On Chelsea's birthday, I did a very special post about the incredible circumstances of her birth and life. So, I thought today, Jameson's birthday, I would tell you about his birth and life.
Just like Chelsea's post, this one is very long and very detailed. So if that's not your cup of tea, skip this post and come back tomorrow for my normal funny stuff. And as I go through and read this, it is much more detailed than Chelsea's post. Sorry about that. I just remember so many more details with Jameson because it was not 17 years ago...lol!
I wrote in my last post about how Marty and I had decided to try for another baby, in spite of the events of 09/11/2001. We had been "preparing" for another baby for about 9 months prior to 9/11. I have PCOS, making becoming pregnant much more difficult than it would be for a woman without PCOS. We had decided that I would NOT try the medication Clomid again because of the increased risk of a multiple pregnancy.
We could not survive that again.
**Warning: Boring medical information in the following paragraph!**
So, without the aid of Clomid, becoming pregnant could be much more difficult. I did some research, and discovered that many women with PCOS had good results while taking the diabetic drug, Metformin (Glucophage). Women with PCOS often-times have elevated fasting insulin levels (I did), which in-turn, interferes with the "normal" ovulation cycle. The Metformin "tells" the extra insulin what it's supposed to do and hopefully allows the woman's cycle to become regular. I also discovered that studies had shown that women facing infertility problems often had better results becoming pregnant in the first months after stopping oral birth control pills.
The decision was made for me to start the Metformin about a year before I wanted to try to conceive, and then take oral birth control pills for about 6 or 7 months prior to the time we wanted to conceive.
I started the Metormin in early 2001, and by September, I had lost 60 pounds, my fasting insulin levels were in the normal range, and my cycle was coming every month. We had planned on trying to stop the birth control pills around January, and try to conceive shorty thereafter.
Then 9/11 happened and those plans quickly changed.
I stopped my pills in September, and immediately started trying for baby number 4.
I got pregnant the very first time we tried!
We were so thrilled when we became pregnant so easily this time. We just knew that it was meant to be!
Sadly, my levels never progressed as they should, and I was told that I would loose the baby.
We were CRUSHED!
I was told about the impending miscarriage while at work, on a Wednesday, and the decision was made to try to "pass it on my own" if I could. Because of the problems I had during the triplet pregnancy, my doctor didn't want to do any sort of surgery if she didn't have to.
So, for the next 4 days, I waited.
It was HORRIBLE working the rest of that week. Seeing all of the happy pregnant ladies everywhere I looked.
On that Sunday in early December, I woke up to horrible cramps and I knew that the time was finally here. It was horrible and painful, but thankfully over in a few hours.
Now what were we going to do?
We had just about decided to NOT try again. The miscarriage was a huge blow to us. We weren't sure if we were strong enough to go through that again. Plus, my family was very AGAINST me having another baby. They had not known about the pregnancy until the day I had the miscarriage, and the only reason I eventually told them was because they had called several times wanting to know what was wrong with me and why neither me or Marty was going to Church that day. My mother asked me immediately after finding out about the miscarriage "Well was this planned or just an accident?" and my dad even asked my mother "Why in the world would they even try to have another baby?"
It was very difficult for this daughter, who wanted nothing more than to please her mama and daddy, to hear those things. It's hard feeling like you are a disappointment to your own parents.
Despite all of this, we did decided to try again.
In February 2002, I found out I was pregnant again.
I immediately (as in the night of implantation), knew that this pregnancy was different. I woke up from a dead sleep, and had to throw up. And I threw up every. single. day. for the next 16 weeks.
I loved every minute of it!
My levels looked great from the very beginning. At one point, the levels were so good, I was scared that I was pregnant with TWINS! Fortunately, a few days later, an ultrasound confirmed it was just one baby!
I was sick, but I was thrilled! I had never had morning sickness before....even with the triplets. But it was sure hard to hide this pregnancy from everyone when I was running for the nearest bathroom every little bit. We wanted to keep it "our secret" until the first trimester was over.
Finally, around 10 weeks, I had to start telling people because it was decided once I reached 14 weeks, I would have a cerclage placed to hopefully keep me pregnant as long as possible.
A cerclage is a procedure where the cervix is stitched closed until delivery (in most cases) to hopefully keep the cervix from dilating prematurely.
The cerclage procedure was successful (other than a few hours of FREAK OUT when the hospital ultrasound tech told me she thought my "bag of fluid" had been ruptured during the procedure....thankfully, she was wrong!) and my pregnancy continued.
A few days later during an ultrasound to check my cerclage, the little person growing inside me decided to make themselves known....
IT'S A BOY!
I started crying tears of joy when I saw "him"! We had said all along that all we wanted was a full-term, healthy baby....but we both secretly wanted a little boy. After the ultrasound confirmed everything looked good, I jumped up to call Marty at work. When he answered, he was scared something was wrong, but I told him "I just wanted to let you know that I just had an ultrasound and me and your son are doing very well." He said "or daughter." And I said "No, your son is doing great." The phone got really quiet, and he said "You mean, you know it's a boy?" And I said "Yes, a healthy baby boy....a son!"
He started crying, too!
We already had this beautiful, wonderful daughter, now we were going to add a son to our family! I don't think we could have been any happier!
A few weeks later I started having problems with low amniotic fluid levels, so my job position was changed so I didn't have to run around so much. My "favorite" nurse manager (sarcasm) made my life at work horrible, but I couldn't afford not to work. So, I went to work, put a smile on my face, and tried to have the best attitude I could.
It was HARD!
Around 24 weeks, I started getting really nervous and scared. This was the time I had all of my problems with the triplets. I was TERRIFIED this baby was going to be born early like the triplets. I prayed every single day that the cerclage would do it's job, and keep my little man safe!
I made it through 24 weeks, and then through 25 weeks....the same time I delivered the triplets. At that time, some of my friends bought me a little cake and got me some balloons and flowers, congratulating me on making it farther than I did before. They were so sweet! It was exactly what I needed at that time! For the first time during the pregnancy, I started to think that I might actually make it to term.
Of course, I was wrong.
At 26 weeks, I started having preterm contractions. Because of the cerclage, I could actually feel them this time (unlike with the triplets). I was monitored during my lunch hours at work, and started on an oral medication to help stop the contractions. It did help. My cervix didn't dilate thanks to the cerclage and my doctor allowed me to keep working.
**A little financial side note here....I had to continue working during this time because our finances were in bad shape. It was true that Marty had a great, steady job; but because of 9/11, Enron, and the stock market crash, the people who were going to take early retirement from the Power Company, were unable to do so because there was no retirement funds left. This meant that Marty was stuck at the bottom rung of the ladder, making very minimal pay, waiting for advancement spots to become available. We knew that his job would eventually be something great, but at that time, the pay was very low.**
The next few weeks went by fairly well. I continued working, the meds kept my contractions to a minimum, my amniotic fluid levels were back to normal, and my little man was getting BIG. He was constantly measuring 2 or more weeks larger than he was.....especially his head. Jean, the ultrasound tech, told me that I better be prepared for a repeat c-section because she didn't think his big ol' head would come out any other way...lol!
33 weeks....went by, and I was still pregnant! Thank goodness! This little man was going to be healthy and full term!
Then between 33 and 34 weeks, I started feeling really bad. I constantly had this dull, nagging headache. It was becoming harder to think and concentrate and my swelling was becoming out of control. Up until that point, I had not gained a single pound. But in that one week, I gained 16 pounds....it was all fluid. However, I had never been this far pregnant before, so I just chalked it up to being in my third trimester. Then, I had an extremely high blood pressure reading, and the tests began.
I had pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is a process that some women develop during pregnancy. The symptoms can include some or all symptoms of swelling, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, right epigastric pain (pain around the liver), protein in the urine, elevated blood pressure and/or elevated liver enzyme levels. If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can lead to elcampsia (seizures), placental abruption (the placenta tearing loose from the uterus), renal (kidney) failure, liver failure and/or rupture, stroke, and/or death of mommy and baby.
The only "cure" from pre-elcampsia is delivery.
In most women, the symptoms of pre-eclampsia can be monitored very closely, allowing their pregnancy to continue for for a few more days or weeks, giving the baby more time to develop. However, in some women, the symptoms become so serious, so quickly, delivery cannot be delayed.
That's what happened to me.
I'm just lucky, I guess.
My due date was October 21st.
On September 11th, 2002, I woke up with a really bad headache. My blood pressure was a little elevated before I got out of bed, but not really too high. I assured Marty that I would be fine, and sent him on his way to work. I got up to get ready for work, and while I was in the shower, I felt really funny. I was dizzy, my head was killing me, and I was seeing stars in front of my eyes. I called Marty and told him I think he needed to come back home. About the time he got home, my doctor called, and said for me to get ready and come straight to the hospital.
Here's where it gets a little funny. Here I am, a nurse, and not just any nurse, an OB/GYN nurse who has spent the past 2 years teaching my patients how to prepare for having a baby. What they needed to bring to the hospital, what they needed to have to get ready for the baby. Since I was only 34 weeks pregnant, I hadn't packed one single thing. I am standing in the middle of my living room, in my underwear, and didn't have a clue what I needed to bring!
"Will I deliver today, tomorrow, next week?"
"If I do deliver, will he be in the NICU? Come home with me?"
"Do I pack clothes and diapers for him?"
"Do I bring his car seat? Oh wait, I don't have a car seat!...or a stroller, or a bed, or diapers, or bottles, or a breast pump......I don't have ANYTHING, except 20,000 nice, Church outfits!"
I looked like a chicken with it's head cut off...wearing maternity underwear and a nursing bra.
After Marty snapped me out of my confusion, I finally packed some things and headed out the door.
I eventually put some clothes on too!
Now I want to remind you, it's the one year anniversary of September 11th. Every radio and television station played tributes all day long. The two hour drive to the hospital was torture. I cried all the way there.
I finally made it there and was immediately monitored. My blood pressure was high, but not extremely high, as long as I was lying on my left side. Once I got up to walk, it shot back up. My bloodwork was close to normal and Jameson looked OK on the monitor. The decision was made to keep me overnight, and if everything looked OK the next morning, they would let me go back home to spend the rest of my pregnancy on bedrest.
The night went well, as did the next morning. My doctor (Dr. S) was going to let me go home, but decided to get an ultrasound before discharging me. The ultrasound showed a slow-down in Jameson's movements and definite aging of my placenta. Everyone, including other doctors and midwives from my practice wanted to still send me home.....but not Dr. S. She was ready to deliver!
The one thing that I have learned about Dr. S. is that she has great intuition. Even if things look normal, she always goes by what her gut tells her. I've never seen her gut be wrong!
She discussed her desire to deliver the baby with me and Marty. We both agreed, even though we did not want to deliver this soon. Babies born at 34 weeks, especially white boys, still normally have significant health risks. We were NOT ready to walk down that road again!
We took a lot of criticism from other providers in my practice. One midwife even came in and said "I can't believe you let her talk you into delivering...there is nothing wrong with you or that baby. You are probably giving up your last chance to take a baby home with you!" NOT something a pregnant mom wants to hear minutes before delivering their preterm baby.
The time came and I was wheeled to the operating room. Dr. S. and I had joked throughout the pregnancy that I wanted her to wait until I had my epidural in before she took out my cerclage.
So, once the anesthesiologist was finished, she started removing the cerclage. A really simple procedure that literally takes a few seconds. During that time, I felt this huge surge of pressure. I don't know what it was, but I had never felt anything like it before. At the same time I noticed my heart rate on the monitor went from being over 100, to very, very slow. There was only me and Dr. S. in the room at that time, so nobody noticed it but me.
I thought I was dying.
A few seconds later, Dr. S. said something like, "I see a little blood here, but I don't think it's from the cerclage". Within a few minutes, the rest of the surgical team were back in the room and the c-section was started. As soon as the first incision was made, I knew something was wrong.
As a prior Labor and Delivery nurse, I know in great detail what happens during a c-section. I know what things should look and sound like. The things that I was hearing and seeing were not normal.
Dr. S. became frantic and started telling her assistant "We gotta get him out...get him out NOW!" After several seconds of tugging and pulling, he was out and immediately handed over to the NICU nurse.
Oh wait, the NICU nurse had actually passed out immediately prior to the baby coming out, so the circulating nurse had to take Jameson to the warmer.
I swear, the entire operating room was holding their breath at that moment. I started yelling "TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG! I KNOW SOMETHING IS WRONG!" Then, I heard the most beautiful sound...
Jameson started crying....really, really loud!
Everyone exhaled, and Dr. S. looked at me and said "Robin, you had a abruption." Which meant, my placenta had completely become unattached from my uterus. That meant that Jameson wasn't getting any oxygen during that time. Abruptions are a life-or-death emergency, for the mother and baby. The baby literally has SIX MINUTES before permanent brain damage and/or death occurs. If the abruption is left untreated, the mom can bleed to death.
I was very fortunate to already be in the operating room when it happened. In hindsight, when I felt that "wave" of pressure, was when it happened. Dr. S. said that as soon as she cut into the uterus (Sorry, TMI), the placenta floated up to the top, and my uterus was filled with blood. That may have explained why the NICU nurse passed out.
Jameson continued to cry (thank goodness) and they wheeled him off to the recovery room to be cleaned up, weighed, and evaluated. Marty went with them. Dr. S. began the clean-up, and close-up process. That room, as well as myself, was a MESS! LOL!
A few minutes later, the nurse called into the operating room to let us know how much Jameson weighed.....
A WHOPPING 6 pounds, 0.5 ounces!
I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but you have to remember, he was SIX weeks early. They said he would have been at least 10 pounds (or more) had he gone to full term! I had no idea how to take care of a 6 pound baby! Chelsea didn't weigh six pounds until she was almost a year old.
I was finally ready to go to the recovery room and was going to get to meet my little man for the first time....but when I got in there, he was gone! Nobody seemed to know where they had taken him, but then housekeeping came in and said "Oh yeah, that baby that was in here wasn't breathing too good so they took him upstairs."
I FREAKED OUT!
Nobody had any details. Marty wasn't there...he had gone with Jameson to the NICU. The nurses were too busy with me to find out what was going on. I was hysterical (on the inside).
I WANTED MY BABY, DANG IT!
Dr. S. came by and said she would find out what was going on. She also had decided to start me on meds (Magnesium Sulfate) for my blood pressure. I wasn't too happy about that. I had been on that while pregnant with the triplets and it made me feel like crap. I was also worried about breastfeeding while on that. I also knew that the Mag would keep me confined to the bed while on it.
Because of the Mag, they needed a different IV pole to hang all my meds on. So as they looked for an appropriate IV pole, I went with no pain meds. My anesthesiologist had decided to do a spinal instead of an epidural, which meant that I had been given a one-time dose of meds, and not a continuous stream of numbing meds. This was done about 2:00 pm. Because of the cerclage removal and the delivery complications, it was now about 5:00 pm. Spinals usually only last about 2-2 1/2 hours.
I was feeling some pain!
I was brought up to be stoic and not show much emotion...especially when it comes to pain. So I did my best to tough it out.
It was tough!
It took them so long to get an appropriate IV pole, the patient who had her c-section in the same room I had my c-section in, AFTER ME, was already in the recovery room, using MY original IV pole. The nurses were also trying to draw blood from me to get some lab work, but were having a tough time because I was so swollen. At the last count, they had stuck me TWELVE times, and still weren't able to get what they needed.
I had enough!
Tears started rolling down my cheeks.
The nurse then had the nerve to ask me "Awwwwe, what's wrong?"
I said "I don't know what's wrong with my baby, I don't know where my husband is, you have stuck me TWELVE times and still can't get any blood, and I have COMPLETE feeling back in my abdomen and legs and I can feel every single thing that was done to me, and you just gave THAT OTHER WOMAN MY IV POLE AND PAIN MEDS!!!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK IS WRONG WITH ME???????"
They said "You mean you can feel your legs?....you shouldn't be able to yet." I decided to demonstrate how well I could move my legs by kicking the beside table off of the bed. Then they realized it had been three-and-a-half hours since my spinal was put in.
They finally got me an IV pole.
But, it was too late. It took until 2:30 AM to get ANY relief through the IV meds. I've decided if I ever do this again, I don't want IV pain meds, I just want a big ol' shot of Toradol in the butt. It will be a lot less drama and works a whole lot better.
Finally, Marty came back down to the recovery room, and told me that Jameson had been struggling a little bit to breath, and they just wanted to take him to the NICU for observation. He was on a little bit of oxygen, but seemed to be doing OK.
That was a huge relief!
I was taken to my room (which is another story to itself....it was the smallest, most horrible room on the floor!), where I had tons of friends and family waiting for me. I still felt horrible, but I was glad to see their smiling faces.
Then, SHE came in...the midwife who had made those negative statements to me earlier in the day. She pranced into the room and said "Well, you just had to do it, didn't you? And he's in the NICU now. You just gave up your chance for taking a baby home with you."
I said "Yeah, and guess it's a good thing I DID listen to her because I had a complete abruption."
And she said "HA! The abruption was probably caused by the c-section."
Well, I looked over at Marty, who was now forming two fists, and had FURY in his eyes.
Thank goodness, my buddy Sharon saw what was happening and grabbed him and said "Hey Marty, lets take a walk down the hall."
THANK YOU SHARON! You kept my husband out of jail that night!
The night was long and horrible. The NICU doctor came down to talk to us and let us know that Jameson had been given surfactant to help his lungs. We were very thankful for that. That was what had helped save Chelsea's life when she was born. He was still struggling to breathe and we were warned that they may have to put him on C-pap to help him rest a little. We were well aware of the ins and outs of the NICU, so we assured him that anything they needed to do to help him was fine. Even if that meant they needed to put him on a ventilator.
Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, they let me go upstairs and see my son. As we got closer and closer to the NICU, I started feeling more and more panicked. When I started to scrub in, the smell of the soap sent me into a tailspin. That one smell brought back every single stinkin' memory I had of the triplets time in the NICU.
I almost passed out right then and there.
I sat down, took a few deep breaths, and wheeled into the NICU.
I finally got to see my son. He was beautiful....and HUGE!
I was instantly in love.
I was glad to see that I knew several of the nurses working there. I think they were glad to know that we had been through this before and knew what to expect. It didn't make things any easier though, it actually made it much harder knowing what to expect....Ignorance is bliss.
The next few days were really rough. He was struggling to breath and it was tearing me apart. I went to the NICU doctor and requested for him to be intubated. He was shocked, but he 100% agreed. I hated to see him on a ventilator, but I hated seeing him struggle so hard, much worse.
He started having major problems maintaining his blood pressure and we weren't even able to touch him.
We were heartbroken.
Finally, one of his nurses talked to me and said that oftentimes when a baby did this, they were severely anemic and did much better after having a blood transfusion. I told her about the abruption, and she went to the doctor and requested a second CBC to be checked. They did check it, and he was very anemic. They gave him blood and we waited to see if there were any improvements.
THANK GOODNESS THERE WAS!
He immediately started to get better! We could touch him and talk to him and love on him. After a few days, we got to hold him. I never wanted to let him go.
I was released to go home a couple of days after I delivered, so I had to rely on Marty and my mother to drive me back and forth to the hosptial (100 miles away) every day until I was released to drive. Most days my mom would drive me over in the mid-morning, and I would stay until hubby got there after work and visited. Most nights we didn't leave until midnight. I still don't know how Marty functioned on so little sleep all of those days.
Dr. S. came by every single day, and would take us out to supper at a nearby resturant. She was, and still is such a blessing to us.
He stayed in the NICU for three weeks, clinging to his oxygen for as long as they would let him. He had some problems with eating, but they felt confident that he could go home. They wanted him on an apnea monitor, so they arranged for an Alabama home health service to provide our supplies. Once we got the home health situated, we were ready to go.
I was so exicted to finally be home with my little man. I didn't ever want to put him down. As we got ready for bed that night, Marty had to make me put him in his crib. The NICU had warned us that we needed to set our alarm to go off at night every three hours to feed him. They were worried that he wouldn't wake up to eat, and he would end up right back in the hosptial.
We didn't have to worry about that after all. That alarm never went off. Once he got home, he ate everything we put in his mouth. Whenever he woke up, you had better have a bottle waiting for him or he would scream at the top of his lungs until he was fed. It didn't matter if he had been asleep for 10 minutes or two hours, you better have that bottle waiting for him. When he was in Church, he thought he had to have a bottle in his mouth the entire 2 hours we were there.
I was pumping breastmilk and couldn't keep up with his demands, so I had to suppliment with formula. At around 5 weeks, he developed colic and would scream from 8 pm to 3 am. The only thing that would calm him down was to feed him. Some nights he would eat 15 ounces. He didn't spit up too much either.
Where did that itty-bitty tummy put it all?
Other than the colic, he was doing fantastic. I would pretty much hold him all day long. When Marty got home from work he would ask me, "Did you ever get out of that spot today?" "You are sitting in the same place you were this morning." Well duh, of course I moved....both of us had to use the bathroom at some point during the day! LOL
I was in LOVE!
Chelsea, however, was NOT!
She did not enjoy her LOUD baby brother at all. She is very sensitive to noise and needs things to be very routine. Jameson was anything but quiet and routine.
That started the first of many nights of staying with Nana and Paw Paw.
Don't get me wrong....She LOVES her little brother, but she just loves him in small doses throughout the day. Things are MUCH better now that he's older, but those first few years were ROUGH.
The colic ended when I stopped breastfeeding. I got a mean case of food poisoning, and my milk supply completely dried up. I didn't have the energy to try to get it back to where I had worked so hard to achieve. Jameson did so much better on formula. I guess he had a sensitivity to some things I was eating.
He continued to thrive and rarely had any health problems. After a couple of months, he was completely caught up with full-term babies, both developmentally and physically.
He was completely healthy and normal.
It was a huge change for us. It was literally like having our first baby. We didn't have ANY of this with Chelsea. It was hard, but it was SO MUCH FUN! If we had known having a healthy baby was so much fun, we probably would have had 10 more.
By his first birthday, he was officially off of his apnea monitor, and started to walk that same week. He got into EVERYTHING and could go ANYWHERE! One day we caught him trying to climb on top of the refigerator! From then on, our kitchen door stayed LOCKED unless we were in there.
He has definitely been our more "difficult" child when it comes to attitude and stubborness. I tease my hubby and say that we are paying for MY raising with Chelsea, but are paying for HIS raising with Jameson. But we would not trade him for anything.
Today my baby turned 7 years old. It's so hard to believe he's that old. He's his own person, with his own mind and his own ideas. He is the light of my life and I am so glad that God let me be his mother!
I think his story is longer than Chelsea's. I guess that's because I can still remember so many little details about his birth and NICU stay. If you are still reading, I hope you enjoyed Jameson's story and I hope you will come back tomorrow!
I better go for now because guess what Jameson got for his birthday?
I will try my best to post pictures from last nights birthday party, tomorrow. (He showed NO symptoms of being sick until this morning so I PRAY nobody else catches it!)