Thank you for taking time to check in on the status of my beautiful new family. Here is our story so far…
Claire and Emmy stormed their way into this world the morning of Wednesday, May 24th just before 4:00 am. Alyssa was admitted to the hospital just after midnight on Tuesday after showing signs of progressing labor. She then received her epidural and was settling in. As things were moving forward normally, the Doctor kept the momentum moving by breaking Alyssa's water, shortly after 3:00 am. Upon noticing higher than expected levels of blood and a quickly depleting heart rate of Baby A (Claire), the Doctor wasted no time in rushing Alyssa to an emergency c-section. The breaking of the water had created a change in pressure in her belly that caused a rare placental abruption for Claire, cutting off her source of oxygen and nutrients. Claire was taken from momma first at about 3:54. She was unresponsive and not breathing right away. She was quickly rushed to the NICU, where she was intubated and placed on a cooling bed. They are thinking approximately 15-20 minutes elapsed between discovering that the placenta had torn to the point that she was intubated in the NICU. That is remarkable.
I was with Claire in the first minutes of her life. It was hands down the scariest moment of my life as I helplessly looked down at my pale, thin, lifeless looking daughter for the first time. There were tubes and wires hooked going everywhere. I about lost it. I want to stop for a second to give praise to the NICU staff. As I told a few of them, they witnessed our family at it’s most vulnerable time and their calmness, comfort, shared tears, and hugs are something I sure will never forget. These people are the definition of professionals and I was immediately put at ease knowing that my baby girl was in the best hands possible.
At this early point, the neonatologist (head doctor in the NICU) sat down with me to explain what was going to happen next. Claire would be placed on a cooling bed keeping her body around 91 degrees for the next 72 hours. Claire had experienced an "injury" to the brain due to the lack of oxygen, but there was no way to know what the extent was at this point. Cooling her body minimizes the chance of any further injury as the brain activity slows way down, and should help reduce any inflammation. From my understanding, it doesn't reverse any damage, but it can prevent any further damage. Doctors relate it to a medically induced coma. One of the hardest part of this stage is that we are not allowed to snuggle her. In fact, touching at all was limited. She would stay in this cooled state for the next 72 hours. At the end of the 72 hour window, they will warm her body back up to regular body temperature and perform an MRI to check the status of her brain.
In the first 24-48 hours, they watch brain wave activity very close as seizures can occur. Luckily, she has not experienced any seizures. In fact, she began to show impressive progress starting in the first few hours. Her skin tone was normalizing, blood pressure was improving, brain waves steady, and overall physical appearance was promising. By day 2, her ventilator was removed as she could now breathe on her own. All good signs, but her sedation during this cooling stage really keeps many of the observable brain activities at bay.
I will interject here to tell you by day 2, mommy was feeling exponentially better and baby Emmy was thriving and turning heads because of her cuteness overload. Ok, I might be a bit biased, but seriously, she is a gem. Emmy has spent most of her first few days learning how to feed, sleeping, chatting, and peeing on her dad. Due to the abruption, Alyssa ended up needing a blood transfusion on day 2, with low hemoglobin levels. However, the transfusion was very successful and has made a huge difference in her energy levels.
Back to Claire bear. By the end of the 48th hour (of her 72), she had been urinating regularly. Great sign, as it means her kidneys are working properly and were probably not affected. Day 3, Friday, held steady, without much change up or down. At the conclusion of her 72 hours (Saturday morning around 4:00 am), her body was slowly heated back to a regular temperature over a 6-hour window. A close eye is kept on brain waves as seizures again are a threat. The warmup process was uneventful, which is perfect! Her body finally felt warm to the touch. This right was the first time I felt true comfort for her.
Claire was then taken to have an MRI performed. The neurologist will be reading the results of this tonight. We are scheduled to meet with the neurologist tomorrow, Sunday, to discuss his thoughts. Again, these results won’t give us definite answers one way or another, but will give us much desired information and at least show us what direction we are headed.
We have been flooded with texts, emails, and calls of prayers, support, love, and encouragement. This little girl does not have a small tribe behind her, it’s a freaking army. And it warms her daddy’s heart to have felt the love that has flooded our world. Our family has already been challenged in ways that I could not have imagined, but it has formed an unbreakable bond that is growing by the second.