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Personal Stories ~ From Lynn Gale
January 24, 2001

Jack, this is the day you were born. You have been one surprise to us after another. First finding out that we were having you back in August of 2000 and then your early arrival in January has taught mommy, especially, that life is not run by schedules and predictions. I have planned my life and executed different "life plans" as I desired. You have taught me, even before you were born, that life holds many surprises and obstacles that we must endure. These experiences have taught us how to be brave and strong. You and Sydney have taught us a love, which nobody can describe to you, unless you are a parent. We fell in love with you the second we found out about you. Needless to say, there were periods of shock in the first few weeks because Sydney was only 4-1/2 months old. Nonetheless, Mommy and Daddy have been awaiting your arrival and are joyful that you are here.

The day you were born held many experiences, which we hope never to forget.

January 24, 2001

I awoke at 5:00 a.m. that day to travel to Cincinnati, OH for three business meetings. I think I remember that morning feeling a lot of tightness in my uterus as I jumped out of bed. I passed it off as just getting out of bed too fast. My morning flight was at 8:00 a.m. from O'Hare. The day commenced as I had planned. I had lunch with a client, then went off to meet with a few people. I left my clients at 3:00 and headed to the airport for my 5:15 p.m. return flight. When I checked in at United, they told me that my flight would be canceled or delayed. The next flight was at 8:15 p.m., four hours from then. Since we didn't know if my original flight was ever going to show, United was offering to place me on an American Eagle flight that left in 45 minutes. An American Eagle flight is a small plane that holds about 60 people. I was nervous about taking such a flight because I had had a bad feeling all day about my travels. However, I got brave and knew that I wanted to get home so I could see Daddy and Sydney. When I was offered this flight from the United ticket agent, I actually told him that "I had never been offered such an option". Typically United is not sending their customers to the competition. I got on the American Eagle flight and arrived at O'Hare at 5:00 p.m. The walk to my car was about a mile since we had landed on the other side of the airport. I finally got to my car. It was very cold and snowing! I drove home and spoke with Daddy on the phone after I was on my way.

We live about an hour from the airport. At 6:10 p.m. I was at the intersection of Route 22 and Route 59. The hospital was only 1/2 mile west of where I was. I had just finished a Power Bar and I was sitting at the stoplight when I had my first contraction. It wasn't extremely painful. At first I thought it was gas pains or maybe the beginning of a bladder infection. I felt as though my bladder was seizing. After a few seconds it went away and I headed for home, which was only 10 minutes further. After I got home and changed, I sat on the couch and had another contraction. It still hadn't registered that this was labor. I told Daddy and Grandma Elaine about it and jokingly Daddy turned on the timer on the stove. We went on eating some health shake and Triskets. Just as another pain was starting, the timer went off, it had been exactly 5 minutes. We started getting a little worried. I picked up Sydney and started to feed her. I then went to the bathroom because I felt some wetness. When I got there, there was blood. This is when it the roller coaster ride started. Daddy came running and we called the doctor. We got his answering service and left a message. Daddy jumped into the shower because he had just ran. I grabbed two pairs of underwear and my toothbrush and toothpaste. I almost forgot my purse. I sat down for a few minutes as contraction after contraction began. It had been only 5 to 10 minutes since we called the doctor and we were getting concerned about the fact that my contractions were now three minutes apart and they were much stronger! At 6:40 p.m. we headed off of the emergency room. The doctor had finally called and talked to Grandma about 6:55 p.m.

The drive to the hospital is about 10 minutes. Daddy did his best in keeping his speeding under control. While going to the hospital, my contractions were now 2 minutes apart and very strong. Daddy dropped me off at the emergency room entrance and I got myself into the emergency room. Once inside, the registering nurse grabbed me and I was able to tell her between my crying that I was 28 weeks, the contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was bleeding. She got me into a wheel chair and started to wheel me away just as Daddy was running into the emergency room. We got to the elevator and got in. We went down instead of up. Then we went up to the first floor again, where we entered and a couple was running up to us saying "Hold the Elevator". I couldn't believe it. We finally got up to the third floor where about 20 people were standing around. It was just before visiting hours. They wheeled me through the crowd and got me to room 301. Nobody knew I was coming and in about 3 minutes there were 12 people in my room. The nurse Debbie had me change into a gown and to see how much blood there was. She got me into bed, and all the while I was having contractions every two minutes. The contractions were lasting about 20 seconds each. First, Debbie the nurse put the band around my stomach for your heartbeat. This was the first time Daddy and I knew of the severity of the situation. It took Debbie about 30 to 45 seconds to find your heartbeat. During that time we thought we had lost you. Finally, after a lot of anxiety, she found you. This was our first miracle we identified, you were alive. Then they hooked me up with the contraction belt. They were measuring just as strong as I was feeling them. Debbie then checked to see how far I was dilated, I was 8 centimeters and the water bag was bulging. She stopped pretty quick and told us that we were having you right now. We spoke to the anesthesiologist and he told me there was no time for an epidural and a vaginal delivery was planned. They did an ultrasound to see how you were laying and they quickly learned that you were straight across. This immediately ruled out a vaginal and they quickly told us that we were having you c-section. During this time, I'd had a few more contractions and all I can think about is when a spinal would be inserted so I could be relieved of the contraction pain. Shock had overcome both Daddy and I therefore we were barely able to feel any other emotion. Everything was happening very fast. My doctor had finally arrived and was there to perform the c-section. From the time I walked into the hospital till the time you were born was only an hour. You were born at 8:08 p.m., just two hours after I had the first contraction. You were 3 pounds, 7 ounces and 15-1/2" long. You received a 6 APGAR Score after one minute and then an 8 after five minutes. You never stopped breathing and we heard you cry for about 10 seconds! They took no chances and immediately put a respirator on you.

For the next two hours, I was in recovery. During this time, they fixed me up and checked on me to make sure I was coming out of the anesthesia. You, on the other hand, had many doctors and nurses hooking you up to the machines which would give you oxygen, fluids, nutrients and warmth. The first time I saw you, you were about two hours old. I cried and was in disbelief that you were here. You were very red and swollen. The contractions and the delivery had bruised you pretty badly. The doctors and the nurses were happy to tell us that right at that moment you would be staying at our hospital not being transported to a high level NICU an hour away. You had just made the cut-off being 28-1/2 weeks old.

Daddy went home around 12:00 midnight so I could rest. All night I would awaken as quickly as I had fallen asleep. The shock and the pain from the surgery did not allow me to rest. It was the next day that Daddy and I fell apart.

January 25 - January 31, 2001

Jack, as I write this, you are officially one week old. Daddy is visiting with you in the hospital and I stayed home to be with Sydney. I have been celebrating your one-week birthday all day and I placed a birthday card on your incubator. Grandma Sally was with me today during our visit. Grandma Elaine was with Daddy earlier this evening as well.

In this past week we have learned about you, about premature babies and about a worry we never thought existed. In the past 7 days, we have cried about 35 times each, we have held you twice, we have watched you for 40 hours, we have talked about your for 80 hours, we have worried about you every second of every day and we've grieved over the loss of my pregnancy and wondered what you were going to look like when you grew up. Sydney has visited you twice. Just like any sister, she was interested in all the cords on the floor versus what you were doing. Sydney, as well as your dog Nick, knows something is up.

Everyone is very positive! You were taken off the respirator in 36 hours, you are on very minimal oxygen, you were taken off the antibiotic today, you are still underneath a bili-lamp and will be for a few more days to a week. You were moved from an open air warming table to an incubator in three days.

Watching you grow will be a lot of fun!! I just realized that feeling you grow inside was fun, but now I get to watch you grow on the outside. A few days ago I watched you suck on your first pacifier, I watched you get fed, you received your first bath and had your footprint placed on a birth certificate.

When I am at home, I get your breast milk ready and we freeze it for when you are ready to receive it. Just today you received your first breast milk. You get fed 3 cc every three hours. You seemed to like it.

February 1, 2001 - March 7, 2001

Jack since the day I last wrote the above paragraph we have watched you grow. Today you weigh 4 pounds 9 ounces. The doctors feel you will be coming home in about two weeks. I can't wait. It's been a long journey. Since February 1, 2001, we have visited you almost everyday. If the flu hadn't struck us, we would have had a perfect visitation record. We have watched you grow, yawn, be fed, changed and sleep. The progress you have made brings us joy and hope. You have gained about an ounce a day, different lines and tubes withdrawn and forgotten, one day you were wearing clothes, a week later you were placed in a big boy crib, the incubator is now an afterthought. Before we used to watch you in only a diaper, now you are buried in clothes and blankets with only your face peeking through.

We are hoping you'll come home in about two weeks. We are planning your arrival home and trying to bank as much sleep as possible. While you were in the hospital, your sister, Sydney celebrated her first birthday. We wished you were there to complete our family and our celebration.

Jack we are so lucky to have you and we hope and pray you'll be fine.

March 23, 2001 - We welcomed you home.

April 5, 2002

Jack you are now 14 months old, 22 pounds and walking!!! We are so thankful you are with us and we celebrate you every day! Right now you show no permanent signs of disability. We are working hard to get you to learn to eat something other than Similac, as in the past six months we have learned you are tactile defensive and are having trouble with any solid passing through the back of your throat. I know this will pass and our worries will be forgotten as a new worry takes its place.

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