Friday, December 21, 2007

8 Years Ago Today

8 years ago and one day today, I was in a labor room at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia and labor was induced. "Everybody Loves Raymond" was on (it was a Monday night). By 9:15 PM-during the holiday episode of "Ally McBeal", my water broke and I thought "Wow, the baby (no, I didn't want to know what we were having)should be here soon."-wellllll, after a full 22 hours of back labor and an epidural that didn't take and the final threat of "If this baby isn't out in the next 20 minutes, we're doing a C-section", Elena was born, all 4 lbs 12 ounces of her. She was 5 1/2 weeks early, a full 19 inches long and looked like a skinny, plucked chicken. When they went to stitch me up and I flinched, the doctor asked "Didn't she have an epidural? How can she feel this? She didn't make a sound during the delivery."-nope, no screaming like I had seen on TLC's "A Baby Story", which I watched daily from the hospital room for two weeks before her delivery. And quite honestly, giving birth wasn't nearly as bad as I had envisioned and I really had trouble grasping all the screaming I heard from other delivery rooms-but hey, that's me I guess. Also, she didn't weigh 13 lbs or anything, but still.....

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!



15 comments:

Pam said...

Now THAT's a true-to-life Birth Day story!

Happy Birthday Elana!

Stacy said...

Happy Birthday Elena! - From both Emily and I!!

What a story. I had no idea she was so little when born. Although I didn't relize she was quite as big as she is now either, lol.

April said...

Happy birthday Elena! I must be having a hormone attack because reading all that has made me teary eyed.

xantha said...

happy birthday Elena! :)

I hope she has a great day. :)

Sara said...

*sniff* What a beautiful post.

noricum said...

Happy Birthday Elena! (Wow... for some reason I thought she was several years older than she is.)

Firemanshunny said...

Great story. Brought tears to my eyes!

naomi said...

A very touching story.........

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jewels said...

Aw, thanks for sharing that story. Very special to read, and happy birthday wishes to you Elena.

Wendy said...

Wow, she was Tiny when she was born. Madeleine was 3X her size, LOL!

Maybe she will grow up to be a model.

Happy Birthday to her! Tony's was yesterday.

Andy's Crafts said...

Happy Birthday Elena! What a beautiful Name Elena de Troya. Helen of Troy.

Happy Holidays!

Mandi said...

Woohoo!! Happy Birthday!!! Thanks for sharing your story.

Vik said...

Happy Birthday, dear Elena! Best wishes!

Cindy said...

Happy Birthday Elena!!!!

The Other Deneen said...

My baby girl's birthday is December 19th. I swear this is just getting to be otherworldly.

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