During my 34th week of Pregnancy I began to develop pregnancy-induced hypertension (aka preeclampsia). The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. At the beginning of my 36th week I was taken off work duty and placed on bed rest. My Dr told me that she believed that by Friday Austin would be born. We were expecting a large baby and she gave me a 50/50 shot at needing a C-Section. Long story short, by Wednesday I called my mom to rush out to Texas from California to be present in the delivery room. I was set for an induction Thursday night, November 1st. RUSH!!! My mom's flight arrived at 8pm. We were due at the hospital for an induction by 10pm. RUSH!!! It was four weeks early, but this baby boy was coming at 36 weeks, ready or not! (I was ready actually crib, clothes, and all the usual baby necessities were all neatly in place. This is where being an overachieving organizer came in handy.)
On Thursday night I was checked into to L&D, got the Cervidil going and all was well. My OB came by and she let me know that my PIH was getting worse. It was agreed that she would let me try to deliver until 8pm on Friday, but if nothing happened by then I was looking at an emergency C-section. On Friday at 7am we started Pictocin and I had contractions for 6 hours but only dilated 2cm. At 2pm she broke my water to help things along and inserted a intrauterine baby monitor because my contractions were not registering strong enough on the external monitor. Oddly, that was probably the most painful part of the L&D experience for me. (Yes, call me crazy I am one of those weird people who didn't really "feel" the contractions. ) At 3pm I got the epidural because we were pretty sure that a C-section was imminent and they increased the Pictocin. By 6pm there was still no change and she gave me one more hour to get to 4cm on my own. Unfortunately, 7pm brought no change and I was whisked into the OR for an emergency Cesarean. As soon as I received the drugs for the surgery I felt as if I was physically falling apart. I was immediately drowsy and disoriented beyond belief and I got the shakes. I couldn't focus on anything my eyes were closing and it was the strangest feeling ever! It didn't seem at all like it looked on TV. On TV the pregnant lady lay calmly waiting for the baby, that was not happening. I was glad that my arms was strapped down to the table because it felt like I would have fallen off otherwise. Finally the surgery began. As they worked to bring the baby out my head was swirling and I was still shaking uncontrollably. I was trying very hard to focus on the "moment". Austin Robert was born at 8:24pm on Friday, November 2, 2007.
There was lots of bustling I don't even recall hearing him cry, although I have seen the video and he was crying. I heard my mom saying "Oh he is so beautiful". But even in my stupor I could tell something was going wrong because they didn't show him to me right away. I could see the OR personnel hop into high gear. Something was either very wrong with me or him, but since the anesthesiologist was over at the isolette (he had my camera) I figured I was okay. It felt like minutes went by, my mom was still talking to the baby, but no one was saying anything to me. I was going nuts by then. I was calling over & over "Mom, Mom". Finally she came over and said, 'They just want to clean up the baby for you, he is coming right now.' I knew she was lying, I could tell by her voice and the masked look of concern on her face. Suddenly, the next face in front of me was a stranger, a female doctor who I now know was the NICU Dr, she began talking to me about the baby. I swear I was so delirious by then I couldn't understand a word she was saying, but I picked up on a motion she made to her face. I knew what was coming next.
Just then, my mom was in front of me with the baby all swaddled up with a beanie. She gently leaned in and said, 'It's going to be Ok sweetie, he is like Justin'. And as she removed his beanie I could see that indeed like my little brother, my baby had no ears. I just remember bawling and shaking furiously. Not exactly the delivery room moment I was hoping for. I felt like I was in a dream haze and I was beyond delirious and still being worked on at the same time.
They needed to take the baby to the NICU. My mom asked, 'Do you want me to go with the baby or stay here with you?' I said, Go with the baby. So now I was in the OR with no family support and my mind swirling and racing. Luckily the Anesthesiologist was a very cool guy who had done my epidural earlier in the day. He leaned over and said, 'I have something special for you, if you want it something to take the edge off. I call it a Martini, it is top shelf stuff'. I agreed because I just could not control the shaking or my grief. And right then a Martini was so what I needed.
Eventually they put me in a recovery room, alone. My Dr came by took one look at me and said she would prescribe something for the anxiety. She assured me it was going to be Okay, she was going to get some answers & some help for Austin. The first call she made was to the High Risk Feal Specialist I had seen several times for 3 ultrasounds.
Finally my mom came back to see me showed me pictures of the baby in the NICU.
The Usual Details: Austin weighed 5lbs6oz, 19in, he had brown wavy hair and big bluish-grey eyes. He was so tiny & adorable.
The Medical Details: He has skin folds where his ears should be. He has Branchio Oto Renal Syndrome (aka Melnick-Fraser) which resulted in Micrognathia, Microtia, Aural Atresia & Hemifacial Microsomia.
Austin spent one night in the NICU. I met him the next day.
He was doing so well that they moved him to the newborn nursery by 5pm the following day. Now I can look back and see that it was the bums rush. He had major feeding issues such as no rooting reflex and trouble coordinating his suck & swallow, but he was also only 36 weeks so I was told it was not unusual for those kinds of problems. Oh to go back and do-over!!
I had numerous consults the following day with various specialists and felt so blessed with great Doctors and Nurses. My head was swimming with information. My priority was getting Austin the help he needed. Although I remember thinking at the time that we (my mother & I ) seems to know more than the Doctors did about his condition. Again, as I mentioned my brother had been born 25 years prior to Austin with the same syndrome. We were in somewhat familiar territory.
As far as we knew and the doctors were concerned at the time Austin was perfectly "normal" except for the ear & jaw deformity. I knew from personal experience with my brother that both would require numerous cosmetic surgeries to repair. At the time the biggest "problem" was knowing that he will need to live like that for about 8-10 years, before they could correct it. We both left the hospital after my discharge. Four days earlier I entered a hospital in Texas, I exited in Holland.