Our little Miracle

Our little Miracle
"And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him." ~Luke 2:40

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Remembering..... one year later

Austin is just hours away from his first birthday.  A few weeks ago I had high anxiety once again.  I don't feel that so much, but this past week I have been waking up in sweats with the same dream... a doctor holding me down by my shoulders telling me "Do not push this baby out, there is no one in this room to help your baby."  Only this isn't just a nightmare, but once a true moment in my life.

June 6, 2011 I found out that I was carrying my so longed for, second child.  Elated!  That's an understatement.  My husband and I, and all who loved us, were praying for this pregnancy to happen for a few years now.  FINALLY!  It was positive.  I swore I was having a girl... nothing was the same as the first pregnancy.  I wanted to make sure everything I was doing was of healthy choices - I wasn't going to jeopardize this pregnancy that I had wanted for so long.....  Fast forward.... September 8, 2011... I called my mom.  She had seven children- she knows a thing or two about pregnancy.  I didnt' feel well.  Lower back pains, and just sick feeling.  She reminded me that my body was going through some changes, if I didn't feel well in the morning I could call my doctor.  Middle of night, around 3 a.m.  I awoke from a dream that I lost the baby........ My stomach was hard as a rock, and I had to pee.....  I went to the bathroom... I was bleeding.   My husband and I rushed to the hospital.... heart beat was good and strong, I was contracting so they administered brethine to stop the contractions, ordered me to rest and drink a lot of water and doctors in the morning.  We went to the doctors, ultra sound tech checked baby, HE was fine.  She said we were having a baby boy--I didn't believe her.... I thought I was only 18 wks, she must be wrong.  Through out the weekend my contractions and bleeding worsened.  I called the doctor and she reminded me that I needed to hang tight, drink a lot of water and rest, because at this point in the pregnancy there is nothing they can do for my baby.  I am seen by MFM and put on bed rest with light activity, like showering and getting myself a bite to eat.  I had marginal placenta previa--which should fix itself as the uterus grows.  After two and a half weeks, "things" started to look up and become normal again.... I was anxious for my next visit, as I thought they would lift my restrictions.... a week and a half later, on October 7, 2011... everything changed.  I rolled over and a major gush... I thought my water broke... it was blood.  I still to this day can not believe that my baby survived with the amount of blood loss I had for 8 weeks.  Now I was to stay in the hospital on strict bed rest.... I am not going to go into the entire bed rest thing.... it was many trips between ante-partum and L&D, as I was always bleeding out and they never know what to expect.....and many different drugs and strict bed rest orders to stop labor.

week 23 of gestation....  This is where I am now starting to process, YES ONE YEAR LATER, the extreme trauma that I went through.   It begins here, at 23 weeks gestation.   This is where I begin to cringe.  Most women while pregnant have to make the type of decisions of what color to paint the room... what will the first outfit worn be.... I never in a million years ever imagined having to be told to make the type of decisions my husband and I were now being told we needed to make...  First was that if it became an emergency situation, whom would be saved, me or the baby..... NEXT,
A fellow studying to be a neonatologist came to visit and tell us what to expect if the baby was born now, at 23 wks.  The chance of survival was very slim.  The chance of massive brain trauma was 100%.  The baby is not considered to medically be viable until 24 weeks, so at 23 weeks the doctors give you, the parent, a choice.  We were asked to discuss and choose that if our baby was born this week if we would want them to try to save the baby.  We were told of the chance of their instruments used to save the baby being to big, ultimately making it impossible.  We were told that its extremely invasive and painful and that it may even cause damage that is not fixable, or would kill the baby.  Our other option was to do what they call comfort care... which is when the baby is born We would hold and comfort the baby until he passed.  The only way they would automatically take charge to save the baby no matter what was if he came out crying, which was nearly a 0% chance.  I was given a two series  dose of steroids for the babies lungs.  Thankfully we made it to 24....then 25.... I was administered the "rescue" dose of steroids for the babies lungs.  I asked "why" concerned they had reason to believe he was coming soon.  The exact, verbatim answer was "we don't know.  You do not have any type of pattern for us to follow.  You are having unpredictable episodes and we do not know what to expect".  I also had to decide that if I had a c-section, if I would want my tubes tied or not.

Monday, October 31, 2011.  An ultra sound had showed that my marginal previa was no longer.  It had indeed moved up with the uterus as it grew.  Everyone was elated... things were getting better.  My bleeding was very minimal.... still had my contractions but they were the same as always.... I was going to be in the hospital for a long time, but hey, it was worth it.  Tuesday, November 1.  26 weeks!  For whatever reason, since the day I was put on bed rest, I had a feeling that I just needed to make it to 26 weeks.  Anytime I said that around a doctor or nurse they straight up told me "you will not be having this baby a second before 28 weeks, but we'd like to see you get to 32".  But I had a calming feeling about making it to 26 weeks.

Weds night.... around 11:30 pm.  I wasn't feeling very well.  I was on the monitors as my contractions were spiking high, although i still wasn't feeling any pain.  I was also on IV fluids and had to pee constantly.  They eventually put me back on bed pan orders bc I was up more than I was on monitors......  about 2 am (I may be off on the times, I do not remember when the pain started).... I was complaining that my contractions were now hurting.  They did an ultra sound and the baby was indeed head down. I was checked and was 2 cm.  About 3:40a.m, I was in DIRE pain... I was already given a few doses of morphine, but it didn't even touch the pain.  The doctor checked and I was still 2 cm.  4:10 a.m.  I was begging for them to figure it out... Something wasn't right... I was checked and was at 4 cm's and considered in active labor.... I was getting put back on magnesium sulfate (for the third time) to stop the labor.  It began to get a little crazy at this point.... I called my husband and told him to get there NOW.  Scotty (my husband) walked into a chaotic mess....  I was screaming and begging for an epidural.  He was NOT allowed to be next to me bc he was not sterile, so he was pushed into a corner. Nurses were prepping my room and I am just BEGGING for that epidural!  The doctor in charge is screaming "WHERE ARE THE PEDS?" over and over and over.  Another doctor is holding me down by my shoulders as I am ripping off the monitors screaming in pain... she says to me "Do not push this baby out, there is no one in this room to help your baby."  I will never ever forget this moment.  I am telling them that I am trying and to please give me the epidural... the moment they are ready to stick me in the spine was the moment I felt I needed to push and I said so.... once again screaming "WHERE ARE THE PEDS??? NO PUSHING ..... DO NOT PUSH...GET THE PEDS HERE NOW!!!!"   The moment I push him out (5:18am)  the peds are walking through the doors.  It was like a football hand off.  No scrub gowns, no gloves, not standing by the warmer ready....... out he came, in they came.... (I found out later that someone was paging the wrong code and that is why they were not coming- a nurse had to physically run down to the NICU to get them to my delivery room).

Now these next moments were scary.  And to this day are still so very vivid, as though I am still lying in that bed looking back to my husband, who is still in the corner.

When Austin was born he was gray/blue.  He did not make a peep.  He needed a lot of help.  He was the smallest thing I have ever ever ever seen.  Yes, I knew he was likely going to be under two pounds, but NOTHING can prepare you for what that looks like.  NOTHING.   The NICU team was working on him.  Each of their eyes kept glancing up to the next person.  They were over there for what seemed like hours but was actually 10-15mins.  There was never a cry.  There was never even a squeal.  They did walk him over to me, and he was pink, he looked good.  He had a pink "turkey baster" thing down his throat that a nurse or RT was manually pumping and giving him his breaths.  I said "Hi baby" and he opened his left eye at me.  Then off they went.

I remember a doctor came in to tell us he was "stable" and gave us so many statistics and what they would be watching for and what type of infections were likely.  We were given so much information that it took weeks of questions to ever figure out what was what.... or so it seemed. 

Scotty walked down first, some time after 8am.  I wasn't allowed to go down until after 3pm.  He was so small.  So frail.  His skin looked maroon and like it was cracking, kind of like dry, old wax paper.  I don't really remember everything this day..  or for the next few.  I remember naming him... I remember yelling at Scotty to stop worrying about NEC and the what ifs... that we would only worry about them if they presented themselves.  I also remember that they were telling us how well he was doing.  BUT all odds were against him for brain bleeds, all but the fact that he was feisty.... that still sticks in my mind.... just like his mom and dad... feisty!   Austin's apgar score was 1 after one minute, 2 after five minutes, and 7 after ten minutes.  He needed two epi shots when born - it was a resuscitation, and they needed to get him twice to get his heart to stay steady.  He was born before 28 weeks, less than two pounds and born vaginally, these all played against him and his brain.... His chances of a brain bleed was in the 80%.  He had NO BRAIN BLEEDS.   NONE!

That is another very vivid memory.  Scotty left to take Drew to church.  My mother was staying with us.  The phone rang.  Heather, a resident, had the results.  She told me the results were normal.... my response was "as in a 1 or a 2?"  She said "NO. 0!  No brain bleeds".   I fell to the floor sobbing.  My mom came in and was saying No. No. No.   I was shaking my head no and trying to say "no mom, its good news".   That moment was HUGE!!!

The first time I held him will always be my WOW moment.  He was three days old.  it was on Nov. 6.  I honestly did not think i was going to be able to hold him for weeks!  It was such special moment.. A feeling i cant even put into words.

The next vivid memory is when Austin was on the vent again...  This was the first time Scotty and I had seen one of his many clamp down episodes.  This is when the baby clamps shut his airways and doesnt' deliver his oxygen to the rest of his body... Thus, causing for medical intervening, bagging and sometimes he would code and need chest compressions.  This first time he was on the vent.  His nurse Sharon was helping them do an xray.  His sats dropped.  Dropped so fast.  He was as white as a ghost.... it was awful.  I turned to scotty and said "i don't think he's breathing..."  we were both crying.  A nurse came and explained to us what was happening.  He recovered and was fine.  BUT that was only the first of many many many episodes.  He coded many times.... needing chest compressions during his stay.  I just found out that those moments are really the only moments that they can't keep the baby alive for the family to come say good bye.  Most cases they can keep a baby on life support... well I guess I should say in many cases...... but in clamp down cases, the baby will eventually give in or pass.  Thankfully that was never the plan God had for Austin.

My next vivid memory is when I called the hospital while Austin was on the vent.  he was the sickest during his nicu stay when he was on his vent for the second time.  It was awful... He had episode after episode.  I honestly thought he was just worn out.  I didn't know that his little body could hang in much longer.  I had a talk with my sister Heather.  She was the ONLY person I revealed that fear to, at that moment.  I felt selfish bc I wanted him to keep fighting... but he looked so sick.  BUT one day, his vent settings needed to keep being turned up.  O2 requirements kept increasing..... and I called at 11  pm and the o2 was 40%    I called a few hours later and Lauren was so excited.... he was down to 23%.  Things were turning around for the better!!  On December 10, 2011, during my baby shower, I found out from a text from Scotty that Austin had been extubated and back on CPap and doing well.  I started to cry and was able to share that moment with my closest friends and family.  I will never forget it!  I will never forget the Christmas party and the next day arriving and Austin was in an open crib and clothes!  Those happy moments were always amazing! 

I have some pretty bad dreams still to this day, about this next memory.  If you followed this blog while Austin was in the NICU, you may remember this too.  The date was January 13, 2012.  This was a day that Austin was on high flow, and was doing great.  He had reflux, and this day it almost cost him his life.  Austin was in the middle of a feed, via NG tube.  He refluxed and choked.... He was trying to correct it himself... but he couldn't.  He was flailing around.  He was choking.  Tracey laid him down, lowered the bed, pulled back his feed, suctioned, bagged, yelled for Rose, who began chest compressions.  His o2 sats dropped all the way to 0 to 1 to 0 to1.... his HR was down in the 50's then up in 70's, 90's down to 60's, 50's and lower..... he was PURPLE as a plum, head to toe.  His tongue was out of his mouth and fat.  His feet.  That's what I still see in my head... his feet.  They were such a dark purple.  He released his bowels, Tracey yelled for the doctors.  Austin was dying right in front of my eyes.  I can still see, smell, taste, and hear this moment.  It will never ever ever leave me.  This is one moment I wish, more than any moment in my entire life, this is one I want to give back.  This is my scariest moment of my life.  We were at such a good point in his recovery... and he was dying right in front of my eyes.  I think this is one thing no one should ever ever ever ever ever ever witness in their entire life.  And then he gasped and took a breathe and his sats recovered.  And I will never be the same person ever again.  This is the hardest moment to shake out of my head.  it was the hardest moment to move forward from.  It was the hardest day to walk out the doors and go home..... and I didn't--for hours... until he opened that one eye, his left eye, just like at birth, as to say, "mommy- I'm okay".

March 18, 2012.  This was the day that Dr. Greg called and told me Austin had ripped out his NG tube, and they figured to let him go on demand on bottle feeds and see how he does, and he figured he'd be home by Weds, the 21st.   I couldn't believe it!  Of course we dreamt about this day... but I didn't think it was so close.   Austin didn't come home on the 21 of March, but he did on the 22nd.  That was one of the happiest days of my life.  I was petrified bc now I had him home with oxygen and monitors and all the jazz, but i did not have the nurses in case there was an emergency.  And there wasn't.  We made it through.  We all made it through.  AUSTIN made it.  He is amazing.  He is well!

March 22, 2012 is also the day that he and his big brother Drew met for the first moment.  This may be my favorite of all memories ever!  I can not even begin to put that moment into words. It was definitely magical, to say the least.  Their relationship is amazing and so special!  They are so in love with each other!  I am truly blessed!

Today is November 2....at 11:54pm.  Today Austin is a very healthy, almost 1 yr old.  He has no delays developmentally to date.  He is small, but has a good personal growth curve.  He still has the diagnosis of Chronic Lung disease, but we hope that his lungs heal enough over the next few years to rid himself of that diagnosis.  He is on the right track.

I will never be able to dream of my sons birth and it be a good dream.  It will always be a nightmare.... I do not have that happy moment of birth with him.  I had to wait to hold him for days.  I did not hear him cry for weeks.  I did not have a happy fun filled baptism, but had an emergency baptism at the hospital bc i feared what tomorrow would bring.... BUT YOU KNOW WHAT.....I have so much that so many people will never have.  I have a miracle baby that fought tooth and nail to stay alive.  I have a baby that taught me how to care about something in such a way that there was no chance for IMPOSSIBLES.  I found that I possess a strength that seems so impossible to so many.  I found that happy endings happen....even in the worst of situations.  I know that GOD does exist.  I learned how to fully depend on my God.   I found that LOVE helps you in ways you didn't know it could.  I learned that my husband and I can make it through anything.  I learned that in the darkest of days there is tomorrow and that God will light the way to get there.  I learned that having the odds against you doesn't mean they will win....I learned so much.  I have gained so much.  I am so thankful for this insight....... I love this child so much.... I will always have the pain, but I will continue to heal.  I will always wonder if his prematurity will surface with a problem one day.... but I have him here with me.  He made it.  He beat every odd that was against him..... He decided to breathe again and make it to tomorrow.  God blessed him, me, us.

Some people say "sorry".  Don't be.  I'm not.  I am happy with the way our life ended up.  I wouldn't want it any other way!


((there are so many many many more memories..... these, above, are them most vivid and most recently on my mind.... I will never forget so much, but as time is healing, I do have to sit back and really dig into my mind to remember))


  1. Wow! Breath taking story!! My twin boys were born at 31 weeks so I have some vague idea of what you are talking about. The nightmare for us was our oldest boy though, born at 41 weeks (yes post due date) but needing a lot of assistance at birth and a short yet eventful NICU stay. Like you I will never have the "happy" birth memories, both cases were pretty nightmarish for me, but like you I wouldn't have it any other ways! I have my miracle boys with me and they taught me so much!! Hope you had a FANTASTIC first birthday Austin!!

  2. Hello there- I was a member of your original February birth board. I just wanted to let you know that we're still thinking of you and little Austin. I am so moved by this beautifully written post and by all the fight that your little guy has in him. He is a strong little boy. Congratulations to you both and happy birthday to your sweet baby. :o)

  3. Congratulations! I'm so proud of you, Austin! You're a fighter, and I think you'll take your fighting spirit wherever you go from here. And Andrea, you are also a fighter. I know what you went through as a fellow NICU-mum. I'm so glad to hear that you are both doing well. I hope that you are getting your Synagis shots and that you manage to stay away from hospitals for a while now that you are back. Best regards, Mizzie & Liam

  4. This hit home to me when I was reading it. My son was born on 11-22-11 at 26 weeks 1 day. So our boys are almost the same age and had many of the same problems and experiences. I know the feelings you express and have felt them all my self. Its neat to see someone else so close to Zac's age, then all the other 15 month olds he's compared to.