Welcome to Elliot’s CaringBridge! Our world was turned upside when our August baby was turned into a May baby!
Starting at the end of April at my 24 weeks scan, I had some noticeably high blood pressure (150/90). I am high anxiety within doctors offices (who doesn’t) so we decided to do some blood work and a 24 hour urine test. Both were tests to see potential of Preeclampsia which is a condition that is driven through high blood pressure and where essentially the moms immune system shuts down the body to fight against the baby. It cannot be prevented and a lot of the medical world knows little about it except that it happens often in first time pregnancies and can show with little to no symptoms. Once I received my blood work and urine test back, things were a little elevated but not enough to worry.
Fast forward to my 28 weeks scan, my blood pressure remained stable at home so we decided to do some follow up blood work, just to make sure everything was staying stable. This was on Tuesday May 17th. As I was getting ready for work on Wednesday, May 18th, I received a call from the doctor and they said my liver enzymes were off the charts (healthy measurement is 37 and I was at 178). With that, they said I needed to head to labor and delivery for tests and discussions on next steps.
We hustled to the hospital with a few items but unsure if this was going to be an overnight or a week long stay. We checked myself in and talked to a few doctors and took my vitals. Soon did we both realize that this was way more serious than we thought. From there I was put on a magnesium drip to help prevent seizures/stroke which is a symptom and worst case with my liver enzyme levels. If anyone has been on a mag drip it is the worst thing ever. You have to monitor every amount of liquid that comes in your body because magnesium can cause you to retain liquid and fill your lungs. Not only that, it makes you feel awful. It relaxes your whole body but not in a good way. You literally feel like your muscles are being smashed to the ground, your eyes feel heavy and just overall really dizzy. Once I started the drip, they gave me a steroid shot to help with the baby’s lungs. Since he is so early, this shot gave him a chance to have his lungs mature a bit and give us time if we decided we needed to deliver the baby.
After I started my IV, we did a ultrasound and saw that our little bug was a big bug! The baby was measuring 3 weeks ahead at closer to 31 weeks and in the 90th percentile in weight. The doctor said this was super promising and great news. As I sat on the mag drip, I had to be followed everywhere because of fall liability, I had to record all my liquid to the nurse (peeing in a cup, gross!) I also did a 24 hour Urine test to track protein in my urine which is another indicator of preeclampsia.
The next day, Thursday the 19th, I was woken up to do a liver ultrasound. Once complete, I took my second steroid shot for the baby’s lungs but we still didn’t really know what the plan was. From what I could tell everything seemed not terrible and figured I would be going home. I also didn’t feel any symptoms other than the effects of the mag drip, so figured I was fine. Baby was doing fine in my tummy and his heart rate and movements were perfect. After having all my tests done, the doctor came in to check on me. We reviewed the results with him and he was worried but was not overly panicked until my nurse came running in to tell him she noticed I had clonus on my right leg. He tested my reflexes and when he pressed on my heal, it would kick back twice. He got really quiet and said this typically is a symptom of stroke, brain damage or preeclampsia. He said that after seeing that he said it was best for the baby to be born the next day. He felt the baby would be in great safety with his size, the steroids and the support of the NICU team. Dylan and I were a little stunned, as again, we thought everything was fine, but clearly, it was not. We agreed and made a scheduled C-section for 12:30 pm on May 20th. After chatting with the NICU team on a game plan about the baby, we were ready to give birth with him at 28 weeks and 4 days. We spent out last night as just the two of us eating pizza in my room and watching the Princess Bride. Inconceivable! I was also really lucky to get the okay to shower which is unheard of on a Mag drip so I was lucky to be able to wash my hair!!!
We woke up the next morning, packed up my room and spent the morning prepping for surgery. I would go in and then Dylan would be pulled in shortly after. At around 12:25, I was called into the OR. I went in by myself and had about 6 people circle me. The attempted to put in the epidural but due to some panic and my uneasiness on the mag drip, I passed out. I woke up to people shaking me and being like wait, this is not happening. Can I go home yet? We tried the epidural again and waited for my heart rate to pick back up. I also made two nurses hold my hand 😂 Once they were able to get the epidural in they spun me around and started to prep for the surgery. I still felt off and passed out again on the table so they turned off my mag drip and gave me oxygen.
Once I was settled they put up the sheet and pulled Dylan in and be sat with me and held my hand.I felt a lot of pulling but not pain. From there about 5 minutes I could hear them say “entering the uterus”. A few moments later. one of my surgeons said “hi buddy!!!” And the other said “happy birthday!!”. Both Dylan and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and then heard this loud cry from our little man. From there a sense of relief washed over, especially knowing those premie lungs could be so loud! They took him to the corner of the room where about 5 NICU nurses and doctors made sure he was stable. They then asked Dylan to come over and cut his cord. They bundled him up and brought him to the NICU where I would soon follow him. The doctor did tell us he was doing amazing and will be in great hands. I was then stitched up and the surgery was complete.
Before they had me go to post op, I was able to press the button that plays the lullaby for the hospital! It’s a little melody sound that indicates a baby being born. Such a fun moment yet so surreal. How the heck did I just have a child? Wasn’t I supposed to be in Hawaii in one week?
Once I made it to post op, I received pain meds and learned about breast pumping. I also waited for my epidural to start to wear off and could kinda wiggle my toes. After about an hour, they rolled me to the NICU where I was able to meet him for the first time. He was so small and helpless but immediately grabbed my finger when I saw him. He looked so peaceful and so red but so content being swaddled in his incubator. He was the most beautiful thing I ever seen and was so proud to call him our son.
From there both him and I spent the next three days recovering. We monitored my blood pressure and liver enzymes as they immediately started to drop once the baby was born. Elliot had some breathing meds/steroids and took them like a champ. As I continued to get better, so did he! Unfortunately since he was born so early he will need to be in the NICU for a few months for him to catch up. Typically premie babies stay until they are at full term but he as already hit so many mile stones, I have a feeling he is going to be home sooner than later.
There are a lot more details but overall we are over the moon that we are both healthy. We are also so grateful for Dylan. I could not have survived any of this without his love and support. He is truly the greatest and I am eternally thankful for his love. I cannot wait to watch him grow as a father. We are also so thankful for the village and the community that we have built. Everyone has been so amazing and we love you all so much.
We are so excited to watch little E grow and cannot wait to bring him home!! Please reach out if you have any questions. We love you!