Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tori is 2!

In some ways it is so hard to believe that my baby girl is 2 years old today!  It seems like only yesterday I was waiting on her arrival, watching monitors to reassure me that she was still doing OK, that the fact that she had stopped moving wasn't really a big deal, chanting a mantra to myself that "it will be alright".  The mantra was really a prayer, voiced as simply as I could manage that day.  It was the beginning of a journey that changed me in so many ways!

Tori is now a walking, occasionally talking, running, climbing, temper tantrum throwing full blown 2 year old!  She has a pretty decent sign language vocabulary!  She loves her mama, dada, brothers, sisters and nephew Noel (whose name is actually one of the few she will say; "na" is screeched in excitement when she sees him).  She is not phased by her 4 surgeries and sports the scar across her belly proudly (another of her few words "belly button").  She doesn't seem to remember those 57 days she spent in the hospital when she slept alone in an crib instead of snuggled next to her mom.  She loves to eat and although may be a bit smaller than most 2 year olds, she is well proportioned, proving the doctors wrong that she wouldn't grow or gain weight if we didn't use the supplement they wanted her to take.  We just took her bottle away and she doesn't much seem to care, but she has no intention of giving up nursing (which she signs "milk" for and calls "mama-mama") any time soon!  She loves to dance and listen to music. She loves being outside and visiting the cows that live on the farm next to our house (yes, I know, we live on a state highway but we have cows next door!) and explore the woods, creeks and river.  She loves Dora and Spongebob and the youtube video "Gummy Bear".  She is smart, sometimes too smart for her own good!  And her eyes, well who needs words when you have eyes that "talk" the way her eyes do!

This is our story from 2 years ago today!  Hard to believe that it was just the beginning of a very long journey.......

Announcing the arrival of Victoria Zada Riesenberg :


on Wednesday, September 29, 2010
at just over 30 weeks gestation
weighing in at 5 lb 4.5 oz  (and dropping nearly a pound after surgery!)
measuring 18 3/4 inches
and with a tiny peanut head 12 1/4 inches
at 5:09 PM

On Monday, September 27th, things felt different. I had a nonstress test (NST) and an amniotic fluid check first thing that morning, but even though baby passed the tests,my hyper baby seemed to have gotten lazy overnight and wasn't moving the same way she had the days and weeks before. 

Monday evening I noticed a marked decrease in fetal movement and Tuesday morning movement hadn't picked up so I called my OB around 2 PM to see what they thought. They suggested that I drink something cold and sugary and lay down for an hour and see if the baby would move 6 times. My hyper baby, who usually moved 6 timed in 5 minutes couldn't manage to move even 4 times in an hour so I called the office back. They said that although they didn't think it was anything, but that I should come to the hospital and they would do an ultrasound and put the baby on the monitor just to reassure everyone.  So we get to the hospital for what is supposed to be a routine "reassure mama" visit.   After running some tests they agreed something was wrong but they weren't sure exactly what it was. It really isn't very reassuring for doctor and doctor to look over test results and just shake their heads!

Since I hadn't reached the magic 32 week mark, they decided to transfer us to Good Sam Hospital, a bigger hospital that they are affiliated with because it had a better equipped special care nursery. I tried to argue with them that we would be fine staying at Bethesda North, but God's hand gently guided us to where we needed to be, He knew what we didn't, that this was a matter of life and death. As the Reds clinched their division, I was transported by ambulance to Good Sam. They monitored the baby overnight and did another u/s and some blood tests Wednesday morning. It was quickly decided that today would be BIRTHING DAY! The doctor came in and we had a long chat about my surgery since he knew it would be a more complicated delivery because of the placenta accreta, little did either of us know just how complicated things would get!

Placenta accreta is when the placenta attaches too deeply to the uterine muscle and can not separate after birth. In the worse cases, the placenta grows out of the uterus and into the surrounding organs like the bladder and bowel. Because we Riesenbergs don't like to do anything simply, it makes sense that the accreta presented in the worst possible presentation.

We went back to the OR at 4 PM and because of the placenta accreta and the placenta preiva they had to do some repair work first and had to basically open the uterus on the side to avoid the placenta they didn't open the uterus until after 5 PM. I gave birth to a beautiful baby GIRL weighing in at a meager 5 lb 4.5 oz, 18 3/4 inches, 12 1/4 inch head. I got to kiss her before they whisked her off to NICU, Jay followed her leaving me in the OR alone (my choice, I felt he needed to be with the baby). It took them another 4 hours to finish my surgery, they did a hysterectomy, had to do pretty extensive bladder repair, had to separate the placenta from the bowel, and I lost a whooping 4 liters of blood (we later learned that 4 liters is almost your entire blood volume!). OK—side note here-- I watched the whole surgery via a mirror above the incision, I asked for it to see them pull Tori out, and used it to see the 4 hours of surgery that followed!  I watched and counted as the dropped in towels to soak up the blood and listened to them hit the floor near the surgeon's feet.  Yes, I know, very strange to watch your own surgery, but I was convinced that if I let them put me to sleep that I would never wake up and at that point, my dying, was my greatest fear.  Little did I know that soon, the fear of losing my own life would pale in comparison to the fear of losing my child.

In the OR there are 4 doctors (Dr. Holbert, Dr. Namakel, Dr. Freeman, and Dr Basil -urologist), one medical student (Peter Toth), 4 people from anesthesia (Dr. Roth, Tom Meyer CRNA, Allen Dube CRNA, and Jean Venarable CRNA), 5 RNs (Candace, Danielle, Donna, Patty and Carrie) and 3 scrub techs (Jen, LaShanda, and Bridget) not to mention the pediatric team that came in to stabilize the baby.

I come out of surgery only to find out that they had to transfer Tori to Children's Hospital because there is something wrong with her bowel. They suspect a mass because of the “double bubble” that showed on the x-ray they did right after delivery. Because of the mass, Tori couldn't fully inflate her lungs so they had to intubate her and put her on a low level of oxygen. They went back and looked at every u/s and MRI they did during this pregnancy and until the scan they did yesterday, the was no indication that there was anything out of the ordinary.

At 9 PM I am in recovery. I have 2 panic attacks when I try to talk to people about the baby, I literally feel like I can't breath and am dying! Once I eat a few ice chips I seem to settle down!

At 11 PM I am moved back to the same room I was in prior to surgery because they want to keep me by the OR in case I have issues overnight. I call over to Children's and talk to the nurse that is working with the baby. She confirms that she is intubated and that they suspect a lower abdomen mass or looped intestine and that they are doing an u/s as I speak to her on the phone to see if they can determine just what it is. All of the baby's blood work is normal. She transfers me to the doctor who says she will have some results in about 2 hours and she will call me with them.

So Tori arrived with great fanfare! Our difficult birth and early arrival were just the beginning of her story......

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