First day at UVA

We arrived at 4am. It was the strangest feeling that I cant even describe. I was nauseous walking into the hospital..nerves, just not knowing what to expect. We got up to the NICU and it was very very quiet..they showed us what to do when we come in(calling the desk and their scrubbing procedures) and then took us back to her bed. They explained that they were just trying to keep her stable and keep it very quiet. The charge nurse came over and said we could stay in the room in the back...so we got settled and laid down for a bit and then went and got breakfast. When we got back we talked to Dr Zanelli and different nurses. She told us that Bella was doing better than when she got here but we weren't out of the clear for ECMO. Around 9:30am the DR came and told us that things turned around and they had to do ECMO. We signed a few papers and they told us to go wait in the back room and they would come get us when the surgery was over. At 10:15 they came to talk to us and told us her SATS were back up but they were still going to do ECMO since she was so up and down. During the procedure one of the DRs and one of the nurses kept coming in our room to update us and eventually came to let us know the surgery went well. We were able to go back and see her and what a shock to see so many machines hooked up to our little baby girl.

The rest of the day was just a cycle of standing at her bedside for a little bit, going back to the room and crying, standing by her bedside, back to the room to cry...we were already so emotionally and physically exhausted


December 22nd-the beginning of a long nightmare

I tried to get some sleep but I was in so much pain that it was very difficult. I slept a few minutes here and there and kept waking up to make Bella was still breathing. The nurse came in around 1 or 2am while we were holding her and we mentioned she sounded a little funny...she had a grunting/whine going on and we were concerned. The nurse said "oh shes probably hungry, just feed her!" We now realize this was a huge mistake..however we didnt know so we just did what we were told. She ate and went to sleep. At 5am the lab tech came and woke me up to take my blood. She took a look at Bella and asked how long shes been breathing like that and I told her. She said "well she doesnt look ok you should get the nurse" So when she was done I hit the call button. She came in and took her right away and said shed be back. That was the last time I saw her for a while. 2 drs came in and said something was wrong with Bella. Our hearts dropped and we started to panic. Different drs and nurses kept coming in trying to explain to us what was going on...and they didnt know what happened and basically told us she was having trouble breathing & that winchester was on their way to pick her up. Ryon and I were scared out of our minds. MIL showed up for support while we waited...and waited....

One of the doctors from WVU maternity center came to look at me...all he did was walk in...say "ok you look ready to go" and that was that. Next winchesters Nurse Practitioner came in and went over what was going on and had to sign a transport consent and she said Bella was doing ok but she would still be going to WINC. She left to go help stabilize her and about 5 mins later they came in and said they needed to leave ASAP and we could go see her for a second before they took her.

Walking into the larger delivery room where they were was very scary...she was on the warmer...naked with about 5 people surrounding her working on her and breathing for her...she had a tube going in her umbilical cord. The look in her eyes was heartbreaking and we both lost it. We were able to touch her and tell her we loved her and then we had to leave. We got our things and cried our eyes out on the way to the car. We waited for the ambulance and drove behind it. About half way there it pulled over...I was shaking and so worried..i thought the worst thing imaginable happened. Later we found out they stopped to make sure the tube in her was still working. We ended up losing sight of the ambulance at one of the stop lights...and we didnt know where we were going. Just as we lost sight of the ambulance Tina(a girl from work) and her husband were on their way to the hospital for their appointment pulled up next to us and asked if that was our baby we were following) I was too distraught to talk but nodded and the light turned green and we were off... we ended up following them and they walked us up to the NICU since they were familiar with the hospital(THANK YOU GUYS)
We went into the waiting room and waited for them to get her settled. The doctor and NP came and talked to us several different times and explained her condition...at the time i didn't understand because I was just so emotional. We eventually got to go back and see her...VERY hard to see her that way. A few hours later Dr. Lee came into the waiting room and said we would have to make a decision.. that what they were doing was keeping her stable for the time being..but her condition wasnt improving and if she were to keep a heart/lung bypass(ECMO) she would need to be taken to UVA in Charlottesville..and it would be better to take her there while shes still stable than take her at the last minute. We said I dont care where you have to take her we just want her healthy. So he called UVA and they said they were sending an ambulance...so we went to spend some more time with her(she was in an incubator) so we just stared at her..and cried. A little while later they changed their minds and the helicopter was on its way...she would never survive that long bumpy drive. Just about 45 minutes later the NETS(Newborn Emergency Trasport System) RN came and talked to us and we signed more papers to transport her again. All I kept thinking was...IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?? The NETS team had to get her stable hooked up to their equipment. We got to go in and say bye to her and that was the last time we got to see her eyes. She was moving around a little and just staring at us. We tried to be stron and not let her see us upset but we couldnt help but be upset...I just wanted to pick her up and hold her and let her know she would be ok..instead I touched her hand and told her we loved her and we would see her soon. We rushed out to the car so we could watch her take off. Watching your baby fly away...especially in a helicopter scared me to death...i am terrified of helicopters and yet I was sending her away in one.

We went to the house to try and rest before we drove down to Charlottesville and around the time we got home the NETS RN called to let me know that they arrived safely. We hung out at home and rested for a little while and were planning on leaving around 6am. I woke up about 1am and got ready and let Ryon rest for a little bit longer then I got too restless and I said we've got to go....


Happy Birth day, Bella!

I had a doctors appointment scheduled for 11am to talk about being induced and they were going to check me to see how far along I was. As we all know things don't always go as planned. I woke up once during the night and then around 5am I shot up out of bed because something didn't feel right..like the baby just dropped. I ran to the bathroom and thought I had peed myself! (LOL) When it wouldn't stop I opened the door and yelled for Ryon.."honey, i think my water broke!" At my appointment on Friday I asked how long should i stay at home? She told me to try an stay home and just get comfortable..usually with the first its a long process. So I decided to take a shower and just get ready. I wasn't having any contractions so I thought I was okay. Once I got in the shower they started coming pretty quick! I wasn't timing them yet, just trying to breathe through them. When I got out of the shower I started timing them and they were every 3-5 minutes apart so I called the hospital and the nurse said..."yeah I guess you could come in here and we'll check you out" She seemed to have an attitude and this just made me angry! I decided I was going to take my time at this point. It was also cold out so I wanted to do my hair and put my make up on.. the contractions were really bad but i tried to do this in between them. Towards the end i was laying on the bathroom floor putting my make up on, huffing and puffing while i was having contractions. Ryon kept trying to get me out the door but i wasn't having it! Eventually he yelled at me, WE'VE GOT TO GO NOW! so I waddled my way to the door and boy was the car ride the longest 4 miles of my life. The ice on the roads made it so bumpy and hurt like hell.

We got to the hospital around 6:45am and there was a nurse holding open the elevator asking if I was OK and if i had time to go to registration.. of course I tried to put on a brave face and said oh ill be fine...while i was crying in pain. So we registered, which felt like forever.. and made our way upstairs. Once i got there and got a room and changed "the show" came and I felt like i couldn't move...I needed help getting from the bathroom to the bed and when the nurse check me she said "Oh honey you don't have time for an epidural, i feel nothing but hair!!" so she went running to get doctors and nurses and it was all a blur...like 6 or so people came running it..bright lights and noise. I was TERRIFIED, How on earth was I going to do this with no epidural!??!! this was my worst nightmare!!(or so I thought) About 30 minutes into pushing Dr. Baltierra showed up and stood in the back round until Dr Oglesby showed up(she was the Dr on call, however she just stood in the back round too..some Dr i don't even know delivered Bella) I was pushing when I had to so eventually they just let me do it on my own. 2 hours into it the doctors started to panic...this made Ryon really scared and they were screaming in my ear "Push..you need to push and save your baby!!" I just couldn't do it anymore.. my body wasn't having it and I felt so out of control...they tried to use the vacuum to get her out but I pushed with all my might 2 more times and she was out...

Bella Renae Blehr was born at 9:05am..weighing in at 7.56lbs and was 20in long.

They put her on me for a split second and then took her to the warmer and suctioned her and she let out a LOUD SCREAM(not just a cry) put a diaper on and laid her against my skin to get her temp up. I was on cloud 9...except for the fact that they were stitching me up--i don't think the local anesthesia worked! We were all so exhausted...myself, Ryon and MIL we just sat around and I held her for a while...staring at her sweet face. I wanted so bad for Ryon to hold her and eventually the nurse came back and swaddled her and they were both able to hold her. My heart melted seeing my husband hold our baby girl for the first time. He was so proud and so happy she was finally here and we were finally a FAMILY. The nurse then came in and asked when we wanted to have our stork dinner(a nice dinner for 2 with table cloth and drinks in wine glasses) So i said TONIGHT because I was SURE we were going to leave the next day by noon. It was very good..Ryon got the talapia with rice and veggies and I got the steak with baked potato and fruit. Mom, Joe and Aunt Brandon came to visit while Ryon and I ate our dinner. Eventually everyone left and we rested for a little. There was another woman in labor who got there before I did and so we didn't really see any nurses for a long time. One of the nurses finally came to get Bella and give her a bath around 7:30pm! Andy and Joy showed up around 8 but she was still MIA.. the nurse said she was under the warmer and would bring her in about 5 mins. She showed up about 40 mins later and they got to hold her for a few mins. Once they left I fed her and we all tried to get some rest....her first day flew by and we were getting closer and closer to going home!