Archive for March, 2011

The worst day of my life was on the 5th day of my daughter’s life…

First, I couldn’t be there…and that in and of itself was pure torture.

2nd, although I knew she needed this surgery, it still was really hard to accept that at 5 days old she was going to be undergoing a very serious and complex surgery.

The day before I had to sign consent to the surgery.  A new pediatric cardiac surgeon at Vanderbilt explained the surgery, intially a bt shunt, but due to her arteries being ample size, they decided to go with the full repair.  They would place a conduit and repair her VSD.  The surgeon had a kind demeanor and answered all my questions.

I then signed the hardest signature I have ever had to sign.  I was placing trust in them that they would be successful, and my ultimate trust was that God would give her strength and heal her heart.

That night I don’t think I slept that well.  All I could think about was that Sajda had not even opened her eyes yet in her short life.  She was so weak those first few days.  She had purple hands and feet.

During the surgery they gave me frequent updates.  When they took her back, when they put her on the heart lung machines, when they started, and all through out the procedure.   I am grateful that they gave me those updates.

I was at home, and spent most of the time in bed, I think that was the only way I could handle not being at the hospital with her.  I regret not trying to find someone to watch my son, but honestly I didn’t have the ability to really think it out cause I was just trying to hold it together, be strong for her, be strong for me, and still care for my other four children.

Finally after hours, I think a total of 5-6 they were done.   They were really happy with how the surgery had went and she was doing good by all accounts.   I could not wait to go see her.  I called my husband and asked him to pick me and our youngest son to the hospital.  He picked us up and dropped us off, but due to work he couldn’t stay.   We waited for what seemed forever and finally they let us come back and see her.


When I first saw her, I almost didn’t recognize her if it wasn’t for her Mohawk hair LOL.   She was so swollen from her head to her toes.   She had so many wires and tubes.  Her chest had been cut open and closed.   Her skin was yellow tinted and looked drained of life.   It was hard not to be disturbed by her state even though she was doing well.   I tried to be brave even then, but it was hard to see.  Yet for me there was no other place I would rather be than with her.

For her daddy, it was too hard to see.   Everyday I would go see her but he couldn’t bring himself to see her like that.   I think that he knew I was looking out for her for one.  I was almost mad at him, but then I asked him about it.   He almost in tears talked about how hard it was to think about his new daughter going thru this, barely hanging onto life, not yet opening her eyes.   He wanted to see her, but preferred to wait till she was extubated and breathing on her own again.   So I went alone and spent time with her because it helped me to do that.   And everyday she improved little by little.

Every night before bed I would call the nurses to check on her.  Then whenever I woke up in the early hours of the morning I would call again.  And later in the morning, usually after taking the boys to school, I would go to visit her for an hour, pump some milk to deliver to them and also eat my breakfast with her.

Finally she opened her eyes!

Finally she opened her eyes!

And then was extubated!

And then was extubated!

And then finally she saw daddy.  And I think it was love at first sight.   She stole his heart that day.




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I have loved being a mom to 4 boys till now….I grew up a tomboy myself amongst brothers and male cousins.

But in the back of my mind I always wondered how it would be to have a little girl.  Each time I had a pregnancy I would anxiously await the ultrasound to see what the sex was…and the boys never failed to vividly show that they were 100 percent boys 🙂  This pregnancy I went into it thinking that boy number 5 was coming, the baby’s nickname initially was even “cinco”.  And then to my utter amazement at the ultrasound the tech told me I was having a girl…I think I always knew I would have one, but I don’t know if I would have kept going and going just to get one, and I honestly didn’t let myself believe it till she came into this world February 24th, 2011.

That morning I was scheduled for a 7:30 induction because they wanted her to be born at Vanderbilt so they could take her to the Children’s hospital as soon as possible after birth due to her congenital heart defect.

We had left the house late and I was both nervous and frustrated and was very emotional with the boys and my husband.  Finally we made it to the hospital a little before 7:30 and I said goodbye to everyone and my husband then took them all to school.  Our youngest boy stayed with his aunt at home.

Even walking into the hospital I was feeling pains, but all that 9th month I had been feeling pains so I wasn’t really thinking about it too much.  Then after I got hooked up to machines, my nurse Athena, who was an awesome nurse at Vanderbilt Labor and Delivery, told me “you feel those, you are already contracting…being your 5th, we’ll probably only have to give you a little push with pitocin and you’ll have this baby in no time”  She asked me how my other labors went.  I told her about 6 hrs or so and I was done with my other inductions.

I had warned them about my sometimes hard veins and after one failed attempt on one arm, they finally got my IV in on the left arm.

I was 3 cm when they first checked me.  After an hour or so they checked me and I was 3-4 and more thinned out.  I was already progressing on my own and they decided to start my pitocin to get my contractions in a more regular pattern.

They also gave me my first dose of penicillin due to my being positive for Group B strep, a bacterial infection that mom can pass onto baby at birth and can cause complications to the baby.  They wanted me to get two doses of the antibiotics in before I delivered so they weren’t rushing breaking my water.

After slowly increasing the pitocin every so often, my contractions soon got to be more regular.  And although initially I was texting and updating on facebook…they were soon getting to be harder to get through.  The nurse had me checked again and I was 4-5.   Oh and did I mention that the doctor decided that while she was checking me to kindof detach the bag around the opening of the cervix to stimulate more dialation and stronger contractions…it was one of the most painful checking of my cervix’s that I have ever gone thru!

I was progressing good, but they wanted my contractions to start coming more regularly between every two minutes.

The doctor said for me to get my 2nd dose of pitocin at 12:30 and then she would come by an hour later to break my water.  She figured that since I went to complete rather quickly towards the end with my other labors that I should go fast after that.  I was anticipating maybe delivering by 2.  But she didn’t come till close to 2 to break my water and check me again.  At that time I was a solid 5 and the baby’s head had moved down a little.

I braced for the pain as she broke my bag of water, which ended up being stubborn by the way and didn’t want to break at first.  And I also knew that my contractions were about to get alot more intense!

And boy did they ever!  They started coming strong and hard…the ones that I had to chant to get through and rock on the rocking chair I requested.

It was getting close to the boys getting out of school at that time, but I knew I needed my husband so we told his sister to go pick them up.

As that hour went by the contractions got really intense and I was having a hard time dealing with them.  I usually do it natural the whole way and just know that if they are getting this way that I probably am getting near the end.  But this time I had gone into this nervous and was having 2nd thoughts.  I told my husband I was thinking of getting an epidural so i could get some rest, he told me to do it I wanted to.

We called the nurse and I asked her how long it would take to put in and how long it would take to take effect.  She said 10 mins to put in and 20 mins give or take to start working.  I had been so drained the days leading up to this birth that I decided to go ahead with it.  She told me that anesthesia was next door and would be in my room next.

In the time I waited the contractions were getting so hard that I was now starting to close my eyes, hold my husbands hand tightly, and chant the dhikr that always gets me thru my labors, just focusing on one contraction at a time to be able to deal with the pain.

The nurse came in and told me to get on the bed.  And I had to handle those contractions in the bed.  I hate handling contractions in a bed.  Movement of any kind, in a chair, walking, whatever, helps to get a person thru the pain…

The anesthesiologist came in and worked in between contractions to get me ready.  After  some really strong and intense contractions that were starting to hurt me even more inside with real force and were coming right on top of another, the epidural was put in.

I was then put on my left side and told to stay that way as it took effect.  These were probably the most painful of all my contractions.  And although they were suppose to get less and less painful as the epidural took, I was still feeling everything and my legs had only started to slightly feel tingly.

The nurse asked me if I was feeling pressure or not, and I really wasn’t but I was feeling the contractions with more force and it almost was like I knew the head was moving down.  Since I was in so much pain and she knew from history that I sometimes changed very quickly she decided to check me.  I was 8-9 cm in that contraction.  With the next contraction I was feeling the pain even more but my legs were beginning to feel heavy and numb and she checked me again and I was 10.

“Time to push, do you feel like pushing?” she said.  “I can push?” I said…you don’t have to ask me twice, I knew that if I got to push that even if I felt the rest of the contractions still that I would be working with my body and I was ready to do whatever I had to get the baby out and stop my pain!

“I want to push” I said.  “Wait!”, the nurse tells me.  “We need to get the NICU team in here and everyone needs to setup”…I was like hurry, please hurry.

Finally they told me to start pushing.  By this time my legs felt really heavy and it was hard for me to pull them up and also to gauge how much I was pushing or not.  I tried to just visualize pushing in my head and bear down and hope that I was doing something.

I expected to only push a couple times, usually that’s how my last two babies have come out, flying!  But try as I might this baby was taking everything I had to push out.  They said I was pushing but that it wasn’t coming as much as they wanted.  So one of the nurses gives me a towel to pull on as I push.  I do this and start making more progress.

As I am pushing at the end I start coughing and they tell me to breathe, but the funny thing is that when I coughed it helped my pushing.  So they said “cough if that helps!”  And honestly I would get short on breath as I pushed and just coughed accidently but it seemed to help with the pushing.

Finally I started to feel a pressure that I knew she must be close to coming out and I pushed with all I had to get her out.  And so after 20 mins of pushing, they finally set baby Sajda on my chest and she was immediately crying loudly and sounding healthy.  My husband cut her cord and took pics and videos for us.

The NICU team checked her out.  Then because she was breathing good they wrapped her up and let me hold her before they took her away to the children’s hospital.

I knew she had some serious issues that they would need to address in her first few days of life, but in that moment all I could think about was that my princess was finally here!

Me and Sajda moments after her birth at around 3:30 pm on February 24th, 2011

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