Two weeks ago, I was about 36 weeks along and my doctor sent me for a growth scan ultrasound. She was concerned because I was measuring huge and it was likely that I had extra fluid.
The ultrasound showed that the baby was 10lbs 7oz. The radiologist came in and said that a more conservative estimate was 9-10lbs. At 36 weeks. Holy cow. They also saw some thickening in his heart. Immediately after the ultrasound, I went to see my doc. Instead of taking the results as I normally do, the radiologist called my doc. She was concerned that I had too much fluid and the thing about his heart. She told me I was going to need to go to the children's hospital for a fetal echo.
On Monday morning Ryan and I went to the hospital for the echo. They spent about 45 minutes measuring and observing. We could see his heart fluttering like crazy. Afterward, the doctor called us in to his office and explained that the baby had an arrhythmia and his recommendation based on how far along he was and the fact that he didn't yet show signs of other body systems showing distress... was to deliver him that week. My doctor called me a few hours later and said that they wanted me to come in to the hospital for observation and steroid shots and that I was scheduled for a c-section on Weds. at 1PM.
I cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried. The dog came and licked my face. And I cried. So much for no c-section. So much for carrying my baby to term. So much for being ready... When I went to the hospital, it was mostly just boring. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and it was going nuts. It kept freaking out because of the arrhythmia and then it would think that the sensors had fallen off. Later, the doc called me and she said one of the reasons we shouldn't attempt a v-birth was because we'd never know how much distress the baby was in. So, I accepted that. Not happily, but at that point it was about what the baby needed.
On Monday night we went to Target and got the few remaining "essentials" like the Pack 'n Play with the bassinet where the baby would sleep right away and some wipes. Otherwise, we had diapers and some onesies and were figuring the hospital would send us away with a pile of formula. As for the nursery, we figured we'd get to that later.
The next day I went to school to collect any last papers for grading and put away all valuables. Then it was back to the hospital for more of the same. For dinner we went out for sushi. I figured that at that point, I was probably pretty safe. After all, I was going to have the baby the next day!
Weds. we got up early so I could eat breakfast (at 4:30AM) before they made me quit eating 8hrs before. I also had to quit drinking and that was MISERABLE. I was so thirsty!
Look at that giant belly!
I went in for all of the pre-op fun and by the time I got into the OR I was terrified. Like, I wanted to cry I was so scared. Ryan didn't come in until my doc was about to start cutting. She warned them that there was a lot of fluid and a very big baby and for me to expect a great deal of pressure in my chest and then about 45 seconds later, they pulled him out and showed us. Holy mackerel, he was big! They took him off to clean him and Ryan said to me, "He's not crying." In fact, he only gave one feeble cry the entire time we were in the OR. After that, we got to hold him. I made sure that Ryan got to hold him, too. Overall, we must have had him for 90 seconds total before they took him back for more testing and then off to the NICU.
We were stunned. Our huge son was snatched away from us. So, for the record:
Babykins (Email me and I'll tell you his name--I haven't decided how much info I'll give about him)
10 pounds, 1 ounce
Just shy of 37 weeks
I spent the next day recovering from the c-section, unable to see my baby. Ryan kept coming down to give me updates. The next morning he wheeled me to the NICU to see our baby and it was awful. I was so drugged I could barely stay awake and my baby had his head in a clear plastic shield with oxygen and he was panting. At one point he opened his eyes and saw both of us and was startled. I know that preemies are like that, but I started to cry. After a little while, Ryan took me back to my bed so I could sleep.
A little later, the docs came back and said that he was being transferred to the children's hospital. This was in no way a surprise, but it was still emotional. Ryan was a huge mess, crying and one of the doctors was telling him he'd have to drive and follow the ambulance and Ryan said he almost punched him. Luckily, one of the transfer team said that he could ride in the ambulance. They wheeled the little mobile incubator in and my family got to see him for the first time. Aside from having to push my mother aside, I got to say not-goodbye to him. And then he was gone and Ryan was gone.
My family and a few friends kept me company and kept my mind off things the next four days. Even the nurses were very kind and with maybe two exceptions, they never asked about the baby--if I mentioned him they'd say that they'd heard. It made it easier not to have to explain to people.
On Sunday, I finally, got to be with my son. I was feeling rotten, in pain, and looking about 5 months pregnant, but it was hard to care about that. A little while after I got there, they took out his breathing tube. Happiness!
After a few days we got transferred down to the regular NICU. Now that his heart has mostly healed, they are dealing with more run-of-the-mill preemie concerns like his lungs which have fluid in them and jaundice and that sort of thing. They're dealing with all of this while still making sure that his heart is behaving itself. They haven't said when and we're thinking we're still talking about weeks, but they have used the word "home" down here. They also let us change his diapers and we finally got to hold him...
Today I got to give him his very first bottle.