I went into preterm labor at 23½ wks. The nurse told me the pain that I had been feeling were my ligaments stretching. Well, guess what -- they were contractions. I called my doctor on Sunday July 6, 2003 and told her that there was something wrong and she told me to meet her in labor and delivery at the hospital and she'd check me out. In route, I started bleeding. By the time I was at the hospital I was already 6 cm dilated. They tried to stop contractions but the ultrasound showed that he was already in the birth canal. At 7cm I pushed David out still in the sac to help protect him. The NICU ambulance was there to take him off to the hospital in GA. I had to stay in South Carolina for the doctors to keep an eye on me. It was horrible. I wanted to go with my baby. I wasn't able to hold him or anything. I touched his foot though.
The next day I was finally discharged from the hospital. David had already had two cardiac arrests and a couple of blood transfusions. Paul drove as fast as he could to get to the hospital. We had the emergency lights on and tried to flag down all the police cars we could so they could escort us or something. But, they all ignored us and let us drive 95 mph down the road. Any other time, they would have pulled us over and ticketed us.
We arrived at the hospital as David was having another cardiac arrest so they didn't allow us back there because they were trying to get his heart started again. This is when they took us to a room and told us all of the bad news... starting with the PDA. This is the Patent Ductus Arteriosus. It is basically a duct that runs from the heart to the lungs. When an infant is in the womb, the lungs aren't needed for air so the blood circulates through them too. On full term babies, the duct closes on it's own. On preemies, it's open and the blood flows into the lungs. This was happening on David. The other problem was that he had a grade III brain bleed. A grade I is the least severe and a grade IV is the most severe so a grade III is pretty severe.
After giving us the bad news they let us in to see our son. He was 1 pound 4 oz and 13"long. They said he was big so at least he had that working for him. For four days we watched him struggling to keep his oxygen saturation up but it kept falling. The medicine to close the PDA wasn't working.
At 23-24 wks old, the baby's heart is roughly the size of the very tip of your thumb. The doctors wanted to go into my son's chest and close a duct that ran from his teeny tiny heart to his itty bitty lungs. We had no other option so at four days old, my son had heart surgery.
Yay!! He could breath! Well, with the help of the intubation tube and machine. Obviously, his lungs weren't developed yet. Then, we had another problem - hydrocephalus. This is when the brain swells. A few things were going on in David's head. The ventricular fluid in the brain normally drains down the brain stem and through the spine but his brain stem was blocked up and the fluid couldn't get out. Also, he had PVL (perventricular leaukomalasia) which is basically pockets of fluid on the brain. He had to have brain surgery for a shunt which would drain the fluid into his abdomen (not his stomach but the abdomen).
These pictures were taken as soon as he was out of surgery. He was still a little drugged up though. In the bottom picture (from left to right) is me, David, and Angie. Angie was David's primary day nurse. She was absolutely awesome!
Things kept going up and down from there. At 6 wks, Paul and I were finally able to hold him.
Can you tell that I was super happy to be holding my baby?
Eventually, he was able to get out of the heating bed to the isolette.
David continued to grow and was eventually put on a CPAP which is between the intubation tube and the nasal canula....
I am grateful for the wonderful ward. With all the donations and the talents of them we were able to provide a funeral and an adorable little outfit, and a headstone for him.
|I'm not really sure why this one is turned sideways... I can't get it to rotate on here but in my pics it is... oh well... turn your head. =o)|