We are Parents…3 Months Early.

Olive_Holding_Dads_Hand

We knew the birth of our baby would have an element of surprise, but we never imagined that the surprise would be welcoming our new addition 12 weeks early.  On Thursday January 26 I was admitted to the hospital with pre-eclampsia.  Four days later on January 30 I gave birth via emergency c-section, and we finally met our little girl Olive.  It was an incredibly difficult five days leading up to it, and her birthday was the scariest day of both of our lives.  The experience rocked us to our cores, but we are proud to introduce you to our teeny tiny micro preemie.

Weighing in at a whopping 1 pound, 9 ounces, Olive was born at 10:32 p.m. on January 30, 2012.  Nobody even told us whether we had a boy or girl.  The only comment from the doctor was “baby’s out, baby’s small,” and she was whisked away to a room next door where the five person NICU team worked on her.  We didn’t hear a cry or even get a glimpse of her.  Twenty five minutes later when she was stable, Dain was allowed to go see her.  He had to ask whether we had a boy or a girl.  He took a few pictures and brought them back to me in the operating room where I got my first glimpse of her.  I was in shock and so grateful that she was alive since a baby born at 28 weeks is hard to fathom before you see it.  Then Dain traveled with her and the NICU team over to her hospital through an underground tunnel.  After he was comfortable leaving her, he came back to get me, and Dain and two nurses wheeled me over in my bed to see her.  It was indescribable to see such a perfect tiny human being lying in her incubator.  They only let me stay for a few minutes before I was taken back to my hospital, but I will certainly never forget meeting Olive for the first time.

Our NICU experience had begun.  Dain slept in Olive’s room there, and my mom slept in my room with me in a special wing of the perinatal floor.  Not that any of us actually slept with all of the activity around us, but morning was welcome since it meant I got to see her again.  The next few days are almost a blur as we began to fall into our new “normal” as a family of 3.  Our days have been and will continue to be spent in Olive’s room.  She is a fighter, and everyone says she acts like a bigger baby than she is, which is a big compliment for our little lady who is fiesty with the nurses.  We have a long road ahead of us with plans to be here in the NICU until at least her due date (April 23), but we are optimistic about her future.  Now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath, we wanted to share a few of our first special moments with her and ask for your thoughts and prayers as we embark on this long journey.

On Thursday February 2 I was able to hold her for the first time as part of her “Kangaroo Care.”  I could feel her heartbeat throughout her entire body, and it was the best moment I’ve had with her to date.  The next day Dain was able to hold her, and she even drooled on him and grasped his chest hair with her tiny fingers.

At the nurse’s suggestion, we put Dain’s wedding ring around her foot (after it was sanitized) to show the scale of how tiny she is.  It’s pretty unbelievable that it slips over her foot.

As is common with micro preemies, she was jaundiced at first so she lived under photo lamps for a few days.  She didn’t seem to mind it too much though because she got to wear a sleep mask to protect her eyes which made it easier for her to sleep.  Since moments of levity are what is keeping us both sane, we joked that she looks like she is about to hit the slopes.  Or that she’s a future rap star.

While she’s too little to eat any way other than through her feeding tube, she does get to taste breast milk during her feeding through a little q-tip that we dip in it and rub around her mouth.  And she loves it.  She has even started to suck on the q-tip.

We also get to help care for her by changing her diaper and checking her temperature.  Dain had no idea his first diaper change would be with such a small diaper, but he is becoming a pro at it.  Hopefully his enthusiasm for diaper changes continues as she grows.

We have completely turned into “those parents,” and we will probably have hundreds if not thousands of pictures of her by the time we leave here.  But it’ll be fun to watch her grow.  Both Dain and I feel incredibly blessed to have this sweet baby in our lives.  And she was worth it all.  We are so grateful for her and for all of the incredible family and friends in our lives that are helping to make this journey easier every day.

We’ll post more about it, but the Ronald McDonald House has been a godsend for us over the past week.  If anyone is looking for a way to support us, please consider donating to your local Ronald McDonald House.  The services they provide are truly invaluable for families who have hospitalized children.

& Olive

15 Comments on "We are Parents…3 Months Early."

  1. Audra says:

    Congratulations on your tiny miracle! Have been following your blog, and love it. I am (was) just behind you in pregnancy .. praying Olive grows fast!

  2. Jess Anderson says:

    Thinking of you all! Will continue to keep lil Olive and all of you in my prayers. Babies are a beautiful blessing. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  3. Paula in MN says:

    WOW! Olive is undeniably blessed to have the parents she has, along with the fantastic care she will be getting. All of you have been in my prayers, and those prayers will continue! Please don’t hesitate to ask for any help. Congratulations!!

  4. Laura says:

    She is so precious and gorgeous! I LOVE her name and will pray she has a smooth journey to her due date so you can bring her home. :)

  5. Abbie says:

    “Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.”
    ~Unknown
    Congratulations on your newest little arrival! Olive is gorgous and so very percious. It is wonderful to hear that your new family of three is all doing well. Please continue to keep us updated on your families incredible journey.

  6. Gail says:

    I already love my tiny granddaughter Olive and her tenacious
    spirit and her parents are pretty rocking, too…Grandma O

  7. Megan says:

    All the best to you all, special grow big and fast vibes to olive. What a cutie!!

  8. Melissa says:

    Oh my! What a journey you’ve had the past week. I pray that everything goes smoothly and little Olive can go home soon. Congratulations!

  9. Barbara Vantrease says:

    Congrats Rachel and Dain, What a wild entrance your tiny daughter made into this world! Thanks for sharing your story. Our family will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. We are just in awe of the pictures you have so generously shared. Take Care.

  10. Linda Ratke says:

    What a very beautiful story, our prayers r with u n Olive as she continues her journey in life!! Congratulations !

  11. AmyZig says:

    Oh my gosh! I have been reading your blog for a while (love all the how-to’s and home improvement ideas) and when you announced you were having a baby I was super excited – I’m due one day before you were! I can’t imagine having an outside baby already – you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Congratulations on your new little one – she’s a fighter and you are too.

  12. Charlotte says:

    Our little girl was also born early due to preeclampsia and via C-section although it was only 3 weeks, not months. My pediatrician said tiny baby girls are fighters! Prayers for you and your teeny little one. Grow baby grow!

  13. Olive is beautiful!! I found your news, and request for prayers, through my friend Paula/A Catholic Harvest! Just wanted to let you know I WILL be praying! I had triplets in the nicu (9 years ago), so I know what a roller coaster it can be! Exhausting, on so many levels. You may find yourself wondering if life will ever feel normal again. It will! Just keep praying, and looking ahead to the day you are all home together. You will appreciate a lot, more than you ever could have. God’s blessings to you all!!

  14. Paula in MN says:

    Hoping and praying that your little family is well!

  15. Chrissy says:

    Just read your post after checking out a friend’s facebook page & you really brought me back to April 16, 2001, when our son was born at Abbott NW, weighing in at 1 lb. 7 oz. and 17 weeks premature. We entered into a world we didn’t know existed and will always be profoundly grateful for. He will be 11 this year and is a happy, healthy boy. The doctors and nurses at Children’s in Minneapolis were incredible and helped us so much. I know the heartache of having to wait 2 weeks to hold your own child and the eagerness for every chance to help in his cares. The wall of photos leading up to the NICU were a godsend to us–showing all these teeny-tiny babies and the same children years later–it helped us to know that he was going to be ok, too! Korey was at Children’s for 105 days and came home a whopping 7 lbs 4 oz!! My best wishes for your family and thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us!

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