Meredith Helen was here. Hubby and I had really only chosen a girl's name because we wanted a girl so badly. A few boy's names had been tossed around, but we really had not decided on one. This was before the days of knowing the gender of your child, so we had no idea if we were expecting a boy or a girl. My mother's name is Edyth and my maternal grandmother's first name was Mary and I put those two names together and changed the spelling to make Meredith. Hubby's mother's middle name was Helen so we used that to honor both grandmothers when naming our daughter.
The ensuing days were a total blur. Little information was given to me. I usually got my info from my husband or my mother in law, as the doctor who delivered Meredith, Dr. D, was also my MIL's doctor and she thought he hung the moon. My obstetrician was not on call that night. I have never been able to remember a whole lot about that time in my life. Because our baby girl was in such respiratory distress at birth, she was taken to the nursery after stabilization and not weighed or measured. We didn't know how much she weighed at birth until we got her birth certificate six weeks later. She weighed 4lbs., 6 ozs. I didn't know how long she was, 17 inches, until last summer, but that is for another post. I was never allowed in the nursery with her. My husband confided many years later that he was allowed in one night to be with her for a few minutes. Knowing that I had wanted that so badly, he was afraid I would be hurt if I knew that at the time. He touched her cheek, and she rooted for his finger and tried to suck it. He had guilt over that for many years thinking that she might have starved to death. I tried to explain to him that babies have that instinct, and she was probably being fed intravenously. Meredith was on a warmer bed, usually unclothed, facing the nursery window. She was placed quite a ways from the window and I couldn't see her features, her hair, anything about her up close. I remember feeling sorry for her, naked in front of whatever people looked in that window, with no family members to hold or comfort her. It broke my heart. For days after delivery, I was still bleeding quite a lot and I got faint if I stood too long, so I didn't get to look at her much. No nurse ever offered to get me a wheelchair so I could be pushed to the window to look at her, and I never thought about asking until it was too late.
Meredith's doctors said if she lived three days, she would be okay. We clung to that hope, waiting for that magical third day. I didn't get much attention from the hospital staff. Yes, meals were delivered, meds were brought, sheets were changed, but no one ever asked me how I felt about my premature daughter. No one ever sat down to encourage me to ask questions. It was like the doctor's office - hurry, hurry, rush, rush. The nurses kept giving me "iron shots" with a muffled explanation that I needed them. They hurt badly and both my hips were black and blue for over a year after her birth. I had visitors and that helped my spirits. Hubby sent flowers, as did my parents and several other people. I received get well cards and ONE congratulatory baby card that I totally cherish to this day. No baby gifts were sent, and one close family member told me after Meredith had passed that she would have sent me flowers in the hospital if the baby hadn't died, but she was waiting to see in case she had to send funeral flowers instead. I don't remember a lot from my days in the hospital, but I have never forgotten that.
Our baby girl trudged on and lived for three days. She had frequent blood drawn for blood gas analysis. I only knew that after I got the hospital bill and saw all the lab costs. Like I said, I was kept in the dark quite a bit about her condition. I really don't know a whole lot to tell about her medical treatment. She was said to have hyaline membrane disease, which I understood to mean that the air sacs in her lungs could not expand enough to take in air. Was she on a respirator? I honestly don't know. Early Sunday morning, October 6, Meredith turned three days old. I couldn't sleep for some reason, and I lay in the bed thinking, praying, and crying as her "birthday" came around. My light was on, and a nurse stuck her head in the door but didn't say anything before she closed the door. I finally drifted off to sleep around 3:30 am, not knowing that my baby lay dying right down the hall.