Thursday, May 29, 2014

Evanna | One Month

I can’t believe you are one month old Evanna! Where does the time go? I’m still adjusting to being a new mom, but at the same time everything feels so natural. I will admit that before you were born, I wasn’t sure if I would be cut out for this whole mommy thing, but I’m glad to say that I am loving it and I'm loving every bit of you! I’m also finding that I’m already starting to forget what life was like before you were here. You keep me super busy and my world now evolves completely around you. Daddy is so smitten by you and loves you so very much (which has made me fall in love with him all over again). With his work schedule, he actually gets lots of time with you, and helps out lots when it comes to feeding and changing your diapers so mommy can get a few good nights of sleep. We feel incredibly blessed that we got to take you home so quickly and get these first few months together as a family. We’re so proud of you and how well you are doing, and we are just praying that you continue to grow big and strong.

Weight: 7lb 4oz (Weight taken on May 22)

Height: 48cm | 18.9 inches (Height taken on May 22)

Clothing size:  You my dear, still fit newborn outfits perfectly, but I’m sure by next week you’ll finally be in 0-3 month clothing.

Diaper size: Newborn

Feeding: On average you eat about every 4 hours (sometimes it’s 3 hours, and sometimes it’s 5 hours), and you currently take in between 70-100mL. Your daddy and I try our best to make sure you eat, because gaining weight is very important for you and something the doctors watch very closely. Due to your heart beating extra fast (about 180bpm), you also burn extra calories – so every bit counts! A dietician from the Children’s Hospital called us a few days ago, and to help you get those extra calories, they’re having us add 1 tsp of formula to every 100mL of my breast milk.  

Milestones:  You like to hold your head up and everyone comments on how alert you are during certain times of the day.  You also like to head-butt your daddy when he burps you.

Loves: You LOVE being held and cuddled. Sometimes this isn’t the most convenient thing for me when I’m trying to get stuff done around the house, but I guess I should soak it all in and take advantage of it while I can. You also love being bundled up, your soother (or else you’re sucking on my finger or your own), warm baths, and sleeping on mommy. However, I can already tell you’re going to be a daddy’s girl. You are so content with him, and for some reason you tend to eat better for him.
Dislikes: You’re quite the spitty baby, and at times you get very angry after a big spit-up (I find it so cute though, because you’re really just getting angry with yourself). You also don’t like being hungry. 

Adventures: Well the first couple weeks after we brought you home were primarily spent at home because we were unsure of your immune system.  But since finding out that you have some sort of immune system, I have taken you to church and a few small stores. You’ve meet all of your grandparents and great-grandparents, and we’ve had tons of visitors. You’ve experienced your first of what will be many doctor appointments, which so far have gone well. You meet the whole Irvine side of the family at Grandma Cory’s 80th birthday and were adored by everyone at your great-aunt Debbie’s house for a Mother’s Day brunch.

Mommy and Daddy could not get through the month without: Your Grandmas, Aunt Danika and Aunt Megan. The first few weeks after you were born were quite the roller-coaster, and though we are thrilled to be home right now, it wasn’t something we were planning on, so we really didn’t have anything ready. None of your clothes had been washed, and your room hadn’t been touched, and the house was a bit of a disaster due circumstances. Thankfully between your grandmas and aunts, we came home to a relatively put-together house. Grandma Walford and Aunt Danika spent many nights at our house washing, going through and putting away all of your clothing. Then Grandma Sandy and Aunt Megan came over and helped your daddy clean the house, put together the bassinet and start on putting together your room. We are so thankful to them and all of their help, but I’m sure they were just so happy that you were coming home and they could meet you!
We also have to give a shout out to our friends Spencer and Whitney for coming over while we were in Edmonton to look after our kitties and make sure that not only did they have food and water – but also some love. 

And just for fun, a few of my favourite pictures from the past month:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lifestyle Newborn Pictures

Months ago I had come to terms that we probably wouldn’t be able to do newborn pictures because we thought Evanna would be in hospital until she was at least 2 months old, so I was going to hold off on getting pictures done. However, plans changed and the silver lining to the crazy whirlwind we’ve been put through is I got my newborn pictures after all. Like always, Jennie (Guenard Photography) did a marvellous job, and captured our little Evanna so perfectly. At the end of the session I pointed out to Jennie that these will probably be the only professional photos we have of Evanna before open heart surgery (as we don't have any idea at this point when that will be), therefore the only professional pictures she will have taken before she will have a big scar down the middle of her chest. Anyways, the photos turned out beautifully – so enjoy! xo

Friday, May 23, 2014

We love good news

I still have some other blog posts that I want to get up before I officially feel caught up, but some exciting things have happened around the Irvine home that I just had to share first.

We’ve now been home for a few weeks, and we’ve slowly been finding our own little routine. Our life fully revolves around Miss Evanna, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Between lots of visits from friends and family, doctor appointments, pumping, sleeping, feeding and sleeping schedules, we’ve been keeping very busy. Some highlights include a lovely Mother’s Day brunch at Nick’s aunt Debbie’s house, and Grandma Cory’s 80th birthday – where for the first time in a long time, everyone from the Irvine side of the family was there. Evanna is of course the centre of attention where ever we go, as everyone fights for a chance to hold her (after first putting on hand sanitizer of course).
Evanna also had her first pediatric and cardiology clinic appointments (though I’m sure those will soon become old news). Evanna is slowly gaining weight and is maintaining her oxygen levels. In 4 weeks Evanna will have another ECHO done, and when she’s around 3 months old, we head back up to Edmonton for an Angiogram.
Now I’ve saved the news best for last. First, we finally got Evanna’s immunology results back, and she has T-Cells! This means that she has a Thymus gland, it’s just smaller than normal, and so that’s why they’re having a tough time seeing it. So what does this really mean? Well it means that her body can fight viruses and while we should always be careful as getting sick wouldn’t be very good for her delicate little heart, we don’t have to be extreme hermits. We won’t go crazy and start taking her to malls and grocery stores right away, but at least we can take her to places like church and maybe a restaurant. 

Finally, as most of you may remember, back in March Nick was offered a temporary fulltime position as a Paramedic for Calgary EMS. Well earlier this week, he was offered a PERMANET fulltime Paramedic position! I’m so ecstatic and proud of Nick! I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, and overall we feel incredibly blessed with how accommodating Nick’s work has been with letting him take some time off when Evanna was born, and then offering him a permanent position just 2 weeks later. It’s nice to see all of Nick’s hard work pay off, and it feels really good to have some security. I know its Heavenly Father’s way of lightening our load so we can concentrate on raising and taking care of our little girl.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Edmonton & Calgary NICU

From the moment we found out about Evanna’s CHD (congenital heart defect), we were told that after she was born she would be transferred over to the Stollery NICU in Edmonton, as all pediatric cardiology surgeries in Western Canada are done there. However, before Evanna was born, they weren’t sure she had a ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the proximal descending aorta. It allows most of the blood from the right ventricle to bypass the fetus's fluid-filled non-functioning lungs, which closes soon after the baby is born), or something called major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (MAPCAs - vessels that connect the systemic and pulmonary arterial vasculature, thereby supplying pulmonary blood flow. MAPCAs are tortuous vessels that arise directly from the aorta or its branches). We now know she has the later.
So after Evanna was born they transferred her over to the Stollery with Nick and his mom following behind and they started her on prostaglandin in case she had a ductus arteriosus that would keep it from closing, and began to monitor her. Nick and his mom stayed with her for a while before heading back to the Ronald McDonald to get some sleep. My mom stayed with me on the postpartum unit, but other than not being able to keep anything down and an apparently grouchy roommate (to which my mom responded by having me transferred to another room), I don’t remember much from that night, as I was pretty out of it.

Nick holding Evanna at the Stollery
Sandy holding Evanna
Early the next morning (April 30), a doctor came in and assessed me and my incision, and then granted me a 4 hour pass so I could leave to go see Evanna. Being less than 24 hours postop from major abdominal surgery, it was no easy task walking all the way from my unit to the car, and then from the car all the way to Evanna’s unit at the other hospital, but I managed it. When we first got there, Evanna was having an ECHO being done and the doctors were in the middle of rounds, so Nick and I just hung out at Evanna’s bedside and meet her nurse. Finally the tech finished with her ECHO and right about the same time the doctors had made it to her bed and began to discuss her case. Once the doctors finished, Evanna’s nurse Gail asked if I wanted to hold her – to which of course I said yes. The moment she was placed in my arms I began to cry. For the first time I felt like she was mine, and at the same time the gravity of the situation sank in. After a little while Gail asked if I wanted to go pump because it had been almost 24 hrs since my C-section, and they were afraid that if I held off too long, that my milk wouldn’t come in. So I headed off to the pumping room, but within 5 minutes my mom came and got me because the cardiologist had come and wanted to speak to Nick and I. We were brought into a private room and meet Dr. Urschel. He said that he had reviewed the ECHO, but wanted to send Evanna for a CT later that day to get a better picture of her heart. He wasn’t very optimistic, and according to the ECHO, she had the worst case scenario when it came to a final diagnosis. None of Evanna’s collaterals were bigger than 1mm, and if they don’t grow there is nothing they can do (we’re talking supportive/palliative care at this point) and due to how intertwined her heart is with her lungs, she could never be a candidate for a heart transplant. This was a major slap in the face, and a pretty sad meeting overall. They also talked a little bit about the probability that she had 22q11 (a chromosomal defect) that would explain why she has the heart defect and her missing Thymus gland.
After the meeting I went back to the pumping room to try again. Apparently I pumped quite the amount considering it was my very first time ever pumping (our nurse Gail was extremely impressed considering I just had a C-section, all the stress we were under with Evanna being in the NICU, and that this was my first baby). Once finished I spent a few more minutes with Evanna, but with my 4 hour pass already expiring and Evanna heading off for a CT, we decided it was time to leave. 

Stollery NICU
That night was probably one of the worst nights I have ever had thus far. My mom had gone back to Calgary and Nick and Sandy were with Evanna at the Stollery. I was alone on the postpartum unit surrounded by other moms who had their babies with them in their rooms while mine was hooked up to tons of machines in an NICU at a different hospital. I cried for hours in shower (I’m so glad I had a private room).
Dr. Wong came the next morning and thankfully discharged me right away. After Nick said goodbye to his mom, he came and picked me up and we headed back over to the Stollery to see Evanna. Once there, we meet with Dr. Urschel again who basically said that the CT came back with the same results as the ECHO and that surgery wasn’t an option right now and nothing could be done at this point there in Edmonton. Meaning: they were sending us back “home” to Calgary the very next day. I couldn’t believe it, I just experienced the craziest couple of days and now we had to quickly pack up and drive back to Calgary! Part of us was very upset and sad because they were sending us home under grave circumstances. Our little girl’s heart condition was not looking very good and the overall prognosis was severe. However, another part of me was a little happy that we were going home. We were going back to familiar ground and be closer to friends and loved ones. Nick and I spent the rest of the day just holding and feeding Evanna and soaking everything in. 
The next morning Evanna was transferred by air to the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), while Nick and I scrambled to pack up, clean our Ronald McDonald room and drive back to Calgary. (Side Note: yes, I was offered to fly with Evanna, however Nick and I both had our vehicles in Edmonton, so that option just wasn’t feasible.) I don’t think I have ever driven so fast in my life. I wanted to be there so bad for when Evanna arrived to ACH (hello momma instincts and hormones). I would have gotten there way before she arrived, but due to a big accident just outside of Calgary I ended up getting there just as EMS was leaving (interesting side note: the team that helped transfer Evanna ended up being some of Nick’s co-workers and they knew that Evanna was Nick’s daughter, so it was comforting to us to know that she was in safe hands of people we knew). After talking to EMS about her transfer, I made my way to Evanna’s room where she was being assessed by ACH NICU staff. 

Alberta Children's Hospital NICU
 Later that evening Dr. Fruitman came by to talk to me (Nick decided to drive home first to do a few errands around the house, so he missed seeing Dr. Fruitman), and we got to talk about Evanna’s diagnosis. She apologized for the not so good news that we received in Edmonton, and said that we just have to hope that Evanna’s collaterals grow big enough so they can eventually do surgery. She then laid out a plan to see how Evanna held up over the weekend, have another ECHO and ECG done on Monday and maybe get us home by the end of the week if Evanna was stable. So, that’s just what we did. Other than a quick trip home on Saturday to shower and grab some new clothes, Nick and I stayed over at ACH to help care and feed Evanna. On Sunday after a family and ward fast, my dad came to the hospital so he and Nick could perform a priesthood blessing on Evanna. This meant so much to me, and I truly think it’s what helped Evanna do so well in the NICU all week long.
When Monday rolled around, Evanna had her second ECHO which she did so well for. Seriously, she caused no issues for the techs and was the perfect patient. She then had a quick ECG, and we meet Dr. Patton (another pediatric cardiologist) and 2 of his residents. Nick and I liked Dr. Patton a lot. He and his resident stopped by every day that week, and took the time to thoroughly explain everything and answer all of our many questions. Dr. Patton went on the explain that the ECHO results came back with much better results than the Edmonton one, and that they found 4 collaterals that were around 3-4mm in size. Nick and I were ecstatic with the good news and so happy that all the fasting and prayers worked. The next step was to monitor her throughout the week, and start a discharge plan!
Evanna and I after one of her early morning feedings
Evanna having an ECHO
Nick and I spent the rest of the week staying with Evanna to help care for her. We did all of her diaper changes and feedings (which I’m sure the nurses loved, because then they didn’t have to do it themselves), and held her lots. On Thursday May 8, we were finally discharged and allowed to take our baby girl home!

Evanna's first bath
 Overall it was a long, exhausting and crazy 9 days between the Stollery NICU and ACH NICU. I know that our time at home is only temporary, and we will have a longer hospital stay when Evanna has her open heart surgery later this year, but it’s such a tender mercy that we were able to bring our little girl home for the time being and enjoy these first few months as a family. 
Daddy getting Evanna ready for her first car ride

We're going home!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Evanna’s Birth Story {April 29, 2014}

Evanna is already almost 2 weeks old, and I’m already forgetting details surrounding the day she was born! It’s been a crazy few weeks to say the least (um…they decided to send us back to Calgary only 3 days after she was born!), but it was all worth it.
Her birth story starts a few days prior to her entering the world. On Thursday April 24, I had my second OB appointment with Dr. Wong in Edmonton. But by this time I was at my whit’s ends, and I was DONE with being pregnant. I had just spent Easter weekend alone in Edmonton (well technically my friend Bev was with me), and I was becoming an emotional wreck. I was missing my husband, family, friends, kitties, and just the fact that I was away from the comfort of my own home was taking a toll on me. My belly was getting bigger and bigger, and it was getting increasingly harder and harder for me to move around. Also, with soo much free time on my hands, I was browsing the internet looking up more and more on Evanna’s heart condition, and like always, one click leads to another, and those clicks sometimes end up to the sad stuff, and I was beginning to really stress myself out.
Every night I was going to bed thinking “is this the night my water will break and I’ll start having contractions?”, and I was overanalyzing every little weird thing my body did thinking that maybe my contractions were starting. I was constantly getting daily messages from family and friends asking me how I was feeling, and I have to say that it was starting to get disappointing responding back that I was feeling great, and had no hints of contractions. I was also growing angry because I came up to Edmonton extra early due to my high amniotic fluid levels, and the chance I would go into labour early, and I didn’t. Anyways, I was on the tipping point of a total melt down, and was hoping Dr. Wong would be able to do something about kick starting this labour – whether it was stripping my membranes or inducing me – I didn’t care.

So during my appointment Dr. Wong checked me. I was still only 1cm dilated and my cervix was still very long - baby girl was riding high (meaning she had not dropped). However after reviewing my previous days ultrasound, he noted that my amniotic fluid levels rose again from 31cm to 33.5cm (again, the normal range is 8-18cm, so that tells you just how large I was!), and I was now measuring at 42 weeks. He was really concerned at the complications that could arise if my water were to break while not in a hospital setting. I also began to hint at my emotional state and that I didn’t really want to wait another week to have this baby. He definitely agreed that an induction was the route to go for a number of reasons. First, like I just stated, if my water were to break while at home or in public, there was a HUGE risk of cord prolapse (the cord coming down before the baby and oxygen and blood circulation getting cut off). Second, because of baby girl’s heart condition, it was just safer overall for my entire labour to be monitored in a hospital setting in case she were to go into distress and her heart rate drop. Next step was to figure out a date for the induction. Dr. Wong said he likes to schedule inductions at the beginning of the week because the Stollery NICU and transfer team are a little better prepped at the beginning of the work week verses the end of the week and weekend. It’s not to say that they can’t and aren’t prepared to take a baby whenever, but overall it was just better to deliver at the beginning of the week. So Dr. Wong went back and forth over April 28 and May 5 (both are Monday’s). This meant a difference of me having her at 39 or 40 weeks. This decision weighed on me a little because I didn’t want to come off being selfish in wanting to have her at 39 weeks instead of keeping her safe inside me for another week. Really – when it came down to it, I wanted what was best for Evanna. However, Dr. Wong reassured me that there was really no difference between having her at 39 or 40 weeks, and she would be just fine. I also informed Dr. Wong that my parents were coming up that weekend, and my husband was also coming up anyways on Monday, so it was settled – I was going to have this baby on April 28. 

After signing some paperwork, I left his office and made phone calls to Nick, my parents and Nick’s mom Sandy, letting them know that not only were we having this baby soon – but we had an actual date! With having an actual date, it made things a little easier to plan. Sandy was able to inform her work and decided to come up Monday afternoon and stay up until Thursday. My parents, who were already coming up for the weekend – made arrangements so they could stay a little longer, and Nick had to had to decide on whether to take off his last shift and come up Sunday afternoon, or work his last night shift and drive up immediately after his shift ended on Monday morning. Both Sandy and I thought Nick should have taken his last day off so he could come up to Edmonton and get a good night’s rest before the big day, but if anyone knows Nick, knows that he worked until the last possible moment. Oi.

The weekend before my induction was spent hanging with my parents and celebrating my cousin Chelsea’s wedding. I was so happy that I was able to attend her Edmonton reception, and my grandparents also came up to Edmonton, so I got to see them too. On Sunday we had breakfast at my Aunt’s house and then we all went to church. 
Last picture of me pregnant - 3 days before Evanna was born. I know - I was HUGE!
It was definitely hard to sleep the night before my induction knowing that I was about to have this baby. I was so nervous and yet so excited for her to finally be here. The last several months since finding out about her heart condition has led to this moment, and so it was a little scary.
Now, when it came to the induction, I was told I had to wait for a phone call from the Royal Alexandra Hospital either Sunday night or Monday morning telling me when to come in. Boy, I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated a phone call so bad! Well Monday morning rolled around, and I just lied in bed awake just waiting and waiting. I finally called the induction unit around 6am asking them when they wanted me to come in, and they replied by saying that the induction team starts making phone calls around 7am. So I waited and waited some more. Finally I called again around 9:30am seeing if I could get a clearer answer. The person that answered the phone knew my name, but again told me to just sit tight and I should hear from them shortly (I’m VERY impatient). At 10am Nick arrived to the Ronald McDonald house, and just as he was walking up the front porch, the hospital called asking me to start making my way there. Talk about timing! Nick then called his mom to tell her that she should start making her way to Edmonton as the baby was officially on its way!

Around 11am we all packed into my parent’s car, and my dad drove me, Nick and my mom to the hospital and dropped us all off. We checked in, and they had me change clothes. A doctor came in to assess me, and he thought that I was about 2-3cm, so they began the process and hooked me up to oxytocin. Once they had that going, they had me move from the induction area to the labour and delivery unit. Not too long after, Dr. Wong came in and assessed me himself, however he thought I was only 1-2cm dilated, and my cervix was still 3cm long (so again, baby was very high and she had not dropped into position). So he stopped the oxytocin, and instead inserted a cervidil into my cervix to help soften it. Now usually when this happens, they will send the patient home for the evening, but because I was a high risk pregnancy (for high amniotic levels and Evanna’s CHD) they had me admitted for the night. Basically it became clear that I was not having the baby that day which made me a little sad. I was under the impression that the day you go in for an induction is the day you actually have the baby, but I now know that isn’t the case. Oh well.
After making me walk several laps around the hospital and drink raspberry leaf tea nonstop, my mom and Sandy finally left for the night, and it was finally just me and Nick. I slept pretty great until about 1am when I started to get a little uncomfortable – which I know realise was because I was starting to have contractions. Not sure of the exact time, but they finally came and got me, and we headed back up to the induction area to begin the process all over again! However this time I was for sure having pain in my lower abdomen pelvic area and Nick began to time them. They weren’t too painful, but I knew that these were officially contractions. Dr. Wong came and assessed me himself, and he was very pleased with my progress (I think I was at 3cm dilated and my cervix had softened dramatically). Next step – breaking my water! Now this was one of the WORST parts of my entire delivery (which some people find surprising). Usually when they break someone’s water the baby is already generally low and they only have to use one hook. With me, they had to use 3 hooks, and at the same time push the baby down so her cord would not slip out. This was incredibly painful and because of how much fluid I had, was an incredibly long process. I was on the verge of tears and just wanted it to be over with. I think Nick felt very bad, and he just held my hands very tightly. The one nurse stated that she had never seen so much fluid in her life (though she wasn’t very old), and it was like a 2L pop bottle had split onto the floor. I was so relieved when the process was over, and it was amazing to see the difference in the size of my belly after all the fluid had been drained out. Seriously, it was like I was 33 weeks pregnant all over again. Nick couldn’t believe how much smaller my stomach looked and Dr. Wong pretty much said that the baby went from having an Olympic size pool to swim around in, to a little wading pool, lol.

The oxytocin drip was restarted and I was again led over to the labour and delivery unit. However this time I was actually having contractions, so I knew this time was the real deal. Nick and I called our moms to tell them to head over to the hospital, and now it became a waiting game. Just before my mom arrived I decided that I wanted the epidural, so they called the anesthesiologist in. Now I was a little afraid that it would hurt, but I can honestly say that other than the normal needle pinch, it didn’t hurt at all. I don’t think anything can compare to the pain of my water getting broke though at that point!
You know the epidural is working because I'm in no pain, and I'm on my phone!

For the next several hours I just hung out while having contractions, and every hour they upped my oxytocin levels. I however didn’t up the epidural levels because I wanted to feel something come time to push, however this became a huge mistake. Around 3pm the contractions were getting really strong and started to hurt a lot. I got a new nurse because of shift change, and she was getting concerned because there had been a few instances of the baby’s heart rate not recovering quick enough after each contraction. She went and got the resident who took the fetal monitoring strips to discuss with her colleges, but they decided it was too soon to call my OB (my mom thinks this was a huge mistake on their part – but whatever, what happened happened). They did however prep me in case I needed to have a C-section. Within a half hour my contractions were getting extremely painful and I was having this awful pain down my right side. I finally asked for a top-up on my epidural, but the anesthesiologist was in another surgery, and so it would take a little bit before he could come and do that. I was getting really restless and I could not get comfortable. I also didn’t have too many position options because of how many machines I was hooked up too. They gave me oxygen in hopes that it would help keep the baby from going into distress, but nothing was working. Finally they pulled in the first doctor on the unit they could find and within minutes she made the decision that a C-section had to happen. She asked my mom to hit the code button and within seconds my room was filled with tons of people. They were racing to unplug machines from the wall and started to literally rush me out of the room and run me down the hallway to the OR yelling at people to get out of the way. As they were running me down the hallway I quickly stated to the doctor “you know the baby has a congenital heart defect, right?” The doctor looked down at me stunned and then back up to her staff and yelled “WHY DIDN’T ANY OF YOU TELL ME THIS WAS OUR HEART PATIENT!?!”  Just as a side note: you have to realise this wasn’t my OB, it was just the first doctor they could find on the unit, so it wasn’t like she had time to review my chart (but she was obviously aware that one of the patients currently on the unit was delivering a heart baby).  Anyways she looked back down at me and asked if I knew what the condition was, and I said “Yes, Pulmonary Atresia”. She quickly thanked me, and told me that I was very smart for letting her know. They rushed me into the OR and transferred me over to the OR bed. All I hear is “just splash her”, “baby has a heart defect” and “call the NICU transfer team”. The anesthesiologist starts asking me a whole bunch of questions about my health, and a nurse leaned over and says “everything is going to be alright, we’re here to take care of you”. They began to hang the blue curtain up and all I managed to say before they put me to sleep was “she has to go to the Stollery, she has to go to the Stollery!”(I just really wanted to make sure they knew about Evanna's heart condition, and that she needed to be transferred).

Nick and my mom said overall, it was a very chaotic situation. Nick said while they were rushing me out of the room, my IV pole almost hit my head, and the speed at which they were unhooking machines and racing me out of my room was very fast. Apparently within minutes after I was rolled into to the OR, my mom saw Dr. Wong speed walk down the hallway towards to OR – so he must have walked in just after I was put under. The nurse came out and told my mom and Nick how proud she was of me. She said that I remained very calm and made sure that everyone was aware of what needed to happen for the baby.

Evanna was born at 4:10pm and came out crying. She weighed 6lbs 12oz, and was 47cm long with a head full of red hair (which I was secretly hoping for). Nick was brought in just shortly after she was taken out and took lots of pictures while they were cleaning and assessing her.
I woke up, and heard Dr. Wong talking (he has quite the distinct voice), so I quickly asked how the baby was, though it hurt to talk because I had been intubated. Dr. Wong said the baby was fine, so I then asked how Nick was doing. Dr. Wong chuckled and said Nick was fine too. They wheeled me into recovery, and I remember my stomach being very sore. I asked if they could give me something for the pain, but they said I had to wait, and they rolled me over onto my side to remove the epidural line. Finally they told me that the NICU transfer team was almost ready, so they were going to bring the baby to me. I was very confused as I didn’t know how much time had passed and thought Evanna had already been transferred over to the Stollery (I guess I had only been put under for about 30 minutes). About 5 minutes later they wheeled Evanna into the recovery room and Nick was right behind her. They gave us about 15 minutes alone time and we got our first moments as a family. I was able to touch and stroke her and I remember her sucking away on her fingers. I just couldn’t believe she was here and how beautiful and perfect she looked. I remember looking at Nick and I could literally see how much he was in love with her.
Already sucking on her fingers!

Finally they came in and told us it was time for them to take her over to the Stollery. Nick followed and I was taken to the postpartum unit. My mom joined me, and they finally gave me a shot of morphine for the pain. I tried to eat some jello and drink apple juice, but it didn’t matter because nothing I had stayed down. My mom ended up staying the night with me, while Nick and his mom stayed with Evanna at the Stollery before heading back to the Ronald McDonald house to get some sleep.

The next morning they granted me a 4 hour pass so I could leave and go over to the Stollery to finally see and hold Evanna. When we first arrived, she was having an ECHO being done, so Nick and I were only able to touch and stroke her sweet head and fingers. Finally the ECHO tech finished and I was able to hold her. Tears flowed – I was finally holding my baby! She was so tiny and I felt so much joy and happiness. At the same time, I was also a little sad because of how many machines she was hooked up too and the reality that I wasn’t able to take her home was setting in. I just held her and held her some more before I finally had to leave and go back to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. My heart ached when we left, and I hated that I had to leave her.
Not sure how to end this post, because the story truly doesn’t end there, but at the same time, the rest of the story doesn’t have to do with her “birth”, so I guess I’ll stop here.  

I’m so grateful for my amazing husband and supportive mom and mother-in-law who never left my side. Nick was so great and remained so calm through the whole process, and I’m not sure I could have done it without him. We are now parents to a beautiful little girl who is so strong and doing so well. We love you Evanna!