Our baby came 13 weeks early.
Obviously everyone wants to know what happened, how the baby is doing, and how we’re doing. I’ll try to answer the first question here, and I’ll update on how our family and the baby are doing in future posts. Thank you, everyone, for your love and for your prayers.
Sorry this post is so long. I could probably sum it up in a couple of paragraphs, but for journaling purposes I guess I’ll leave all the silly details.
Here’s what happened:
Friday (June 26th) was stressful. I drove around picking up tools for pouring our concrete fire pit that night, and while Nick, Brady, and Jake were pouring I was taking drinks and pizza out to them and trying to keep the kids out of the way. So I was hot, hungry, and exhausted, and on Saturday morning I woke up with my stomach hurting. I had slept until 8, which was not at all normal for me, so I was starving and figured low blood sugar was the reason I felt so yucky. I started to eat some cereal then felt like I was going to throw up. I didn’t, but I put my feet up for a bit to try to feel better. I didn’t eat much. Nick left to play golf in Layton. I kept resting on the couch and figured this was going to be a pretty boring Saturday.
Then I started bleeding. A lot. Sorry if that’s TMI. I called labor and delivery and they told me to come right in.
I called Nick, feeling super guilty for asking him to abandon his golf foursome that he had already paid for, especially since he was already in Salt Lake. We’ve had a lot of false alarms with bleeding in this pregnancy; at 5 weeks I ran 2 miles and bled so much I thought I had miscarried, but on an ultrasound the next day there was an egg sac, and I bled on and off for the next month. A few weeks later I got the flu and had some bleeding, and the after-hours nurse at Valley OB told me to go to the ER rather than just wait until morning to come into the clinic for an ultrasound, then the ER doctor told me I shouldn’t have bothered coming in since I wasn’t really bleeding that much . . . then we got $1200 in bills, and I was so mad at myself for going to the hospital since even if I had been miscarrying there was nothing they could have done. At my 20-week ultrasound the tech said the placenta looked fine — or at least that it was in a good spot, not blocking my cervix or anything, but nothing appeared to be wrong at that time. So I felt dumb going to the hospital this time.
Mel came to the house to watch the kids and I met Nick at American Fork hospital. The nurse was being pretty nonchalant and she found the baby’s heartbeat quickly, and she reassured me that so many women bleed through their whole pregnancy. I figured we would do an ultrasound and find out that once again everything is fine, and then we’d go home with me feeling really stupid and with Nick being super bugged about missing golf.
As we were heading to the ultrasound room Doctor Melendez (who delivered Nixon) came and let me know that they would probably transfer me to Utah Valley hospital because they have a Level 3 NICU. The ultrasound tech took a LOT of pictures but said nothing before he went to talk to the radiologist. I couldn’t see the monitor while he was looking but Nick said there was a particular spot he seemed to be focusing on. When Dr. Melendez came to check in the ultrasound tech said that the placenta wasn’t looking good and that there was a large blood clot building up behind it.
By this point Dr. Melendez had already called the transport team to take me to Utah Valley. It was explained to us that I was likely having a placental abruption, so the placenta was sort of coming loose, but with some bed rest it could possibly re-adhere. My nurse gave me a steroid shot in my hip to help mature the baby’s lungs in case he needed to come early. That made me feel much better about the situation. Then they gave me an IV in my hand, which hurt sooooo bad and only felt worse as time went on. They started me on Magnesium Sulfate through my IV, which I guess is supposed to sort of relax your uterus and the baby since preemies can have brain bleeding. I don’t know. Whatever it was for, it made me feel like crap. My tongue started to feel hot and I felt nauseated and dizzy. When when the transport team showed up I just started to go really pale either because the stuff in my IV was making me feel super weird or I was having a panic attack because everyone’s shirts said “Life Flight Team” and I did NOT want to go in a helicopter. Luckily we were going in the ambulance.
I started to feel much better by the time I was in the ambulance. The nurse traveling with the transport team (her name was Shea) was amazing and knew her stuff, and knowing she was super on top of my situation made me feel so much better. In the ambulance, though, Shea had asked me if I was feeling the contractions I was having (she was watching them on a monitor). I had just thought they were cramps, but they had started when I was driving to the hospital, and I had noticed they were sort of coming every few minutes. So that was weird.
Nick drove the truck to the Provo hospital and was right there with us going in the elevator to my room upstairs. My parents came by with Nick and the kids and by now they were explaining that basically I was going to be in the hospital for several days at least, maybe a week, really probably until delivery or possibly until I stopped bleeding. Everything was up in the air. Nick called our Relief Society president since it looked like he was going to need a LOT of help with the kids for a long time. He told me later that he was getting pretty stressed. I didn’t know how I was going to sit in a hospital for three months and not be home taking care of my babies. Suddenly the hum-drum of folding laundry and doing dishes sounded super appealing. I felt so bad for Nick.
Nick took the kids home and put them to bed. I was STARVING, and they wouldn’t let me eat anything until they were sure I wasn’t going to need an emergency C-section or something. I KNEW I should have eaten before going to the hospital because I knew that would happen, dang it. Finally later that evening, after like 12 hours of no eating or drinking, they let me have Jell-O and Diet Coke. I got NO sleep that night with nurses in and out of my room, and obviously the Diet Coke was probably keeping me awake.
Throughout the night the contractions kept getting worse. So they kept up with the mag sulfate and also gave me morphine, which I wasn’t sure if i wanted to do since the contractions were maybe a 4 or 5 on the dumb 1-10 pain scale everyone is always asking you about, and contractions weren’t lasting very long so it seemed silly to do morphine but they were getting pretty annoying and I really wanted to sleep. Which I did not. Also the stupid IV in my hand was KILLING me and pain was shooting up through my forearm and I was constantly rubbing my arm to make it not hurt. I wanted to punch a few people in the face at this point. All night I did not sleep and my blood pressure monitor kept beeping because my blood pressure was low and/or when I would lie a certain way it wasn’t reading, and I would start to feel dizzy and light headed and nauseated and like I was going to go blind and no one would check on me when the monitor kept beeping so I would roll over in bed to find where the heck the button to call the nurse was, call the nurse, tell her to turn off my stupid beeping blood pressure monitor and to please make sure I wasn’t dying, and then she’d be gone again and I’m like, hey, thanks for the help, PS these contractions are really hurting, is anyone concerned? If I pass out is an alarm going to go off? If I pass out and die will anyone know before you come to poke me with another stupid needle in an hour?
Anyway. I was a little frustrated that they were being so nonchalant. Looking back I guess it was my fault that I kept telling them my pain wasn’t unbearable, because I just didn’t want to be super drugged for no reason and contractions don’t last very long and I was just breathing through them so I figured I shouldn’t make a huge deal out of it. They didn’t want to check my cervix because my bleeding seemed to maybe be slowing down ever so slightly and they didn’t want to irritate anything and cause more bleeding. So finally when a different nurse than my usual one came in to check on me around 2:30, I was like, “Hey. You. Psst. My contractions hurt. Like kind of a lot.” Of course she asked me what they felt like on the Stupid Pain Scale and I said maybe a 6 or 7, because I wasn’t screaming and if something only lasts for 20 seconds I probably don’t need major drugs or something. But anyway, she said she’d check my cervix just to see if anything was going on. I like her. I am going to write her a BIG thank you card. after she checked my cervix she casually took her gloves off and was like, “Hey, were you going to get an epidural?” I thought that was an odd question. I mean I knew a delivery was possible within the next few days or weeks if the baby ripped the placenta out and made me start hemorrhaging or something or if the baby’s vitals started going downhill, but I just thought the epidural question was odd. I was like, “Uh, yeah, yeah, I’m planning on that, for whenever that happens.” So she tossed her gloves in the trash and said, “OK, well, I’ll call the epidural guy, because you’re dilated to a 10. You’re having this baby right now.”
So she called Nick, and then apparently my main nurse also called Nick because she didn’t know the other nurse had called, so fortunately he took that as a clue that he should HURRY and he called my parents and headed to the hospital as they were headed to the house, and I was rushed to the OR, saying things like, “Why are we going to the OR? Am I havign a c-section? I can still feel my legs, why can I still feel my legs, turn up my epidural! Someone feed me ice chips!” And then finally I was sufficiently drugged and asking everyone weird questions, like “So what are your kids names? I need ideas.” And I think I thought everything I was saying was really hilarious or something, and I kept telling everyone sorry and thank you and stuff. And I was clutching my barf bag and dry heaving. And then a kid named Ariel in hipster glasses, who looked 16, was feeding my ice chips with a spoon, so that was weird, and then Nick came in wearing a white coat and a hairnet, which I just thought was weird because I’ve never given birth in an OR, like I thought that was just for c-sections but I guess we were in there in case I needed an emergency C-section.
The baby was out in two pushes, around 4am (don’t ask me how I even had the energy to push) and I got a glimpse of him upside down and he made a little grunt and I just remember saying that he was so beautiful and perfect and he looked so much bigger than I thought he’d be, and the fact that he looked like an actual baby made me feel like he was going to be OK, and then Nick rushed with the techs into the next room so get him on a ventilator and stuff, and I sort of watched through the window while the docs finished up with me, and I was probably still talking and saying stupid stuff and really annoying the crap out of the people working around me. And then I was so tired and ready to pass out but I still didn’t sleep the rest of the night, I was just so wired and tossed and turned and my mind was racing wondering about the baby. I didn’t go to see him baby until Sunday night, which felt like three days later.
I’m grateful for how this situation has softened our hearts and changed our attitudes about having another baby. We were a little stressed about it but I have watched Nick spend so much time in the NICU and talking with Boston’s doctors and nurses and keeping his hospital bracelet on for days and wearing his Red Sox hat every day, and I know he just loves that little boy so much. We are so grateful that he is alive and we can’t wait to have him home, and we are so grateful for everything that’s happened and the love people have shown us over the last week.
This entire pregnancy, I have felt like something was going to be different. I didn’t know if he would come super early or if I’d go full term only for him to be stillborn, but I knew things were not going to be normal and I just knew I needed to prepare myself for things to not be normal. It’s hard to explain why I felt that way, but little things would happen or I would hear stories about things going wrong with babies and felt like I was hearing those stories for a reason — not because those specific things were going to happen to our baby, but because something was going to be different and I needed to be ready for anything. Oddly, just a week before Boston was born, I found myself reading an article on pumping exclusively for your baby, and I wondered why I was reading that article when I still had three months to think about things like that, but I just felt like I should read it. Throughout this pregnancy I’ve felt super grateful for my two healthy children and I knew that I needed to not take their easy arrivals and good health for granted. I just knew that something different was going to happen this time, so I tried to be mindful so that I could be mentally prepared. I’m grateful I had that feeling, because when this all happened I never felt freaked out — not when I was running to the bathroom with blood running down my legs, not when they said the placenta was separating, not when they told me I was having a baby three months early. I never felt shocked or confused, and that night in the hospital before Boston came I knew that he would live. I’m so grateful that our baby is alive and I try not to think about what would have happened if it weren’t for modern medicine and these awesome medical professionals. They are angels.
I’ll write more soon with updates, but for now, know that we are doing OK but definitely appreciate prayers and the yummy dinners people have been bringing us. Just knowing we are on your minds is so helpful to us, and we appreciate every kind comment on social media. Don’t be offended if I don’t answer text messages right away 🙂 Nick’s dad is here helping with kids and it’s been so great to have him around to hang out with. We are so grateful for all the help and support we’ve had!