Baby #3 and the NICU

Happy New Year!!!

My apologies for my hiatus. I graduated with my MBA as project on December 19th and closed a huge chapter in my life. It felt fantastic! Then the following week on Friday, December 25th. For those of you keeping track, yes this was indeed Christmas Day. My family and I unexpectedly and quickly welcomed our third child into our family.

It was a crazy series of events, but everything has worked out for the best. Christmas Eve my husband and I were working on some last minute gifts. Ah, who am I kidding we had procrastinated to the last minute as usual and stayed up late putting the finishing touches on a memorable Christmas for our girls. After sitting on the floor for a few hours I started experiencing Braxton hicks contractions. Brushing them off I drank lots of water and attempted to go to bed.

That entire night I was unable to get comfortable and my lower back hurt. (Looking back I should have known better.) Anyway, I was up and down the entire night and just miserable. Christmas morning our girls were up at 5 am to open presents. I was there for the gift opening, but I was in pain and had a hard time focusing.

After gifts were open I sat in the recliner where I timed the contractions and found them to be 5 minutes apart for 1 hour. This was interesting, normally Braxton hicks don’t time out like that. I mean come on this is my third child. I went to take a bath and drink some more water.

While in the bath tub I saw part of my mucus plug. I texted my husband to come in and I needed to talk to him. He came in and encouraged me to call the women’s health nurse. I felt bad, I mean come on it’s Christmas. Reluctantly, I called in. The nurse had the same feeling I did. I was 5 weeks from my due date and I probably just over did things with the holidays. She asked me to take it easy and to drink more water.

At this point I wasn’t really sure how much more water I could hold, but I agreed. The nurse ended the call with, “if you find the contractions are stronger or closer together please don’t hesitate to call back or come in. If you come in please call on your way.” For those of you unaware we live 45 minutes from the hospital.

Anyway, I didn’t want to “ruin” Christmas so I tried to hang out with my family, but I just couldn’t do it. I told my husband I was going to go lay down. It was while laying down the contractions increased in strength and I found myself unable to walk/talk. Deciding I didn’t want to have this baby at home we needed to go.

I was 99.8% sure they would give me some fluids and chalk my labor pains up to Braxton hicks…….this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I managed to get out of bed and start packing a hospital bag. Being so early I had not had time to do so. As I packed I asked my husband to please get the girls dressed as “it was time.” I’ll never forget he was standing in the kitchen with the girls sitting on the stools at the island. He turned and gave me a look, almost as if to say “Really Amy, we are going to do this today?”

I continued on. I packed my bag, got dressed, let the dog out and started loading the girls into the car. I think about half-way to the hospital when my contractions were now 3 minutes apart that my husband realized yes it was indeed time.

As we approached our exit on the highway and were about 10 minutes away from the hospital I had this incredible urge to push. I vocalized this to my husband who instructed me that only three more contractions and we would be there. He also added to keep my legs together and relax. (Easy for him to say.) He seemed so calm and collected. I felt as though my world was unraveling. I was trying to lay my head back and be quiet so as not to scare the girls. (I didn’t know/realize until later that they had feel asleep and were oblivious to the circumstances.)

Upon arrival to the Emergency Room I was taken to labor and delivery. The nurses told us they needed to monitor the baby and ensure his safety. I laid on that hospital bed with this incredible urge to push for 15-20 minutes, but it felt like days. Once, everyone was ready and in place the doctor broke my water. I then pushed for a mere three minutes and just like that it was over and done with.

The first question out of my mouth was “Is he okay?” Followed up with, “Does he have all his parts?” Everything seemed so surreal, we were not expecting a baby so soon and there was no indication in all my doctor visits that he could come early. A week or two prior I had another vaginal ultrasound and was cleared for a VBAC. (At the beginning of my pregnancy at week 18 they found I had placenta previa which later changed to low lying placenta and then corrected itself.) Other than that I felt great.

To keep my long story from becoming longer and to prevent you (the reader) from boredom I will cut out some stuff.

The whisked baby off the NICU. My head was swirling and looking back I think I was in shock. My husband, two daughters and myself were taken to my own room in labor and delivery. I felt great. Labor had gone so quickly I didn’t feel much different….just no longer pregnant and without child.

The next 9 days are a complete blur. My girls were not allowed into the NICU because of peak cold and flu season and being under the age of 12. My oldest who would be 6 in four days protested about how she hated “this company” and was angry. The little one, didn’t really know what to think.

My husband and I took turns staying in the NICU. One of us remained at the hospital each night with baby, while the other went home to attend to the girls. This was the most difficult time for us all. ┬áIt seemed the adult “on the inside” with the baby, and doctors felt the best. This person had access to instant answers, could see baby and knew what was going on first-hand. The adult left with the other children was more of an emotional mess.

During the middle of our stay baby decided that he no longer wanted to eat. He was given an ng tube and his food was forced into his belly. My heart was breaking and I blamed myself. There had to be something that I either did or did not do which resulted in our situation. Approaching the nurses with this, they assured me that I did nothing wrong. I still don’t know, but with him doing better I can accept it.

Today baby #3 is three weeks old. We just got back from a well child visit and he weighs 6 lbs 15 oz. – for the first time since birth he has surpassed his birth weight of 6 lbs 8 oz. If I had carried him to term I fear he would have been a 10 lb baby! He is doing great and is well on his way to being normal. Well as normal as he can be for joining our family, lol.

It was while sitting in the NICU on New Year’s Eve alone. Well, with my new man. Reflecting on 2015 that I realized just how blessed our family is and how things could be so much worse. (While surrounded by sad families and really sick children, I realized our situation can be fixed and while circumstances are not ideal they are temporary.)

In closing our 2015 was pretty much amazing! We moved to a new town, started new jobs, sold and purchased a home, got pregnant, I completed my master’s degree and we welcomed baby #3 to our family. I hope 2016 is as good to us.

Thanks for reading,

Simply Amy

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