Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isaac's birth story, a true miracle.

Since the day I had surgery out in Philadelphia, I always wondered how I would tell Isaac’s birth story. Would it be a story of him coming way before he was really ready to enter this world? Would it be of us driving to the hospital on our scheduled c-section date? Would it be of him not making it through this journey at all? After a long four and a half months, I am excited to finally tell his birth story and the miracle he has been in our home.


            The day started out like any other day. I took a shower, ate breakfast, spent the morning on the couch, you know, the usual. My friend Rachel had come over for the morning to help out with Noah, and my Aunt Deb was coming after she left. I had felt completely fine. I had finally received a c-section date for the following Wednesday and was looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. I was on the drug Nifedipine to help stop contractions. I took it every 6 hours round the clock. The side effects of the drug include dizziness and nausea, which I usually felt a little bit every time I took it. At 2:30 my alarm went off and I took my medicine and immediately started to feel extremely uncomfortable. I was extremely dizzy and started to get cold sweats. My aunt was here at this point, so I told her I was going to go lay down and asked that she play with Noah and keep him distracted. I went and tried to lay down, but any way I moved or tried to get comfortable was not working. My entire abdomen was in pain. It wasn't contraction pain, so my immediate reaction was not to go to the hospital. However, I started throwing up and felt like I had flu symptoms, so I decided to call Dante and told him I needed to go to the hospital. By the time he got home, I felt like a train wreck. I was sweating a ton and kept throwing up and then dry heaving because there wasn't anything left in me to vomit. Poor Noah, I think he was a bit traumatized by the whole situation. Anyways, Dante helped me into the car, and my aunt stayed with Noah and we rushed to Timpanogos hospital. They hooked me up to all sorts of monitors to see if I was having contractions and to watch Isaac’s heart rate. After about 10 minutes Dr. Harward came in and said I wasn't having any contractions at all, which was weird because my whole abdomen felt like it was tearing apart. After making some phone calls to the University of Utah Hospital and talking to my specialist, Dr. Ball, everyone decided that I needed to deliver today and a helicopter was on the way to fly me up to the U. They think what happened is that my incision from my surgery slowly over time was splitting apart as Isaac grew and then just essential tore open and my water broke into my abdomen (hence the intense pain I was feeling). Luckily this all happened only a week before his due date. My goal all along had been to make it to at least 34 weeks, and at this point I was almost 36 weeks, so I was very happy about that! Dante rushed home to make sure Noah was taken care of, grabbed some things for me, and then headed up to the U, hoping to get there before I had my c-section. Meanwhile, the flight crew showed up and got me all prepped for my helicopter ride. I will admit that I was not very nice to anyone, I was in so much pain, but I am sure they understood, right? I thought the helicopter ride was going to be awesome, but I just laid on a gurney staring at the ceiling, so it wasn't too thrilling… just kidding. It was pretty cool to say I rode in a helicopter. It was really loud and hot, and I was only in a hospital gown, so it was quiet breezy, if you know what I mean.

 Once we got to the U there were tons of doctors running around trying to get me ready. They didn’t evaluate me or anything, just sent me straight to the operating room. Once again, I was extremely rude to all of the doctors, I am sure they all thought I was awful, but really, I was in so much pain! I finally got my epidural in, and it was heaven sent. Just to have a minute to breath before they cut me open was so nice. It was kind of weird to think that I was going to have a baby at the moment. It was such a different experience than when I had Noah. Noah’s birth was so easy and so low key, I felt like I had had a great birth experience. Isaac’s was  bit more chaotic to say the least. There were at least 6 or 7 doctors in there, some for me, some for Isaac, and they definitely didn’t waste any time getting to cutting me open. The thought of recovering from another surgery really almost brought me to tears. I had been feeling so good and normal (except for the bed rest part) that the thought of being on pain killers and recovering from another surgery just sounded awful, but on the other hand, not being pregnant anymore sounded even better. Dante was able to make it just in time for the c-section. He walked in right as they were cutting me open. I kept asking what was going on, but he was a little less then anxious to watch the procedure. While I was laying on the table, all I really wanted to do was take a nap. I felt so exhausted all of a sudden. But that all changed as soon as I heard little Isaac cry. It was so weird not being able to see anything going on. Dante said it looked pretty cool when they pulled him out. I didn’t get to see him for awhile because he was immediately taken to the corner to be evaluated and make sure he was doing ok. Dante went and stood by him and kept giving me updates. As the doctors were stitching me up they asked if they could take a picture of my uterus before they put it back in. I guess they were able to stick two fingers through the hole of my incision! They showed me pictures afterwards, it looked pretty intense. After awhile, I finally got to see my little man. He looked perfect. That’s all I could think to describe him. Perfect. I was immediately in love with this little boy. Dante left with Isaac while they took him to the nursery to keep evaluating him. Yep, that’s right. He only went to the nursery, not the NICU or Primary Childrens like everyone was expecting him to. Once I was stitched up, I was taken to my room and finally got to hold Isaac for a few minutes. He had had a really hard to staying warm enough in regular air temperature, so he had to stay in an incubator in the nursery. And since I still had to keep my epidural in for the next while, I didn't get to see him again until the following day. That night while I was laying in bed, trying to sleep (unsuccessfully) I thought back to the events of the day. What a crazy day!! But the entire time, I felt so extremely calm. It was like I knew Isaac was going to be ok and that everything was going to work out. Heavenly Father definitely blessed me with these feelings of peace. I felt like I could finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Isaac was here, safe and sound.  We ended up staying in the hospital for 12 days, only because Isaac couldn't maintain his temperature outside of the incubator. While it was frustrating and I was an emotional wreck, I was grateful that was the only thing keeping us in the hospital. As far as everything else went, the doctors said he could go as soon as I got discharged, which was on Saturday. Neurology said they didn't see any sign of Hydrocephalus, so he wasn't going to need a shunt. The doctors told us he’d probably need oxygen when he was born because he’d probably have difficulty swallowing and breathing, but he never was on oxygen, and he started nursing from day one. Urology thought he’d need a catheter, but he has never needed one, and the neurosurgeon in Philadelphia told us he’d probably be paralyzed and never walk, but from the beginning he's been kicking his legs around like a champ!
    So since Isaac had to stay in the hospital, so did I. I was no longer a patient, so I was kicked out of my room, but they had a twilight room they let me stay in. It was basically a storage closet with a bed in it, and I had to ask every day if I was going to be able to stay another night there. Thankfully I was able to stay the rest of the 8 days in there. I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn't.  The Ronald McDonald house didn't have room for me, and I wasn't allowed to drive myself anywhere yet, and Dante was an hour away at home with Noah, so I really was by myself and had no other options of where to go. I think a big factor that allowed me to stay was the fact that I was nursing Isaac every 3 hours round the clock, and I was the only mother in the nursery doing so. Most mom’s either couldn't breastfeed their babies, or they’d have the nurses feed them during the night. Those 8 days were probably some of the most frustrating days for me. I felt so helpless not being able to help Isaac keep his temperature. When I first got there his incubator was set a 34 degrees Celsius and to get out he had to be stable at 29 degrees. We slowly had to ween him off of the incubator .1 degree at a time. So we’d lower it to 33.9 and wait for two feedings (six hours) and see if he could keep his temperature above 37 degrees Celsius during that time. If he did, then we’d be able to lower it another .1 degree, and if he didn't he’d stay at the temp. I honestly said a prayer every single time I went in to feed him and when they’d take his temperature. So many times it was 36.8 or 36.9, which was so frustrating!! But I kept trying to remind myself, that this was the only issue we were dealing with, and I was grateful for that. I was just so anxious to take my baby home and to be with my husband and son. I definitely had my fair share of melt downs while I was there. I felt very alone. Especially going from the nursery, which had no windows, back to the twilight room, which also had no windows, and while still trying to recover from a very traumatic c-section. Dante and Noah were able to come visit me a few times. My friend Mandy was watching Noah while I was in the hospital, and that took a huge stress off of my shoulders knowing that Noah was taken care of while Dante was at work. Slowly but surely Isaac’s incubator temperature was lowered, and he finally made it to 29 degrees Celsius! He then had to spend 24 hours outside of the incubator keeping his temperature up. That was the longest 24 hours of my life! I was so nervous that every time they took his temperature that he was going to have to go back into the incubator. But Sunday came and he had passed the 24 hour test and we were able to go home! My mom and had just come into town the night before, so her, Dante and Noah all came to pick us up. I was so beyond happy we got to leave, I felt like I was finally going to be able to get back to life.
    Since we've been home we've still have had a lot of doctors appointments and worry, but we still know that Isaac is going to be just fine. He has been such a champ throughout all of this, and we are grateful for the feelings of peace and comfort we still continue to know. We go to the Spina Bifida clinic every 3 months to get a check up from all of the doctors. The only thing we are really dealing with are his little hips. He was in a pavlik harness for 3 weeks to see if that’d help put them back into the socket, and today we found out that the harness hasn't really been helping. So our next option will probably be surgery when he gets closer to walking, so they can do the surgery and put them back in place and then have him walk around on them to help stabilize and strength the joint. We were hoping to avoid surgery, but if that is what we have to do to get him walking, then that is fine by us. He got his little club foot casted today as well, and he will get a new cast every week for the next 5-6 weeks to correct it. So besides helping his little hips and foot, that is really all we have had to deal with. Isaac is a true miracle baby in our home. I thank Heavenly Father every day for his strength and for the blessing he is to our home. I know that the surgeons in Philadelphia did a great job, but I really attribute him doing so well to my Heavenly Father. I know that without Him and all of your prayers, that things would have turned out much differently. I see His helping hand in Isaac’s and our life every day. I am so excited for Isaac and Noah to be able to run around and grow up together. Isaac is a huge blessing in our home and I hope that I personally never forget that or this experience. We still have a journey ahead of us, and the doctors say that is possible that things might come up or regress, but I truly know that Isaac is going to be ok. I have had such a calm peaceful feeling about everything, that there is no room for worry. Every time I start to feel those feelings of doubt or fear, I just have to remember what I have felt when praying or while in the temple. Isaac may need a little help getting there, but he is going to be fine and will be able to do whatever he wants to do in this life. Thank you so much to all of you who have helped with meals, watching Noah, visiting me and making sure that I was doing ok, and for everyone that has kept us in your prayers. I know that prayer works and that Heavenly Father is listening. There are not words enough to describe the gratitude in my heart for all of you and for all of our blessings we have received throughout all of this. This has been a stressful and emotional experience, but I wouldn't take any of it back. Each step has taught Dante and I something new and has personally helped my testimony of the gospel, the power of prayer, and the healing grace of my Heavenly Father grow tremendously . I will continue to keep everyone updated on Isaac’s journey, but for now, just know that he is doing amazingly, beyond anything we could have hoped for. I love all of you and am again so grateful for all of your help, support, and prayers in our behalf. 

3 comments:

  1. That's so great! I'm glad that you're all doing well :)

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  2. What a miracle. I am so grateful he arrived safely and everything is working out so well for your sweet family. Also, you totally should have called when you were stuck in Salt Lake that whole time! I would have come to keep you company :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing! I am so happy to hear that Isaac is doing so well. The Lord truly has been watched over him. I hope to see you soon and your boys!

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