Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Miracle Baby's Birthday

I can't believe it's been a year since the crazy, scary night that changed my life forever. When going through this whole ordeal, I never really got emotional. I knew that God was in control and that everyone was praying for us. I think I only cried twice - the day my parents drove off with my boys, and another day on bedrest when I felt lonely b/c everyone wanted to let me rest and nobody wanted to "bother" me, when I wanted nothing more than to be bothered. As time has gone on, reality has set in a little more. I have seen other babies born around 24 weeks and seen similar stories on TV and I realize how truly blessed we are that everything turned out okay for us. When I hear my sister in law tell the story from a L&D nurses perspective, I realize how serious things really were.

A few months ago I wrote everything down so I wouldn't forget the details. I know I'm leaving out a ton but it's long enough as it is!

July 24, 2011


July 24, 2012


***It has been 4 months since Carter was born, and I have wanted to write his story for a long time now, but between work, school, and 3 kids I haven’t really had a ton of time ☺ So here goes, from the beginning – it is super long but I wanted to include most of the details so I have it all written down somewhere.

So I realized I was pregnant on a Friday night in January. I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of weeks and kept telling Rubin I was “in a funk”, and then all of a sudden the realization hit me and I knew baby number 3 was on the way. Once we got over the initial shock excitement quickly set in. I woke up on Sunday morning and was bleeding, so I was immediately concerned. I texted a friend who had recently gone through a miscarriage and she told me that it sounded like that’s what was happening to me. It stopped pretty quickly so I opted to call the dr instead of going to the ER…Mon was Martin Luther King Day so they got me in first thing Tues and everything looked fine so my mind was eased for the time being.

Things seemed fairly normal throughout the pregnancy – I was tired and miserable – but I think I just had an intuition that something wasn’t going to end right…I was coaching a Special Olympics softball team and made sure that I had an extra coach that would be able to take over “in case something happened and I couldn’t make it through the season”. Rubin and I were planning a family vacation for July and I had gotten approval from the dr to be able to travel as long as things were going normally at that time, but I held off telling the kids about it or booking the hotel “just in case” something went wrong and we had to cancel. I didn’t want to get their hopes up and then disappoint them. Rubin wanted to “get fixed”, but I kept telling him to wait in case I had to have a c-section b/c then I could just get my tubes tied while they were in there.

On Weds night, June 1, I had to work until 9:30 pm and was feeling perfectly fine. Thursday morning (my day off) I got Brayden off to school and was hanging out on the couch with Cameron when he asked for some juice. I stood up and walked into the kitchen and felt something running down my leg. My initial reaction was that I was peeing my pants, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case, so I then was afraid that my water had broken. I went to the bathroom and realized that I was bleeding….badly. I ran into the other room and grabbed Cam and threw him in the car, thought to grab a towel to put in the seat, and drove myself across the street to the hospital (seriously – I live 0.2 miles from the hospital). I called Rubin on the way there and told him not to freak out, but he of course did and immediately left work to head over to the hospital.

At this point I was 24 weeks and 3 days along in my pregnancy, so everyone in the ER freaked out. There were probably 20 people in the room and most of them were just staring at me while the main dr and nurse were yelling to get an ultrasound machine in the room right away. Meanwhile Cam is hanging out in the hallway with a nurse eating a popsicle, and Rubin is on his way there receiving frantic phone calls from the hospital, one being from the hospital chaplain. They couldn’t find a fetal heartbeat b/c my heart rate was so elevated they weren’t able to tell the difference. Everyone was freaking out and the faces on the looks of the people in the room were not comforting, yet I was completely at peace. I had felt him kick me and knew he was okay but nobody wanted to listen. I was more concerned at this point that I had ruined my favorite pair of pants (this was probably because I was a little delirious from all of the blood loss).

They finally got an ultrasound machine in the room and were able to figure out that everything looked okay and the bleeding had stopped for the time being and sent me up to labor and delivery. Once I was upstairs they started pumping me with some drug that was supposed to speed brain development and started the steroid shots for his lungs. They told me that I could start bleeding again at any moment – it could be in a few hours, days, or weeks, but that chances are it would happen again. The NICU doctor came and talked to me about the chances of survival if Carter was to be born that day, and they weren’t good – somewhere around 40%. He listed all of the possible things that could be wrong with him if he was born early and did survive….not the easiest thing to hear.

I was then visited by a MFM specialist who did another ultrasound and told me that in addition to having a partial placental abruption and placenta previa, it looked like I also had a rare condition called vasa previa. He couldn’t tell for sure because of a blood clot blocking his view, but said that if he was right then I would most likely be hospitalized until the baby was born. Either way I was looking at bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy, which is not something you want to hear when you have a 6 yr old and 2 yr old at home. He did another ultrasound on Monday and decided that it didn’t look as bad as he initially thought and they let me go home on strict bedrest, but only because I live so close to the hospital and could get there quickly.

I went back about a week later only to find out that I definitely did still have vasa previa – a vein covering my cervix that supplied the baby’s blood. It is very rare and very dangerous. I was told that if I started bleeding again, it most likely would be blood from the baby and not me, which meant that he would be drained pretty quickly of his blood and need a transfusion immediately. If I went into labor and the vein ruptured, they would only have minutes to get Carter out of me or things would not end well. Because they knew I had vasa previa, they were planning to do a c-section around 34 weeks to minimize the chance of me going into labor. The plan was to keep me at home as long as possible and then admit me to the hospital closer to time for delivery, or if things started looking worse.

My parents generously offered to take Brayden and Cameron for a few weeks, and although it was hard to be away from my boys for that long, it definitely made following doctor’s orders much easier. I had weekly doctors appointments that I looked forward to because I was able to leave the house. Those weeks of bedrest were absolutely brutal – I felt so useless and cut off from the rest of the world, but I knew that I was doing what needed to be done. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Facebook and HGTV – and I think this is when I discovered Pinterest ☺ There were SOO many people praying for us and I knew we were in good hands.

At one of my appointments, they decided that they were going to admit me at 32 weeks and keep me in the hospital until they decided to do the c-section at 34-35 weeks. I was set up to be admitted on Monday morning, so had of course planned to wait until Sunday to pack and do everything that needed to be done. And then it happened….

I woke up at 2 am Sunday morning to go to the bathroom, as pregnant women do, and started bleeding again. I yelled for Rubin and we made a very quick decision that I needed to get myself to the hospital asap and we didn’t have time to get the other 2 boys out of bed. I grabbed another towel, ran downstairs, got in the car, and drove myself across the street to the hospital. He called his parents to try and get someone to the house to stay with the other boys so he could go be with me. Once I got to the hospital (about 1 minute away), the nurses responded immediately. They got me in a wheelchair and upstairs super fast, and quickly started looking for the heartbeat. I was NOT calm this time around because I knew the danger of the situation and literally thought that my baby was dying as I was lying there. All I could do was pray over and over “Lord, please let my baby be okay”. I was terrified. Once they found the heartbeat, they didn’t tell me what it was but I knew it wasn’t good because I was immediately rushed into the OR.

I woke up a couple hours later to find out that Carter was in the NICU and was okay, and that I ended up having a hysterectomy. They got him out of me pretty quickly and easily but then couldn’t stop my bleeding – my placenta had grown through my uterus and they couldn’t get it out. They kept calling Rubin but he wasn’t there yet so they just decided they had to take my uterus out to save me and stop the bleeding. When it was all said and done I had 6 units of blood and 2 plasma transfused back into me, and my blood levels were still below normal.

The whole process from me leaving my house to Carter being born took 21 minutes, which is absolutely ridiculous and a true testament to how quickly the nurses got things under control. One of the nurses there realized who I was once I told them I had vasa previa; my sister in law works in labor and delivery and they had just had a conversation about me a couple of days earlier so she knew my situation and knew exactly what to do. She was able to fill in the other nurses and then ran downstairs to the lab to get blood herself instead of calling and waiting for it to be delivered…amazing.

Carter was born at 31 weeks and 6 days, and weighed 4 lbs and was 16.5 inches long. I guess he looked pretty bad at first and his apgar scores were really low. He was hooked up to a million tubes and cords for the first few hours, but they were able to take several of them out pretty early on. The MFM specialist came down to my room and was absolutely in shock that Carter was okay…he could not believe that he didn’t lose any blood and hadn’t needed a transfusion. He just scratched his head trying to come up with a reason but it was truly a miracle. His only theory was that a vein ruptured instead of an artery (or the other way around – I get them confused), so that instead of Carter being drained of his blood, he just wasn’t able to receive any new blood and I was being drained of mine instead, which is okay because I have a lot more to lose.

Carter spent about 6 weeks in the NICU. He only had to be on oxygen for about a week or so and after that he just had to grow and learn to eat, which took a while. It was really hard to juggle being there with him with being home with the other 2 kids, who had barely spent any time with me throughout the bedrest. If I could I would have just sat there with him all day, and I felt guilty no matter which place I was because either way I felt like someone was being neglected.

It was so amazing when he finally came home and it is so great to have our family all together under one roof. It has been crazy and busy – I had to start back to class 5 days after he got home, and work a week later and things haven’t really slowed down since. His big brothers are amazing with him and Rubin has been super dad having to hang out with all 3 of them quite a bit due to my work and school. My life will never be the same again and I could not be more proud of my 3 boys.

Carter is now 4 months old and weighs a little over 10 lbs. He is doing so well and I am so in love with my little peanut. He is such a good baby – he just survived a 13 hour car ride and barely made a peep. He loves to snuggle and I cherish every moment I have with him. He reminds me that life is fragile and babies truly are a gift from God. I am so thankful for my little miracle and for all of the love, support, and prayers we received throughout the entire ordeal.***