Recently my youngest turned six and I started to remember what we went through when he entered into the world. First let me go back to my oldest.
Mr. E was born 3 days pasthis due date. Labor came on naturally and we had to time it just right to reach the hospital if we wanted to be there for the birth. Travel to the nearest hospital required a one-hour ferry ride and a good thirty minutes of combined driving. We had a midwife we were working with and as labor progressed we stayed in touch and made our plans. We were all set to take the first ferry in the morning. Knowing I might not eat for a while, my dear sweetie made me a healthy breakfast to keep me going. I managed to keep it down until we were in line waiting to take our ferry. Contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and we still have a good hour before reaching the hospital. Each contraction caused me to heave. The midwife arranged with us to meet on the ferry and do a quick exam in the restroom. Oh so glorious that exam! I still ride on that boat on occasion and every single time I have flashbacks. I waddle into the handicap stall and drop my pants and put one foot up on the toilet while midwife is poking around. Apparently, labor was further along than expected and there was a risk of the birth happening before the ferry would arrive on the other side. Not a desired event, the midwife has me walk off the ferry and wait while she heads into a small shop to find a phone. She starts calling around looking for a pilot willing to fly us over rather than use the ferry. Meanwhile the hubs had to stay with the car and the ferry workers have to pull the boat out and turn it around so he can drive back off and get me to the airport. While I’m standing there waiting for the car my bladder blessed the birth. At first wondered if my water had broken but no, I peed myself. A pilot is found, the car is off the boat and the midwife is getting her car off as well. We drive the 20 minutes to the airport. It’s dark, cold and raining. I almost refused to get into the plane after seeing it. It was older and the access required me climbing up onto the wing and then into the back. I managed to do it. The flight was uneventful and we got the hospital without any issues. I couldn’t stop heaving so I went for the drugs. Labor just about stopped. We finally had him that evening. All healthy and everything went well. All through my pregnancy I felt great. No major issues. No cravings. I kept saying that I had wished I had a story to share but then I thought OK the birth was a story!
Then came time for Mr. C to arrive. His due date was around the holidays so we wanted to be prepared in case we needed a flight off again. Turns out it was almost impossible to find someone willing to fly a laboring woman off around the holidays. Due to this, I was nervous and we decided to induce labor. It was only about three days prior to the estimated due date so it was safe. Again I had a great pregnancy. I had only about two weeks of “morning sickness” which was extreme, but then it was gone. Nothing of note. Healthy pregnancy, health baby on the way.
Induction starts, and labor hit fast. I was already partly dilated so my body was already prepared for the process. I was not prepared for the contractions to be constant. For one to start again as one tapered off. It was intense! After 8 hours start to finish we had another beautiful baby boy in our family. That’s when the “story” started. My husband kept friends and family posted on things and his words are wonderful. The following is the story from his point of view, only edited for privacy issues.
“December 31: Labor and delivery were perfect but, about 10 minutes after he was born, it was noticed that he wasn’t getting pink like he should have been. His lungs were clear and sounding good but his heart was racing at 200 beats/min and his oxygen was around 50% instead of 98% like it should have been.
It was decided to send him via helicopter to [the] Children’s Hospital where specialist could provide better care.
Brianna had to stay in the hospital to recover so, my dad and I drove [and arrived] at 1:00 am. We stayed overnight here in one of the family sleeping rooms.
C arrived around 2:30am and, this morning, the doctors told us that he has a pronounced murmur in his heart but, it’s not due to congenital heart disease or any structural defect as was initially thought. The problem is that one side of his heart is not functioning as it should. They have no ideas yet as to why and I’m not going to speculate. We expect to hear more later today.
Brianna is now on her way here with her sister. She is fine physically, though we’re all a little ragged emotionally.
This evening C is doing much better. The doctors removed his respirator this afternoon, replacing it with an oxygen tube that goes under the nose, and they removed that this evening. So, he’s breathing room air on his own now which is a huge advancement. His vital signs are in the normal range for now and it’s a relief to now hear alarms going off all the time. Many of the monitoring devices were removed this evening too and he’s being given nutrients and vitamins intravenously. We’re very happy about that because, until now, he’s never had any nourishment and he’s been very, very unhappy. Though he’s not allowed to eat anything, he’s quiet and sleeping right now, likely because he’s not so hungry. (He’s
not allowed to nurse because eating and digesting are very energy-intensive and the doctors don’t want any extra load on his heart.)
We’re still waiting for lab results on liver-function and checking for viral infections so, we’ll likely be here through the weekend.
Jan. 2: Today was a pretty good day. C was allowed to nurse today which was a relief to us all. He’s off of his blood pressure meds as well as the nutritional IV – he gets all his food from Mom now. Tomorrow, he may get transferred out of the NICU into the complex care unit. That means that he gets to sleep in a crib and we get to sleep in the room with him. We’re still going to be here through the weekend since several of the tests won’t be ready until Monday. They are also waiting on lab work from the hospital he was born in. He has gained an ounce since he was born with is wonderful. However, he’s starting to look a little jaundiced which is worrisome – they’ll evaluate that later. Also, he still has unequal blood pressure between the upper and lower parts of his body. But his toes and fingers are warmer which is a good sign.
Today C got moved out of the NICU into an isolation room. The room is still part of the NICU but it means that they feel he’s doing better. We’re under the supervision of the cardiology department now.
He’s not sick with one of the viruses they suspected would cause heart trouble. But, were in this room because they are still waiting for the rest of the infectious diseases tests to come back. He’s still jaundiced and is just on the edge of needing treatment for that. They will run tests tomorrow to see if he’s improved. We *may* be able to go home tomorrow but it is still uncertain. There are some tests that haven’t come back and may not until after we come home. I just hope that they release us in enough time to catch the last ferry at least. Once nice little perk we have now is that we can sleep in the room with C. We’re happy about that.
Jan 3: Great news. The cardiologist came in this morning and, after listening to C’s heart, told us that he could see no reason why we couldn’t go home today. His jaundice is better and no longer an issue and all the test and exams show that his heart is improving spontaneously – something that they don’t know why. Granted, we have to come back in a month for a follow-up and he need to be monitored by his pediatrician, but for all intents and purposes, he’s healthy enough to go home! This is a long way from the terrifying drive to the hospital while he rode in a helicopter.
Just an update… we’re actually not going to make it home tonight. C’s bilirubin count was 17 and its borderline for a newborn so they want to put in under photo-light treatment to help bring that number down so that his jaundice goes away. Since early this morning we’ve been told that we’ll be able to go home today, even his cardiologist said that he saw no reason to hold us. So, needless to say, we’re very disappointed. He could have gone home today but we’d have to guarantee that he could see his pediatrician tomorrow (can’t check on a Sunday) and, if his levels were high, come back here right away. Since we have to deal with ferries, we elected to stay, rather than deal with two extra 4+ hour trips.
We’ll be here one more night and, this time, we’re not going to believe that we’re going home until we start signing papers.
Jan. 4: We get to go home today! The attending cardiologist did a final check and gave us her blessing.
I signed the papers and am about to take bags to the car. Couldn’t be happier.”
I love that the hubs kept everyone in the loop and we had an amazing outpouring of love, support and help. I know many parents have a story. This was ours. Today C is a healthy happy ‘quirky kid’ full of strength and energy. What we went through was rough, and I know of those who have had it worse, but I am grateful each day that he fought through. I love my boys and despite the ‘issues’ we are facing with them; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. These boys are so special!