My perfect little Isabella is almost 2 months old on the 27th and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! I am finally back to blogging after a long high risk pregnancy, emergency early deliver, long road to recovery, and it is time I share with you all little Bella’s birth story!
If you want you can read about my high risk pregnancy (what caused me to be high risk) here and then come back to read the conclusion – the birth of Bella!
Let’s get started. Back in December of 2013 I was in my 7th month of pregnancy. I was getting ready for Christmas and enjoying my pregnancy as much as I could. Half way through December I started to have lots of lower abdominal discomfort which I brought up to my high risk OBGYN. She thought it was just my previous c section scar tissue stretching as I was getting bigger and bigger. My OBGYN said if it was pain that I could not breathe through I should come to the hospital.
I had my usual ultrasound, I had one every appointment due to being high risk, and at that time there was nothing abnormal. At my next appointment on December 19th I was not given my usual ultrasound. After that appointment I should have started weekly appointments and had one on December 26th, the day before Bella was born. Because of the upcoming holidays, my OBGYN said she would give me a break for the holidays and see me back on January 9th for an ultrasound and appointment.
Of course now after delivering Bella I wonder if I had an ultrasound at that last appointment would they have seen something. Maybe if I had been made to start my weekly appointments and went in on the 26th would they have seen something then and maybe her delivery wouldn’t have been so crazy. All the what if’s haunt me still to this day but I am honestly just happy things worked out the way they did.
Okay, it is still December and I am on a break from appointments. Christmas is coming fast and BOOM we get hit by that horrible Ice Storm. We were without power for 5 days and stuck it out in our home until the 4th day when we finally took our pets to a hotel. Prior to that, on Christmas Eve I gave my older daughters to their father. He wasn’t to have them until after boxing day but due to us still not having power or heat on Christmas Eve I didn’t want to bring them back home to the cold. Waking up Christmas morning to no kids, no power, and no heat was the most depressing thing ever. I cried for hours and that was when we finally went to a hotel. We thankfully found one that accepted pets.
This wood burning stove in my moms apartment in the basement of our house is what kept us warm and fed! Mom made grilled cheese and we literally laid mattresses in front of it in my moms living room to sleep as our part of the house upstairs was so cold you could see your breath!
The grilled cheese may have taken 45 minutes to cook but it worked!
These are just a few shots of the storm and why we were out. A downed line at the end of our street and numerous calls to our power company however they sent no one for days to even check if they were still live wires.
The only hotel in our area that accepted pets – thank god for the Sheraton!
Reggie felt like a king in the hotel bed!
When we woke up on Boxing day at the hotel I had a tweet from a neighbor that our power had finally been restored. Steve rushed home to make sure it was true as we packed up at the hotel. We arrived home and had to quickly get ready as we had another Christmas party to go to for Steve’s family. We had a great time at the party. I felt fine, ate lots of yummy food, got some great gifts for the baby, and home we went.
The next morning, December 27th 2013, Steve had to return to work. It just so happened my step-dad had come down to visit my mom. I had an appointment that afternoon so my step-dad was going to drive me and afterwards we were all going to go grocery shopping as we lost ALL our food due to the storm. We needed to get stuff in the house before the kids came back.
My poor freezer was FULL as I had just went out and spent a couple hundred dollars stocking up on meat and things the day before the ice storm came through.
We also lost almost everything in the fridge minus the non-perishable things like kool-aid jammers etc. It was also full as I had just stocked up on cheeses, lunch meats, milk, eggs etc 🙁
As the morning progressed I wasn’t feeling good, I felt sick to my stomach and was having lower abdominal pains again – nothing I couldn’t breathe through though at that point. I talked to my girlfriends and Steve and told him if the pains were still there when he got home from work we would go to the hospital just to be sure nothing was wrong. Around noon my mother came upstairs and saw me on the couch still in my pj’s and asked me if I was going to be ready as my appointment was at 1pm, I said yes but that I wasn’t feeling great so if they could just bring me home after my appointment and they could go shopping that I would go when I was feeling better.
12:30pm we load up in the van and start to head to my appointment, I at this point was really starting to feel awful and the pains were getting worse. I walked into the office and checked in with the receptionist just thinking get through this meeting and go home to rest. As soon as I sat down to wait for my meeting I felt a huge sharp pain that literally crippled me, I got up and asked the receptionist how long the person I was there to meet would be as I think I am in labor and I need to reschedule. As soon as I told her that the person I was meeting came out and saw my face and new something wasn’t right and said go to the hospital we will reschedule.
I quickly walked back to the van, at this time in so much pain I was in tears and it takes a lot for me to cry. I mean I have gone through two labor pains and I have to say this pain was about 100 times worse than contractions. By the time I slid open the van door my legs gave out below me and I said I need to get to a hospital now. I quickly called Steve as I didn’t know where the closest hospital was as we are still fairly new to the area and I was to deliver in Toronto. He told us how to get to Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill and said he was on his way and would be there as fast as he could get there (safely of course).
By the time we got to the hospital (can you believe we got LOST, the city really needs to fix the signage as there is a sign telling you to turn right to go to the hospital on a side street two blocks before where you actually need to turn, luckily we got back to the road and found the right spot to turn to the hospital) and a nurse got us up to the right area as I had never been to this hospital and had zero idea where to go I had to fill out a form which I don’t remember even what it was for as I was in so much pain.
As soon as I filled out the form a nurse took me into a room and I got changed into a gown, she attempted to find the baby’s heart beat and was having a hard time. She flipped me over a few times and still couldn’t get it. The Dr. came in at that point (this all happened really fast) and quickly did an ultrasound and that was when they saw the concealed abruption and saw that the baby’s heart rate was only 18 bpm.
The nurse literally grabbed my hand, yanked me off the bed and dragged me running down to the O.R. At this point I could hear the urgent announcement over the intercom and the whole staff on duty that day all came running into the O.R. I was now on the operating table and there were six nurse surrounding me trying to get a line in one of my veins to knock me out. All I remember hearing was “We can’t find any veins” which if I took a picture today you would see how prominent my veins are. What had happened was due to the concealed abruption I was bleeding internally. I had actually bled so much that my blood was drained from my veins and they were collapsing. Next thing I new I had a nurse shoving an oxygen mask on my face telling me to take some deep breaths. This would have been fine IF the oxygen was ON … yup here I was suffocating trying to scream through the mask at the nurse that there was no air coming out. She couldn’t hear me and was just rubbing my arm saying “it’s ok”. I yanked an arm away from a nurse and smacked the mask off and yelled “there isn’t any air coming out”, she apologized and turned on the air. I am sure it was all the commotion going on – an honest mistake, but a scary one!
While I was in surgery the Chaplin and social worker were brought out to my mother to comfort her as there was a very good chance neither one of us would make it that is how severe the situation was. I didn’t know any of this until days after when I found the Chaplin’s card in my purse. My mother must have thrown it in there while waiting.
Next thing I new I woke up in recovery, my mom and Steve standing there – the look on their faces scared the life out of me. The nurse came in and I immediately started asking where my baby was, was she ok, and I wanted to see her. They told me she was ok but needed help breathing and she was in the NICU waiting to be transferred to another hospital as their NICU was full but that they would bring her to me before she was transferred. Bella was born 6 weeks early at 34 weeks gestation.
Steve snapped this photo of Bella in the NICU while she was waiting for the folks from Sick Kids to come transfer her to St. Michael’s in downtown Toronto.
This was my first glimpse at my new daughter, as she lay in her incubator on her way to be transferred.
I had never been so scared in my life, I was beyond worried for my little girl especially as they were moving her away from me as I could not transfer with her. This made me determined to leave the hospital as soon as I could. The next day, Saturday December 28th the Dr. gave me a day pass to go visit Bella in Toronto but I had to return that afternoon so they could discharge me.
I was discharged Saturday afternoon and went back to the hospital to visit Bella for a second time. When I returned home I was exhausted and went for a nap. My mother woke me up around 10pm to take some Advil and I couldn’t move, was having a very hard time breathing and was in so much pain I couldn’t talk. Steve had to call 911 to bring me back to the hospital where they did an EKG on me as they thought I might have been having a heart attack, thankfully that was not the case.
The Dr. at the E.R explained that due to the extreme and urgent nature of my c section the Dr may have touched organs they normally wouldn’t and may have been less gentle than they normally are as they were trying to save not only the baby but me too. He said due to all of that my pain level compared to that of a normal c section was far worse and he was surprised they discharged me without any pain meds. He gave me a shot of Dilaudid and a prescription to get more to manage the pain and at about 4am we headed back home.
Things started looking up from this point on as we went to visit Bella and were so happy to see her off the breathing tube so quickly. They told us how feisty she was, pulling out her feeding tubes one right after another!
The moment I got to finally hold her in my arms for the first time was days after her birth, it felt like weeks to be honest with you. I was so happy that day, I spent hours just holding her, smelling her, I really didn’t want leave to go back home.
When she was finally transferred back to Mackenzie Health she had gained a little of the weight she had lost and was back up to 4lbs 8oz. She really didn’t like being naked – only time she ever cried in the hospital!
Daddy feeding Bella <3 This picture melts my heart at how attentive she was looking into her Daddy’s eyes!
My girls returned home and we finally got to have our Christmas – even though it was January lol!
Bella had to spend two sessions in the photo therapy as she had a tad touch of jaundice, but it cleared up quickly!
Once her jaundice cleared up and her cultures came back negative I was able to start dressing her up and she got to break free from her incubator and be in a regular hospital bassinet! Dressing a baby full of wires was not an easy task and was new to me as I never had to maneuver around cords with my other two girls!
Her big sister Hailee was so eager to get her baby sister in her arms and still to this day if Bella is awake, you will be sure to see Hailee right beside her!
Our life consisted of this – Bella eating ‘most’ of her bottle by mouth and then getting lazy and needing to be given the rest through her tube, the very same tube she kept ripping out! She probably went through 20+ tubes while in the NICU.
The bond between Bella and Daddy was instant, he spent a lot of time with her in the very beginning when she was transferred he followed them to the other hospital and spent hours just him and her. Then every night once she was back at the hospital near our home he would go in to feed her and cuddle.
I still cannot believe how tiny she was!
January 7th was a great day, it was the day she finally got back up and over her birth weight!
My brother, her uncle does custom t-shirts and apparel. He made Bella some custom hats with her name on them!
On January 12th Bella passes her car seat test which meant the next day she would come home!!!
The day that I longed for had finally arrived and after 18 days in the NICU Bella was finally coming home, below are some shots of the day we brought her home. It wasn’t until we took pictures of her in her car seat that family & friends really truly saw how tiny she was as a lot of other photos made her look much bigger than she was!
She loves being in her swing and bouncy chair since the day we brought her home. Her bassinet however took a while for her to stay asleep in. For the first month I had a co-sleeper that went on the bed and she slept beside me. With her size I was a lot more comfortable having her in bed with me in the co-sleeper that way I could keep a closer eye on her.
She quickly found her personality and she has been giving us candid shots and funny faces!
<3 A mother and daughter bond that is unbreakable <3
Isabella is now almost 2 months old and we don’t have our next Dr’s appointment until next week but I think she is now over 8lbs. She is progressing well and is right on par with where she should be!
This whole situation has not only given me a whole new appreciation for life and how truly fragile it is but has also given me a true appreciation for any mother who has had to have their child in NICU for any amount of time. It wasn’t easy on me mentally or emotionally and Bella was only there for 18 days, other children are there for far longer and their parents go through much tougher times and my heart goes out to them.
Isabella has been a true miracle from her conception right to birth and we are truly blessed to have her in our lives!
- Red Velvet Hot Chocolate Bombs - January 13, 2023
- Instant Pot Sausage White Bean Soup - January 12, 2023
- Instant Pot Sesame Chicken Bowls - January 6, 2023
Kim Mattice says
Hi, I read your daughters story and she is truly a miracle. The nicu is a hard place to be yes. I was at one for 2 weeks with my daughter Rose. anyways I just wanted to say she is very adorable 🙂
Have a good day.
jackie blair says
wow she is so beautiful,,,, she looks like a little porcelain doll. I am so happy that god was looking after you and Bella,,, a big congrats to you and your family….. A true miracle of gods love..
Natalie Geoffrion says
I am so extremely grateful that you shared your story with us all. My admiration and respect for you, has far surpassed any expectations I ever had. Its a beautiful story with a beautiful ending. Embrace these moments now and enjoy your family!!!
omgosh she is so beautiful girl..you did an awesome job!!!
What small world!! A friend on my Facebook shared your link on her wall so I looked at your page and found out that our little baby girls were at St. Mikes NICU at the very same time! We were admitted Dec 26, 2013 and were there until Jan 4, 2014. My little girl was born @ 32w3d Dec 8 @ Mt Sinai and we got transferred to St Mikes because they were making room for the critical babies coming in from Sunnybrook and McMaster due to the big power outage. So glad to see your little miracle baby looking chubby and happy (I can’t get enough of my daughter’s wrist fat!!). So true about the mom’s at NICU, a real appreciation to the mom’s at NICU and the nurses that kept us sane!! Thanks for sharing your story.