I was settled in for Christmas at the hospital. Family had arrived and come by. We were coordinating with Santa to bring presents to the hospital for Christmas Day, it was all set. Then, our little girls, our Momo rascals had a gift all their own to give, their presence, a little earlier than expected…..
On Christmas Eve, my husband, along with his father and brother-in-law came up to the hospital on Santa’s behalf to drop off gifts while our oldest daughter was distracted by Grandma and Aunt Cindy at home. I had just finished my morning routine – the shower time I absolutely lived for while inpatient because it was my escape from monitors, IV drip and persistent vital taking from my fabulous nurses (Let me reiterate…they were the BEST! But they had to do their jobs caring for me and escaping monitor A, monitor B, the Toco, blood pressure, temperature and reflex testing was much needed for me in the morning).
As I returned to my bed, we started the search for baby heart rates. Madison was our usual easy find, lower left side down by my hip, where she always nestled her little body. Charlotte, my little stinker, had to be searched for per usual. After finding them both, we started to see a pattern of decelerations happening with Charlotte. They weren’t severe decelerations (big drops in heart rate) most of the time but they were persistent. Shifting didn’t help, time didn’t help. Both heart rates had a base of somewhere between 120-140 on a regular day. At this time, we were seeing Charlotte’s down in the 100-110 range. My nurse and I, both knew this to be abnormal after all these weeks of continuous monitoring. Additionally, I should mention that a healthy heart rate for a baby in utero is 110-160. This all started happening while my husband was there, so he took our family members home and headed back to the hospital while we continued to monitor. After an hour of this base line change for Charlotte on monitor as well as verifying the change on ultrasound, we called my doctor (Dr. G) who happened to be the Staff doc on for Christmas Eve. He then sat with me for about thirty minutes, watching, counting by listening versus watching the numbers on the monitor because we were going through the thought process of well…maybe the machine is wrong…maybe we wore it out with all this monitoring….um…not so much. Dr G. along with Dr. C the L&D OB doc watched together for a while and with the persistence of the decelerations as well as some severe decels, they decided it was time to deliver. Thankfully my husband had returned and we could do this together. I was also so grateful that Dr. G could be with us. He is the one who had seen us through this entire experience. He’s the doc who would come see me everyday inpatient, we’d always talk “shop” and then we’d usually talk about something mindless, like the Tiger Woods scandal. It became part of my daily routine to chat with my doc, my friend and the person who we came to rely on so heavily for advice and reassurance on our course of treatment. The fact that he was there, made this unexpected turn of events more bearable. He was as invested as we were and we knew that he would do everything possible to ensure a positive outcome. With that being said, I knew he was worried and therefore very focused on the task at hand. My otherwise engaging doctor had a serious face and was all business as he and the nurses wheeled me into the operating room.
This all happened so fast once the decision was made to deliver, the operating room was literally around the corner from the room that had been my home these last five weeks. So, off I went. I was scared, my head was racing. But the staff that was with me were all familiar faces which made all the difference. And those that weren’t familiar to me, like the outstanding Anesthesiologist who looked me in the eyes as I laid on the table being prepped and said “What is my job? To take care of you, you’re going to be ok” – this helped me cope with my worries. He saw the fear, he heard me tell my husband how I hadn’t seen my daughter the day before, I didn’t get to kiss her and tell her I loved her before the surgery…..he knew I was worried that I wouldn’t make it through all this. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but my biggest fear is not being here for my girls. To be taken from them and not be able to kiss their fears and worries away, to fight with them over silly nonsense, to nurture their hearts with a little cuddle. And so, terrible thoughts like, what if I have complications? came to mind. But, this kind eyed anesthesiologist kept repeating, “What’s my job? To take care of you.” This was a saving grace while they were prepping me for surgery. Craig was only allowed in for a few minutes just before. Since we had to get the girls out so quickly, there was no spinal block, there was no husband at my head to talk me through it. I was being put under general anesthesia because this all had to happen quickly. And before I knew it, I was asleep and then I was waking up in recovery.
Madison Lee was born in the same minute, I’m told her feet were coming out as her sister was being delivered at 2 lbs, 13.4 oz and 15.5 inches.
They made it to 28 weeks 4 day, we were shooting for 32 weeks (see previous posts). I am told they both came out crying which was such a relief. The cords were wrapped around each other, and had a loose knot, so we’re not certain what our little girls were doing in there because the cords looked better than we expected. There was some kind of restriction happening, but no definitive answer as to why based on what the cords looked like. They must have been sitting, squeezing or playing jump rope in there with their cords to cause the decels. But, nonetheless…Charlotte wasn’t recovering from the drops, so delivery was the only safe option to ensure an accident didn’t happen.
Today our girls are 9 days old, and they are doing really well all things considered. I will write a separate posting on their NICU journey so far. Here’s a picture of Jordan on Christmas day opening gifts in my hospital bed. My brave, beautiful and resilient oldest daughter has been remarkable through this entire journey. I am so proud of her, my heart is overflowing with love and admiration for her strength at the young age of four.