Last night I broke down - all I could do was hold on to John and cry. The evening nurse heard me and came in to see if there was anything that she could do for me. There wasn't - but it was so nice of her to check in. In the morning one of my favorite nurses came in, sat down beside my bed, and asked me if I wanted to talk. The evening nurse had told the morning nurses that I was upset last night. Normally this type of invasion of privacy would have bothered me but I find it so sweet and touching. Theresa (the morning nurse) and I talked for a while before she asked me if I had toured the NICU yet. We had not and I was very anxious to see how things go in there. She set up a tour for us and walked us across the pedway to the Children's Hospital. Once we were over there I could barely breathe. There were colorful walls and cheerful nurses but I knew that each and every one of those little ones were in the fight of their lives. The nurse that took us around explained protocols for visiting and having other visitors come in. She showed me the lactation room where you can go to pump and then give them the breast milk to tube feed to baby. We walked around the different pods while she explained which each one of the tubes, wires, etc. are for in the baby. She showed us the "giraffe" which is most advanced incubator. Just looking at the little one in the giraffe holding on for dear life, with all the tubes coming out of him was really difficult. I needed to take a minute to cry and let it all sink in. Once I calmed down she continued the tour, showing us two new renovated pods. These pods are much more homey - each baby gets their own "room" that you can decorate, there is a sleeping bench and a recliner in the room as well. We were informed that the smallest babies are put in these rooms, so hopefully they have a bed open when Stella is born.
That NICU visit was Thursday and I have just now been able to finish writing about it (Saturday evening).
Thursday was a pretty uneventful day other than visiting the NICU. I did get an amazing package from a wonderful sorority sister - thanks Sarah!! In it was a beautiful blanket that she made Stella, a book, a framed prayer, candy, pens, and a journal. The colorful paper with the thoughtful gifts really helped to bring a smile to my face. No change with Stella, my mood was a little lower than the day before but we finished Thursday with a wonderful prayer to St. Jude (that my mom had sent me in the mail).
We were sure that Dr. P was going to get Stella's weight at Friday's ultrasound, but he told us Thursday night that he wanted to wait until Monday. I guess the best time to get a good determinate if they have gained weight is 2 - 3 weeks (and it will be 2 weeks on Monday). He said that it doesn't help to "cheat days." Friday's ultrasound came late, which kept me in nervous knots all day. Once in there she gave me a good scare by not moving at first!! She was good and curled up in a tight ball. The tech gave her a couple good shakes to wake her up and she started kicking back. The tech got her so agitated that she did a nice roll on her belly and took some practice breaths with it. Her u/s looked as good as we can hope that it could.
The reality of Stella being born more than three months early is starting to sink in. The first night in the hospital both Dr. P (perinatologist) and Dr. Cohen (neonatologist) told us that she will most likely be delivered between 26-27 weeks. After that time she may suffer brain damage or even death inside me. As the 26 week mark is drawing close I'm getting more and more scared. The uncertainty of when Dr. P will decide to take her and then how everything will happen is killing me. He was great today when I asked him about it, but even he can't give me a definite answer on when he will decide to take her. He said that he has to see her u/s Monday and make a serious judgment call. If my girl has not grown and is still only 10oz her chance of survival drops significantly below the 60% that she was given at the beginning of the week.
I don't think I'm ready for this! I don't think that I'm ready to deal with the possibility of losing my daughter. I'm not even sure how you get ready for something like this. I'm not ready for her to be away from me. Right now I have her in me where I feel I can keep her safe and sound. Once she is out I won't even be able to hold her. I cry just thinking about only being able to sit beside her and hold her hand or foot. How do you prepare yourself for that? How do you prepare yourself for the possibility of going home without your daughter?
We are the Spinda family (John, Shanna & Stella Mae) from Murray, KY... on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am our beautiful baby girl, Stella Mae Spinda, was born at 26 weeks gestation. She weighed 12.34 oz and was 9 in long - Stella suffered from Intrauterin Growth Restriction (IUGR) which caused both her extremely small size and her being born premature. Stella spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Norton/Kosair Hospital in Louisville, KY. She passed away late on February 5, 2011 from complications of her extremely small size. This blog was started when she was 23 gestational weeks old and we discovered her condition. It's original purpose was to keep family and friends updated on Stella's journey - we now hope to use this blog as a way to continue Stella's journey by honoring her memory and also as a way to support others who are struggling with infertility or have lost a pregnancy or baby.