance is on the way.”
June 15, 2010 is a bit of a blur after that. The ambulance ride to the hospital. The contractions. The bolus of mag. The c-section and hearing her tiny cry across the room. Trying to get her isolette close enough to me so I could touch her hand and see her face without my glasses. Then, full sedation because I had fibroids we didn’t know about and they had cut through one of them. I needed two units of blood after that.
June 16, 2010 isn’t much better. I kept asking when I could go see her. Shannon kept going from my room to the NICU and bringing me pictures and reports. The nurse, new to the post-partum ward, kept putting me off telling me she wasn’t comfortable letting me get in a wheelchair. All I could think of was the day, two years earlier, when a nurse took me into the NICU on my hospital bed so I could see the twins. Finally, a patient care tech who knew me from my weeks-long stay in april and may took up my cause and went to the shift lead and got me my wheelchair so I could go see Olivia Moonpie.
It has been such an amazing year. She had one scare in the NICU the night she reacted to the cow’s milk supplement. The rest of her 49 day stay was about as smooth as you could hope for with an 11-week preemie. She overcame her apnea, she learned to eat, she gained weight, she came home.
I don’t know how Shannon and I made it through those first days. She slept in the pack n play bassinet at the foot of our bed and we slept with our heads right by her, waking up every few minutes to make sure she was still breathing, listening for the slightest sound. We fed her tiny bottles and I pumped.
Then came the reflux. We’d get a bottle into her and she would vomit it back up, all over herself and us, screaming and arching her back. We got a prescription for her that seemed to help. We held her upright for 20 minutes after every bottle. More nights than not, I got up to find Shannon asleep on the couch with Olivia Moonpie snuggled on his chest. One night, some noise, some movement woke us up and she couldn’t swallow and couldn’t breathe and I wondered if we’d have to put those CPR lessons to use. Her medication was a type of anti-histamine and made her saliva thick and sticky. She’d been unable to clear her throat of it. We stopped that medication and switched to a different one. We switched from feeding her every three hours to feeding her every 90 minutes, me during the day, Shannon at night. She stopped screaming, stopped vomiting. We stuck to that schedule for close to 2 months, gradually increasing the size of her bottles and gradually increasing the intervals.
By November, we were waking her up in the middle of the night for her bottle and the pediatrician told us we could just let her sleep. She’s been sleeping through the night since. We still check on her at 3am and sometimes change her pants while she sleeps.
She has had one cold. I can count on one hand the number of nights we fought to get her to fall asleep. Aside from the early reflux, she’s never thrown up. We’ve never had a tummy bug. She smiles all the time. She laughs when she sneezes. She eats everything. She likes baths. When she does cry, it’s because she has a really good reason and it stops quickly. She waves bye-bye. When you ask her, “Where’s Daddy?”, she looks towards his computer, then towards the kitchen. When she gets up for her 6am bottle, she doesn’t wake up all the way then, she gets to get in our bed. She goes back to sleep lying between us and sleeps until 9. When she sleeps in our bed, she likes to be touching both of us. People stop us when we are out in public to comment on how happy/alert/active/beautiful she is. We took her on a three-hour plane flight and she slept the entire way, from take-off to landing. She even slept through an in-flight poopy diaper change. She says Mama. She likes to play with her Papa and Momom on Skype.
She is 365 days old today.
Happy birthday, Olivia Moonpie.