Abigail Leigh Leavitt (and her birth story)

Our second daughter Abby was born Thursday morning, January 11, 2007 at 2:06 am. She was early but we had a little bit of warning.

I decided to add her birth story; it is sort if like a real life drama, and I didn't want to share it, but it has turned out to be very therapeutic to put it in writing. So if you wish, you may read the beginning of her life here.

The Saturday before I was 34 weeks and 4 days along and Ty and I attended a session at the St. George temple. While getting dressed to go I called my mom and asked her how tight her stomach felt at the end of her pregnancies? Hahaha, I was having a contraction. With Lucy I only had back labor, so I was clueless, again. During the entire 2 hr session I was having contractions, first about 7 minutes apart, and then to every 5 minutes, on the dot. I brushed it off, and we went to lunch. Well, these puppies were not going away. So we went into the hospital, and sure enough they were 2 minutes apart, and strong. But luckily, they stopped and we went home on bed rest. Thank goodness because she was just too little then.

I ate so much food the next 4 days, trying to pack some weight on her little body. On Wednesday evening, Ty came home from work and I was just sitting on the couch, sorting mail with my legs up. Then they started again, 5 minutes apart exactly. We waited a little for them to go away and they got stronger, to 2 minutes apart. So we took Lucy to our in-laws (they were awesome with her!) and headed in again to the hospital. As we walked in the doors I thought, we should take a picture, but didn't think we'd really have her.

Hooked up again to the monitors, waiting to hear from my doctor, we were just waiting. The contractions actually were letting up again after an intense hour drive in. The nurse came in, explained that I wasn't progressing and that they were going to discharge me, again. OH, I was so embarrassed; another crazy girl thinking she was in labor. Well, seriously, as the door clicked shut I realized I was peeing my pants. I said "uh, Ty, I'm peeing on myself...oh my gosh... I think my water just broke." He looked at me like I was some alien, yeah right! We brought in the nurse, and sure enough, this baby was coming. What an adventure!

5 hours later, with 6 pushes came little Abigail. She was so tiny and fragile. She cried right away, and so did I, once they told me she was ok. I kept asking, "Is she ok?... Is she ok?" A resounding yes from the doctors and nurses made me feel better, for about 15 minutes. Then our whole world changed.

Although she was almost 5 weeks early, she weighed a whopping 5lbs, 20z and was 181/2 inches long. Pretty good size for that far along. She started wheezing while breathing, and as they put her in my arms, something just didn't feel right. She was grunting and shaking with every breath, and as much as I wanted to hold her, I asked the nurse to take her and help her.

Luckily my girlfriend Chandra, the nurse, told me not to be surprised if they put her on oxygen, so we were prepared for that. But we were not prepared for the NICU. "What is the NICU?" I asked, I had no clue. Never thought I'd have a "preemie". I mean, all my mom's babies were almost 9 pounds!

The Newborn Intensive Care Unit looked just like a movie set. When they wheeled me in to see her she was only an hour old. They were about 12 nurses and doctors in the room, all talking to each in other in some foreign language. The doctor was asking, "Where have you been this past month, where does Ty work, what is our living condition like?" I didn't understand what was wrong, I thought my baby was fine, but why did she have so many tubes and wires and machines beeping next to her? It really was too much for me to take in, and my nurse said that I could start pumping whenever I felt like it, so I asked to do it right away. Honestly, it felt like the only thing I had control over and that could help my baby.

It was too hard to look at her in that incubator and only touch her little hand, the Cpap (pushes air into nose) the first day made her nose look humongous and uncomfortable, so I just had to leave. Ty didn't leave her side for 10 hours, and then he came and spent the night with me in my room. That night, Abigail 'crumped' with acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ( basically her lungs were premature and a month behind development). She had to be intubated and chest tubes put in to release the oxygen that escaped from the holes in her lungs (pneumothorax). She actually looked better by then because she had all her lines running through her bellybutton instead of a ginormous IV in her little hand and the intubator tube didn't look as cumbersome as the Cpap.

We were in the NICU for 14 days, and they were very long and tiresome and stressful. But we were lucky to have amazing doctors and very patient and understanding nurses. We are home now and very healthy. She is a very peaceful baby.

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