I don't feel very brave today. I am not really sure what I need to be brave for...but I do know that I am not very brave for it. Perhaps I am tired. Perhaps I am simply grieving a tiny bit in that my baby will be 4 tomorrow. Perhaps...oh I am not sure it is any use in perhaps-ing. Unless I need to put a name to my un-braveness for some reason or another, some days that is helpful. But today I think I simply need to be.
I will likely be very busy tomorrow, so I think - though I wasn't planning it I shall tell you a story. Would you like to hear a story?
4 years and one day ago a little girl was born!
4 years ago exactly I was already in the hospital. Most of you know what my pregnancy was like with Taylor, but in case there is one or two that do not know - I had/have a condition called pemphigoid gestationis. I won’t bore you by going into the details, but know the only way I can explain it is horrific. It is itchy beyond imaginable. It is truly painful enough to send a person insane without treatment, and I am not exaggerating. If you want to know more, here are a couple sites (The second link has pictures just to warn, though mine was far worse then any of the pictures shown).
At 37 weeks pregnant we still didn't know what I had. The doctors were stumped, we knew it was auto-immune since it responded to steroids but we didn't know how the baby would be. I had been warned to expect my baby to be covered in spots when she was born. The itching had gotten so bad on that Saturday night, that Ryan took it into his hands and called the doctor telling them something needed to be done. I was crying and shaking uncontrollably because my body could literally not handle the stress the itching caused. The night-call person told us to head to the ER and up to the maternity ward, the doctor would meet us there. So we packed up. I can remember Ryan picking up the car seat and clipping it into the car. "Just in case" he said. We spent the next 3 hours at the ER waiting. They insisted we go through the process instead of just sending us up to maternity since I was not already in labor, not sure why. We were admitted and the ER doctor had me put on a IV of benadryl. It didn't do much for the itching, but it helped me rest a little. They kept trying to get a hold of our doctor, but it turned out he was out of town that weekend. We were begging for an induction, I had reached the end. I could not handle three more weeks of this and I have no doubt the baby would have been in distress had I tried. But since I was barely 37 weeks the OB office had not yet sent over my paperwork. The hospital wanted to hold me over night so that they could get that information and know what my doctor wanted to do. I think this crazy, spotted, blistered; pregnant girl crying in their office freaked them out. But they didn't know what I had, so they didn't know what was/was not safe without referring to my paperwork.
My doctor was scheduled to be back first thing Monday morning. I told them I wanted an induction the moment they got his OK. I remember being in and out of awareness all day Sunday, sometimes people were there, and sometimes they weren't. I couldn't focus on anything anymore but staying sane and feeling my baby move. That let me know she was ok. That night, about 1:30am, as I lay awake and my amazingly wonderful husband lay sleeping on the hospital cot nest to me. I felt something different. Two spontaneous muscle movements, a little painful but not bad. Then without warning I was laying in a puddle. My water had broken. I called the nurse, they tested it and sure enough - Taylor was on her way! Labor started out pretty light. The hardest part was that I had not really slept at all for several days. My mom was called and she got there about noon the next day. Just in time for hard labor to kick in. There was a team of specialists on-call; equipment waiting just outside the door and a nurse from Children's Hospital had been brought in. No one knew what I had, so no one knew how the baby would turn out. I had bad back labor, but having everyone there with me gave me the support to make it and just before 4pm Monday April 24th Taylor Joelle Reynolds was born! 6lbs 2oz, 19 inches long with bright red hair. No spots, no blisters, breathing, crying, kicking, perfect! She was a little bruised up but nursed wonderfully right away. I was a mom!
They gave me a steroid shot in my IV while I was in labor but that only lasted about 24 hours. By the next day my spots and blisters were back, bad. I had them all over my hands, my feet, my legs, everywhere but my face. Taylor was tiny and growing tinier. She went in for her three-day check-up and we were told she had lost too much weight. She was down to 5lbs 10oz and was always falling asleep when she should be eating. She had Jaundice. We had to take her back to the hospital. All Friday night we were up while she was under the lights. I would sleep for an hour, wake up and pump as much as I could, then nurse as long as she would. Sleep for another hour, wake up, daddy would give her what I had just pumped while I pumped and nursed some more. They told us that she would have to be under the lights at least 24-48 hours. By morning, at about the 15-hour mark her numbers had gone down into the safe area and we were told we could take her home! The doctors were shocked she had gotten better so fast.
Exactly a week after she was born I was sitting with my baby and Ryan was on the computer. He sits up suddenly and almost yells “I know what you have!” He had found a picture that matched, the Dermatologist confirmed that he agreed. It was three more months, three rounds of steroids and three hours of treatment by a naturopathic type dr. before I was finally on the mend. I was told I had a 93% chance of getting it again with my next pregnancy. I didn't!
Here - shows you how tiny she was. That is a newborn onesie and it is swimming on her:
Tomorrow Taylor will be 4 years old. I can't believe it, but isn't that what all moms say on their kids’ birthday? Funny how the days can seem so long sometimes, yet the years disappear before you can blink. My fiery redhead is not always so fiery. She has a soft heart for those that are hurting, she loves making those around her smile and LOVES to draw or do projects/crafts, play dress up, do somersaults on mom and daddy's bed, read books for hours and hours and help mom make cookies as a surprise for daddy! She wants to be a Ballerina/Astronaut someday (oh, and also a mom) and is learning to get along with her little sister.
So Happy 4th Birthday to my Taylor! I love you very much. I am so proud of the little lady you are becoming and I am so excited to share the many years ahead with you as your mom. You may be getting bigger now, but you will forever be, my Baby Girl.
I love you for always and forever, Mom