We had a mostly uneventful pregnancy. I, being the constant obsesser, watched everything I ate and exposed myself to. Working in the field of developmental disabilities, I was particularly mindful and paranoid about my pregnancy to give my babies the maximum chance for happiness and excellence. I was filled with God's spirit as I had never been and believed wholeheartedly He had promised me two perfect, healthy children.
And then came March 22.
I spent the day feeling "funny." Not bad, but funny. Not one thing I could put my finger on or elaborate on. Just funny. Strange enough that I cancelled going to a girls-only party at a friend's house, but not bad. We watched American Gangster at home that night. Very good movie. Prepared to go to bed, and we were asleep by 10. Not long after, I awoke to go to the bathroom, again, and was bleeding and felt something move through my cervix.
I woke my husband and we rushed to the Hendersonville ER, and when the on-call OB saw me he prepared us for the worst. I was 21 weeks pregnant, I was about to birth both of my babies, and nothing could be done to save them. They were too early to survive.
The doctor and nurse ride in the ambulance with me to The Women's Hospital at Centennial, and they take me straight to the high risk OB floor. I'm snowed with magnesium to slow my labor. Family and friends begin to arrive and we wait. My nurse tells me what to expect. They will deliver my little girl, and then try everything possible to keep our little boy in a while longer. She says our girl is too small to save. We argue with her... She's big! Please try to save her! They agree to send in a NICU team as a courtesy, but do not feel she will be big enough to intubate. The sac of fluid that went through my cervix earlier continued to drop, until you can see Aubrie's little feet hanging out and dancing within the sac. Her legs were so tiny, but so strong. At 5:43PM on March 23, Easter Sunday, Miss Aubrie Angelina Sheppard was born, and just as we said, she was big enough to intubate. 1lb, 2oz, 11 inches long. The NICU doctor lets me kiss her as he takes her away, and then she is gone. I send my husband with her and begin the wait.
The race was then on to save Daxton. The doctors hoped to keep him in at least a little longer, with the goal being 10 more weeks. I am already on strict bedrest at this point and have not touched my feet to the floor since midnight the previous day. The doctors add on indicin along with the magnesium and start antibiotics in case of infection. I am placed "upside down" in the bed with my feet higher than my head to keep gravity from causing Daxton to push against my cervix. The wait is on.
Aubrie had a really good night. The doctors were pleased at how well she was doing. The neonatologist comes down to give us a report, and tells us "there's just something about a 'Sheppard' baby born on Easter..." I agree. I still have total faith our babies will be fine.
Minutes turn to hours, and then a day passes with Dax still in. Aubrie's good night turned into a difficult day, and then the bad became worse. The neonatologist comes down to tell us that there is nothing else that can be done, and we can continue to hold on or we could let her go. We agreed to let Aubrie tell us when it was time, and my husband took his phone up and placed it in her isolette so I could talk to her and tell her how much I loved her. The doctor said that's what she needed... She was waiting to hear from me and then she let go. They brought her down so Shep and I could be with her, but she was already gone. We held her and kissed her and changed here into her final clothes, and then we let her go. It was the worst day of my life.
The hours turn to days that we successfully avoid labor. Procardia and terbutaline, a blood pressure and asthma medication, are eventually added due to the occurrence of contractions, along with a multitude of antibiotics and assorted other drugs. I am eventually able to raise my head level with my legs, and then even raise it higher to eat. Almost two weeks pass before the lady comes in to do my ultrasound and we discover, after much ado, that I'll be having Daxton "in about 5 minutes." We wait for my husband to arrive, and we eventually get Mr. Daxton Anthony Sheppard into the world, and he did make a grand entrance, to a standing-room-only crowd. That's another story entirely.
At 23.5 weeks our son was born. 1lb, 7oz. 11.75 inches. Smaller than a Subway sandwich. Perfectly... Perfect... Of course he has severely under-developed... everything... but he's perfect. The doctors take him away and he begins his 8-month long NICU stay, with all the roller-coaster ups and downs they told us to expect but we could never have anticipated.
Thus begins our story. Our son is now home, and we recently discovered we are expecting again. Of course, I could have been blogging this whole time, but that would make sense and show organizational skills, and that's just not me. I did send out multiple emails over the months, and I may add some past ones on here from time to time.
So that's that. Hope you find some entertainment in our chaos!