Ella’s first few weeks in this world were very emotionally draining and scary. For us bringing baby home was nothing like the movies. To begin, I ended up having an emergency c-section because Ella was gripping her umbilical cord so tightly that it was slowing her heartbeat and making it irregular. That was a whirlwind of emotions and the second I heard the doctor say that everything was ok I felt a sense of relief that I had never felt in my life. Holding her for the first time was so surreal and watching my husband hold her made my heart feel so filled with love that I thought it would burst. We walked into the hospital a couple and we were going to walk out a family.
A few hours later while I was still in the recovery room the nurses began to get a little concerned because Ella had no interest in breastfeeding and she was not making much noise. They said that some newborns are like that we would see a change in a couple more hours. I was still so in awe of this tiny little thing that I didn’t give it too much thought at the time.
It wasn’t until later that night(about 5 hours after she was born) that her lack of interest in breastfeeding really became a concern. Although many nurses had cared for Ella, it wasn’t until the night nurse decided to listen to her bowels. She said that she did no hear any noises at all and that is when they decided to take Ella to the NICU to see what was going on. My husband and the nurse took Ella to the NICU and I was told they would be back in about an hour. At this point, thanks to the anti anxiety meds they gave me before my c section, I still didn’t worry much. This was my first child, I didn’t have any friends that had children, so I had no idea that this wasn’t normally what goes on. About an hour later my husband and the nurse returned without Ella.
No one knew what was wrong with my little baby girl and over the next 36 hours( I never knew how slow time could pass) doctors came in and our of Ella’s little room in the NICU performing test with no definitive results. One of the oldest most experienced doctor said he had on seen a case like her’s once in his life, 25 years ago. This period of time felt so hopeless and was truly heart wrenching. All they could tell us was that they knew her condition was time sensitive, but they just didn’t know exactly what to fix. All they could tell us at that point was that they thought something wasn’t right in her stomach/digestive track. Finally, they decided something needed to be done and at 2 days old(by FAR the scariest day of my life) Ella needed to go in for exploratory surgery. I couldn’t stop thinking how tiny she was and how it seemed so risky to do an “exploratory surgery” on my tiny two day old baby.
After the longest 4 hours of my life, the doctors had successfully completed surgery and removed a .5 pound mass from my 6 pound little girl. Apparently, Ella had developed a volvulus, which is a loop of bowel that twists around itself. In Ella’s case this volvulus had filled itself with deadly toxins and was at the brink of bursting. If my little angel had not gripped tightly onto her umbilical cord, which led to my quick ,emergency c section, than it was more than likely her volvulus would not have been found in time to save her. In that moment of realization, I wholeheartedly began believing in miracles.
Over the next few weeks I spent 20 hours a day in the NICU watching my baby recover and gain strength. For the first 11 days of her life she survived purely on iv fluids and vitamin. Finally, at day 12 she got the okay to taste her first sip of breast milk. The doctor allowed her .25 ounce.
This was one of the happiest days of my life.
The point of this story is that Ella and ALL babies are truly miracles. The older they get the more work, responsibility, attention the need and along with all of those needs comes crying, tantrums, broken vases, spilled milk and so much more. It’s after the 45 minutes of screaming because she doesn’t want to take a nap. After the snot is wiped all over my dress on my way out of the house to go to an important meeting. After finding countless dried macaroni and cheese noodles stuck under my couch. It’s when I think I can’t take the stress and frustration, these are the times that I need to remember to stop, take a deep breath a remember what a miracle my little girl is.
**BTW, Ella is now a 100% healthy and thriving 15 month old diva!