At that point, they didn’t know if they would have time to give me a spinal block, or if I was going under general anethesia (under general, Chris would not be allowed to be there with me). The operating room was so bright and shiny and clean. There were so many people in there bustling about: my doctors (there were two who were going to do the surgery), my nurses, the anesthesiologist, the neonatologist, the NICU nurses, and who knows how many others! My modesty was completely out the window! I was still bleeding all over the place and my bare bottom was out there for what seemed like the whole world to see. Fortunately, there was time for the spinal block, so Chris was brought into the operating room and sat right next to me.
Surgery began at 8:36pm and at 8:40 Mina Kathryn was born! She opened her eyes, and she even cried! The NICU team got her ventilated and gave her a shot of sufectrant to help her breathing (as was standard procedure in a preemie), and my doctors finished putting me back together. Mina was 2 lbs 6 oz and 13 1/2 inches long. They said she was a very good size for a 27 weeker, and the NICU nurses said she was feisty! (Well, duh, I AM her mother). She was doing very well initially. The very next day she was off the ventilator and on CPAP, which is essentially breathing on her own. I spent all day in the NICU, and we had some wonderful nurses. Mina was able to grasp my finger with her tiny hands, and every 4 hours I would take her temperature, change her (teeny tiny) diaper, etc.
On Friday afternoon they inserted her PICC line which is kind of like an IV, but it goes to right above the main artery. This is where they can feed her, give her medicines, as well as draw blood, rather than poking her every time. Friday evening the neonatologist called my hospital room to say that she was showing signs of RDS or “preemie lung disease” which is very normal in preemies, and so they had to re-ventilate her, he made it sound like this was completely normal and expected.
On Saturday morning when I arrived at the NICU the same doctor met me at the door and I knew that was not good. Throughout the night her breathing had continued to deteriorate (they had the oxygen turned all the way up to 100 from “room air” which is 21 over the course of an hour) and eventually (some 12 or so hours later) they determined that it wasn’t preemie lung disease as first suspected, but that her PICC line was flooding her chest cavity with the IV fluids rather than going into her veins where it was supposed to go. All the fluid was putting pressure on her lungs which is why she had been having such a hard time breathing. They pulled the PICC line and drained the fluid from her chest area, but at that point she did not look well. When Chris arrived from home we called Pastor Jackson and he came immediately to baptise her. On Sunday we had a different doctor who was a little less optimistic. She said that most preemies who suffered the trauma that whe went through would not still be alive. With her oxygen levels down so low for so long she may have suffered brain damage. The doctor said that we needed to see Mina becoming more responsive. Since Friday night she hadn’t been responsive at all, not even to grasp my finger. And her skin was very sallow, rather than the bright red she had been. On Monday Mina was very puffy, and not peeing at all. She had little to no responsiveness and very little muscle tone.
On Tuesday morning when I arrived at the NICU I took one look at her and knew she wasn’t going to make it. I told the nurses I wanted to hold her (for the first time!) and they were very accomodating (maybe I should have been worried that they were so accomodating at this point). My friend, Lorina was there with me, until Chris and Grace arrived. Mina’s heartrate was very low and they weren’t even able to get a reading on her blood pressure. The oxygen was still turned up all the way. Our favorite doctor, Dr Golden, was back on shift that day and told us that her kidneys had shut down, and her liver and heart were suffering drastically as well. He said that if all those major systems had been damaged by the trauma on Friday night that her brain most likely had too. This was obvious to us just by her lack of responsiveness since then. He told us that the only thing keeping her alive was the ventilator. Chris’ mom brought Camden from school and we took Mina to a private room where we all got a chance to hold her and spend time together as a family of five before she passed away. I am so grateful that time.
Our precious baby girl, Mina Kathryn, left us February 24th, 2009, at 2:10pm. She is now our angel in Heaven with her Nana Bev and Uncle Pete. We feel so blessed to have known her, even for a little while.