Lila~ My Little Miracle
I am sitting in the NICU at UMC here in Tucson trying to make sense of the last few days, but I don't think that that is going to happen. All I can say is that it's been an epic week.
On June 8, 2011, 30 hours after labor began, Lila June Tullous was born at 8:33 a.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 8 oz. and 18.5 inches long. I would say that my labor experience was really good up until the end when things changed suddenly and abruptly. Even though the labor was long, things were going well and pretty much the way Jason and I had hoped things would go with laboring at home for a long time and having the most supportive people around us.
I was in the pushing phase of labor when my uterus ruptured, when my uterus tore along my previous c-section scar line and then tore down to the right in a j shape. With my uterus torn in two places and with the stress of labor, the placenta then detached from the uterine wall. Fortunately, my doctor and the staff acted quickly recognizing something was very wrong and an emergency c-section was done. When they opened me up, they found Lila floating in my abdomen outside my uterus. She was not breathing when they pulled her out. She had no oxygen because the placenta detached. Lila had to be resuscitated. As she began breathing, they took her to the NICU to continue her healing process. Meanwhile, the doctors worked on me trying to assess the damage. Luckily, as my doctor put it, I hardly bled and that was a total surprise to them. My doctor said I have amazing healing powers as they found no major scarring or damage to any organs and I did not need a blood transfusion. The surgeon stitched up my uterus and abdomen and sent me off to the recovery room. All I remember when I woke up is feeling confused by what had just happened.
I still can't believe everything that's gone on over the last 7 days. Lila is doing great and has made major progress everyday. So far, she seems to be fine with no real damage to her brain or nervous system. The first few days were the hardest with having to wait to hold her while she lay on the cooling pad. The cooling pad therapy used here at UMC lowers the body temperature to keep circulation slow in order to keep swelling down in the brain. Lila was pretty miserable and cold for the first few days, and all we could do was place a hand on her head and chest but could not pick her up. Since she was taken off the cooling pad and we got the go ahead to hold her, things have really improved. I was given the okay to begin nursing her and she took to that with the first latch. All the nursing and skin to skin contact has made all the difference for her and for me. Everyday is better than the last. Everyday, we get to see and know more of who Lila is, and she is something wonderful.
The truth be told, though, I am tired of being in the hospital away from home, Jason and Liam and am ready to take my sweet Lila home. That being said, I know we will be home soon. We just have to hang in there a few more days. Today has been an emotional day for me with feeling the tired and dealing with my fluctuating hormones. I still can't get over the fact that my second birth has been so traumatic. What are the chances of having two difficult births with both babies ending up in the NICU somehow??? Apparently for us the chances are pretty high. I don't think it's a coincidence but am not sure what to call it. No matter what you call it, I feel incredibly grateful and fortunate to have both my babies make it through to this side. I hate that both Lila and Liam's entry into the world has been so hard but am so amazed by their strength and resilience.
I will say that in a lot of ways this go around with NICU and a birth that was a total surprise has been easier. Jason and I have dealt with everything quite well and think that has a lot to do with the fact that we've been through this before. Physically, this go around has been harder to recover from, but emotionally, I have been way more steady and centered. I know it sounds crazy to say but I do feel that this experience has helped me to heal and understand my first experience in many ways. After Liam was born, I very much felt like I failed to protect him, and I felt disempowered by the whole experience. This time, I realize I did everything I could and did everything right and it still ended up the way it ended up. In fact just knowing that less than 1% of uterine ruptures occur during a VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, tells me there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. By all accounts I am healthy and was so throughout my entire pregnancy. I think my happy, healthy pregnancy and all that time to bond with Lila in utero has helped us both to tolerate this wild ride. She is a strong, sweet, beautiful baby.
Most of the tears I have cried have been out of deep gratitude for Lila and myself being alive and together. I am so grateful she is here and doing well. I am so thankful to everyone who has helped take care of us here at UMC and thankful for all the love and blessings from family and friends that have sustained us while we are going through this.
Hopeful and Thankful,