About 1:00 in the afternoon, I was driving to Walmart to get some Rubbermaid bins for storing our Christmas decorations. While driving, I received a call from my Dad who told me that my sister-in-law, who was 29 5/7weeks pregnant, had some bleeding and contractions and was at the hospital. I just about had a heart attack! He was calling, more specifically, to confirm the group of neonatologists they should use, should her baby be born. I frantically told him which doctors to use and to call me when they heard anything (she was getting an ultrasound at the time).
About an hour later, standing in line at Walmart, I called my dad back to see if there was any news. He told me that my sister-in-law was 8cm dilated (out of 10), and on her way to Sacred Heart in an ambulance. I said "So, she's having the baby today! 8cm??? Oh, no! It's too early!" I wanted to burst into tears right there. My dad tried to calm me down and tell me that they might be able to stop her labor, but anyone who knows anything about those kinds of things knows that you can't stop labor at 8cm!
As a NICU nurse, in the back of my mind, I was swimming in a world of too much knowledge. What if the baby was a boy (boys are wimpier...sorry!)? What if she is sick? What if she needs to be on the ventilator? What if she has feeding problems? What if she gets NEC (necrotizing entercolitis)? What if she gets NEC and ends up losing some bowel and has short gut? What if she gets NEC and dies? What if she gets septic and dies? What if she has brain bleeds and then developmental delays? Though 29 weekers usually fare pretty well, they don't always make it. I was trying to hard not to panic.
We went home, put Miles down for a short nap, then went to go see my brother and his wife at the hospital. I stopped on the way and picked up a little lion stuffed animal to put in the baby's bed when it arrived. We wandered the hospital a bit, visited with my brother, showed my support, and tried to hide my fear. I felt like I was the only one who was scared at all!
Just after 7pm that night, my beautiful niece, Ethne Rose, came into this world kicking and screaming. She spent about 7 weeks in the NICU (great for her age!). Though it was very stressful for me, she had an amazing NICU course (aka did really well). It has been such a joy seeing her grow and develop this past year; it has gone so fast!!! She is one amazing, beautiful, strong, gentle and sweet, yet feisty, adorable girl. She is, by far, the best 1 year-old baby girl in the whole world and I couldn't be more proud of her!
Ethne Rose, 3# 5oz, shortly after birth.
Ethne going home:
Ethne 9 months: