Randall's Birth Story
Posted On Thursday, May 05, 2011 by Patty
Â Randallâ€™s Birth
My story begins with a hospital stay of 33 days beginning at 27 weeks gestation before my 5th and final babyâ€™s birth. I once again was put on bed rest for preeclampsia, a dangerous disorder of pregnancy that includes a rise in blood pressure, protein in the urine and usually swelling, visual disturbances and headaches. It can be very serious with a risk of maternal stroke or seizure and growth retardation or placental abruption for the unborn baby.
I was very upset the day my midwife told me to go to labor and delivery to be checked out for PE once again. I had spent 3 weeks on hospital bed rest and delivered my last little boy at 34 weeks due to the same condition. She would not promise that I would not be kept for the duration again, so I was very distraught pulling out of the driveway and watching my 2 year old Raleigh playing in the yard so happy not knowing that it might be some time before his mommy was home again.
Of course they decided to keep me once I got there. They wanted to do a 24 hour urine test and said depending on the results I could either go home or stay until I had to be delivered. The results came back at around 600 (300 diagnoses PE) which were not that high but high enough for me to be kept in the hospital and receive steroid shots for the baby that now looked to be born premature. At only 27 weeks I was terrified, I had wanted to avoid the NICU completely this time and I was way, way too early.
I begged to go home just for a few days, I had a term paper and a final that had to be done for my community college classes and my 9-year old son had a school trip to Washington DC that I needed to get him packed for, but they said it was too dangerous for me to leave the hospital. I managed to handwrite my term paper and get a classmate to type it and had my sister-in-law read me the questions and type in the answers for my final on-line test. I even resigned myself to letting my husband pack for my little boyâ€™s trip but the stress of having so much unfinished business at home was crushing. The worst part was leaving my 2-year old. The older kids had been through this before when I had him so they understood what was going on but he was too little to understand if I was ever coming home or not. He had still been nursing to go to sleep at night and I know the abrupt separation was traumatic for him. My 12-year old Seth called me the first few nights with Raleigh crying not wanting to go to sleep (of course DH never wakes up when children cry, never has). I had to get on the phone and talk and try to calm him down until he went to sleep.
The doctors got me on some blood pressure medicines that seemed to stabilize me for a while, aldomet and procardia, but they made me very sleepy. I thought I was going to make it to 34 weeks for a while but that was not to be. On Sunday May 4, they came in and told me not to eat that my pressures had been spiking and that they might have to deliver that day. Thankfully, they subsided and I got a few more days. I had a terrible headache that night but I refused to tell them I wanted to avoid any reason for delivery and a severe headache (which indicates fluid in the brain) is a sign of preeclampsia getting worse so I suffered it out. I did everything I could to avoid being delivered. I tried to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. I refused to let anything from the outside world get on my nerves. I even ignored my husbandâ€™s nonsense. I wanted the baby to grow big and strong. I ate every bite of food on my hospital tray everyday (whether I liked it or not) to try to help him grow. I even ate the damn butter packs when there was nothing to put butter on. I couldnâ€™t bear the thought of him being too small.
On May 6th the doctors came in to talk to me again, they said I was on the maximum amount of medicine that was safe and that if my blood pressure went up any more I would have to be delivered. I had been testing +4 on the urine strips for a few days now and they wanted to repeat the 24 hour urine test. They said anything over 5000 would be cause for immediate delivery (mine ended up being 13,000). They were also concerned that if I had an emergency complication like a placental abruption that they would not be able to get the baby out quickly since this was my 4th c-section. I asked them if using a classical incision would help but they said no it would still take a lot of time. I wanted to fight them on delivery but I knew I was getting sicker. My urine was very scant now almost non existent so I know my kidney function was getting worse. I finally told them if the 24-hour urine was bad we would deliver even though I would prefer waiting as long as possible.
We didnâ€™t even get to wait for the results of the test the next morning because my condition began to crash that night before. I was suddenly nauseous and felt like I was going to vomit. The nurse came in and gave me a dose of phenergan but I was still not feeling well. My blood pressure was spiking up again, she called the doctors and they said to start an IV and administer some IV blood pressure meds to try to bring it under control. They also started the mag sulfate and said it was now too risky to continue and that I was having my baby first thing in the morning. That was a long night all by myself in the hospital scared out of my mind that things were going badly and trying to psych myself up for surgery the next morning.
Luckily, my husband was able to get the kids on the bus for school and get down to the hospital in time to see Randall born. The section was not too bad as sections go though I did have one of those weird electric shocks down my leg when they were putting the spinal in my back. It also took forever to sew me up and they had to mess around quite a bit with my bladder running sterile milk in it(which is now used in place of dye) to make sure there was no leaks from scar tissue. But, Randall was delivered just fine, his apgars were 8 and 8 and he looked so bright-eyed and healthy the first glimpse I had of him. He was born at 9:51am on May 7th and was 3 lbs 11oz.
The worst part was not getting to see him again for 24 hrs because I had to stay on the IV mag. There is nothing like trying to use a breast pump with big floppy boobs with an IV in one arm, a blood pressure cuff going off every 15 minutes on the other arm and a catheter in your bottom where you canâ€™t move. When I got all that junk off of me, I made it to the NICU to discover he was all hooked up to tubes and breathing apparatus and I did not even get to hold him for the first 4 days of his life. I got him in my aching arms May 11th, Motherâ€™s Day, for about 5 minutes. It was the best present I could have imagined.
He was in the NICU 25 days. He had RDS (respiratory distress syndrome) and both his little lungs collapsed and he had to have chest tubes on each side. He was on a ventilator for the first few days and I was out of my mind with insanity and grief that he was not going to survive. His lungs collapsed the same night a tornado came through our area. It was so surreal. My Dad passed away 10 years ago coincidentally the last time a major tornado was in our area and that was all I could think was here I was facing another death in the midst of a tornado. The next morning my DH wheeled me out of the hospital for some fresh air and there was a baby bird dead on the sidewalk blown out of its nest by the storm. It was a low point for me and I was in so much fear I can't even describe.
Then when it looked as if he was finally getting better and his lungs were healing he developed necrotizing entercolitis or inflamed intestines. He was put on complete bowel rest, antibiotics and IV feedings for 10 days. It was a major blow to me being such an ardent breast feeder not to be able to nurse my new baby for that long. I had only been able to attempt to nurse him twice up that point because of the chest tubes. Luckily the NEC resolved with no long lasting problems. He is home with me nursing like a champ now, though he is still very sleepy and has a weak suck. Overall, he is doing great for a preemie. I am just so thankful to have come through this experience with a baby bird who is finally ready and able to fly.