DID MY WATER JUST BREAK?
The morning of June 13 I woke up and felt like I'd maybe just had an accident in bed. I mean, seriously did I pee my pants? It crossed my mind that my water could've broken. This had never happened with my other two girls so I had no idea what it was like.
I started to panic. It was way too early to have this baby. I wasn't even 31 weeks yet. I told Eric, began frantically texting my best friends and both of my sisters-in- law. They all said to call the Doctor. Eric and I had an appointment that morning to meet the baby's neurosurgeon at Phoenix Children's Hospital. I felt fine and kept telling myself there was no way my water broke. I'd left a message for my OBGYN and we headed to our appointment.
After 2 hours, I still hadn't heard back from my Doctor so I called her office again The nurse told me to go to the hospital immediately. I was super annoyed. I wanted to talk to my Doctor and felt the nurse was just being safe sending me to the hospital. When I arrived I was put in a triage room and I told the nurse I needed to be out of there by 1:00 because I had another appointment. She laughed at me and said I'd need to move it. After several tests, the nurse came back in and said, "Well, your water did break." Holy Hell! They told me I wasn't going anywhere and I should call my husband. Super awesome - I didn't have cell phone service. My reception kept breaking up...Eric couldn't hear me. I was sitting in this bed yelling "HONEY MY WATER BROKE!" For Christ's sake. I had the nurse get me a land line phone to call him back.
Since it was too early to have the baby, I was put on a drug called magnesium which controlled contractions. My perinatal specialist, Dr. Garbaciak arrived and said they were going to let the magnesium work for 48 hours. If I had pain that was greater than a "three" I needed to call a nurse immediately. I was like - a THREE for pain? Who complains about pain at a three? The medical team wanted me to stay put for two to three weeks and then deliver the baby. I couldn't get past this. I was supposed to sit, pregnant in this hospital room for three weeks. Totally unreasonable! I had two other kids. I'd barely survived being in the UCSF hospital for less than a week.
The thought of staying there for a long period of time was too much. My husband, me, and my girls had been through enough. And so had this baby. My OB came in the next morning and put my fears at ease. She believed this was baby's way of telling us she was done. She was right. That night more of my water broke causing additional contractions. The morning of Thursday, June 15 I was told we'd deliver the baby at 11:30 that morning. Eric and I were so scared but so excited! We both knew this baby was a warrior. I was 31 weeks to the day. I'd had steroid shots to help her lungs for breathing. There was nothing left in our control at this point.
WELCOME PERI PAIGE SLIVINSKI
Eric arrived at the hospital and we couldn't wait to meet our little miracle baby. It was my first c-section and it went really fast. Peri was born at 12:01 p.m. and was 3 pounds, 9 ounces. A tiny little thing, she came out kicking her legs strong. Both Eric and I had never been so happy or relieved. They held her up and showed us her scar on her back where she'd had surgery. It was unbelievable. Our jaws were dropped - how could we be given such a tiny but mighty little angel. They handed her to Eric and my face hurt from smiling.
I sat in a recovery room after my surgery. Eric had gone with her to the NICU and came back to give me an update. The nurse rolled my bed into the NICU where I was able to see Peri again. She was hooked up to several monitors and lying in her isolette. She had a ton of dark hair and looked so much like Eric.
From there I began to worry about the fact that I couldn't take her home. What an unnatural feeling to leave without your baby. On the following Monday, my discharge day the Nurse Supervisor offered for me to stay in my hospital room and "nest." Meaning I could sleep there, use it as a hotel room and be with Peri whenever I wanted. I was relieved.
Peri is still in the NICU, I still have my hospital room and we're all getting stronger each day. Our family balance is challenging but works for now. I sleep at the hospital and stay with Peri all day until about four in the afternoon. I leave to pick up the girls from school and we eat dinner as a family. Eric and I put them to bed, then I'm back at the hospital before nine to see Peri. I sleep at home on the weekends and Eric and I take the girls to see their sister.
In her first week of birth the nurses removed her C-Pap and placed a breathing tube in her nose. Her IV fell out of her arm so they had to insert into the top of her head. She was promoted from an isolette bed to a big girl crib on June 30. July 3, her breathing tube was removed entirely, as she was strong enough to breathe on her own. Currently, she is nursing and taking bottles. The next steps are for her to maintain breathing without any "episodes."
She loves baths. Looks like she's lounging at the Four Seasons when she gets bathed. She's become more alert and I swear she smiles all the time. Her feet are clubbed and a Physical Therapist works with her daily. She will be casted soon after discharge.
I've had times of feeling overwhelmed. No one prepares you for the NICU. No one tells you it's a roller coaster. Some days Peri goes backward and it feels like she'll never get home. At times Eric and I say, "We can't believe this has happened to us." It's just a bit surreal that she is here already. Nurses and Doctors are coming at us from all directions. Her preemie care is so much different than her Spina Bifida care. I constantly feel torn between Brittain and Delaney, and being at the hospital with Peri. The guilt is never ending. But we're doing the best we can.
I pray everyday that Peri shows strength. This is just the beginning of our story. We have a lot to learn about our baby and we have a long journey ahead. Eric and I feel complete and happy in our hearts. This may not be the most ideal situation, but we couldn't be more proud of Peri, and to us, she is absolute perfection. This is our life and we wouldn't have it any other way.