Last night at 6:02pm, we welcomed a sweet baby girl to our family. The circumstances surrounding her birth were not ideal – I went from boring bed rest to emergency C-Section within a 5 minute period – but the important thing is that she made it safely through her first big hurdle.
Things are currently stable (considering the circumstances), so I thought I’d share the details (with Kyle as my scribe) of her birth story while the crazy events of the night are still fresh on my mind.
Monday morning, November 14th, started off normal. I went to my twice-weekly ultrasound and learned that everything we’ve been monitoring (IUGR, lack of diastolic flow, low amniotic fluid) had remained stable from my previous scan. There was no reason to think anything immediate was going to happen. No news was good news.
Other than my scan, most of the morning was spent in bed (it is bed rest, after all) hooked up to the fetal heart monitor. The baby’s heart rate remained very consistent compared to the last 10 days in the hospital.
I took a long shower in the afternoon – the one indulgence I am allowed – and was back in bed at 3pm. I had a couple of visitors in the late afternoon and the heart rate monitor continued to provide normal readings during this time.
My nurse came in around 5:45pm to tell me she was leaving and to introduce me to my new nurse for the night. While the nurse was in the room, the baby’s heart rate experienced a deceleration from the normal 135 range down to 85. While an occasional deceleration hasn’t been unusual, it always makes you hold your breath and pray that the rate pops back up. Unfortunately, this time the rate did not return to normal, so things started happening very quickly.
Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by four nurses working on IV’s, cutting my shirt off and getting things ready for an emergency C-Section. Just as they were rolling my bed out of the room, Kyle and Aiden showed up. It was such a relief to know I was not alone.
They wheeled me down the hall to an operating room that was buzzing with activity. I knew from the beginning of this pregnancy that I was going to have a C-Section, but that didn’t prepare me for what I was experiencing.
Once they put me on the operating table, I was in pure panic mode. Things were happening so quickly that I had not yet received any medication and was fully aware of everything going on. It was so overwhelming to go from my normal bed rest routine to laying exposed on the operating table within a period of 5 minutes. Without enough time for an epidural, I was given a general anesthetic and I was out!
Next thing I knew, I was awake and learned that our sweet little Afton Jean had entered the world at 6:02pm weighing a very scary 12.7 ounces. I was wheeled back to my room where a bunch of concerned family members were waiting.
After several minutes of trying to grasp what had just happened, Kyle returned to my room from the NICU where he had been with Afton since her delivery. Kyle had talked to the delivering OB, our perinatologist and the neonatologist working with Afton and learned that a placental abruption was responsible for the sudden turn of events and the drop in heart rate. As hard as it’s been at times to be confined to a bed at the hospital, I am so thankful that I was here when this happened. Who knows what would have happened had I been on bed rest at home.
After a short visit with family, I was taken to the NICU to finally see our baby in person before being transferred to the Mother/Baby floor. It’s so emotional to see such a small little person and know that she has such a long, tough fight ahead of her. I feel so scared for her and protective of her. I would do anything to have kept her inside longer and given her more time to grow and develop. I still can’t get over how unbelievably small her little toes are.
Much of this situation is overwhelming – 1 day shy of 26 weeks, 3 1/2 months premature, 13 oz birth weight – and yet, despite all that is working against her, I have so much faith in her and hope for her situation. With my history, I have to feel there is a reason this pregnancy made it this far. Afton’s spirit had to fight so hard to get a body and get to this point. I know she won’t give up now. Add that to the technology and resources available today, along with the miracle workers at our NICU, there is great reason for optimism, even if waves of doubt and fear are unavoidable.
I was joking with a nurse earlier in the day that I may be on hospital bed rest through the holidays and that we could bring in a Christmas tree to decorate the room. The thought of spending over a month on bed rest in the hospital was tough, but after seeing how small baby Afton is, and how hard she is fighting, I can’t tell you how much I wish I could have had the blessing of those extra days and weeks of bed rest.
We are so grateful for all the thoughts and prayers you have sent our way. I hope you know how much they mean to our little family and our sweet baby girl. Please keep them coming! We love you all.