Birth Story: Andrew

Rebecca’s story is inspiring on so many levels: she stayed calm when others would have panicked; she rolled with the punches when she had to deliver her first baby early; and she remained grateful and faithful through it all. Her little guy didn’t come into the world how or when she expected, but, as mothers do, she made Plan B work for her and her growing family.
Andrew James
August 20, 2007 (35 weeks 1 day)
5 pounds 10 ounces
18.75 inches long
Due Date: September 23, 2007
This was our first baby. I knew some about childbirth, but there was still a lot I didn’t know. I had no idea what Andrew’s birth would be like, wasn’t sure what to possibly expect and had no real hopes or wants for his birth, other than a healthy baby. The pregnancy had been smooth and easy, no problems, no issues, felt great!
It was Saturday morning on August 18 at 3am. Woke up and my underwear was wet. I thought maybe I had peed myself a little, so quietly got up, and changed (bed was still dry thankfully). Got up later and the same thing, so now I was really wondering what was going on. I kept dribbling a little every time I sat up or stood up – enough that I could feel it come out. After getting up for the day I put a pad on and went seeking the advice of some online friends. Several suggested calling the OB as it could be my water leaking. So I called and he had me come in to be checked out. I was barely, if at all, dilated. They monitored me for awhile, nothing ‘exciting’ at all, then did a pH test on me to see if it was the amniotic fluid or not – well the test came back as probably no, the stick didn’t turn the shade of blue it should have if it was fluid, but it wasn’t the shade it should have been if it was urine. So the doctor said it was probably my baby sitting on my bladder funny causing me to leak urine and sent me home. I tried to brush it off, but just didn’t sound right to me as I still peed a lot when my bladder was full. So I went about my normal weekend wearing the pad the whole time since the leaking never subsided.
Sunday morning I got up for church and my pad and my underwear were soaked. The pad was so wet it was dripping when I pulled it off. Put a new one on, went to church as normal. After lunch and after my friend who was visiting left, I talked to my husband and told him it was still happening. He didn’t know what to tell me to do since we just didn’t know what to think. I also noticed some slight cramping started that Sunday afternoon. I called a friend from church who knew more about baby stuff than I did, she said she would highly suggest calling the OB again. So I called and explained how I was still leaking and how wet the pad was when I got up that morning. So he had me come back in. This time he sent the midwife-in-training to the hospital to examine me. So they hooked me up to the monitor and noticed I was having some very mild contractions and at one point Andrew’s heartbeat went down during one, but went right back up. They did the pH test again, and still didn’t come back the ‘correct’ color, which confused the midwife. She decided to do a swab test and explained that when mixed with something, if it was amniotic fluid they would see it fern under the microscope. She came back a while later shaking her head – some ferned and some didn’t!
With the doctor’s permission they admitted me over night to be observed. Did an ultrasound to check my fluid levels which came back fine, Andrew was nicely head down, and they monitored him the whole night. Around 8am the OB came in the check on me and do another pH test, which she looked at and said “Yes your water has definitely ruptured! We will get you a room and start you on Pitocin to start to induce you. You will have a baby by dinnertime.” She explained that it was too late to give any steroids for lung development.
So the induction begin 48+ hours later when I first woke up wet. They checked me after they started the process and was maybe a fingertip dilated. The contractions started, but weren’t anything too bad or bothersome at that point. Around 5 (I think) our friend Cindy came to be with us as we had asked her to be there as support when I had Andrew. By that point I could feel the contractions, but I noticed they had started to ease off some, weren’t as strong (which strong for me still weren’t very strong at all) as they had been. At 6pm Monday evening the nurse came in to check me…her words made my heart sink – a fingertip dilated! I heard Cindy say “uh oh,” which I knew wasn’t a good sign! I wondered how much longer I was going to go through this until I finally would start to dilate. The nurse had gone and told the doctor, who a few minutes later came in with an little ultrasound machine, she wanted to check something with the baby – low and behold Andrew had, at some point during the day, turned around, he was now breech! The doctor suggested doing a c-section since they weren’t sure how much fluid was left in me since I had never stopped leaking (I would leave a trail on the floor every time I went to the bathroom) and with that in mind she didn’t feel comfortable trying to turn him back around in fear of his head rubbing the side of the uterus and causing him issues or damage. So we agreed to the c-section as we just wanted what was best for Andrew and his health.
They got me all prepped and Ken got in his scrubs. Cindy prayed with me, took a picture of the two of us, and went to the waiting room to wait for and with my parents. Everything went smoothly with the c-section, had no issues or problems at all during it or with the epidural. Ken got to watch the doctor pull Andrew out, which he said it looked like they were squeezing me to get him out like you would squeeze a tube of toothpaste 🙂 And out he popped, feet first at 7:47pm.
His first cries were there, but were definitely not strong and not quite as loud as we expected. Ken was able to go over and take pictures and see him and they explained that he wasn’t doing well breathing on his own, they were giving him oxygen to help him breath. As they finished stitching me up, the NICU team wheeled his little incubator over beside me so I could see him and rushed him off to the NICU. In recovery Ken showed me the pictures and then went to show my parents and Cindy the pictures and let them know how things went. At that point we didn’t know much else.
Later that night the NICU doctor came to talk to us and explained that Andrew’s lungs were more premature than he was. He was hooked up to a ventilator to help him breath since he couldn’t breath well on his own. Ken and my mom were able to go in to see him.
The next morning I was able to go and see him, with Ken. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to see – my baby boy laying there with all these tubes and wires hooked up to him. He was a week old before we finally got to hold him, and that was limited until he was finally taken off almost everything.
The hardest day was when I was discharged and I had to leave the hospital and leave Andrew. Ken and I would make daily trips to the hospital to visit him. I never did work up the courage to go and see him by myself, I always waited until Ken was home to go with me. He was eventually moved to a CPAP machine, then to oxygen, then to room air. The only challenge he had was passing his car seat test to be able to come home, which took him 3 tries.
On September 13, 2007, 3 week later, he was finally discharged from the NICU! That was the happiest day, to be able to finally bring our baby home! At home was still filled with challenges as he was on a heart/apnea monitor to monitor him in case he would stop breathing.
Thanks to modern medicine he is now a very healthy and very active boy now and would never know that he was a NICU baby!

Photo courtesy of Google images, not Rebecca and Andrew 😉

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