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   Friday, November 04, 2005  

Birth Story, Part 2

As soon as anesthesia was ready, I was taken into the OR. I'm not sure what she said, but the L&D nurse who took me in made some comment that put me completely at ease. She reminded me of my aunt (one who was my favorite as a child, but who in recent years has shown herself to be completely inflexible and actually not a likable person; but that isn't the point. My nurse reminded me of my aunt back when she was someone I could idolize and love).

It took two anesthesiologists well over 30 minutes to place the spinal and at least another 15 with my body strapped to the table being turned and angled in various directions before my right side (full of baby) was numb enough to begin. Several times I heard "we can always do general anesthesia if we need to" "lets switch to general." But my L&D nurse knew how badly I wanted to be awake and each time she'd look to me, I shook my head no and she would encourage anesthesia for one more try. To be honest, each time one of the anesthesiologists wanted to give up, the other would say "but I think there's a way..." and eventually they got there.

Mr. W was allowed in and within 15 minutes of his arrival, he was standing to look over the drape at our son lying on my blood covered belly.

Our little lowercase (Timmy for those in the know) was whisked away to another room to be cleaned up and examined. We heard nothing and had no idea what was going on. Mr. W could see the neonatology team through a window in the door and he said to me, "He must be alright. They're smiling. And laughing. They wouldn't do that if he wasn't alright."

Mr. W was finally called back into the room with the lowercase. He nearly passed out (and succeeded in falling against a wall breaking the rack from which charts are hung) when he saw our little boy. There were no tubes. No wires. And there was no need. Timmy was breathing on his own beautifully. He was just quietly laying on the scale as they wrapped him up to be brought to me.

Mr. W doesn't remember what they said the APGAR was at 1 minute. What we do know is that the 5 minute APGAR was a 9! I can honestly tell you that I will never ask for the 1 minute score. I know what I need to know. My son was brought out to me and as soon as his cheek touched mine, he made the sweetest, softest cooing sound. I have never been so happy in my entire life. He is beautiful. He has the ten tiniest fingers I have ever seen and 10 teeny tiny toes (on feet that are huge for his tiny little body).

He is doing so well now, just over 72 hours since his birth. He was initially on CPAP, but they found he didn't need it. If anything, it caused him to have apnea moments rather than preventing them. For him, the constant flow was like trying to catch your breath after a run while standing in front of a large fan -- it's just too much air at once and you can't breathe it in. He was switched to a nasal cannula set on 2L of room air -- there is NO extra oxygen needed. Since the switch there has been absolutely no apnea.

His heart rate and blood pressure have remained constant. He is on absolutely no medication except for a precautionary 10 day round of antibiotics. His first blood count showed that his white cell levels were the slightest bit off, but he has no markers for infection and the cultures have grown nothing. The current thought is the white count was off because of the infection I was being treated for last week having nothing to do with him -- he's just working through mommy's issues.

We were afraid yesterday when he began having bile suctioned from his tummy. They took him to radiology and ran some tests -- upper GI perfect. Lower GI showed several small meconium plugs preventing him from eliminating his own wastes. The enema that was part of the testing began to clean him out and he passed several small plugs. To help get the rest out, he is getting suppositories and they appear to be working. He has passed enough now that they feel certain his digestive system is mature enough and knows how to function.

I have been pumping every 3 hours religiously since Monday afternoon when I was finally functional enough to move (the morphine in my spinal caused me to have serious itching, for which I was given a shot of benadryl that subsequently had me in and out of consciousness for several hours. Thank God for digital cameras and a husband and parents willing to point to each image and say, "No, that's a knee. See, his knee is fine!" when I couldn't even focus well enough to see what was on a picture.

As of yesterday afternoon, I have produced enough milk (in tiny drips and drabs...almost half an ounce from one pumping!) that they have what they need in the freezer for his first few tries at nutrition. I will know after morning rounds if the milk will be put into his IV today or tomorrow.

I continue to be amazed at how well he is doing. He even started displaying the rooting instinct last evening. As I was holding him, I gently laid a finger on his cheek. He opened his mouth and turned toward my finger. His nurse said that usually she doesn't see babies do that until they are around 31-33 weeks at the earliest.

The doctors and nurses all have said that they never see a pre-term baby doing this well his quickly. He really doesn't "need" so much of what they can offer him. He is just "a peach" according to his nurses. He sleeps well, he likes to be held and touched...

He is my little pumpkin butt. I am terrified for him when he is unwrapped and I see just how tiny he is. I know we could still have set backs. But for now, he is well and he is exceeding expectations on all levels. The director of the NICU and his nurse from yesterday and last night have all three said to me that if he continues as he is, he will meet his milestones earlier than expected. They told me to anticipate taking him home on his due date, January 12, but to have everything prepared earlier as they really feel that at the current pace, he could be coming home with me in as little as 4-5 weeks.

We are taking mass quantities of pictures every day (is it wrong that we have filled a full albm already???) and will keep posting his progress.

I know there are days where I will break down completely coming, but for right now, I am able to focus on how well he is doing. Don't ask his nurses though -- I have called them twice since leaving at 9:30 last night and will likely be sitting by his isolette in as little as an hour. However long it takes me to pump, shower, dress, take some drugs and get Mr. W in the car.

Please, continue to pray for us all, from the biggest to the tiniest of W's. We definitely need your love and support. And to all of you still reading...I have read through each of your comments sicne my trip to the hospital a week ago. I would respond to each of you personally if I had any free time. Just know that I appreciate it all. I now have so little free time and what little I have has to be spent preparing things for my son -- we had bought so little and refused to let anyone actually purchase things from our registry based on my fear of the evil eye, so we're going to have a very busy time getting things here and rearranging furniure to set up his room.

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  Comments about my post, "Birth Story, Part 2":
Wah! I am so happy for you all and I am crying. I will keep sending you all th elove and luck in the world.
Ya done good, Miss W. All that worrying and bedrest and concentrating on making sure everything was as it should be -- it was all so that you could produce the healthiest little preterm ever. Congratulations! Here's hoping all the Ws are at home together before Christmas. What a great gift that would be. Please take a few moments every day or so to post, so we know how you're all doing. It's hard just sitting here waiting, as you well know!
That's just dandy! I'll miss our emails but I'm thrilled to bits to think of you at Timmy's side. Don't forget to take care of yourself too.
Have been eagerly checking in and I am so thrilled to read this very good news ... Timmy is a real champ. I'm hoping the rest of his stay is similarly uneventful. Congratulations to you both. So very happy.
I am so happy to know that Timmy is doing so well--and it sounds like mom and dad are too!

What a birth story--with a wonderful ending, of course! Can't wait to hear more as he grows day-by-day (as will your love, as if you thought it couldn't get any greater than it already is).
So the lowercase is a super-star and over-achiever already! Hope that trend continues. Maybe he can graduate high school by his due date? We know you can home school right there in the NICU.
LOADS of love to all of you and so glad to hear that Timmy is doing so well.
Miss W...I'm so proud of, and happy for you. You're in for the treat of a lifetime when that little man comes home with you to live. He sounds like he's doing phenomenal and here's to hoping things continue that way!

Power to the W's!
Take it one day at a time and keep on snapping those photos. I have avery good friend who gave birth at the end of her 2nd trimester (give or take a week or so) and her daughter weighed less than your little one did. She is now 7 months old and amazing.

The time in the hospital was long a trying but in the end it is all good. I will pray for the same success for your little one.

Have you heard of Kanga Care? It is something that was huge for M (my friend) and her husband and the baby - they would lay naked baby on naked chest and wrap the baby against the skin of mom and/or dad - kind of making a womb. It was very soothing for both parents and baby. Keep on keeping on.

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