When I announced that twiblings were on the way, Baby V and Baby OMG’s due dates were 3 months apart.
I never could have predicted that they would be born 17 days apart, but here we are again, riding out this rollercoaster as it throws us for another loop.
I had just made it to 31 weeks in my pregnancy and had been having swelling in my legs and feet for a few days. I went to bed on a Sunday and woke up because it felt like something was going to trickle out of me. I jumped out of bed and started walking to the bathroom when there was a rush of fluid that I couldn’t stop. I stood there and said to my husband that “something was leaking out of me.” I knew in the back of my mind what this seemed like but I couldn’t believe it yet.
It was too early.
I called the OB nurse on call who suggested I come to triage.
Our 2 week old was sleeping soundly in her bassinet. Our dogs were on our bed with no plans to stay anywhere. My hospital bag was not packed. I didn’t have a birth plan in writing. I had just talked to my cousin about ideas and dates for maternity pictures. Tom was set to go back to work the next day after taking time off for Violet’s birth.
We weren’t ready, but we had to move.
I grabbed a towel, my ID, and my phone. Tom grabbed Violet and put her in the car seat where she continued to sleep. On the way to the hospital we were stopped by malfunctioning train tracks, because of course.
Once at triage they confirmed my water had broken and told me I would be admitted to the hospital until I delivered the baby, ideally at 34 weeks.
Three weeks of bedrest at the hospital? It was hard to imagine. I wasn’t prepared to leave my life or my house for that long.
I was started on a medicine that would produce surfactant in the baby’s lungs to make them more developed. They told me I was having contractions which made me realize I had been having contractions for weeks but I just thought it was the baby stretching out. I wasn’t dilated.
The next couple of days I rested in bed while the doctors were unhappy with how long the contractions were and baby boy’s decreased heart rate after each contraction. A couple times in the middle of the night all the doctors on the unit ran into my room to check to make sure everything was okay.
On one occasion several doctors barged into my room while I was sleeping and Tom was up feeding Violet a bottle. One doctor put the head of my bed up, the other strapped oxygen to my face, a couple put my legs in the air while one checked to see if I was dilated any more. The rest of the doctors were watching my monitor. I wasn’t dilated and baby’s heart rate returned to normal after a minute of the contraction being over.
During those first couple days in the hospital I had two 12 hour long doses of magnesium sulfate, which basically feels like you are being pulled into hell. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom while on this drug and they eventually placed a catheter. I couldn’t eat, my vision was blurry, and I was loopy. I was burning up despite a fan blowing right on me, I had a bad headache, and intense sinus pressure. The swelling in my legs only got worse and I had to wear the wraps on my legs that mechanically squeezed them every once in a while to prevent blood clots.
After a couple ultrasounds the doctors still didn’t have a reason why the baby’s heart rate was dropping from the contractions, but they determined he might not survive labor and that he should be born via C-section as soon as the 48 hours of the drug to mature the baby’s lungs was over.
I was fortunate enough to have my friend’s mom as my nurse during day shift those first couple days. I was also relieved to hear that my OB would be the one performing my C-section.
I was so hungry from being NPO for days that I told everyone I wanted pizza and a chocolate malt when I could eat again.
I was relieved when it was finally time for my C-section. As soon as they gave me the epidural I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and they quickly laid me down. I remember getting sick during the procedure and turning my head to the side to puke into a bag. The procedure seemed quick and as soon as my doctor pulled out my son she said, “This is a good size baby!” She showed him to us quickly before he was sent to the NICU. 4 lbs 7 oz, not bad for 31 weeks I had thought.
His name is Griffin.
Recovery was a small room with Tom by my side. I was shaking violently from the sudden drop of hormones they told me. I couldn’t stop the shaking and the nurse kept telling me not to fight it. I finally communicated to Tom to push my shoulders down toward the bed, which provides relief for about 5 seconds before I needed a break. Eventually they let me start eating ice chips which were a dream with every bite.
Once the shaking stopped and my blood pressure returned to normal, they wheeled my bed to the NICU so we could see Griffin. He was in a plastic box with lines coming out of him but seemed to be healthy.
The next day I showered and dressed myself for the first time in days. When I went to see Griffin that morning the doctor seemed worried about something and told me that they had reached the end of what they could do for him there and that they would be transferring him to the local children’s hospital where Tom worked. They couldn’t get his blood sugars to stabilize and were talking about something called hyperinsulinemia. It was over my head a bit. The ambulance transport happened quickly and made me nervous about how he would do on the drive over. My nurse and doctor started the process of getting me transferred as a patient to the same hospital since I had one more day of recovery in the hospital after the C-section. Tom and Violet joined me that night and we were able to visit Griffin in his private NICU room at any time.
Griffin was doing well except for his blood sugars which were very very low. They were pumping him full of sugar basically. Over the next week we learned that he had a condition called Congenital Hyperinsulinism.
It seemed like every day when we visited the NICU that there was always a gift waiting for us. One day there was a bag with candy, trinkets, and an empty envelope that appeared to be decorated by a child.
‘omg baby’ it clearly said. With rainbow hearts. My jaw dropped open and I couldn’t stop staring at it. I hadn’t told anyone at the hospital that my rainbow baby Griffin was known as ‘baby omg’ before he was born. I asked his nurse who made the envelope and she said volunteers leave most of the gifts at the bedside.
I couldn’t believe it. How could there be such a coincidence?!
As always I took it as a good sign.
The following week we learned that Griffin’s condition was the result of a genetic mutation and he would need to be taken by jet to a hospital in a different state in order to receive treatment and surgery. He remains there now, stable, awaiting surgery on his pancreas from the only doctor in the country who does this type of surgery.
I can’t wait to hold him in my arms again and am thankful I have Violet to keep me busy during this time.
I finally had pizza and a chocolate malt last night.