November 28th 2017. I woke up the morning of delivery with an incredible ease because I had done it! Today was delivery day and we had made it without any bleeds. No small feat for a second complete placenta previa pregnancy. With my twins, I woke up the morning of their planned cesarean section and my water broke.. so I had that swirling in the back of my mind. But this day,? Regardless of that thrilling and also painful experience, I felt comfort. In fact I felt better than I had the days leading up to delivery. I felt an incredible amount of anxiety the days before but as the morning finally came I felt relief that regardless of how delivery went it would indeed soon all be over. A moment I truly was ready to greet with open arms.
I got ready and together my husband and I drove to the hospital. it was so early that it was still dark outside. The hospital grounds were empty when we arrived, almost eerily quiet. This helped ease me as we prepared to go inside.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. My husband gave me a special blessing the night before. In it he shared with me that my Grandmother who had passed away years previous, and I had always shared a special relationship with, would be present with me throughout this day. I could feel her strength around me even as I walked up to the hospital doors.
The first wave a of relief hit me as my nurse came and greeted us in the waiting area. My last placenta previa delivery, My nurse seemed frazzled from the moment we began. Her anxious personality pressed through her every move as she prepped me for surgery and then even more so afterwards. I prayed hard that I would have a nurse who was calm and ready for the day regardless of what it brought. The nurse that greeted us was one I was vaguely familiar with and I just knew instantly that she would make this day that much easier to deal with.
As I was prepped, things went smoothly. Incase of an emergent situation, I was prepped with two lines instead of one, this was familiar as I had this same protocol last delivery, and the second line was never touched. I hoped so desperately this would be the case today.
Even though my MRI had made it appear that my placenta had not implanted too deeply into my uterine wall, a condition known as placenta Accreta. The last scan I had just a few days before and weeks after this MRI, looked “off” and we went into delivery with uncertainty. If my placenta didn’t attach normally, I would face hemorrhaging and more than likely an emergent hysterectomy.
Things went well and both my Doctor and the anesthesiologist had come in and we had chatted about last minuet plans and details for delivery. I knew the anesthesiologist because he had been the same one I had with my daughter Scarlett. He was soft spoken and very gentle which seemed to help ease the stress I began to feel as the final minuets ticked off the clock.
Before I knew it I was walking into the incredibly bright and freezing O.R. My spinal was placed without any difficulty and I was immediately laid back on the table for the drugs to take affect properly.
This is when things went a little off plan. My blood pressure immediately dropped very low. I felt strange instantly and unlike I had at any of my 3 previous C-section deliveries. I rembered opening and closing my eyes drifting a bit out of consciousness and being in a strange state leaving me feeling really quite awful.
I could hear the Anesthesiologist scrambling behind me. The mood in the room immediately changed and the light conversations dissipated as he announced the drop of my blood pressure and told my doctor to begin immediately.
Typically they would have waited a bit longer for my spinal to take and done a test poke to make sure I was indeed numb. Thankfully my body was indeed already numb when they began.
Finally,? Devin was brought into the room and I then proceeded to get ill. Eventually I felt much better as my blood pressure stabilized and I had Devin by my side.
It seemed to take much longer this time from the start of the delivery, to when the cries of our baby filled the room. We still didn’t know the gender so it was such a sweet moment when Devin peeked over the curtain and announced that it was a boy. I had a feeling that it was, but my instincts had been so wrong last surprise delivery so it was reassuring to have got it right this time! There was something about finally knowing that felt so right and so complete. I had known from that moment that I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test that this would be our last. But in that moment I felt that feeling of “completeness” so acutely.
Devin with my permission and insistence left the room to be with the baby and I then waited to hear from my Doctor how things after the baby had been delivered were going. It wasn’t long before he announced that I didn’t have Accreta,? and that my placenta was out. My scarring was pretty significant and my uterus was a bit thinned out in areas so it took a bit longer for him to get things all patched up. I finally felt the 1000 pound weight lift off my chest knowing the worst was behind us.
During this time the anesthesiologist said how relived he was as well. When my blood pressure had dropped so quickly he was afraid that I had began to hemorrhage which is why he had insisted they begin so quickly. Thankfully it had just been my reaction to the medication and not the latter. But because I had complete placenta previa, this had been his concern.
Before long I was in recovery wrapped in a heated blanket and meeting my son for the first time. He was everything I had hoped and imagined he’d be with a head full of dark hair. His breathing was a little worrisome so he was taken to the NICU to transition. He was 36 weeks gestation so we knew all too well what to expect. 3 of our babies before him had spent their first weeks of life in the NICU already. One of my burning questions leading up to all this, was if he too would get admitted as well? I desperately hoped he would get to come with us to our room on the couplet floor but I assumed he would more than likely end up in the NICU. Since this had been the majority of our experience.
The absolute highlight of this whole experience was the first phone call I made in recovery. Pain seeped in pretty quickly since I have an intolerance to morphine. Because of this the anesthesiologist didn’t administer any additional pain medication into my spinal to hold me over once I was in recovery. I would have to rely on a pump afterwards to manage the pain, things seem to happen a mile a minute once I get wheeled into recovery and it always takes a bit of time to get the pump set up and the pain under control. Finally I was feeling well enough to make the phone call I had been dying to make!
You see with our first 4 kids we picked mostly names we liked, we didn’t lean towards names with special meaning or family history but this time I really wanted to name this baby after my Dad. Devin and I had discussed that if the baby was indeed a boy we would do just that.? Now that he was here we both agreed immediately that he would be named Hudson Barry. Barry being my fathers name.
I called him up and I could indstantly hear the relief in his voice to hear I was alright. The stress I had felt throughout this process was shared by my family and they too were so happy things had gone as well as they did. He was in the car on his way into work, he had stayed home late that morning to be with my mom and wait till the news came in that the baby was born and I was ok. I told him I was good but the real reason I had called was to tell I’m that we had named the baby Hudson Barry after him. The phone went silent as I heard my sweet Dad begin to cry. I myself couldn’t even get the words out before I was crying too. It was a very special moment and I am so proud to have a little boy to carry on his name.
Eventually I was ready to move into a room. Instead of getting wheeled right into the room though the nurse allowed me to make a pit stop at the NICU to visit Hudson. He was so sweet but after an hour of observation he was still breathing with some difficulty. They said they would give him another hour of observation and if he was doing well by then he would get brought to our room and not be officially admitted.
Once we got to the room Devin and I were both just so happy. We agreed that Hudson was mostly likely getting admitted but tried not to let it get us down since we had already anticipated it would happen. In the hour we waited my sister in law sent us a bouquet of flowers in it was a beautiful card where she had written a quote by A.A. Milne ” A Grand Adventure is about to Begin”. Little did she know that my Granny staples favorite author was A.A. MIlne it was another sweet moment that truly made me feel her presence that day.
The hour passed and almost on the dot my phone rang. To my disbelief Hudson’s breathing had stabilized and he was being brought down to our room.
I could hardly believe he was in the room with us since we just didn’t usually get that lucky. He stayed with us for a full 48 hours. During that time we tried our best to get him to feed in any way that would be easiest for him. There was an incredibly sweet lactation consultant and OT specialist in our room at every feed helping coax him along and sharing invaluable information as we tried to get him to take the calories he needed. Unfortunately he just wasn’t ready to do it on his? own.
I was in my room alone on the second day of his birth when I saw two black shiny shoes appear beneath the curtain to enter my room. My heart sunk as I knew immediately that it was the sweet NICU doctor coming to relay the bad news that he would need to be admitted.
he had several feeds back to back where he didn’t take more than 5mls so it had gotten to a point where we knew he needed a feeding tube to help him. He explained that trying any longer would just set him back more since he was getting dehydrated and more exhausted at this point.
He said I could hold him a bit longer before we had to take him back. Devin had been out getting some food when he walked back into the room to me sobbing holding on to that little boy as tight as I could. Together we wheeled his little isolate back to the NICU an all too familiar place for us and watched as the nurses with their bright and sweet spirits got him all admitted and placed his tube. It was sad and hard. Our other 3 babies who had been in the NICU had all been admitted while I was in recovery. It was almost harder having to let go after having him with me entirely for 48 hours, and also having to see his initial discomfort of the feeding tube down his nose.
We went back to our room empty handed deflated and exhausted.
Then began what I can only describe as the NICU routine. You pump, you eat, you take a nap and then you run down the milk to the NICU and try as you might to feed your baby. Each feed you execute with baited breath hoping that this is the time he drinks his whole bottle or even better nurses!! After a day sometimes two he finally masters his bottle only to have his feed increased and have to try and master even more. This goes on with so many ups and downs. Some feeds he is too exhausted to even take an oz. and then 4 hours later he slams the whole thing. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
I was in our church’s mothers lounge just a week ago with my now 6 week old baby and there were two brand new mothers in there too nursing their babies. They were talking about how sad it was that their babies had to have their little heels pricked to do their genetic screening. I sat there in silence thinking back on weeks before of Hudson’s tiny little heels covered in little cuts from having his blood drawn over and over during his stay. What do you say to a mother who has never had this experience and one prick seems like the end of the world?.. you say nothing.. you sit there and recount every blood draw, every blood sugar test, every billirubin test, and are just so so glad that its over thankful that a dozen heel pricks was all it took to bring your baby home and nothing more.
Hudson stayed 9 days total at the hospital and when we got the news on day 8 that he would be discharged on day 9 we held our breaths not believing it would really happen. We went home to our kids the night before where my Mom and brother had been staying holding down the fort and didn’t even mention it to them because we were afraid if we uttered the words allowed we would show up to the NICU the next morning and it wouldn’t happen.
I hardly slept the night before so anxious to be let down, but the moment we walked into Hudson room the next morning in the NICU the nurse smiled wide and said “this boy is going home” within an hour we were loaded in the car and driving down the road.
Its the strangest thing to be in a moving loud vehicle after leaving the NICU. The NICU is almost like a sacred place, it is so quite, the lights are dim and the only sounds are soft baby cries and monitors beeping. You feel like you are violating every rule the minuet you walk your baby out into the real world and every day things seem so harsh and disruptive.
The best moment was walking in the door and the surprise on everyone’s faces!! We surprised the pants off them and it was worth keeping it to ourselves to see their reactions!
Hudson is now 7 weeks old. We love him so so dearly and we are so grateful to have him home and healthy. Our lives are forever changed.