6.01.2013

The Birth Story of My 28-Week Preemie {Part 2}

Today is my son Caleb's 8th Birthday, so I'm sharing the incredible story God has given him. But first go read Part 1 of this story here.  Otherwise none of this will make sense!

Now for the rest of the story....

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The doctor came after hearing the nurse's alarming news about my blood pressure, and around 11:00pm, it was becoming obvious that Caleb was in distress.  His heart rate was up and down all over the place.  I will never forget the tension in that room.  My doctor, usually positive and upbeat, was grave.  That fact alone scared me.

As the whole room kept their eyes fixated on the monitor and Caleb's heart rate, we were all alarmed when it started dipping into the 60's and taking longer and longer to come back up.  Then it hit 40 and only very slowly did it begin to climb.  

That's when the doctor realized something was terribly wrong.  He checked me and the hemorrhaging that was happening internally had begun to show on the outside.  I had had a placental abruption, a condition that was life threatening to Caleb and myself.  The doctor turned to the nurse and said, "Let's go!"  It was 11:35.

Suddenly, it seemed like my life turned into something I had seen in a movie. People in blue were running everywhere and I was flying down the hall in my bed.  Someone handed me a tiny cup and yelled, "Drink this."  It was disgusting.

 I looked back and there was my sweet husband, waving at me and signing "I love you." I watched him until the double doors closed behind me.

The swarm in the OR was surreal.  There were between 20-25 people in that room.  And everyone was in a mad flurry of activity.  Someone was strapping my arms down.  Another person was inserting IV's.  A lady with blonde hair was taking my blood from my other arm.  An oxygen mask was strapped to my face. Someone else put my hair up and covered it with a blue surgical cap. Curtains were flying up.  I felt someone pinch my stomach and say, "Can you feel this?"  I said yes and I heard him say to someone, "Crank her up!"  (Meaning up the meds.)  At my head was an anesthesiologist stroking my hair and trying his best to comfort me.  I just kept asking my for husband, knowing somehow that he wasn't allowed to come.

Then I heard in shushed tones, "Quick, grab the feet."  I knew then that he was born. A nurse hollered out the time of birth....11:38.  They had him out in 3 minutes.

He never cried or made a noise, and I didn't even get a glimpse of him. There was just a swarm of people over on the side of the room whispering and working feverishly.    

Finally a neonatologist came and told me that he was alive and doing okay. They had had to resuscitate him and now he was on a portable vent and on his way to the NICU.  Then he began to tell me all the things they were going to do to him when he got there and all the things that could be wrong with him because of his prematurity and traumatic birth.  It was alot to digest while being operated on.

But while I was being closed up, my doctor began to tell Caleb's story.  Of the crazy complications and massive clot and how that it was so unlikely that we would have ever made it to this point. God was already being glorified through Caleb's life and he was only a few minutes old!

Later, I finally saw my husband in recovery.  He though, was the first one to see Caleb as they rolled him to the NICU and was able to snap this quick picture.  


In the middle of the night, I think around 4:30am they rolled me down to the NICU on my bed so I could get a peak at him.  

I had seen those tiny babies before when Lydia was in NICU.  Then I had tried not to stare...it is an almost unbelievable sight, like a peak into the womb. I had looked on them in pity while holding my full-term, yet broken baby in my arms.

So when I saw Caleb for the first time, it was a strange sort of shock.  Not shock because I didn't know what to expect, but shock because it was just sinking in that this tiny baby, like all of those others I'd seen, was our baby.  He was so tiny, but beautiful and perfect. His birth weight was 889 grams or 1lb. 15.4oz. 

In my post op stupor I didn't have a camera with me, but how he looked is forever etched in my mind.

It wasn't until late Thursday night that I was well enough to go in a wheelchair to see Caleb again.  He was already off of the vent and on CPAP.  He had already had a spinal tap, an ultrasound of his brain, a pic line inserted, an umbilical line placed, and lots of blood work.  He was also very ill with E.coli sepsis and on seven different I.V. antibiotics. (The infection was not localized, it was found in his blood stream. Also, it was not E.coli like we typically hear of, it was a different strand.) Despite all of that, he was asymptomatic and extremely feisty, which was completely unexpected as sick as he was.






 By Saturday morning, Caleb was off of the CPAP completely and just on a nasal cannula with room air...not even a smidge of oxygen was needed.  It was incredible!   

 Caleb which means "Warrior" was an oh-so-fitting name for this little fighter!









After the C-section, I was SO incredibly sick. It made being on the mag for pre-term labor seem like nothing.  I, like Caleb, was being given six IV antibiotics, two IV's in each arm because some of the drugs were incompatible, and one by mouth.  I too had E.coli sepsis. 

I could keep nothing, and I do mean nothing down, not even a sip of water. To this day we still don't know if the violent 3 day bout of vomiting was from the epidural or from the antibiotics. (But just to be on the safe side, I had my last two babies a la naturale!)

Finally by Sunday night I could keep down some jello and my hemoglobin was back in a safe range after all the blood loss from having the placental abruption and the C-section and I was allowed to go home.

Going home was bittersweet. This wasn't my first time leaving a baby at the hospital and it seemed even sadder.  But I was going home to be with Lydia and I was really excited to see her.  I missed her so much!  

The first few days after birth are so critical for a premature baby, but Caleb continued to progress without too many setbacks. Here's a little video of him at five days old when he was strong enough to really be touched.


video

Right after that video, the nurse said he was stable enough for me to hold him for the first time!  So at five days old, I was able to hold my sweet baby. It was pure bliss. =)




One of the "highlights" I guess you could say of his NICU stay was the fact that I was able to nurse him.  They kind of broke the rule that said "they had to be able to take a bottle before they could breastfeed" and let me try.  So at 6 weeks old, and 2lb. 8oz., Caleb had his very first feeding by mouth and I was able to do it!  He nursed like a champ, it really was unbelievable.  So from that time until he went home, whenever I was there I could nurse him.  That was just really awesome and an amazing balm to this mother's heart! 

Here are some of my favorite pictures as he grew through those weeks....




















The new NICU opened while Caleb was in the hospital, and they had kept it a secret that they put Caleb's little footprints on the "Miracles Begin Here" wall at the entry of the unit.  It's a wonderful thing to know that his tiny feet are up there to give hope to parents in there today!
His little corner of the world in the gorgeous new NICU
Because of the circumstances surrounding his birth,  the prognosis from the neonatologists was that he would certainly be there until his due date of August 28th, and that it was a great possibility that he would have cerebral palsy, retinopothy of prematurity, hemorrhaging in the brain, perhaps hearing loss, and a host of other conditions that may develop along the way.  

Caleb did finally come home at 10 weeks old on August 5, 2005, weighing a whopping 4lb. 17oz.  And the only conditions he had were apnea/bradycardia that required a monitor and acid reflux.  A monitor and 4 medications...that was it!!  

He had absolutely nothing that they thought he would! 

Like I said before, when people hear of Caleb's premature birth, unless they know they whole story, it seems so terrible.  But when you step back and see the big picture, and know the whole story, God mercy, grace and power are abundantly evident.

Our son defied medical wisdom...he's a walking miracle!  This son of mine, who tests my patience almost hourly,(ha ha!!) in man's eyes, should not be here.

"With men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible." --Mark 19:26......Hallelujah!!

I hope and pray through Caleb's life and story, that God will be glorified and you'll see Him for the good and gracious Father that He is.  In the words of Ron Hamilton, "He (God) took what seemed to be a tragedy, and turned it into one of the greatest blessings of my life."  

Today is definitely a day for rejoicing!  To God be the glory, great things He hath done!


"The Lord had done great things for us; whereof we are glad." -Psalm 126:3

9 comments:

  1. I, too, have an 8-year old boy {"Nate the great is eight and always late" - LOL!}. Maybe that is why I could barely read your words through the tears swelling when I read this post... I adore my boy (and my other precious children), and this post made me so much more grateful for them and their lives.

    Thank you for sharing Caleb's story. What an amazing little miracle of God he is! May he always give his life back to the One who gave him life.

    Happy birthday, Caleb!!!

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  2. My son also just turned eight this month. Before I had him I had just had a miscarriage so it was such a comfort to have a healthy baby. We can't take anything for granted in this life, nothing is guaranteed, except that God will be with us! It is so amazing how he can take such hard things and bring glory to himself through them and draw us closer to him through it and learn to say" my heart will choose to say blessed be your name". Thankyou fir sharing your story and allowing God to be glorified through it!

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  3. Thank you for this posting. We were privileged to be part of your prayer team during those days. We eagerly looked forward to updates & the pictures Steven shared. All who knew you were so encouraged by your family's walk of faith and that encouragement is with us today. God did a wonderful work then and continues to do so today. In His love, Judy & Pat Smith

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  4. What a tremendous story. Txs for sharing. My niece was also very prematurely born, as u know, and Im always amazed how God is glorified through this what seems to us a tremendous hardship. Txs for sharing.

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  5. What a tremendous story. Txs for sharing. My niece was also very prematurely born, as u know, and Im always amazed how God is glorified through this what seems to us a tremendous hardship. Txs for sharing.

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  6. Loved reading both parts of this story, Laine. Made me cry & laugh to think of God's amazing working in your family during this time! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story of God's faithfulness.

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  7. loved reading the details surrounding his miracle birth.
    love that he is alive and healthy...praying he always knows that God is with him.

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  9. I'm the grandmother of a 28 weeker who was born 6-26-13. He has gained two ounces this week and now weighs 2lbs 11oz. They put a nasal cannula on him last night and mommy got to change his diaper and got to "kangaroo touch" for a little while. Thank you so much for sharing your story...our journey is just beginning.


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