So I just realized over the past day or so that I never did a follow up blog to last week’s post on Méabh. If you were at the Vineyard on Sunday, or if you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, then you know that we are home & everyone is well, but I wanted to give a brief recap of the first week of Méabh’s life, both to give you a bit of an idea of what transpired, but also to thank you for praying!
Sunday Night/Monday Early Morning
On Sunday night I went to bed a little bit early because I’d woken up at 2:30 am Sunday morning & was never able to get back to sleep. So I was still pretty beat when Liz came in around 12:30 am and said I needed to wake up. I thought it was already Monday morning and couldn’t figure out why she was waking me up. So I started to go back to sleep. That was when she announced, “I’m bleeding and we need to go to the hospital.” Trust me, that phrase works better than a pot of coffee to wake you up.
While Liz talked with Monica, her mid-wife, to try and figure out which hospital to go to, I got up, packed the car, and started panicking…”come on, let’s go!!”
Although the plan was to deliver the baby in Elmira, due to the amount of blood, Monica told Liz to get to Cayuga Medical Center so they could check her out and determine whether or not it was safe to make the trip to Elmira…pretty quickly after they checked her in at Cayuga Med, they decided that they needed to perform a c-section. Shortly afterwards, the surgeon showed up and explained to Liz & me what the process was going to look like, but also stated that they were monitoring her closely, and if anything changed, they were ready to simply get the baby out as quickly as possible.
Since our first two kids were born at a birth center, and Brenna was born at home, just being in a hospital was a strange way for the birth to happen…the emergency aspect simply added to the craziness.
At around 2:15 am they wheeled Liz out of her room and into surgery. On the way we met the Neonatologist who would be in the room for the surgery and taking care of Méabh.
The surgery went very well. However, the Neonatologist clearly noticed some issues with Méabh, and he, one of the nurses and I headed into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).
Shortly afterwards, we learned that there had been (the first new medical term I’d learn) a placental abruption, which was the cause of all of the bleeding. Thankfully, both mom & baby cleared that hurdle in good health, and while Liz had pretty clear sailing from that point. In fact, the surgeon, Monica, & one of the nurses comments on how well Liz was doing in the recovery room.
Méabh however, had a few more challenges ahead.
Due to the bleeding, Méabh had swallowed a lot of blood, so a tube was placed down her throat and into her stomach so that they could suck out as much of the blood as possible. Once that was done, it was clear that her oxygen level was well below what it should have been. When they placed an oxygen mask near her face, her levels quickly climbed back to normal. When the mask was removed, her levels would once again drop.
That was when I learned my second new medical term of the night Pneumothorax. (I was glad I had my iPhone so that I could look all of this stuff up!) In order to diagnose this, the doctor ordered x-rays to be performed so he could get a better look. (he used the word “STAT” at one point…& I’d watched ER years ago to know what that meant.)
The doctor informed us that the most likely treatment, if it was a Pneumothorax, would be inserting a chest tube to drain the air.
Over the course of the next few hours, they did about 3 sets of 2 x-rays, and while there was clearly a Pneumothorax, it appeared to be getting noticeably smaller as the night went on. Around 5:00 am the doctor removed the oxygen from Méabh and she seemed to be doing quite well. Her oxygen levels were great! After about an hour of this, the doctor decided to go home and get some sleep, but before he was even out of the building, Méabh’s oxygen levels had fallen. So they put her back on oxygen.
They monitored her for the rest of the morning, and around noon, decided to insert a central line into her umbilical cord in order to more accurately monitor her. So she had a line in her umbilical cord, an IV in her hand, monitors on her chest and stomach, and a plastic oxygen tent over her head. Despite it all, not only was she beautiful, but she handled everything amazingly well.
Liz & I were doing pretty well too. I think after months of stressing out over things like placenta previa & especially the vasa previa, the fact that Méabh had made it through all of that (and the abruption), and that the neonatologist was great, we were pretty calm & confident. The hardest part, other than watching all she had to go through was that other than about 15 second that I got shortly after she was born, neither of us had even been able to hold her.
Méabh spent the rest of the day Monday in intensive care. Shortly after 10pm that night, they removed the oxygen tent and replaced it with a tube that went around her head. She was proving pretty resourceful at taking the tube off her head, as well as removing her hand from the splint that was holding in her IV!
Tuesday, March 29
By Tuesday it was clear that she had turned a corner. All oxygen was removed, and we could hold her (although she was still hooked up to all of the monitors…the central line was gone by this time!) By the afternoon, she (and her monitors were able to come into the room with Liz & me, and she was able to begin nursing for the first time.
Wednesday, March 30
On Wednesday, Méabh finally went wireless! In fact, if Liz had not had to stay in the hospital another day due to her c-section, Méabh could have gone home.
And on Thursday we all finally did!
Since then, Liz & Méabh are doing great. Méabh did lose a bit more weight than we or the doctors would have liked, (and she’s had numerous check ups due to that…) at this point, she is gaining weight, and doing all the other “stuff” a healthy baby should be doing.
So, that’s our story. Thanks to all of you who prayed, and helped out over the past 9 days. It has been an amazing blessing to us!