Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Premature Baby

Now that National Adoption Month is over, I would like to incorporate other topics into my blog, and not just focus on the adoption of R.  I want to share other aspects of my life with you.  This month, my first born will be turning 4.  I want to celebrate his life with my readers, and tell you his birth story and how he came to be a healthy, very intelligent boy.

My husband and I were living in Hawaii when we became pregnant with our first child.  I had gotten out of the Army months prior, but my husband was still active.  I had been a resident of Hawaii for 5 years, but the people I had met, the friends I had made, had already come and gone at this point.  I had made one friend, via Myspace at the time, who was a school teacher there, but from the Boston area.  She had no idea that she would become such an important and memorable part of our lives.

We were beyond ecstatic to find out we were expecting and loved every minute of being pregnant, even the first trimester morning sickness.  Being pregnant ranks high up there with the most enjoyable moments of my life.  Living in Hawaii, I was always sporting my big pregnant belly at the beach, as were all of the pregnant ladies.  It was a common thing there.  My pregnancy progressed normally, with no problems.  When it was time to have my ultrasound and gender check, my husband was away for a month of training.  My one, great friend, came to spend the night with me, and the following morning we woke up and headed off to my appointment.  She, nor I, had ever been to an ultrasound, especially a 3D one.  I wasn't very big at the time, but as soon as the tech put that thing on my belly, there he was, in plain sight...a perfectly shaped baby boy.  We just kept saying, over and over, "Oh my gosh!  Oh my gosh!"  It was a surreal experience.  I kept the secret that we were having a boy, until the day my husband returned.  The plan was, I would decorate the nursery, and when he walked in, he would know.  But on the way home, before we could walk in the door, I blurted it out with excitement.  We knew right away, what his name would be.

My last day at 34 weeks, the day before I hit 35 weeks, was a Sunday.  It was a day full of good ol' island living.  We went to the beach that morning.  I remember floating on my belly close to the shore, in the shallow water.  I wish I had savored that moment, because little did I know, it would be my last time in the clear, blue Hawaii waters.  After spending a few hours at the beach, we went back home to our high rise apartment on the 25th floor, in downtown Honolulu.  A nap was in order...for both of us.  That evening we were invited to a birthday party at Dave and Buster's.  I showered, did my hair, put on the nicest, most comfortable clothes I could find at the time.  And we walked a few blocks to the party.  I probably did things I should not have riding the motorcycle game and shooting basketball.  One of my husband's friends asked him when I was due because it looked like any minute.  Thanks!  Little did we know how right he was.  After the party, my husband and I walked to Starbucks.  We always loved walking there and sitting for hours, chatting and sipping.  He had his coffee, I had my salted caramel hot chocolate.  It was dark, probably around 9, when we finally got up and walked back to our apartment.
Almost 35 weeks pregnant...quite large.

As we got ready for bed, we sat down on the couch to read our pregnancy book, of what to expect at week 35.  One of the things mentioned in that excerpt, was the bloody show.  I knew nothing of this, so I paid very close attention to the information.  Around 10 or 11, we headed off to bed.  I went to take my regular bathroom break, before crawling under the covers.  As I finished peeing, I continued to pee.  I know, that sounds weird, right?  I called out to my husband, and said, "Um, honey, I think my water just broke."  He absolutely did not take me serious.  "No, seriously...I quit peeing, but I've still got stuff coming out of me."  And then, there it was, the blood show.  I was very calm, not scared at all.  I just assumed it was time and everything would be fine.  My husband called my doctor, who said to put a pad on to catch the fluid and go to the hospital.  He tried to drop me off at the front, but I argued with him that I was not walking in there by myself, to go park the car, I would be fine.  You don't mess with a woman in labor, so he did as he was told.

In the hospital now, they checked the fluid and sure enough my water had broken.  I was admitted late Sunday night.  Contractions never started, so they induced me in the morning.  Around 6:00 that evening, after pushing for 2 hours, with my husband and my friend there, I gave birth to a 5 pound baby boy.  He came out looking healthy, crying, and peeing on the warm blankets that the nurses wrapped him in.  When the excitement of everyone in the room had died down, it was time for me to hold him and bond with him.  I wanted to try breastfeeding, but could not get him to wake up.  As I unwrapped him, I noticed his little skinny chest sinking in every time he breathed.  I had my husband get the nurse, to see if there was something wrong.  They immediately took him from the room, my husband following behind.  My friend was still there with me.  We had no idea what was going on.  I was moved upstairs to another room, still no idea where my family was.  Over an hour later, my husband came in the room to inform me that our son had been admitted to the NICU and that his lungs were not fully developed, so he would need a little help breathing.  I wanted to go see him immediately.  When my husband rolled me into the NICU, I had no idea which baby was mine.  I had only seen him for a a few minutes.  There were so many babies in these warming units.  I asked, "Which one is mine?"  When I saw him, with all of these things connected to him, I broke down.

My doctor let me stay in the hospital as long as possible, because she knew how hard it was going to be for us to leave that hospital without our baby.  Little did we know that we would only have to spend one night at home without him, and that one night would be such a blessing, as we were able to get a good nights rest and my milk came in.  The next day, my husband dropped me off at the hospital to spend the day with our son, in the NICU, while he went to work.  Santa Clause came by that day to take pictures with all of these little babies.  And let me tell you, my little guy looked huge and healthy next to most of the babies in there.  The NICU is a sad, sad place, but the nurses and parents who come in and out of there are absolutely amazing.  During the morning, the doctor came by and informed that we would be able to take our little guy home.  I called my husband and he left work immediately.  Before being discharged, he had to have a hearing test.  He failed the hearing test in one of his ears.  I'll come back to this again though.  The little boy next to Landon, had been in the NICU for over a year.  He had many, many problems.  His nurse was afraid of upsetting him, when she put a cute outfit on him, for his picture with Santa.  Turns out, she was right.  He ended up coding, and everyone except medical personnel had to exit the NICU.  Three hours later, they allowed us back in, and we packed up our things to take little man home.

We took him home for one night.  The next morning he had his check-up and the pediatrician said his jaundice levels might require him to go back to the hospital.  She sent us home while they checked his blood, and later that day, called to tell us to go to the hospital...they would be waiting for us on the pediatric floor.  We spent the rest of that evening, night and the next morning, in a shared room.  My husband and I tried sleeping in a chair together, so you can imagine how much rest we got.  Mind you, I had just given birth also. By the next afternoon, we were discharged and finally went home for good.  A few weeks later, we had to take him for an hour long hearing test.  He still did not pass in the one ear, but his level was just above needing a hearing aid.  We were advised to take him for another hearing test at 9 months to give the ear canal time and chance to open up some more.  I have to say, I was so amazed with the care that my son and myself received from all of the nurses and doctors.  It was beyond exceptional.  And thank goodness for health insurance.  Without it, our hospital bill would have been over $25,000.
Jaundice, laying under the lights
Christmas Eve...he's so tiny

A month after little man was born, we left Hawaii.  Our families got to meet him for the first time.  Everything was amazing...except for his constant throwing up.  He had gastroesophageal reflux, but not in a manner that bothered him.  He just went through a lot of bibs, burp cloths, and clothes.  He caught up in his size and his development right away.  He was not delayed in anything...might have even been ahead in some things. And he was never sick.  When I took him in for his 9 month hearing check, they said everything looked great.  I didn't feel sure about the test though, because it was done so quickly. Then he hit 20 months.

I was 8 months pregnant with our daughter and my husband was in Iraq.  I took my son to the doctor one, extremely hot, August morning because he had had a fever for quite some time now, but didn't show any signs of not feeling well.  The doctor did nothing for him, said it was just a virus that would run its course, and told me to give him some medicine when we got home.  I asked him to check for an ear infection, and he said his ears looked fine.  I needed to go by the ID card office while we were on base.  We had to park quite a distance away.  My son wanted me to carry him because he didn't feel well.  By the time we got into the office, we were both drenched with sweat.  It was going to be a long wait, so I grabbed some wet papertowels, and rubbed them on his back while he sat on my lap, laying his head on my chest.  I told him to look up at me, because he was making jerking movements, and he did not respond.  I grabbed his head, to tilt it, so I could see his face...and that's when I saw his eyes rolled back and realized he was having a seizure.  I screamed out for help, as I got up and dropped to the floor with him in my lap.  A lady came and took him from me, holding him until the seizure stopped.  Someone called 911 and the ambulance came and took us both away.  We spent the day in the ER.  The doctor was astonished that the doctor my son had seen that morning did not treat his fever, and he did indeed have a nasty ear infection.  He would then be classified as a child who has febrile seizures.  This would not be the only one he has.
In the ER after his first seizure

As the next couple of months went on, before my daughter was born, I realized my sons speech wasn't where his peers were, and he talked very loudly.  I decided to consult a new doctor.  She put me in touch with a free service that would check his development and hearing.  He did not pass the initial hearing test they gave him, and he was behind in some things because of this.  He then had to have another, more extensive hearing test, and did not pass that one either.  And then a third, even more extensive test, in which he still did not pass in the one ear and was then scheduled to have tubes put in his ears.  The tube would help to open that ear up, allowing him to hear...we hoped.  The day before I went into labor with our daughter, he had surgery to have the tubes put in.  Over the next 2 months, a speech coach would come to the house once a week to meet with him.  Within 2 months, he tested out of the program and was actually advanced for his age.

Time to get tubes

See you tomorrow, sissy!

The hearing problem was solved and we haven't had anymore issues with it.  The last time I checked, the tubes were actually still in there...2 years later, as most fall out after a year.  The week my daughter turned 2 months old, we were back in West Virginia, visiting my dad and family.  We were on our way home from lunch, stopped at a red light, when I looked back and saw my sons eyes rolled back in his head and bubbles coming out of his mouth.  I jumped out of the car, in the middle of the street, grabbed him out of his seat and sat down on the side of the road, holding him until it was finished.  My dad was with me, scared to death, and pulled the car over for me.  As we drove back to his house, I stripped my sons clothes off and held him. After 2 hours of him sleeping on me, I woke him up, to check his temperature and give him some more medicine.  He fell over and started to have another seizure.  We then called 911 and were taken to the hospital.  It's a very scary thing, to see your child having a seizure, but with a febrile seizure, there's really nothing that can be done, and you just have to let it run its course.  Children typically outgrow them around the age of 4-5.

It had been quite some time now since his last seizure, so we hoped he had outgrown them.  We had just moved, again, to Alabama.  He was 2 1/2.  My husband was putting up a shed in the backyard.  My son and daughter were acting normal and playing.  The mosquitoes were biting, so I took the baby and we ran down the street to Walgreen's to grab some OFF.  While I was gone, my son laid down on the part of the shed that hadn't been put up yet.  My husband told him to get up, but he didn't.  And then he realized he was having a seizure.  This was the first time my husband had seen one because he was deployed during all of the others.  Not knowing what to do, he just reacted, and picked him up, ran inside, took his clothes off and threw him in the cool bath tub.  HUGE NO NO!!!  I was only gone for 15 minutes.  I explained to my husband, the proper way to respond to a febrile seizure.  You hold them on their side and let them have the seizure.  Afterwards, you can take their clothes off if they are hot.  A febrile seizure isn't caused by how high a temperature is.  It's caused by how quickly a temperature goes up or comes down.  Never ever put them in a cool bath, as this will cause the temp to come down quickly, resulting in another seizure.  After stripping their clothes off, double dose them with Ibuprofen and Tylenol.  And then lots of rest, as their little bodies are completely zapped and exhausted after having a seizure.

I reported the number of seizures to his doctor at his check-up.  The doctor said it was definitely time to have an EEG to rule out a seizure disorder.  You wouldn't believe how still and well behaved my little 2 1/2 year old was for this hour long EEG, where he couldn't move or talk.  The results came back normal and he hasn't had one since.  It's been a year and a half now since his last one, and I would like to think he has officially outgrown them.  He is growing normal, he is average size, he is very intelligent, and although I'm pretty partial, he is so stinking handsome and funny.  Even though it sounds as if he's been through a lot in his 4 years of life, you would never know it.  He is amazing!  Happy Birth Month to my special and precious gift!
EEG to check for a seizure disorder

And today, he is AMAZING and HEALTHY!


  1. We miss you guys, too, so much. As I was writing this, you were such an integral part of the story: Picking us up from the hospital after his first seizure and by being around your boys I realized his speech was being effected by his hearing. I am so thankful to have met you and had you there by my side during my short time in Kansas. Love you guys!