Lizzy's Story

Having a baby is one the happiest times of your life. You anticipate the arrival of this soft and cuddly human for what seems to be a lifetime. You dream of their ten fingers and ten tiny toes. You painstakingly pour over names in search for one that will fit them just so. It is an experience unlike any other. I am so blessed to be a mom to three of the most dynamically special children I know. I can only say that with bias of course, I am their mother. Of all of the experiences that motherhood has taught me nothing could prepare me for the birth of our second child, Elizabeth.
It started out like any other Sunday. My in-laws were in town and I was getting ready for church. Nothing out the ordinary, nothing I hadn't done before. I was in the 23rd week of my pregnancy and was feeling great. No complications, no problems. Then my water broke, unexpectedly. We rushed to the hospital and they immediately hooked me up to monitors where they could not find a heartbeat. In fallen spirits I broke down as I thought I was mourning the loss of a baby that I had come to love. Then they did an ultrasound and they were able to locate a faint heartbeat. Just as I sighed a breath of release they gave us a decision. Since I was just on the cusp of viability (I was 2 days shy of 24 weeks) I could spend the duration of my pregnancy in the hospital or I could go home and take my chances. We decided to wait it out in the hospital and so they airlifted me to another hospital with a higher level of care. Amazingly all the drugs they gave me served to stall any labor and I made it there and then from Labor and Delivery to the unit where I would hopefully wait out the next 10 weeks.
However, baby girl had other plans and one week later on a Sunday at 6:18 am Elizabeth Olivia was born weighing 1 pound 6 ounces. Since I had a C-section that they had to put me to sleep for I wasn't able to see her until that night around 7pm. It was the longest day of my life. When I made it her room in the NICU nothing could prepare me for all of the IVs, tubes, and the whirring of the ventilator. Here was my baby girl that I was supposed to be able to take care of and protect and I was rendered helpless.

Every NICU mom knows that each little achievement, each day that passes brings victories, seemingly endless defeats, and sleepless nights all in succession. To say that her NICU journey was complicated and riddled with the ups and downs of a roller coaster would be the best description. She had bouts of pneumonia, an open heart valve, trouble digesting food and on and on. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through.
image credit: Danielle Lemon Photography

image credit: Danielle Lemon Photography

image credit: Danielle Lemon Photography

I met some of the most caring, compassionate and patient people in the world. Lizzy's nurses were always on my side and in my corner. They advocated on my behalf when I couldn't be there and assured me that she was in good hands. I was overwhelmed how they cared for her as if they she was one of theirs.

After 104 days in the NICU Lizzy finally came home. We walked through the doors of the hospital with her (and about 3 tons of machines in tow) and it felt like our lives were just beginning.
Elizabeth is such a special little girl and as we continue to navigate the world with all of the necessary therapies and adjustments that she needs for her prematurity I am in awe at how far she has come from that tiny helpless baby in what our son had deemed the "spaceship". She is a fighter, an over comer and I am so proud to be her mom.

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