Our Precious Girls

Our Precious Girls

Monday, March 24, 2014


Libby's stay in the NICU at USACW is a time I would like to forget. The 12 days that she was there were the hardest days of my life. Every time I left her, I felt like my heart was being ripped out f my chest. It never got easier to leave our sweet girl there. I want to write about our experience so one day Libby will be able to know all she went through. The experience changed me as a person, wife, mom, and Christian. Cameron was my rock. He knew what to say, when to say it, and sometimes he didn't have to say anything at all. Libby was moved the morning after she was born. I was allowed to go see her, and there wasn't going to be anything keeping me from going. After having a c-section, I didn't know what to expect, but I'll just say it was the worst pain I've ever been through. With Ella and Emory, I was up and moving around an hour after they were born. Sections are no joke. I never dreamed I would have to have a section... It was definitely not in my birth plan. It didn't matter how Libby got here really... I'm just thankful she did.
Day 1

This is what I walked into the first time I visited Libby in the NICU. I was a basketcase from the second I walked in and continued to have meltdowns until we left. The nurses were amazing. They answered questions and were so just so sympathetic and sweet. Cam and I had a million questions and they answered each of them without seeming to be bothered. On day 1, her oxygen had to be turned up and they did an x ray that showed one of Libby's little lungs wasn't working. Libby also had problems with her blood sugar. She had to be given an IV in her hand and was given medication to help with her blood sugar. They felt like the blood sugar would work itself out... We weren't too concerned about that, but the lung was now the problem. The neonatal doctor told us that one of your lungs wasn't developed and Libby was very sick. I didn't like hearing that one bit.  He told us that we would have to wait and see how she did and she might have to go on a ventilator or have a chest tube, but that was the worst case scenario. I didn't understand how Libby could be so perfect on the outside but so sick? Many people began praying for our sweet girl, and when I tell you that they were felt, they were, without a doubt. I'm from a small town in a small county and I'm pretty sure that everyone in Aliceville was praying for Libby and for us. 

Day 2

On Sundays, siblings 5 and over could go back and see the babies. I quickly regretted taking Ella back. It was too much for her. Pops, Jeje, Sassy, and Emmy all got to meet Libby that day. Pops and Sassy left going home. That was hard. I've never been so sad to see my daddy leave. I knew he would stay if I asked him to, but he knew Libby  was right where she needed to be and so did I. Libby stayed about the same that day.

Day 3

This was a rough day. Libby had to be intubated and had a picc line put in. A picc line is an kind of IV that they could take blood from and give meds through. Her veins were so tiny, all the places they placed an IV blew. So they shaved part of her head and it was placed in her head. The tube was hard to see, because it was obvious Libby couldn't breathe without it. This was one of the worst days of her stay.

Days 4-5
These two days were mainly just letting her rest on the ventilator and letting that lung heal. She had a procedure twice where they had to put a needle through her little chest and draw air from around the lung. After doing this twice, and it not getting better, they told us she might have to get a chest tube. It was the worst news to us because they told us this was the worst case scenario.
Day 6

Things started looking better, she got her tube out....goodbye ventilator! It was a good day. We were so excited! She still had the chest tube but it was working, PRAISE THE LORD!
Day 7
There wasn't much change on day 7... She started opening her sweet eyes... She also came off all IV fluids so she started looking less swollen and more like a baby. It was a beautiful thing to see her with her eyes open! 

Day 8
This day was the best because we got to hold our sweet girl. I casually asked her nurse (who I went to college with, small world) when we would get to hold her and she said,"You haven't held her yet? Well you can right now!" Of course it was the morning I rolled out of bed and went with no makeup and looking pretty awful! I didn't care! It was an amazing feeling to hold her. I felt like I was going to make it now that I had held her. My heart seemed  to be more complete than ever when I held her. Life was getting better and better. God was showing us that our girl was a fighter.... She had come so far! 

 Day 9
Chest tube came out! She was still on a canula but she was requiring no oxygen. 
We never asked when she would get home... They were pretty confident she would be there for 2 weeks at least. 

Look at this perfect face... They were changing her canula out and I snapped a pic. The big bandage on her chest is where the chest tube was. 

Day 10
Her lungs were looking great and no sign of infection. She also started taking bottles on this day... She took the first one like a champ and never looked back. 

Day 11
The only thing that I remember from this day is when the nurse practitioner told me we could possibly take her home tomorrow.... If she didn't have any heart rate drops that night. I was a nervous wreck.... This news came out of the blue.... We weren't expecting it at all... She also was moved to a crib on this day and to another pod where the stable babies are. Hooray! It was February 18... Emory's 3rd birthday! What a great present! 

Look no canula! She looks like a real baby!

Day 12
This was D-day....She had to pass her car seat test before she was released. Look how tiny she looks... She passed with flying colors. 

 We headed home and things haven't slowed down a bit. I can't say that I ever want to step foot in that hospital again, but I will say that there are amazing doctors and nurses there that I will forever be grateful for. The people that work in that hospital are angels...  No doubt about it. They have between 70-100 babies at a time. Absolutely blows my mind.... 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Libby's Arrival

Elizabeth Claire Craker made a very dramatic entrance into this world. It's taken me almost a month to sit down and type this. I had been on bed rest since January 11th. My doctor had me coming in every Tuesday and Friday. I would have non-stress tests both days and ultrasounds on Fridays. My blood pressure had been getting higher and higher and I felt worse every day. The plan was for me to hopefully make it until February 24. On Thursday, February 6th, Jeje came down for the weekend. Cameron had a tournament in Birmingham and was leaving Friday afternoon. Thursday night I woke up and felt horrible. I was cramping, felt sick, had a headache, and just felt "off."  I finally went to bed around 2 a.m. The next morning, I got up, got the girls ready for school, and mom and I headed to the dr. I thought she would enjoy seeing Libby on the ultrasound. When I went in for my ultrasound, the tech looked a little concerned. Libby wasn't moving, her heartbeat was all over the place, and I had almost no fluid. She was also breech. She tried over and over to make her move and remeasured to try to get a better fluid reading, but it wasn't happening. The tech didn't let me know that Libby wasn't looking good. Baby girl was stressed, and she had to be delivered ASAP. I waited in the room for my dr. and when she walked in, she put her hand on my leg and said,"What do you think about having a baby today?" I just burst into tears....did the ugly cry....she told me she felt like I had developed preeclampsia, Libby wasn't looking good, and it was time for her to come out. She promised me that there was much more harm leaving her in than taking her. I tried to call Cameron but had to give the phone to mom. She told him to get there ASAP. Over the next hour, I was rolled in a wheelchair to L&D,  prepped for a c-section, and at 12:23, Libby was born. She looked great, came out screaming, and we were hopeful that her lungs were developed at 34 weeks. They thought she might be 37 weeks, because she always measured 3 weeks ahead. She weighed 6 pounds and 8 ounces and was 20 inches long. She also had a TON of dark hair.  There were about 14 people in the OR... Doctors, nurses, neonatal doctors, I don't even know who all the people were. It happened so fast. They took her away pretty quickly and Cameron and mom went with her. I remember laying there wondering what in the world just happened? She seemed to be perfect.....breathing ok, things were looking good! About 2 hours after she was born, she started requiring some oxygen and was put under an oxygen tent. She was also having some issues with her blood sugar. 

As ready as I was going to be... About to be rolled back for surgery. 
First picture of sweetness
Under the oxygen tent 
The big sisters 
They told us there was a chance she would have to be moved to the NICU at Children and Women's. It wasn't what we were expecting or wanted, obviously. It would just depend on her and how she did. At 5 the next morning, they came in and told us that they were having to move her and a transport team was on the way. I thought I would die when I heard this. My heart was broken. I hasn't even held her yet and now they are telling us she is getting worse and needs more medical attention than they can give her. 
Our first picture together... On her way to USACW. 
The next 12 days is going to have to be another blog. It's hard to think back and remember what a trying and terrible time that was.