Wil's birth story, part three

So much had changed in less than 24 hours. The night before we were returning from vacation, returning to work, and getting ready to tackle my long 'to do' list as I entered my third trimester with Wil. We didn't have any time to process this major shift in our lives as we waited for the hospital shuttle. Instead we had to make some quick decisions. We decided that I would go to labor and delivery alone while James returned home to pack a bag, call our friends and make arrangements for Luke. We knew there would be some time before the c-section because Dr. Richards wanted to do an amniocentesis before delivery to determine Wil's bilirubin levels and exact blood type. This was the only way to know exactly how anemic Wil was which would be important for the Neonatologist and her staff as they prepared for Wil's arrival. Dr. Richards believed at the very least he would need a blood transfusion so they needed to go ahead and contact the blood bank as well. As I stepped on the shuttle James made his way to the parking lot.

While riding the shuttle over I called my parents and filled them in best that I could. (I think my mom starting packing her bag while we were still on the phone because they arrived within 7 hours.) After I hung up with them I sat in a daze waiting for my stop. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. We went through so much to get pregnant with Wil and now, 12 weeks before his due date, he is being delivered emergently. What will this mean for him? What other problems will he have, apart from anemia, that are brought on by such an early delivery? No one had really discussed any of that with us. Everything had moved too quickly. I couldn't think.

I walked onto labor and delivery and the nurses greeted me by name. Dr. Richards must have described me. They got me settled in my room and started preparing me for both surgery and the amnio. They also gave me surfactin, a steroid shot to help with Wil's lung development. Dr. Richards arrived and did the amnio. While we were waiting on the results James returned, they finished prepping me for surgery, I met with the anesthesiologist, signed all sorts of paperwork, and waited some more. It was somewhere during this time that I started getting really nauseated. Really nauseated. So they gave me something for that which made me so darn antsy I thought I would come out of my skin. I was physically miserable, and scared, and confused. And all we could do was wait.

I don't remember how long it took but when Dr. Richards came through the door with the results the news changed again. This time for the better. Wil's bilirubin levels were not as critical as he thought they would be. It didn't make sense to him at all. I could see the bewilderment in his face. Dr. Richards, by the way, is a top notch perinatologist that women come from all over to see. He has seen it all. Though he went on to tell me he had never seen such contradictory results before - "your boy is baffling me," he said. The bilirubin level was not great, but it was not horrible. Not horrible enough to delivery Wil at 27 weeks and put him at risk for so many other problems. So, the urgency was gone just as quickly as it arrived.

The new plan was for me to return to Dr. R later that week to repeat all the tests. We went back Friday and this time took a bag. Everything looked approximately the same. And so it went for four more weeks. Each week we felt more and more hopeful that, although Wil had anemia and would likely need a blood transfusion at birth, he would go close to full term and be just fine. James attended each appointment with me and brought a bag each time. When I hit 32 weeks we decided James didn't need to come. After five of these appointments I understood everything and didn't feel as frightened, I didn't feel a sense of doom hanging over us anymore. The appointment was moving along just like each one before. I had come to recognize the numbers and graphs and pictures from the cerebral blood flow test. And I knew, lying there in that dark room with only the glow of the monitor, and four residents and two interns standing beside me, that Dr. R was going to send me over again. And he did. I asked if I could go home first, make arrangements for Luke, and come back with James. He said, "no, this time we will definitely be delivering Wil. We have reached a point where he will be safer outside of you than inside."

James showed up with our friends, Steve and Kim, as I was being prepped for the c-section. We visited briefly, the doctors were in and out letting me know what to expect at each stage, and we met with the neonatologist who believed the biggest issue we would be facing was a blood transfusion, or two. I didn't like the sound of that at all but at this point, after almost five weeks of worry, I was just ready to meet Wil and get him whatever he needed to get strong.

Wil was delivered at 8 pm and weighed 5 lb. 8 oz., a pretty big guy for being 8 weeks premature. He was incredibly swollen, an effect of the anemia, so we knew some of that weight would drop in the days to come. There were no less than 8 people hovered around and over him in the delivery room. They whisked him away before I could get a good look at him, but not before I picked up the feeling that something more was going on. And then my nausea came back with a vengeance.


Lark said...

If I didn't know how the story ended I would bawl! I'm stressed out just remembering all that. What an amazing, crazy way to bring Wil into the world, but I guess being born in a stable to a teenager was pretty amazing and crazy too.

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