In the process of having a baby, you often have so many hopes, and make plans. Plans for how your pregnancy will go, a birth plan, plans for your nursery, and even plans for your newborn.
Unfortunately, there are many things that can derail those plans.
A premature birth is often unexpected, and comes with complications no one expects.
The NICU is also not a place you ever plan to be, nor can you plan on your journey there going any certain way. It’s filled with heartbreak and joy, celebrations and setbacks, and every single emotion you didn’t even know you would experience.
The NICU is often described as a “roller coaster” and that is the perfect description.
Today, we meet Audrey and her sweet baby, Eleanor. Audrey’s plans for her pregnancy and delivery did not go how she had imagined, but she did still end up with this amazing girl you are about to meet.
1. Tell us about your baby.
My daughter’s name is Eleanor Violet. She was born at 31 weeks and 5 days, 2 lbs 2 oz and 13.5 inches long. We mostly call her Ellie or Ellie bean. She was actually born on October 11th, which was Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday!!
2. How long was your NICU stay? What was the hardest part?
Ellie was only in the NICU for about 35 days! She started out with typical preemie problems, bradycardia and apnea issues. She was under the bilirubin light for two days and she was on a CPAP machine just to keep some pressure but overall, it was going well for how small she was. Then, about two weeks later, she took a turn. Suddenly, she was having a brady every minute. The nurses were running in and out and trying to page the doctors. It was a stressful two days but the doctors finally figured out she had a staph infection and started her on antibiotics. As soon as they did, she started to bounce back! Once she finished the antibiotic treatment, she was able to get off the CPAP and we started bottle feeding! At first, she struggled, she only ate about one ounce before falling asleep. Then they moved her feeding line through her nose instead of her mouth and it clicked! She started taking 100% of her bottles and we got to bring her home!!
3.Do you know what caused your premature birth?
This was my first pregnancy and I had severe pre-eclampsia. I was put on bedrest in the hospital at around 26 weeks. They monitored us both closely and planned a C-section for 32 weeks. She clearly had her own plans. Two days before our scheduled surgery, they noticed she wasn’t moving around. Juice wouldn’t wake her up and my blood pressure spiked. (I think it spiked because I’m a planner, and this was NOT going as planned.)They waiting just long enough for my husband to make the 45 minute drive from home, he almost didn’t make it in time!!
4.How are you and your baby/babies doing now?
Ellie is one year old now and doing amazing!!! She says Daddy and Mama and is SO close to walking!!! We found out recently that Ellie does have an atrial septal defect or a hole in her heart. It’s small, and the doctor thinks it will close up on its own, but they are monitoring her closely. We also recently found out that I’m expecting again! We are going to be having another baby in late March!!!! We’re excited and terrified at the same time.
5. What advice would you give to a new preemie family?
My main advice would be to listen to the nurses!! They were such a comfort when we got scared. They let us know what were “normal” problems and what weren’t. It helped us relax a little because we knew when to be worried. Also, don’t compare your baby to anyone else’s. They may be behind, they may not, but either way, it’s going to be fine.
Audrey and her family just celebrated Eleanor’s first birthday. She said, “Everyone tells us she’s the smiliest baby they’ve ever seen!”
Well, I think she is absolutely adorable, and I’m so happy I was able to share their story with you. Please leave any supportive comments for the family below.