Destynee’s Coming Home!!!

Destynee came into this world struggling, and fighting for everything she had. She came with such strength and determination, and it paid off.
She came home January 17th, 8 weeks later. She was still on oxygen and had a hard time nursing, but she was home!
The first day home, we stared in awe at our precious angel. She really was our baby, and now we felt it. We are finally parents!!! There was a peace that came over both of us, as we relaxed into our own environment.
We soaked up every second with her, and engulfed ourselves in her sweet spirit.

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Postpartum/Depression

Before I was discharged, Dr. Draper sat my husband and I down. He explained, that after everything I had been thru, I had a 96% chance of having severe depression, not just postpartum depression. He gave us specific signs to watch for, and instructed Gordon to watch me very closely. When someone goes into depression that fast, they can’t tell that they are acting or being any different, so it’s important that someone who knows them really well, be aware of subtle signs.

I was cautious and aware of my thoughts and actions. Once a week, a very special social worker would come to the NICU, and talk to me about how I was coping with everything. I was determined to stay in good health for my new baby and my husband. I talked to her about everything, I mean everything…As the weeks went on, I felt less and less okay….

I would spend several days constantly crying. It didn’t matter what I was doing or who I was with, I would cry from the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed. Half the time, I couldn’t even figure out what the hell I was crying about…It was exhausting beyond belief!

I had been in the hospital for three months, still had a baby in the NICU, lost the dream of ever having more children, and recovering from an intense surgery. I felt like I lost my womanhood. I wasn’t sure who I was, and I was very sure that I was crazy…

I often wondered if I was really a mother, if she was MY baby, and what I was still doing there…..I had decided that Gordon deserved a real woman, one who could have more children for him and build his family. I decided that the best thing for them, was me leaving so Gordon could find someone better….I knew that I would have to leave my whole family and never come back…I contemplated it for several days. Inside, I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but more times than not, my right was overruled by the crazys….There was a few days, that I would drive past the hospital. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew I was going. Several miles past the hospital, I was redirected by God. I was confused as to what I was doing, but my better self knew that my family needed me. My sweet angel still in the NICU; I couldn’t leave her NOW….

When I was having a good day, I knew it was important to tell the social worker and Gordon the thoughts I was having and the actions I had followed through with. The social worker told me that she was actually relieved to know what I was thinking. She said it was a good sign, so I kept telling them. Gordon, on the other hand, was more freaked-out than ever.

Two Months in the NICU/First Experience of the World

We loved spending time with her. Gordon would drop me off in the morning before work, come in to see her, and then pick me up after work so he could see her again. We usually stayed there every night until they kicked us out at shift change (7pm).

Destynee had a really hard time nursing or taking a bottle. She would choke, had acid reflux and A&B’s (apnea & bradycardia) with feedings; it was so miserable for her. I was grateful to have her in the hospital, where things like that could be monitored. At the same time, my heart ached, because all the poking, proding, intruding, and laying alone had to be her first experience of the world. Although I was there with her most of the time, I couldn’t hold her much and I couldn’t imagine what that felt like to her. Abandonment? Rejection? I worried.

I didn’t even feel like I was going to be okay for about 5 weeks, so how could I expect her to. We were surviving together, and that’s all that mattered.
She started nursing full feedings at 6 weeks exactly (38 weeks gestation). The nurses told me that it usually clicks developmentally around 38 weeks, and it did. We had been forcing her to learn something damn nigh impossible, and when she was ready, she got it.
Although most of the staff was very kind and gentle, she experienced things that nobody (let alone, newborns), should ever have to face. I watched and let things happened that I felt I had no control over. It felt like she was their baby, and I just had to watch. I didn’t stand up for her, or for what I felt was right or wrong, because I couldn’t live with something going wrong….I didn’t feel mentally stable enough to trust myself….. I desperately wanted to bring her home.

My Preemie Miracle!!!

As I watched her day after day, I continued to be amazed that I was part of such a miraculous miracle! The doctors gave a 5% chance that she would make it with no complication. 5 percent!!!!! Althought she struggled, most of her complications were normal for a preemie.
The doctors weren’t sure if she would ever walk, because her feet were twisted. The therapist came every few days, and showed me stretches to help straighten out her feet. Within a few weeks, the therapist was amazed at her progression and gave us hope.

She knew what she was coming down to, and I thanked God every second that we were able to have her. I knew that no matter what she had to face, she had our full attention. She is our miracle baby!!!

Holding Our Angel for the First Time!

Dec 8th, Destynee is a week and a half old. She was doing so well that she was able to get off the CPAP and was put on oxygen. Both me and Gordon got to hold our angel for the first time. Neither of us ever wanted to let her go. For the first time, we were able to pour all the built-up love we had been saving inside, for her. It was a huge sigh of relief to be able to hold her, and it was what we were both needing very badly. She brought us a piece of heaven with her sweet spirit.

This precious moment seemed to be gone way to fast……Every time we got a chance to hold her, the nurses would come to either check her vitals or tell us she needed rest.

Her daddy got to feed her the first bottle. It was the first time she was able to get any nutrition orally. The next day, they let me breast feed her. She didn’t do very well, but I didn’t have much to work with.

Shortly after that, she moved to an open crib. She still needed her sleep to grow, so unless she was eating or awake, we couldn’t hold her. She woke very easily, was sensitive to everything, and had a really hard time adjusting because of all the stimulation (bright lights, alarms, people talking, etc).

Going Home/Freedom

I started doing better after about a week on antibiotics. I was able to start moving my bowels and didn’t have to have another surgery. (PHEWW!) I dropped about 20 lbs. of water weight in 4 days, and I could feel it. My heart and kidneys were getting stronger.

Women are usually in the hospital for 2-3 days for a normal c-section, I was in for 10 days. Although I still had a long recovery ahead of me, I was ecstatic to go home (actually, I went to stay with my mom for awhile). After 14 weeks on bedrest, and 2 1/2 months in the hospital, I was FREE!!!……I felt like shit, but I was FREE!

We had accumulated so much stuff over the 2 1/2 months in the hospital, that it took Gordon two full trips out and filled up our whole car.

The Untouchable Treasure/What a Miracle!

Destynee Noel was our greatest treasure. We could touch her soft skin and tell her everything would be okay, but the love that we had for her, had to be stuffed deep down inside us.

As we stared at her, we were overcome with graditude. This magnificant creation of God that we worked so hard to protect, is finally here, and doing so well. Even though we couldn’t hold her, we felt like our family was NOW complete:)

Ventilator/C-PAP

Destynee was ventilated for 5 days (Wed-Sun), and on Sunday she pulled the ventilator out. The nurses panicked, and put it back in. Later that day, they realized she didn’t need it anymore. She knew what she was doing, and dammit, she just wanted it out.
My sister, Connie, brought her a bear. She has had a preemie, and wanted us to be able to compare sizes as Destynee grows.

Right after they pulled the ventilator out, she was put on a CPAP(continuous positive air pressure) for 5 days from Sun-Fri. She didn’t like the CPAP at all, and by the pictures you can tell why.

She was also in an incubator bed with phototherapy for hyperbilirubinemia, and to help maintain her temperature.

Not Enough Milk, Time, or Strength

I had a really hard time getting my milk in, and what I did get, was a few drops after pumping for 20 minutes straight. Between getting my rest, and pumping (what seemed like constantly), I only had enough strength to go see my baby about once a day. Every day, I felt like a failure, and I wondered if Destynee was getting everything she needed. My heart was struggling, I couldn’t hold any food down, and I had a bowel obstruction that they thought they might have to do surgery on.
I was torn between surviving and being a mother…….

Gordon was doing an excellent job at giving both of us everything he possibly could, physically and emotional.

Barely Surviving

After about two days, the nurses made me get up. They wanted to monitor my weight. I was so swollen from my heart, that I weighed more than when I was pregnant. They were giving me lasix (a diuretic), but were very worried about my heart and kidneys.
I got up, but couldn’t walk much. I was excited to be able to see my baby whenever I wanted. I had only seen her once, and she was three days old. I felt like such a bad mom….

Gordon took me in a wheelchair, down to the NICU. I could stand up to see my precious baby for about five minutes, and then could sit in the chair for about a half an hour. I couldn’t see her very well sitting, but it felt good to be near her. They wouldn’t let us hold her….I often wondered if she was really mine….I stared at her, wondering if I would ever be able to hold her and take care of her like my motherly instincts desperately wanted to. Through the tubes and wires, I watched her closely for each breath.

When I got back from seeing her the first day, I told the nurses that I wanted to go down at least five times a day…..I made it ONCE…… I couldn’t pull strength from anywhere. It devastated me….. It felt as though both of us were barely surviving:(