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I am FINALLY HOME! I am typing this as I pump (for the third time in as many hours) and I am a milk producing MACHINE. This is ridiculous! Anyway, I can't wait to go through all the posts and find out which other babies have arrived! Congratulations mommies, I just breezed through and saw that Alexanderia and Luke are here! That's wonderful!
This past week has been REALLY REALLY LONG. I am so happy to be home although it breaks my heart that my little boy isn't here beside me. Here is the whole (ridiculously long) story. If you want to skip to the delivery, it's Part Deux.
Part One: What? NOW? Oh My God.
On Tuesday morning I saw McDreamy. I hadn't shown any growth in my fundal measurement, which wasn't great, but I was seeing the maternal-fetal specialist that afternoon so we didn't bother scheduling any more measurements or tests. That afternoon we saw the specialist and had a detailed ultrasound.
Baby was measuring 31 wks and should have been 34. His abdomen hadn't changed and was actually measuring 5wks small. Jack's weight was also measured at just under 3lbs, so he was very tiny. The maternal-fetal specialist called the OB at the hospital and told her what she'd found, and they had me come in right away. It was a whirlwind - I woke up Tuesday morning thinking it was another ultrasound, and by 3pm I was sobbing in the car as we rushed to the hospital. I was SO SCARED. Nobody could tell me what was going to happen when I got there, and the fact that they said it was so urgent terrified me.
We checked into maternity triage and were looked at by the OB. Jack was still kicking butt on the NST they administered there, but the OB told us that the baby was not doing well on the inside and that he would be safer on the outside. I knew this day was coming - we had been told after all that he would arrive early - but it still felt like a kick to the gut to actually hear it. The OB said that she expected him to arrive by the end of the week. I kept on crying (because, really, I hadn't stopped since we saw the specialist 5 hours earlier.)
I was admitted to the antepartum part of the maternity ward and was monitored on the fetal monitors more or less constantly. Jack showed occasional decels but they were minor so they just kept on monitoring me. I stayed in AP for three nights and spent my first night crying in bed, terrified for my baby. It was really hard. The next few days were hard - I was constantly hooked up to the fetal monitors, and couldn't go anywhere. We were in limbo - anytime baby showed a sign of stress on one test, he'd show a perfect score on the next one. On Thursday I had a BPP that showed that Jack was breathing constantly on the inside, which was a really good sign. On Thursday my BP also went the highest it has been so far - 151/100. I was given BP meds and told not to move (easy, since I was still strapped in to those rotten monitors.)
Being stuck on a fetal monitor really, really, REALLY sucks.
You do not need a nurse to run a fetal monitor - it's easy! I can do it! And now I know how to read them. I could read one in my sleep.
The sound of your baby's heartbeat is wonderful, until it goes down, then you will feel like you need to vomit.
Part Deux: The Defining Moment of Our Lives
On Saturday morning a different OB came in and said that baby was so close to 35 wks, was indicating that the risks of prematurity were low, and that they felt confident he'd do well if we delivered early. The plan was to induce me and try for a vaginal delivery so that baby could have pressure on his lungs and expel any extra moisture or mucus. But, if Jack showed any signs of distress then I'd go for a c-section. They gave me Cervidil at 9:30am and I was contracting by 11am. Jack did NOT enjoy my contrax unfortunately - his heartrate actually dipped to 50 twice in 10 minutes. I was shouting for DH to run and get the nurse, and when she came in and saw the monitors, started shouting for triage nurses to come and help. We were able to stabilize the baby quickly and removed the Cervidil, but the induction was obviously not going to work.
Twenty minutes later the OB came in as his shift was ending and explained my case to the new OB. At this point the Cervidil had pushed me into labor and I was contracting every 3 minutes. I was so scared but somehow zen, like I knew this baby was coming out one way or the other, and that the biggest moment of my life was right around the corner. The contractions were not painful, but they were intense. When the new OB found that I was still contracting the decision was made to send me for a c-section.
Everything went so fast! At 6:42 I walked into the OR and sat down for my spinal. I was cracking jokes with the nurses and my wonderful anesthesiologist (I seriously did not even feel the spinal.) She did such an incredible job, she talked me through the whole surgery and I was so glad she was there. I don't know what time they started cutting or anything, DH was there with me and holding my hand. I was very calm, which amazed me - I was so scared of a c-section, and my baby was in distress, and somehow I had gotten to a point where I just felt like it was all going to be okay. I don't know what time it was at but suddenly the OB said to me "Okay, Jilly, you're going to feel a lot of pressure on your chest now" and suddenly they were leaning on me, like there was a truck driving over my chest. It was over in a minute and suddenly I heard him - crying LOUD! He was born at 7:07pm.
I was so relieved I started to bawl. Hearing my baby cry was the most beautiful sound, I couldn't stop smiling and crying. DH jumped up to take photos of him and go meet him while they sewed me up. Jack was doing so great that they brought him to me and DH and I just stared at him. I can't begin to describe it - it was just mindboggling, this tiny beautiful person had come out of me. I was speechless and all I could do was laugh and cry. After about 5 minutes they took him to the nursery and the OBs finished sewing me up. The sewing up took a LOT LONGER than the cutting! I kept thinking to myself "Hurry up! I want to go see my baby! Sew faster!"
I was wheeled into recovery and was doing really great. After a half an hour I could move my feet, although I had a hard time feeling them. I could also bend my knees - the amount of anesthetic they gave me must have been perfect. A half an hour after surgery I was wheeled into the NICU to meet my son. He was under the heat lamps and the nurses let me hold him as well. He was amazing and perfect and TINY!
A c-section is seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY not a big deal. I was so scared during my whole pregnancy about having one and I had nothing to worry about. I was up and walking around 6 hours after my section, and all I am taking for pain is extra strength Tylenol.
Nursing staff are amazing people. I love them.
Part Three: The Coolest Guy I Ever Met
Jack Robert was born at 34wks 5days gestation. He weighed 3lbs exactly and measured 16" long. He was born at 7:07pm on March 22, 2008 via c-section. He cried immediately and was breathing on his own right from the start. His one minute apgar was 1, and his five minute apgar was 9.
In his first 24 hours Jack lost 95 grams (7% of his body weight) and then in his next 24 he only lost 15 grams (1%) so his weight loss, which is totally normal, is already slowing down and he is starting to gear up to gain weight. After 36 hours Jack tried his first sample of breastmilk from a nipple and did AWESOME!!! He is swallowing and sucking and breathing perfectly. He also loves his paci and feels much better when he has it and is swaddled up snugly. After 36 hours Jack was started on a 12ml trophic feed (12mls of breastmilk per kilogram of body weight per day) so he ate 1.2mls of breastmilk per sitting, every 2 hours. He did so well with it that they bumped him up to 20mls today! He is sucking back his meals like a champion. As soon as he gets to 100mls then his IV comes out! The doctors think he's going to hit 100mls in another 4 days or so and then his IV is out!
The temp in his baby condo has gone down by one degree already because he is starting to be able to keep himself warm. We have been able to do lots and lots of skin to skin care and cuddling, and he loves it. He also loves his pacifier and goes right to town when you offer it to him.
Jack will probably go home sometime between 36 and 37 wks. He needs to be able to breathe on his own (done like dinner!), and suck, swallow and breathe at the same time (also done! He needs a little more practice but he is loving it!) and maintain his body temperature. The doctors are guessing that he will go home between 36 and 37 weeks, which means that he has only 12 more sleeps and he will be home with me. But, he is doing so fantastic that we're cautiously allowing ourselves to get our hopes up that it will be even sooner than that!
NICU care is unbelievable. I love Jack's nurses.
Leaving my baby in NICU today was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, even though I know that he is under the best possible care and is doing so fantastic.
I have never been so madly in love in my entire life.
And now the good part: The pictures! This is just the beginning!