Caution this story contains graphic descriptions accompanied by birth.
On Dec 4th, during a routine 20 week anatomy visit, our OB-GYN noticed something troubling on the ultrasound and immediately sent us to a neonatologist to continue the appointment from there. The Dr. walked us through what was happening, my cervix was "coning" and the cervix gateway had thinned away at the opening, disallowing a circlage or "stitch" to be placed. Along with this some membranes had begun to migrate downward. The doctor placed us on minimal bedrest, and stated that he would most likely be born in the next 2 weeks, which would result in the loss of the baby. We attended 2 more weekly appointments after this, with no progression in labor, and became more and more hopeful as we inched toward viability.
On Dec 25th in the late morning I noticed that something had come down, and now it was time to race to the hospital, we had officially added 3 weeks to his development. We went to Texas Health Presbyterian as it is the closest level 4 NICU. The NICU doctor came and talked to us about what viability means and different stages, and difficult choices to be made. We were willing to give our baby a fighting chance.
We were 22 weeks and 6 days at admission, it is hospital policy not to resuscitate until 23 weeks. I was placed on a magnesium regimen along with a steroid set to give extra protection and develop babies heart and lungs- which have some terrible side effects on momma like body pain, burning sensation, heat flashes, and general nausea. I was also placed head down and feet up to try to coax the membranes back upward. These protocols lasted for 48 hours, during this time my water refused to break, and I did not have a single contraction, baby was on 24 hour monitoring, but was jumping around so much that the nurses would chase him with the monitoring tools sometimes for more than an hour! Finally, I came to a stable place and I was moved into a long-term room to wait on hospital bedrest. Thankfully, I was allowed to get up for a moment and my sister and Saul helped me take a quick shower.
On Dec 29th, in the morning, there was a tinge of blood, and the presence of what was believed to be amniotic fluid sweating from the membranes that had descended, a round of antibiotics was begun to prevent infection, and then because there was no progression we continued to wait. At 10pm another round of bloody show occurred. The Dr. let us know that although my water had not broken, babies foot had come down and he could kick through the waters in breech position at any time causing a very bad emergency. So, it was time, we could risk birthing vaginally but baby would most likely not survive; the doctor asked us one more time if we wanted to resuscitate we needed to do a c-section now; so we agreed, we cried, and we prayed. We also nailed down his name as we walked down the hall. Joseph Alan Xander Ledezma. Joseph after Saul's father Jose; Alan after my father; and Xander which means warrior. Altogether his name means Jehovah who increases, Noble, Warrior.
At 10:30pm we got rolled back into the prep area, Saul called my sister Tabitha who had been with us for the holiday week but had gone to our house to prepare for her flight the next day. They pushed another full round of magnesium in under an hour and took me back to get the epidural which they had trouble placing straight, it kept migrating to the right. My labor and delivery nurse "A" was the kindest, most amazing calming feature of the delivery room, she helped me up to get the epidural, but her embrace felt like an angel. Finally, they brought Saul in and he held me while they went in with a vertical cut to the uterus to find baby and bring him out. We both held our breaths as a huge question mark hung over the entire room.
11:37PM the tiniest, yet fiercest wail came from the most perfectly formed 1.35lb baby. The nurses and anesthesiologist were amazed, as typically a 23 weeker can't cry so young. The NICU team was there to receive him and get him set up with oxygen. His heart never faltered once, he just needed help to breathe. I was crawling out of my stirrups trying to twist to see him. Until they turned to us and said, "mommy and daddy baby is good!" They brought a huge bundle with a tiny face over and it was our sweet Joseph, looking oh so perfect and cozy. Saul went with baby to NICU, and Tabitha received me in the recovery room. So much elation, he is alive and well. There is a long road ahead as typically NICU babies stay in the hospital until their due date, or later, which is April 24, 2019.
We will try to update on J>A>X whenever we have a moment. Thank you for all of your prayers and support, we love you!