How it all began........

It all began around August 8th 2002. I awoke to find my membranes had ruptured. We immediately went straight to the hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center. They confirmed that my water had broken and that I had started to dilate. I was administered a
steroid injection (Celestone) to help mature the baby's lungs and also an antibiotic for infection. The Neonatologist came and spoke to us about all the possible things the baby could have wrong with her, and what she would endure in the NICU stay. It was hard on the young doctor who was speaking with us, and you could tell he did not want to be there. I ended up going into labor on august 10th. The nurse had come in and asked if I had felt any pain, and I did not. I thought it was the baby moving. It turned out to be contractions. They got more and more painful. Before long, they were unbearable. They checked me and her legs were coming out. The nurses began panicking and telling my parents to get out of the way, and quickly wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. Within minutes, I was put under anesthesia and about 10 minutes later, at 1:23pm my baby girl was born. Robert had just left to get some lunch and was not there when they wheeled me away. My baby weighed 603 gms and was 11 1/2 inches long. Her apgar scores were 1 & 6.
Not imagining we had to name our baby so soon, Robert and I thought of some names and agreed she would be called Gillian Autumn Christopherson. Her actual due date was November 30th. She was 17 weeks early. Dr Rudolf told me right away that he could make no guarantee, and that she had a 50/50 chance. Gillian was immediately put on a ventilator right after birth. I remember Dr Rudolf telling me it took them a while to get her set up. They had an NICU team there during the birth and took her right away. I was not able to see her until the following night. After I saw her for the first time, I was depressed. It was the most horrible thing I had ever seen. She was so tiny, the size of a pencil. She had all kinds of wires hooked to her, and I could barely see her. Her eyes were fused shut. I remember talking and seeing her arm kind of wave around... the nurse told me that she recognized my voice, and I was able to touch her. I went back later that night to see her again. I told myself that I had to do it, despite how depressing it was. It took alot of effort too, as I was in horrible pain. The second visit was a bit better,and I was able to talk to some of the doctors who were making rounds that night. They had a nurse at her side, Jayme, who ended up being one of her primary nurses. This was the beginning of our 4 1/2 month NICU journey.

Born on 8/10/2002
weight: 603 grams (1lb 5 oz)
Length: 11 1/2 " long
This is her with her brother, she was approx 2 weeks old in this photo.

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