Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Welcome to Avery's Place

Hi! Welcome to Avery's Place! Many of you have been praying for Avery and I just wanted to be able to update you about how she is doing. This will continue the journal I created at babycrowd.com when I found out we were expecting. For those of you who don't know our story, here goes:

My husband, Charlie, and I met in high school and started dating in 9th grade. We dated all through high school, although his family moved away for a year in 10th grade,we talked every day on the phone and spent every penny we made on calling cards or plane tickets! We made it through that tough year, graduated in 2003 and went to college. We were married June 4, 2005 (on my parents 22nd wedding anniversary) and bought a house in 2005 as well. Five months later we found out I was pregnant, this was very unexpected because at that point I was on the birth control patch, but of course we were THRILLED! I had a completely normal pregnancy and a 20 weeks went to the doctor for the sonogram. Charlie and my mom were with me because we were hoping to find out if it was a boy or a girl. After the sonographer looked around for a few minutes, she left us alone and said she needed to call the doctor. After waiting on him for an hour or so, he came in to tell us that the baby did not have a heartbeat. I was stunned. I was very healthy - only 22 years old, never smoked a single cigarette in my life, never drank, never touched drugs at all. It really wasn't fair - but then again, life just isn't! I was heartbroken for the little boy that we would never get to meet. The doctor could never tell me why - the best explanation was that 'these things just happen'. They assured me I could have a completely normal, healthy pregnancy and this usually only happens the first time. I started taking the pill and stayed on it for a little over a year. I wanted to lose some weight and decided I would stop the pill until I could get the weight off. It seemed logical at that point somehow, ha! Of course, two months later we were expecting again! I was nervous but really, really excited. Again, I had a completely normal pregnancy. I saw high risk doctors for sonograms 3 months in a row until I was 27 weeks pregnant. At that point they told me the baby was completely normal and I would not need to follow up with them anymore, I was released back to my regular OB. Four weeks later I a 4D sonogram scheduled. We had not had a 4D sonogram yet and I really wanted to know, for sure, that it was a girl. The insurance wouldn't pay for another sonogram and I almost changed my mind, but we decided it would be 'fun'. We invited my parents and after spending a long weekend getting the nursery just perfect, we went to the 4D sonogram on Monday. In the waiting room the only worry we had was - what if its a boy? We had a completely pink nursery that would have to be redecorated! (But I KNEW it was a girl, and had said this since about 10 weeks pregnant!) After we were called back for the sonogram, the sonographer, Tina started the 2D to look at the baby's heart, fluid and measure the baby. She kept doing this for about 5 minutes and said those terrible words that we heard at the first sonogram, "I need to call the doctor". She tried to sound so calm but I was shaking all over. It was complete dejavu from the sonogram with the first baby. I kept saying "I can't handle this, I cannot handle this" and Charlie and mom and dad were there to remind me everything would be ok. She asked us to wait in the waiting room so she could call Dr. Pennebaker. I made a beeline for the bathroom and had a mini-breakdown in there. When I came out, she was already off the phone and wanted us to go to St. Francis Labor and Delivery. We happened to be across the street from St. Francis so a really nice nurse walked us over there. That was probably the worst part. I just kept saying "I can't handle this...I haven't finished my pregnancy book or the breastfeeding book...we haven't taken a childbirth class yet..the baby is too small...i don't have a bag packed...i can't do this now!" a million reasons were going through my head of why i could NOT have this baby at 31 wks. I was immediately put into a room and hooked up to monitors. Dr. Pennebaker was there in no time at all. She explained that the baby was measuring 27 wks and there was not enough fluid in the placenta. She explained that they would keep me in the hospital, on bedrest with steroid shots as long as possible but it would probably be a matter of days, not weeks, before I would have to deliver. She left the room to look at some reports. As soon as Tina faxed over the sonogram report, Dr. Pennebaker decided that Avery had to come right then. In less than 30 minutes I was having a c-section. I was amazingly calm - thanks to some great drugs that I'm sure they pumped through my system and Dr. Pennebaker seems to be able to calm me down too. She's the best! She had explained before hand that there would be 'awkward silence' after the baby was born b/c the NICU team would be working on her in the same room and everyone would be pretty quiet. After they got me prepped, in no time at all, Charlie came in, dressed in his scrubs and before we knew it Avery Grace was born. Charlie got to go over and take pictures of her being cleaned while they finished me up. I'll never forget the look on his face when he came back to me. He had fallen in love in that moment - it was amazing. Dr Pennebaker had warned that we may not hear her cry, but luckily she did let out a little cry and they wrapped her up and let me look at her for about 2 seconds. She was the most beautiful, innocent, tiny piece of joy and so much more than I know how to type. In that moment, I understood what I'm here to do: be Avery's mommy.

She was tiny, 2 lbs. 2 oz. She was in the NICU for 58 long days, but with the best doctors and nurses we could've asked for. She was released on March 18th (1 day before my due date) weighing 4 lbs, 2.8 oz and at her doctors appt last Friday weighed 4 lbs 7oz.

This experience has taught us that we have the best friends and family that anyone could ever ask for. Avery was covered in prayers from the moment she was born. In my opinion, the prayers are the reason that she is doing so well today. We have a long road ahead. She'll have home health visit and an early interventionist to keep up with her developmental goals. She'll follow up with a pediatric neurologist, pediatric cardiologist, geneticist and of course, her pediatrician will see her quite frequently. As scary as all of that sounds, we have completely put our trust in God and He has NOT let us down. As I'm typing Avery's sleeping soundly in her favorite toy - her swing! She is a precious, beautiful little girl and I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be her mommy. I will use this website to post updates about how she is doing and mainly blog about how cute she is and the adorable things that she does.

Feel free to leave comments, its fun to keep in touch with everyone through blogging! Thank you all for your prayers for Avery, they are the reason she is here with us today!

Click Here to see a precious video of Avery in the NICU


thekennonfamily said...

Hey! You and Brittney (Blaney-Smith) inspired me to get my own blogspot. It's called thekennonfamily. No more babycrowd for sure, lol:)

Jami Ainsworth said...

Congratulations, Casey, on your new blog and your bundle of joy. I am so glad that she is home with you and Charley--where she belongs. I am looking forward to keeping up with Avery's progress. I will probably add a link to your blog to mine.

Looking forward to photographing your precious Angel!


LucieP said...

I found your blog through your mom's through McKs....wow girl...
I just read your blog intro and am in tears!
Congrats on your little girl! She is beautiful!

ModernMomma said...

very inspiring story. Glad Avery is thriving. I am new to this and have a mommy blog.