The beginning


December 8th, 2009

Dave and I were about to walk out the door to a Christmas party. I only needed to put on my dress. Before I put it on, I noticed that my underwear that I had just put on was wet. I tried using a panty liner, but my underwear was so wet it wouldn’t stick. Thinking this was another instance of being kicked in the bladder and wetting myself, I changed my underwear and immediately soaked through two panty liners. I knew immediately that something was very wrong. We called my doctor’s office, and next thing I knew, we were on our way to labor and delivery.

We fortunately had a Zipcar reserved for the Christmas party. For some reason we can never find cabs despite living on one of the busiest streets in Boston, When we walked into the hospital, they knew we were coming, so they brought us to the L&D floor without having us go through registration. I took my coat off, and my jeans were completely soaked, despite the fact that I had placed a towel in my underwear. I was immediately hooked up to an IV, given drugs to help Jillian’s lung growth and an ultrasound was ordered. We were advised that they were going to try to stop labor, and that it would be for the best if we could hold off at least 48 hours (well, 16 weeks would have been better, but 48 hours became the goal).

During the ultrasound, we saw that Jilly’s heart was beating strong, and that she was moving around. The doctor moved to look at my cervix, and despite being completely clueless about ultrasounds, I could see that my cervix was open. I looked at his face, and it was a face that you never want to see from a medical practitioner. I knew things were bad. Almost immediately after that moment, I started feeling contractions for the first time.

We returned to L&D, and the doctor and nurses did their best to make me comfortable while keeping an eye on Jillian. The doctor assured me that it would be possible for me to stay pregnant, but obviously there was a good chance that I wouldn’t. A pediatrician came to talk to us from the NICU to prepare us for what was probably going to happen. Eventually, because my contractions stopped, we were told that I could have some dinner.

After we ate, the nurse moved me around a little bit because she couldn’t find Jillian’s heartbeat. They moved me all over the place, they would pick up the heartbeat, and then it would disappear again. The next several minutes are a total blur to me, but I just remember that as soon as they put the ET thing on my finger (I have no idea what it’s actually called, but it lights up and tracks the pulse), that I was having my sweet little girl that night.

There was an instant flurry of activity, and next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into the OR. I somehow lost track of Dave during all of this, and I had an overwhelming fear that I was never going to see him again. Everyone assured me that he would be by my side soon, they just had to get me ready and he had to change into scrubs. A million things were going on, and I only remember that somebody sat there with me and held my hand while I waited for Dave.

During the c-section, I didn’t feel anything other than pressure and pulling. I was doing everything I could to wake up. I thought I was having the worst nightmare of my life, but I could not wake up from it. Very shortly after everything started, I heard the softest, high-pitched cry from the other side of the curtain that had been placed in front of me. I am still astounded that I was able to hear it with everything going on. I heard her cries two more times as they worked on her. Soon after, she was wheeled out to the NICU. Before leaving the OR, they wheeled her to Dave and me so we could see her. We obviously knew she would be tiny, but I was not prepared for how tiny she would actually be. I can say for certain that I had never seen a baby so small.

The rest of my surgery was pretty uneventful. I don’t remember much about the next several hours at all, really. I know Dave called our parents, but I don’t remember any of it. Dave also went to the NICU to see Jillian. I don’t remember him leaving, but I do remember him showing me pictures of her that he’d taken on my phone. Eventually I was moved to another floor, and I was wheeled on a bed into the NICU so we could see Jillian. I have to admit that I was terrified by what I saw despite seeing pictures of her ahead of time. In addition to the countless tubes and wires, Jillian’s skin was discolored (she was black and blue all over her tiny body). That said, she was the most perfect thing I’d ever seen. My heart ached liked I’d never felt before. I wanted nothing more than to hold her against me and talk to her, We did get to touch her, but I was terrified that I would hurt her.

By the time we got to my new room, it was after two in the morning. We tried to sleep, but I was too terrified to close my eyes. I spent the rest of the night watching the most boring shows I’ve ever seen about dangerous roads around the world. It was my only option, though, because literally everything else on TV involved babies, pregnant women, or death. I did start to nod off a few times, but when I did, I would either start reliving the c-section or I would hear a baby cry down the hall, which pretty much ripped my heart out (I have since been moved to another floor, thankfully).

There are a million more details that I want to write, but I need to take a break for now. Jillian is hanging in there so far. We hopefully have a very, very long road ahead of us. While it’s terrifying to know that our baby may be in the NICU until at least the end of March, it’s even more terrifying to think of the possibility of her not being there. We’re trying to stay positive, but it isn’t easy, and we’re also afraid to get our hopes up, even though hope is all we have at this point. I’ll post about this separately, but I will say that Dave and I are both astounded by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we’ve received from friends, family, and total strangers.


29 Responses to “The beginning”

  1. NicNacKlein on December 8, 2009 6:57 am

    Babe, we all love you to pieces.
    You, Dave, and baby Jillian are constantly in my thoughts.
    ((HUG))

  2. Nlvaden on December 8, 2009 7:00 am

    Jillian is obviously a strong little lady! She is going to pull through this and supprise everyone with how smart and talented she is. Maybe she will even be a NICU doctor some day? OK-that may be pushing it right now. How about we make it to march then we can have the doctor talk. I say a prayer for your family before I go to bed at night and when I think about you all during the day. Take care!

  3. Christine on December 8, 2009 7:00 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We love you all and will be here for you the whole way through. I'll see you soon. xo

  4. Krista on December 8, 2009 7:09 am

    You have so many people praying for your family right now and every single one of us Loves you. Hang in there sweetie.

  5. Mrs. Newlywed on December 8, 2009 7:17 am

    Your friends absolutely love you, and we are all here for you and your family.

  6. Melanie on December 8, 2009 7:20 am

    You are all in my prayers. I pray that Jillian continues to improve everyday and that it won't be too long before she is home with you where she belongs. Thank you for keeping us updated, but I hope that this blog becomes more than just a place to update friends and family. Someday I pray that you can share it with Jillian to show her how far she has come.

  7. Susan on December 8, 2009 7:34 am

    My family has been praying for you, Dave and Jillian non-stop! Jillian is a strong little girl and will hang in there! Just know that we are with you every step of the way.

  8. Susan on December 8, 2009 7:38 am

    All of my friends and family have been praying for you, David and sweet baby Jillian. Keep on fighting little one! We all want to meet you and buy you lots of girly things some day soon. Love you!

  9. jCam on December 8, 2009 7:40 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Jilly's birth story with us. You all are always on my mind. March seems like a lifetime away now, but a year from now you will be shocked at how fast it flew by. Stay strong Jillian, we all love you!

  10. Megan on December 8, 2009 7:55 am

    Meg, Dave, and little Jillian – We will continue to pray for your strength through this emotion journey. Jillian is a strong little lady and she knows what she's fightin' for. She already has such wonderful, loving parents. Thanks for sharing. We love you and are here for you if you need us.

  11. jacilynm on December 8, 2009 8:07 am

    Hi Megan & Dave- My heart & prayers go out to you guys. Tell little Jillian to keep fighting! Thanks for sharing your story- you are constantly on my mind, so it was good to hear more details about what is happening with you.
    My friend Holly went through pretty much the same situation 2 years ago with her daughter Isla. I'll text you her phone number if you want to talk to her.
    Love you both so much……

  12. Shelby on December 8, 2009 8:08 am

    You have been in my thoughts constantly & Kate and I pray for you every night. You are so strong & positive.

  13. sweets2005 on December 8, 2009 8:09 am

    Congrats on your baby girl, she sounds like a fighter and I know she is going to be just fine! I had my preemie twins in August and it was a long road but they are finally home with us. I know how hard it is for things to not go as planned, you get cheated out of a normal pregnancy, birth, newborn experience, everything but in the end the only important thing is that Jillian be okay. Trust that she has top docs and nurses helping her and that they have helped sicker babies than her. The first few weeks are the hardest. Hang in there!

  14. Meechie on December 8, 2009 8:24 am

    Thank you for sharing your story- my heart goes out to you. Everyone loves you and is pulling for baby Jillian. I will continue to pray for her and your family….. before you know it she will be home and enjoying her own bed! XOXO

  15. SupersammyG on December 8, 2009 8:40 am

    You are doing an amazing job, you are an amazing mom. One foot infront of another one day at a time. I found it helpful to take one care time at time. That is the amount of time I could hold in my head. One temperature taking. One diaper. Then repeat in 4 hours. Rest, take your meds, and love your daughter. Hugs-Sam

  16. susieqtpie on December 8, 2009 8:48 am

    Your post is heartbreaking and beautiful. You heard her cry because that is what Momma's do, she is forever connected to you in a way that does not compare to anything on this earth.

    We are praying for you, Dave and beautiful, sweet Jillian.

    Susie

  17. Gypsy on December 8, 2009 8:51 am

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I wish I could do more, but know that we're here for you all, pulling for you all, and sending all the positive vibes and support we can your way. Take care of yourselves. All my love.

  18. Leila and Joshua on December 8, 2009 9:21 am

    I am continuing to pray for you and Jillian. I pray for your strength during the next day, week, and into the next few months. It will be a long road, but so so worth it.

  19. Pippy on December 8, 2009 10:42 am

    Your family will be in my thoughts & prayers.

  20. Ruby on December 8, 2009 10:49 am

    Oh, hon. I wish there was more I could do, but I am thinking and praying for your whole family.

  21. KC on December 8, 2009 10:56 am

    ::hugs:: We are all praying for Jillian, and I know she will have a difficult journey but she will pull through in the end.

  22. pinkflipflops on December 8, 2009 11:20 am

    I am sending huge hugs to Boston and all the strength I can imagine for Jillian to use and grown big and strong.

  23. C. Marks on December 8, 2009 12:02 pm

    ::hugs::

    Tons of prayers for you, Dave, and beautiful baby Jillian!

    I wanted to share with you the blog of my friends, John and Nancy Hill and their baby girl, Becca. She was born weighing just 13 oz and is now an adorable almost 1.5 year old. Even if you don't want to look at it now, perhaps it can provide some comfort on the road ahead: http://ittybittyhill.blogspot.com

    I wish there was more I could do to help. Love and peace to you!

  24. JrzyMeeba on December 8, 2009 12:10 pm

    Your little Jillian is in my thoughts and prayers. Sadly, I know too well how you're feeling, as two weeks ago, I delivered my twins at just 26 weeks. It was the scariest thing I've ever been through, and the most life-changing. We lost one of our sons after just five days of life, but our other son is doing as well as possible in the NICU. We're faced with months of seeing him in the hospital, with only hope to keep us going. It's all we can do, right? Hugs to you, your husband, and Jillian.

  25. Freyan on December 8, 2009 12:40 pm

    Dearest Megan, I am thinking of you and sending you all my love + support to help you, Dave and Jillian through these trying times. Stay strong.. love you, Freyan

  26. akaluttenberger on December 8, 2009 1:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing- I am so happy Jillian is doing well, and have nothing but hope and good wishes to send you and your family.

  27. jamie on December 8, 2009 4:54 pm

    leblaeplis, I am praying for the newest member of your family everyday. Thank you for sharing your story. im really glad to hear that mom made it through surgery and jillian is hanging in there. i love you all!
    xojamie

  28. Jaime on December 8, 2009 8:31 pm

    Jillian is a fighter. Thank you for sharing your story with us. :) Your family is in our prayers.

    Jaime, Sean & Logan

  29. Sara on February 11, 2010 2:15 pm

    Hi Megan,
    I found your blog through the Nest Preemie boards. I am also from the Boston area and the Mom of a 24 weeker. I just read your story for the first time and just wanted to say that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I want to thank you for sharing your story.
    Sara

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