Sunday, August 31, 2008

I stopped for a second this afternoon and counted all of the times I had seen Morgan Kate poked or stuck just today. I came up with 11. It absolutely breaks my heart to see this or even think of this. I want so badly for them to poke or stick me instead of her. Each day for her begins with a prick (or two or three) of the heel, then several blood collection samples for the nurses and then one for the respiratory therapist. Today was a day where everyone needed blood for one reason or another. On top of all this poking and prodding Morgan Kate had to have a small procedure performed late this afternoon. Yesterday, Dr. Bendeck, one of the five neonatologists, decided that Morgan Kate needed a Broviac catheter. The minute a preemie is born a tube similar to an IV is inserted into their belly button. This is where all fluids, etc. are pumped each day. This tube only lasts for about a week and then has to be replaced with something more permanent. The nurses could insert a basic IV for all of this, but it would have to be replaced every single day. No way - I don't think so! They tried to insert a PIC line Friday afternoon, but the veins in Morgan Kate's upper arm were just too small. They had to poke her four different times to figure this out. The PIC line is similar to the broviac, but is a little less invasive. The Broviac catheter was the next option. It is inserted in the upper part of the leg and must be done by a surgeon, a procedure than can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. This evening around 6:oo, Dr. Camps, the surgeon, came by to insert the Broviac. He had to make two small incisions, insert the catheter and then stitch the openings up. She is only six days old and already has stitches. The procedure lasted right at 30 minutes and went very smoothly. The Broviac can stay in until she comes home. See below for a pic of Morgan Kate right after the procedure the Broviac is in her right leg.

Morgan Kate is still breathing on her own, which is a HUGE blessing. I thank God everyday for this! She is also feeding well. They have her own a feeding tube, but she is now being fed my milk. It makes me feel so good to know that I can help in some little way. I feel so helpless. She is on a tiny bit of oxygen - just to put some pressure on her lungs. She has apnea prematurity which basically means she forgets to breath sometimes and the oxygen helps with this. This causes the oxygen and her heart rate to fluctuate at times. Lots of alarms and noises coming from the machines..Her nurses and doctors are wonderful. Travis and I have been very pleased with everyone that helps take care of her. They are truly amazing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Morgan Kate's Story

Call it mother's intuition. About twenty-four hours after seeing the positive on our home pregnancy test I began to worry. Now, I realize that many women worry while pregnant, but I was borderline obsessive. For weeks I couldn't even enjoy being pregnant because I was consumed with this fear. The fear of something going wrong. The fear of something bad happening. Travis and my mom thought I was nuts. I am sure my friends were tired of hearing about all my worries. And my poor co-workers, bless them. I vividly remember praying to God and telling him how bad I wanted this and that I would be the best mom I could be. Around week twelve my mind began to ease and I began to feel more comfortable. However, it wasn't too long before the worrying began again. This time the worrying was around week twenty-three and I just couldn't shake it. I even scheduled a doctor's appointment to attempt to put my mind at ease. So much for putting my mind at ease. Looking back, I guess it was a mother's intuition.

Thursday, August 14, 2008
On August 14th, my first day back at work from summer vacation, I had an afternoon doctor's appointment. There were a few things I had questions about and a few things I wanted the doctor to "check out". You have to keep in mind, I was a worry wart my entire pregnancy, the whole six months that is. I guess in hindsight my worrying was for good reason. When the appointment was first made I remembered being very irritated because it was my first day back at work and I didn't want to have to leave early. I sure am glad I went and didn't put it off. Up until this point Travis had been with me at every appointment. This time I told him, "It will be quick. They're just going to check me out, answer my questions and I'll be home. I'll call you as soon as I am done."

Two and a half hours later I called Travis in complete despair with tears streaming down my face. I could barely catch my breath to get the words out. At only twenty-four weeks I was over 50% effaced and a centimeter dilated. As I look back I realize that I was probably in shock and for good reason. I didn't immediately freak out or begin to cry. I stayed calm and tried my best to take in everything the doctors were saying. I vividly remember Dr. H saying, "We want you on bed rest until we tell you otherwise." I politely responded, "Well, that's not possible. You see I am a teacher and today was our first day back and I haven't even met my children. I have so much to do." The doctors didn't seem concerned with what my occupation was. For the remainder of the appointment I was hooked up to several monitors. One monitor kept track of Morgan Kate's heart rate, the other checked for contractions. Thankfully, I was not having contractions and Morgan Kate's heart rate was perfectly fine. When I left that evening there wasn't another soul in the building other than the doctors and myself. I walked slowly to the car playing back all the events from the past two and a half hours. What was happening? What was going to happen? What was I going to tell Travis? 

When I got in the car I had over ten missed calls. I'm not very good about taking my cell phone with me and I had left it in the car during my appointment. I thumbed through the calls. My mom, Travis, my mom, Travis, Travis, my mom, Owens, Travis. With my hands shaking I picked up the phone and dialed our house number. Travis answered and immediately said, "Where have you been? Why haven't you called me? I have been so worried." At this point I finally lost it and in almost a whisper I said, "Travis, it's not good. I am already dilated and effaced. I'm supposed to be on bed rest and I can't go to work. What am I going to do about work?" Even with the severity of what was happening all I could think about was work and how I was going to explain to my principal and my children and my co-workers that I couldn't return. Again, I think I was in shock and in a way I'm kind of glad I was. Travis tried his best to calm me down and asked if he needed to come get me. Of course I told him no. I wanted to be by myself. I needed to be by myself. There were things I needed to process. Things I needed to think about. On my way home my mom called and Owens called. Owens also offered to drive me home, but I told him I was fine and that I could do it. I needed to do it. When I talked to my mom I could barely speak. I tried my best to get the words out and she tried her best to be strong. Unfortunately, it wasn't really working for either one of us.

The minute I got home Travis met me at the door. We just stood there for the longest time holding on to one another. I was a wreck. You see, we had been trying for quite some time to even get pregnant and now we were realizing it might all be in jeopardy. I then got in the bed. I was so numb. I tried to pray, but my mind was so foggy that it was hard gathering the right words. I stayed in the bed until the next morning when we were supposed to return for a follow-up appointment. 

Friday, August 15, 2008
The next morning we got "somewhat" good news. Things were the same and nothing had changed. Dr. R said she wanted me to stay in the bed through the weekend and return on Monday. I was still trying my best to convince her that I needed to go to work. She wasn't buying it.

Later that day my mom and dear cousin, Kelly arrived to be with us and to help celebrate my 28th birthday the following day. The last thing I could even think about was celebrating, but I was so glad that they came and that they were going to be spending time with us. My mom and Kelly did their best to cheer me up and they cleaned our entire house. I felt so bad that they were here and cleaning, but I have to admit the house looked a lot better. 

We made it through my birthday and through the weekend. My mom stayed with us Sunday night so that she could take me to the doctor Monday morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008
When I woke up Monday morning I felt really good about things. My mom and I made our way to the doctor's office. Things were still the same and nothing had changed, but I was still on bed rest. Pretty good news. Dr. S decided to do a Fetal Fibronectin test (FFN). Basically they swab you and test for this certain protein or glue that holds the baby in place. If the test comes back positive it means that the protein was present and you could deliver sometime in the next two weeks. If it's negative then you are okay for a while. The test is not 100% accurate, but they do take the results seriously. Dr. S performed the test and we left. He said he would call us in a few hours with the results. Mom and I felt really good. I just had this feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was certain that the test was going to be negative. 

On our way home we stopped by Chick-fil-A and grabbed some sandwiches to go. We then made our way home. As we were pulling into the neighborhood, only about two hours after my appointment, my cell phone rang. I actually had it with me this time. Amazing. The minute the phone rang my heart stopped. I answered and the lady on the other end politely told me that my FFN test had come back positive and there was strong possibility I could deliver in the next two weeks. I was supposed to go home, get in the bed and stay there. No work, no cooking, no cleaning, nothing. 

My heart sank. Possibly deliver in two weeks? I was only twenty-four weeks pregnant. This wasn't supposed to happening. I was devastated. I called Travis and tried to keep it together as I told him the news. Mom and I drove in silence the rest of the way home. The minute we got inside and got settled I lost it. I cried for a long time and told mom that she couldn't leave. I wanted her to stay and make sure things were going to be okay. I was like a little child crying to their mother. I wanted her with us and by my side until I knew things were going to work out.

Later that night mom cooked us a really good dinner. I say it was good, honestly I can't even remember what it was. That entire day is such a blur to me. All I am certain of is that I was in my bed talking on the phone to a very dear friend and co-worker when I felt a "gush". I remember running to the bathroom and calling my mom and Travis. I told my mom what I had just experienced and we all agreed it was time to call the doctor. 

Oh my goodness! Is this seriously happening? Did my water really just break at only 24 weeks? Can this really happen? (I assure you, it can.) As scared and confused as I was I think I was still in shock. I think God intentionally put me in shock during this entire experience. I would like to think it was my courage and strength and confidence, but I really think it was just shock. I don't remember thinking the worst. I don't remember thinking that things wouldn't work out. I just remember being scared and wondering what was going on. I honestly thought that I would get to the hospital and they would tell me everything was fine and that I could go home. 

My mom drove us to the hospital. Very quickly I must say. I think we even ran one red light once we got into town. All I remember about the ride was Travis saying, "Wait. We haven't even had our childbirth classes." 

When we arrived my mom insisted that Travis take me up in a wheelchair. I thought this was completely ridiculous and didn't want any part of it. But, what do you do when it's two against one. Mom went to park the car and Travis "wheeled" me up. He was driving the wheelchair like a maniac and I was actually laughing about it. When we finally made it to the nurse's desk I was in tears from laughing so hard. I think at first they thought we were out of our mind. Here I am only twenty-four weeks pregnant, I am claiming my water broke, but we are both laughing hysterically. Doesn't all add up. 

They admitted me and took us into a room. Of course because of HIPA or whatever it's called my mom was not allowed to come back. For the next hour they performed two different tests to determine whether it was indeed amniotic fluid or whether I had just wet my pants. I was pretty sure I hadn't wet my pants, but they on the other hand had doubts. They also asked me a million questions which in my mind had nothing to do with what was going on. Any piercings? Any tattoos? What in the world does this have to do with childbirth? After many, many questions and several hours later it was confirmed. The fluid was amniotic fluid and I had not wet my pants. I was relieved that I hadn't wet my pants, but in complete shock that my water had broken. The only good part about this was that I hadn't lost all of my fluid. There was still enough to keep Morgan Kate comfortable. However, I would be spending the remainder of my pregnancy in the hospital.

By this time it was after 11pm and my mom had still not been allowed to come back. A very good friend and "angel" in my opinion found my mom sitting in the waiting room all alone. This "angel" kept my mom company, came to check on me several times and reported back to my mom. Thank goodness for angels! Right before midnight my mom was allowed to come back. We both just held hands with tears streaming down our faces. Travis was on one side of me, mom was on the other and there were several nurses pumping me full of magnesium. Magnesium is a wonder drug that stops labor, but makes you feel like you are dying and that the room is over 1000 degrees. I am usually quite cold-natured, but after a dose of mag I was on fire. I also received my first round of steroids. The steroids were to help Morgan Kate's lungs, brain, etc. develop. 

I don't remember much about the rest of the night. It's all really, really foggy. I do remember that my Daddy was there, as well as Owens, Kyle, Mrs. Jackie, Mrs. Phala, and Mr. Lynn. Forgive me if I have forgotten anyone. 

The next thing I remember is it was 6am and I heard a knock at the door. I opened my eyes and saw Travis asleep on the pull out couch and Mom asleep in a chair with her head propped on the "Soiled Laundry" container. It looked like we had one wild night. The knocking at the door were two very, very dear friends, Jessa and Mrs. Ward. They were there to check on us and bring us breakfast. Bojangle biscuits. I might have been groggy, but I still had an appetite. 

I spent the next day or two in "La La Land" because of the mag. I also received my second and final dose of the steroid. For the next six days I was constantly monitored and on complete bed rest. And I constantly leaked fluid. Travis and mom took turns staying with me at night. I also received several ultrasounds. They wanted to keep a close eye on MK's position and size. I was not supposed to get up for anything, not even the bathroom. I"ll let you figure out how that all worked. I could only take sponge baths and by Thursday you would have never known I was a blonde. I begged my mom to wash my hair. Thankfully, another angel, Raven stopped by that night and helped my mom wash my hair. Relief. I had a lot of visitors during those six days. So many visitors that my doctor actually requested that I limit the number. He wanted me to "Be boring and incubate". 

Fast forward to Saturday, August 23.

Saturday, August 23, 2008 
During the day on Saturday I felt really good. I had several visitors and ate really good food. Most of the day was spent talking about what we were going to do for the next several weeks. Travis and Mom both needed to get back to work, but neither wanted me to be alone. We were trying to think of possible people to "schedule" to help keep me company. It's funny. Mom and Travis talked and worried about this a lot. I, on the other hand, really never even thought about it. I never worried about who was going to be with me or anything like that. It's almost as if I knew we wouldn't get that far.

Saturday night Mom and Dad brought us dinner from Lizard's Thicket. It was so good and the sweet tea was out of this world. I still remember exactly what I ate. I convinced Travis to go home for the night. I told him that I felt great and that he needed to get some rest before the work week. Mom stayed with me and we spent the night talking and watching TV. Around 9pm or so I got an excruciating pain in my stomach. I had never felt a pain like this before. It felt like something was being ripped from my insides. I took some TUMs, some Pepto Bismol, and something else, but nothing helped. Could Lizard's Thicket really be that bad? Finally around midnight I began to feel better and I drifted off to sleep.

Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sunday morning came and I was feeling even better. Mom and I ordered some breakfast and spent the morning laughing and talking about what it would be like once Morgan Kate did arrive. We talked about her nursery and how it would all get done with me cooped up in the hospital. A few minutes before noon Mrs. Jackie arrived to visit. Mrs. Jackie is a very close friend and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. She said she had been at church earlier that morning and just had this feeling that she needed to come visit. About five minutes after she arrived it was time for my sponge bath. She and mom walked down to the waiting room and I told them I would call when I was finished. 

While the nurse tech was helping me bathe she noticed that I was bleeding. The bleeding started off very minimal, but quickly and I mean quickly increased. Remember, it's right at noon during this time. Of course I tried to remain calm, but I knew this wasn't good. Several nurses came into the room to "investigate". I grabbed my cell phone and called Travis. Not two hours before I had called him and told him to sleep in and do whatever he wanted to do. I told him I was fine and I would see him later in the day. He had stayed up all night with my brothers and some of our neighbors painting the nursery. He wanted it to be a surprise for me. Now, I was calling him in panic mode. I told him to come as quick as he could. I then called Mom and Mrs. Jackie and they were back in a flash. 

In the next thirty minutes the bleeding increased a great deal. The nurses had already paged the doctor, but he was under the impression that the bleeding was minimal and he had a few minutes to get there. Around 12:30ish or so they paged the doctor again. Two minutes later he arrived, as well as my hubby. Whewh. Good timing. 

Dr. G (by this time I had seen almost every doctor in the practice and they had all been briefed on the situation) examined me and then did an ultrasound. Very calmly he told me that my placenta had ruptured and it would now be better for Morgan Kate to be outside rather than inside. He said that I needed a C-section and for the sake of time and safety I would be asleep. Travis would not be able to come in the operating room. He also proceeded to tell me the chances of Morgan Kate's survival and some of the complications she might experience. My brain was mush at this point and all of his words were running together.

The next five minutes were like a scene from ER. Numerous nurses ran in to prep me for surgery. There were nurses giving me pills, a nurse or two standing on my bed, there were nurses everywhere. Dr. G was giving orders. I was getting an IV and taking some pill or drink or something. They were all trying to keep me calm and reassuring me that things would be okay. I was terrified. I was calm, but terrified. Again, I was in shock. I felt so helpless. I was so scared. They immediately wheeled me to the operating room. In reality it was a very short trip to the operating room, but it felt like it took forever. Even with everything going on I stopped and just asked God to keep us all safe and get us through this difficult time. More nurses, more doctors, more noises and lights. Then, I was out. Poor Travis was left standing at the doors of the operating room all alone. He wouldn't know anything until it was all over.

At 1:04pm Morgan Katherine Callahan was born. She was born at only twenty-five weeks and four days gestation. She weighed a mere one pound and twelve ounces and was thirteen and three quarters inches long.