Whitaker Holmquist

First post: Feb 12, 2022 Latest post: Nov 10, 2022
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Whitaker Beckett Holmquist was born on 2/10/22 at 7lbs 9oz. Aj and I had planned to give birth at the MN Birth Center in St. Paul. However I got diagnosed with gestational hypertension (high blood pressure) at 38 weeks and was recommended to transfer to the hospital for an induction. This was a big switch to process initially as the hope was to do some laboring in the comfort of our home before  going to the MN Birth Center to give birth. A hospital setting wasn't the hope for this birth. We took 24 hours to test my blood pressure a few more times and do some non-stress tests on Whitaker in utero. My blood pressure continued to slowly increase and it was clear that we needed to induce. Thankfully Whitaker's heart rate was good despite my high blood pressure. 

We admitted to United Hospital in St. Paul in the evening of 2/8/22. They started the induction with a cervical dilator and I started early labor. The midwives and nursing staff were amazing and allowed us to take our time to see if my body would progress with labor without any other induction interventions. We had a very relaxing day on 2/9 while I was in early labor (walking in the hallway, some acupuncture treatments, a nap, and just time connecting together). By the morning of 2/10 we decided to start pitocin and we progressed into active labor very quickly. I got into the tub to labor thinking we still had a few hours to labor. Well little Whitaker surprised us and by 3 contractions he had joined the world. He and I got to do immediate skin to skin both in the tub and then in our bed as the nursing staff checked him out. 

In a very peaceful manner, the staff noticed that he wasn't breathing well and gently took him to the warmer. They called in the NICU team and they realized that even with a CPAP machine, he was not taking in oxygen effectively. Despite how scary this was to hear, the staff was calm and collected about it; nothing seemed rushed. Aj went with him to NICU where they did a series of tests. My doula stayed back with me and comforted me. They diagnosed Whitaker with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. Sometimes this heart defect can be found in utero through an ultrasound but from what we have heart, it depends on the position of the heart when the ultrasound is completed. It was missed on his anatomy scan. What we have learned though, is that it wouldn't have changed anything treatment wise for Whit. 

He was then sent via ambulance to the Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Aj was able to drive our car to follow him there and my midwife came up with the idea to transfer me to Abbott Hospital in Minneapolis for my postpartum care so I could be in the joining hospital to Whitaker. That evening (2/10) he had a procedure where they placed a balloon between the right and left atrium  in his heart to make a small hole. This would allow his heart to mix oxygenated and non oxygenated blood until he could have surgery. It was a successful procedure and he was transferred to the cardiac ICU unit (CVICU). Whitaker will need open heart surgery to fix the defect and it will be sometime early in the week of 2/14. I have continued to be monitored for high blood pressure and have had to start medication as they haven't gone done post partum. In between blood pressure checks I have gone up to Whitaker's room in the CVICU to visit him. Aj has been able to stay with Whit during the day. My mother in law stayed the night one evening in hospital and then my mom stayed one evening in the hospital with me. Thankfully I have had no symptoms of hypertension aside from the high blood pressures and I am feeling great physically.  We will post journal updates as often as possible to keep you all updated on Whitaker's progress and my own healing. 

- Victoria