Elena was whisked to an incubator with about 5 pediatric physicians looking her over before I was even able to hold her. The nurse had to remind the doctor to tell us what we had, girl or boy. When they handed her to me, she was swaddled and all I could see was her eyes, nose and mouth and they announced she had to be brought to the NICU right away for a full exam. I kissed her, she moved and I got a mouth full of the eye goop they put in newborn babies eyes immediately after they are born.
I was moved to the recovery room and then to a regular room where I couldn't see her for 24 hours because I was the reason she had to be induced and the mag sulfate and 23 hours of labor had basically wiped me out. They sent a Polaroid down to my room with her picture. Mike was able to spend time with Elena and finally they wheeled me to the NICU and you know what, I had no clue which baby was mine-I started to sob (hormonal things suck). When I finally got to see her and hold her my first thought was "How could someone entrust me with this tiny little baby?". I stayed in the hospital til 12/24 and Elena stayed until 12/31. My first Christmas present from her was a handprint and footprint the nurses took on Christmas Day and printed it on Christmas paper and a picture of Santa holding Elena. Mike was at the NICU everyday from then on and I went up several times (I wasn't supposed to be in a car for two weeks-some problems from the childbirth), but made the hour long trip up to Philly several times.
Finally, on New Years Eve, weighing in at an even 4 lbs, my baby came home!
Looking back, it seems like yesterday, but looking at her now it's so hard to believe, at one time, she was so tiny. By the time she hit 6 months, she was at the 99% percentile for her age and she's probably the tallest girl in her class. Her feet (always big, even as a preemie, she had full size feet and hands) are up to a size 2 1/2. I'm only 5'3" and she comes up to my shoulder when she stands next to me and weighs in at 69 lbs-so don't believe preemies are always behind, old wives tale-Elena proved that theory long ago.
There isn't a day that she doesn't make me smile and bring joy to my life. Yes, there are days I grind my teeth, but I always count my blessings on how lucky I was to have been able to have such a wonderful child. I joke about the labor, the weeks in the hospital before having her, but it was so worth it and, had I been able, I would have done it again in a heartbeat!
HAPPY 8TH BIRTHDAY ELENA!