Bedrest for a Reason
I was so excited to be pregnant with our first baby. I had always wanted to be a Mom and I loved being pregnant and seeing my belly grow, feeling the baby move and just the whole thing. I was taking Bradley Classes and preparing for natural childbirth. I was planning on switching to a midwife after the New Year when our insurance changed.
Then I was put on bedrest for preterm labor when I was 25 weeks pregnant. I was in and out of the hospital over 6 times and got to the point where I just wanted to make it to 34 weeks. That was “safe” for a preemie and it just resonated with me.
I also distinctly remembering an impression I had on a drive home from one of my hospital visits. That I was on bedrest for an important reason, a life or death type of reason. I told Rob that maybe it was that I would have died in a car crash on the way to work, or something like that, but it was big and maybe bigger than just keeping the baby in.
Blessing Reassures Me
I woke up on the 2nd of January and went downstairs, ate a breakfast burrito, drank some juice and was watching the Newlywed Show (you can tell how bored I was after 9 weeks of bedrest!)
Suddenly I realized I hadn’t felt “Hootie” move that morning. Because I was on bedrest I was very familiar with his movement. I called the Dr, they said drink more juice and call back in an hour if he hasn’t moved. I already knew something was wrong. I still wish I had told the Doctor I wouldn’t wait another hour, because I just KNEW. But I obediently waited the hour, crying for most of it. I really thought we had already lost the baby.
I woke Rob up (he was taking the morning off). I told him to get up, because we were going to the hospital again. I called the Dr. back and they set up an apt. at the outpatient center for 1:30. Rob gave me a blessing before we left. He blessed that “Hootie” would be ok and he would come when he was ready. As soon as he said he would be ok, I felt a large weight come off of my shoulders, I KNEW that the baby was going to be ok.
We got to the outpatient center early, but they were still at lunch. When they finally got back from lunch, they hooked us up on the monitor. When we saw his heartbeat, we figured, everything was ok. They used a little noisy vibrator on my belly to try and wake him up. Hootie kept on sleeping, but it made me have contractions. After 3 tries, this mean nurse came in and said, “It looks like you are going to have your baby today.” and then she tried to wake him up with the noise maker again. Rob and I were wondering who this strange nurse was and we didn’t believe her at all. I thought she was in the wrong room or something.
Then the nice nurse came in and explained much more nicely. The baby was under stress and we needed to go straight to Labor and Delivery, they would probably perform a c-section. The baby’s heart rate was not changing, except it did drop during contractions. They would be better able to help the baby outside of me than if he stayed inside. Rob and I were shocked. But we dutifully headed over to Labor and Delivery. Rob asked if I wanted another blessing. I said no. I felt really calm. I knew that the baby would be ok.
We got to Labor and Delivery and there was a room full of doctors and nurses waiting for us. I still didn’t believe it was real, until when I got undressed and on the bed, the nurse started shaving me. I got an IV in my right arm, but it didn’t go in right and got all swollen, so they switched arms. I got a fast ultrasound. Rob watched, but I was busy listening to the Anesthesiologist explain about the spinal. He asked if I had any allergies. I replied, “Just to cats.” 🙂
I think we got to L&D at 2:30 and into surgery around 2:40 or 2:45. I remember being pretty out of it. Rob came in and was holding my hand during the c-section. Everything seemed so surreal. My nurse was really nice. She asked if we knew what we were having. I said a boy. She asked if we had a name. I said not yet, but we called him Hootie in utero. At 3:05 he was born, I felt them pulling and then the nurse asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” “It’s a boy” She said, “Hi Hootie”
I didn’t hear him cry at first. But then I heard a mewing sound and that was the baby crying. He weighed 4lbs 3 oz and was 18 inches long. They let me hold him, but it was hard while I was lying down and then the nurse came over and said, “He is still pink” that freaked me out, so I told Rob I was tired and I didn’t want to hold him anymore. So Rob and the Neonatologist went to the NICU with the baby.
After the Birth (aka pain killer days)
I couldn’t believe I had the baby already. I was feeling a lot of pain and I didn’t really care about the baby at that point. It just was so unbelievable that we had him already. The nurse told me when I got up to the maternity floor they would give me a morphine pump. I was just focusing on surviving until I could get those drugs.
It was funny, they finally brought me up to my room and I called my mom to tell her what happened. I told her we had the baby and he weighs…. and then the nurse came. I thought she was bringing my drugs, so I told my mom, “I have to go, they are bringing me my drugs.” and I hung up the phone. Boy was I disappointed when the nurse didn’t have my drugs.
To be honest the next few days are quite blurry. I was in a LOT of pain. I was taking some good drugs to help with the pain. This caused me to be living in a cloud for a week or so. We finally picked a name for Hootie three days after he was born. We chose Devon Scott R. It seemed to fit him and it was nice to see them cross off Baby Boy R and put Devon Scott R. It seemed more official.
I don’t think I realized the seriousness of what had happened until a Dr. who was checking me asked how he was doing. I said pretty good but he was going to have to stay in the NICU for awhile. She said we were lucky he was here at all. That it was good that I noticed that he wasn’t moving and called.
I know now that is why I was on bedrest. I have had so many people say they wouldn’t have noticed their baby wasn’t moving. We are all told to do kick counts, but most people think they don’t have time. The best advice I got was to pay attention after you eat, make sure you feel the baby move 3 times within 30 minutes after you eat, if you don’t then lie down and count. Being aware of his movements saved his life!!!
My mom came out to help us right away, which was so wonderful. She drove me to the hospital once or twice a day to visit with Devon. She cooked for us and cleaned like I’ve never seen her clean before. We would be exhausted by the end of the day. I was still recovering from surgery and walking through the hospital and being up and about so much just wore me out.
I longed for Devon to come home. . When I would visit him in the NICU, it was like visiting A baby, not MY baby. I was pumping every 3 or 4 hours and bringing in my Breastmilk for Devon to drink. He was having trouble eating and digesting his food, so that is what kept him from coming home. His lungs were great, I kept thanking my Dr. for giving me the steroids.
Then on the 14th of January the nurse surprised us by saying he was going to go home that day. I was thrilled, he would be home just in time for his Daddy’s birthday. My mom was really nervous because he was still so little. He weighed 4lbs 5 oz when we brought him home. I didn’t care how big he was, I was just so excited because he was finally MINE.
I was nervous about breastfeeding, that it would be hard for him to adjust to the breast. I had only breastfed him 2 or 3 times before he came home. But Rob had given him a blessing in the NICU “That he will be able to learn to eat well – breastfeeding will go well too.”
We were so blessed because he adjusted just fine. I supplemented with Expressed Breast Milk for a day or so, then my Pediatrician told me to try a week with out supplemental bottles. He did great and when we weighed him a week later he had gained a pound.
Devon is almost 14 years old now. He is a great kid, so smart and curious about the world. He did have some developmental delays, but he is doing great now! He is very active in scouting and hopes to earn his Eagle Scout in the next few months (he already did his project.) He is quite a miracle.
Though his birth was traumatic for me AND him, we are healing. I thought when he turned 10 that I had gotten over it, but with therapy I realized I still had things to move past. I will be blogging about that on my Enjoy Birth blog in January of next year.