Tuesday morning, I went to work as usual and then went to my 34 week doctor's appointment at 9am. I told Darrin that I would go by myself b/c it should be a quick appointment. We didn't have an ultrasound or anything planned. I quickly met with my doctor and told him everything was good. My exact words were that I was "big and moody" but that everything else was okay. He laughed and said at least I was normal for 34 weeks. We were almost finished and he asked if the baby was still moving a lot. As I replay the visit in my head, this is the only question that I think could have lead us down the road we went. I said that he had slowed down a little and actually scared me over the weekend by not moving much, but that I guess he's just running out of room. I think he thought for a minute about letting that be, but then said we should do a non stress test which measures the babies heart rate and movement. He said it was a routine test around 34 weeks. I went and did the non stress test and even took pictures b/c I was going to blog about it later.
I watched the monitor for 20 minutes during the test. His heart rate was around 150 the whole time. I had to click a button every time he moved and he seemed to move well too. He moved away from the monitor a couple times, so the nurse sent me to ultrasound to do the same test there. It's easier to see on ultrasound when the baby isn't cooperating. During the ultrasound, she noticed that my fluid was very low. Normal is 5-25 and mine was 4. She said that she needed to go talk to my doctor. She happens to be a friend from college so I asked her if she was concerned. She said, "Baby is okay, but I don't like it." I could tell she was serious. I think at this point, I sent Darrin the first text to let him know that there was a little concern, but that everything was still okay. I went back to the room and waited for the doctor. He came in and asked if I thought I had been leaking fluid. I told him that I had wondered but that it was so slight, I never could tell. He did a test to see if I was and told me to go on to the hospital for monitoring and that he would send the results over. At this point, he said that I was just going to be monitored but that if I had ruptured that I would be in the hospital until the baby delivered. He indicated that the most extreme scenario would be that I would have a c-section that day. I text Darrin at this point and told him he needed to come get me now and we would drive to the hospital together. Things seemed urgent but still not an emergency situation. In my mind, I really felt like we would go to the hospital for monitoring and that would be all. It's funny and scary that we had no idea what was about to go down. I'm blue, Darrin is yellow.
I was still fairly calm, but I was crying when Darrin picked me up. We checked into the hospital around 10 minutes later. They took us to a room, got me hooked up to all the monitors, and a nurse walked in and started asking questions. Her first question was "Tell me why you think the doctor sent you over." I told her that my fluid was low and he sent me for monitoring, and that he was supposed to sent over the results from the test to see about my amniotic fluid. There seemed to be a lot of confusion about why I was there and they even mentioned doing a c-section that day a couple times. I just kept saying that I was only there for monitoring.
Then, things got really crazy. The nurse was messing with the heart monitor and couldn't seem to find Carson's heart rate. I still just thought they were missing him b/c he moves a lot. The room filled up with doctors and nurses. I was getting an IV, blood work, and fluids all while they were trying to find his heart rate. They found it and it was back up to a suitable level so some of the excitement died down a little bit. A few minutes later, his heart rate dropped and the room filled with people again. It was then that we were clued in that we were heading to surgery and that they needed to get Carson out. They got me ready for surgery and Darrin made a few calls. He called my mom to tell her to come to Jackson. He called my friend, Stephanie, to tell her to get Miles from day camp. And, he called his parents to let them know what was going on even though they were on vacation in South Carolina. That's all we had time for.
I held it together until we arrived in the operating room and then I lost it. I was in there by myself with tons of doctors and nurses that were obviously dealing with an emergency situation. Stress was very high. At that point I started bawling...like loud, ugly, raise up off the table kind of cry. The nicest OB hospitalist came over to console me. I swear he was an angel in the room. They debated whether or not to knock me out or give me a spinal. Carson's heart rate was steady at that point so they decided on a spinal. They did the spinal and laid me back down. The spinal did help calm me a little but then I was terrified that they were about to cut into me. They kept poking me with this thing asking me if I could still feel, which I could. So, they tipped the table back to try to make the spinal work faster. Tried poking me again and I could still feel it. They tipped the table back again and threatened to knock me out, but it finally worked enough to get started. As soon as I said I couldn't feel past a certain point, they immediately started cutting.
Let me pause for a moment and say that my labor experience with Miles was not a pleasant one. During my pregnancy with Carson I have been counting on a scheduled c-section which everyone assured me would be so much easier than it was with Miles. It probably would have been, but when it comes to an emergency c-section, I would rank this even harder than my delivery with Miles. It was by far the hardest, scariest thing I have ever done. And not just from the standpoint of being worried sick over Carson. The surgery itself was terrifying. I guess b/c time was such a factor, they were very rough. Everything felt chaotic. I didn't feel the pain from the cutting, but the tugging and pulling really hurt, and I don't just mean it was uncomfortable. It hurt. They were practically standing on top of me pushing him out. I kept asking the nurse at my head if they were almost finished. She was so nice and would tell me exactly where we were in the process. Darrin tried to talk to me once and I told him I couldn't. I was just focused on getting through it.
Finally things seemed to relax a little and I heard the doctor ask for the time, which was 12:35pm. The doctor reassuringly said, "He's not crying but he's trying. He's small but he looks good." We didn't have to wait long and Carson started crying. He sounded strong. Darrin was able to go over and take a bunch of pictures.
He weighed 3lbs 14oz. I couldn't believe his weight when I heard it. They didn't measure him then, but later they said he was 16" long.
They said that he was doing really well but that they were going to take him to the NICU to check him out. I asked if I could see him first. I honestly don't remember getting a good look at him, but I was just happy to lay my eyes on him. This picture is so deceiving b/c I was still terrified, shocked, and in pain as they were sewing me up.
The rest of the day is honestly a blur for me. I went to recovery for a couple hours. A really sweet nurse that had been with us since we checked in came over to us, and with the most sincere face, asked if we realized how blessed we were for things to have gone the way they did. I think she wanted to be more direct with her words, but we understood what she was saying. We hadn't had time to process everything at that point, but I definitely knew already that we had experienced God's favor.
The lady that I just talked about is in the picture below. After recovery, they wheeled me to the NICU to see Carson. I couldn't believe how small he was. Pictures don't accurately portray how little 3lb 14 oz really is.
They were so sweet to give us some time with him.
And to let us take pictures without once rushing us.
I don't even remember how Miles ended up there, but I'm guessing Stephanie text Darrin and met him at the NICU entrance. Miles had to go through a little "training" before he could go back and see Carson. They showed him pictures of preemies and prepared him for what he would see. I'm so proud of Miles and how well behaved and mature he is in situations like this.
This picture brings tears to my eyes. Miles has wanted a baby brother for so long. I love the look on his face here. We didn't do a very good job of explaining to Miles what happened and why Carson had to be born so quickly, but we really hadn't grasped everything yet either. For all he knew, we dropped him off at day camp and went to have a baby without him, and then had someone pick him up and bring him to the hospital. I will always have a little regret about how we did not prepare him and talk to him about it. We have talked to him a lot since then and hopefully he understands now why things happened like they did.
My mom, sister-in-law, and niece arrived shortly after we got to a room. They all got to see Carson. It's hard b/c no one is able to hold him right now. Darrin & I are only able to hold him twice a day. Holding him and passing him around burns too much energy. Right now, he needs all of his energy to eat.
Correction (I told you guys the day was a blur): I talked with Darrin after posting this and he said we ran into my mom as they were wheeling me from the recovery room to the NICU. I remember that now b/c it was so good to see her. I was glad she had gotten there and it was good to feel her sympathy for me for what I had just gone through. That's where we got Miles too. He was in the waiting room with my mom, Stephanie, Emily and Sarah. Darrin and I went back and spent a little time with Carson and then he went and got Miles to meet him.
The next day, Darrin's parents drove straight to the hospital from vacation to see Carson.
Darrin & I spent two nights in the hospital. It's a very strange thing to be in the hospital, but not with your baby. We were able visit him some. We got to feed him.
Give him a bath.
And, hold him skin to skin. I think this picture best shows how little he is.
You can hold him skin to skin once per shift, which is once every 12 hours. Not being able to be with Carson and not holding him was making it difficult for me to feel bonded with him. Plus, I was in pain from the c-section and didn't sleep at all the first night in the hospital. Holding Carson next to me for the first time was all it took for me to bond with him. It was one of the most special things I've ever experienced. I welled up with tears as soon as they put him on me. The nurses say it is the best therapy for mom, dad, and baby. I believe it. I feel completely relaxed when I hold him like this and you can tell he does too.
This is a pretty accurate picture of how we felt the day after Carson was born. I was half asleep while holding him and Darrin was passed out too. Emotionally drained is an understatement.
So that's how Carson got here at 34 weeks. Darrin picked me up from the doctor's office at 11am and Carson was born at 12:35pm. I have known two people that have lost babies late in pregnancy recently and it was definitely in the back of my mind. I am so thankful that God allowed Carson to be born safely on Tuesday. I'm forever thankful to my doctor and what I saw was a gut feeling. The doctor that delivered Carson, Dr. Gray, called me that night in the hospital to check on me. He said that he wanted to let me know that he believes that my fibroid tumor is ultimately what caused Carson's distress. The tumor didn't allow the placenta to do it's job. My doctor, Dr. Soll, said all along that the fibroid could end up causing some problems in the end, like preterm labor or a small birth weight. As far as I'm concerned Dr. Soll is a genius and handled my pregnancy flawlessly. He was on top of everything from beginning to end.
Carson is doing well. His only obstacle is eating. Right now he takes two 1 ounce bottles a day and the rest of his feedings are through a tube. He has to be able to take his bottle in 30 minutes or less. Otherwise, he's burning more calories than he's consuming. He knows how to take a bottle, but he doesn't have enough energy to take them all efficiently. He will be at the hospital until he can take all his feedings by a bottle and keep them down. It's very strange to be home without him, but I definitely want him to be completely ready before he comes home. His size is hard to get used to. Even changing his diaper and giving him a bath takes some getting used to. He seems so fragile, even though they say he's very strong. The NICU does a good job of teaching us how to take care of him. It's like having a first child all over again. We are all completely in love with him and can't wait to have him home with us. Thank you God for our precious baby.