It was December 23rd, 2018. I had been out shopping all night in preparation for Christmas. I was nearing home after about 12 hours from being on my feet. It was then that I began cramping pretty badly. Upon getting home, I started having a lot of bleeding. Like, I’m talking crazy amounts for about an hour. I was starting to become scared and thought about taking a trip to the emergency room. It quickly subsided and I was left wondering what had gone on with my body. M (for the sake of privacy) began to question if I was pregnant. I kept doubting it but was still confused and uneasy about why this had occurred. A few days later, December 28th. I took a pregnancy test and to my surprise, it was positive.
I quickly called my doctor and scheduled an appointment to have a blood test done. It was about two weeks later when I finally had my appointment and then we had to wait three agonizing days for the results to come back. But I was indeed, pregnant. Let the count down begin!
February 8th, 2018. Our first ultrasound. At this point we thought that we were only 8 weeks along. But much to our surprise, we were 11 weeks along with our sweet little baby! It was such a joy to see him on the screen dancing around. the ultrasound tech called him a “little gummy bear”. While she was completing the ultrasound I noticed that she wasn’t saying much to us, but I refrained from asking any questions and tried to live in the moment. At the end she had let me get dressed and she mentioned that she wanted to talk to the doctor before sending us on our way. About ten mins later she comes back and tells us that we are good to go. We left this place ecstatic, we were about to be parents and we have a healthy little baby growing inside of me. The following day was a valentines day party for families at work and we were there working until around 8. It was just about 4:00 when I received a call stating that they were concerned that our baby may have down syndrome, the gestational sac was too small and that there was calcification on the placenta. My heart instantly sank… “How could this be? We just saw him and he was perfectly healthy” I burst into tears. They asked that I follow up with Maternal Fetal Medicine for another ultrasound and for genetic screening. Here is a picture of our sweet baby boy at 11 weeks
The following week I went to Maternal Fetal Medicine for my follow up. They did another scan and didn’t find any evidence that was concerning but they suggested I followed up with the genetic counselor. So I did. After breaking down both dad’s ad my family tree and health history we discovered that Kaden was not at risk for any genetic conditions. But I decided to go ahead with my genetic screening blood test. It was a two part test, so I went and did my first one at this time (12 weeks) and was to return to do one again at 17 weeks. Here is a picture of our sweet boy at 12 weeks.
Five long weeks had gone by and we hadn’t had any new crazy things happening until one morning. I had woke up to what felt like a “gush” I tried my best to put my mind at ease but naturally I went looking for answers on google. It only had happened once at that point so I tried to chalk it up to be some fluke thing. Until it happened again, 3 days later. At that point it was only occurring at night, but still. I was scared! I took myself to the nearest ER that morning to get things checked out. Mind you not, I was only 17 weeks pregnant at this point and if you are leaking fluid of any sort they have little to no intervention that they will complete until you are at least 23 weeks along.You also cannot be admitted to Labor and Delivery until then. They completed an ultrasound and the tech had described the fluid as “grossly low” I will never forget that. He noted that he was unable to measure the amount of fluid due to the umbilical cord being in all the pockets. They then said that there was little to nothing they would do and to pretty much let nature take its course. I was asked to follow up with my OB that same day so I went. When I was there they tested my fluid and it came back negative for amniotic fluid, they did another ultrasound and measured my fluid and they then stated that it was a normal level and determined that me and baby were fine and to continue on life normally. Deep down I knew that something wasn’t right though. This same week, Maternal Fetal Medicine had called back with my results from my genetic screening and they said that Down syndrome was less than 1 in 100,000 chances. However, Spinal Bifida came back as greater than 1 in 2 chances. My heart sank yet again… They ask that I bump up my anatomy scan to 19 weeks so that we could check him out and make sure that everything was okay. At this appointment, we had discovered that we were having a boy within seconds. They spent over an hour taking all the images they needed but he was being stubborn and they were unable to complete all of them at this appointment and they wanted me to follow up in two weeks. At this point, we went over the results in another room and discussed the potential of Spinal Bifida and that they did not notice anything on the scan that would suggest he had it. However, they were unable to clear his entire spine because he would not move off my left side throughout the whole scan. We then discussed that another reason as to why my blood test could have shown such high chances of Spinal Bifida could be because of a placenta functioning problem. They then began stating how the placenta looked more ball like on the ultrasound but his measurements were all on track so they were not too concerned about it at this point and would continue to monitor it. Here is the picture that told us he was a boy
At this point, they were having me follow up again in two weeks to see if they could capture the images that they were unable to get from the previous ultrasound. At this time, I was still following up with my regular OB and STILL leaking fluid. It became worse as the days went on and deep down I felt that there really was something wrong. But, I had no proof or reason for concern from the medical standpoint so I am left to trust them and their degrees and knowledge…right? Two weeks later I went to my appointment and I now was 21 weeks along. I was anxious to see my little boy on the screen again and to have another sigh of relief when I heard and saw that he was doing just fine. Yet again, measurements were above 50th percentile for everything, fluid was fine and our little boy was in there cooking. He was still being a pain and did not let them clear all of his spine yet again and a portion of his heart. I was asked to return again in two weeks and to follow up for a fetal echocardiogram. News to me that they were unable to see all of his heart and wanted to be sure that there was no defect. Life was crazy enough with the pregnancy, but we also than needed to move. The place we were living in was not in a good neighborhood, had a mice issue that was unresolved and we were ready to relocate and prepare for our little ones arrival. So during my next two week wait until my follow up ultrasound, I had completed the echocardiogram and he was cleared and noted that no defect or abnormalities were discovered. At my next ultrasound on 4-19 at 23 weeks they were finally able to clear his spine! Yay! Our baby boy does not have spinal bifida! What a relief we felt that week. Here is the ultrasound shot from 23 weeks
However, because of the elevated AFP within my blood they wanted to continue to follow me every two weeks to make sure he was growing accordingly. I spent the next weeks not concerned about anything in the sense of his health or mine. I continued to tell myself ” His spine was cleared, his heart looked good, no down syndrome, and he is growing just fine! Relax!” He became more and more active and I would spend quite some time watching him move around. His favorite time to be active was whenever I was in the bath. Our next view of him was at 25 weeks, yet again everything was fine and our little boy was growing well. At this ultrasound they also told me that the placenta seemed to be looking more “average” and that they were no longer really concerned about it. They also asked me if I wanted to go through with an amniocentesis at this time to clear all the defects for sure because they believed this to be the only way to be certain he did not have any of them. I politely declined. In my head I was thinking ” I have already had so many what if scenarios. Everything looks good, he is happy, healthy and growing. Why would I put my child at risk for infection for unnecessary reasons”…Ha. If only had I known. Looking back, I still would not have gone through with it because it would not have changed my mind on anything and really was just an unnecessary procedure. They were still unable to get all the views of the heart that they had wanted at this ultrasound, so they asked that I follow up yet again. (even though his heart was cleared at the specialist with the echocardiogram) Sometimes I felt that they were really just trying to get me for my money. However, I went along with it.
Our little Kaden at 25 weeks.
Two weeks later, I was sitting in what would be my last ultrasound at just 27 weeks. Little did I know at this time. I had switched to the office that was closer to my house for this appointment so I was meeting all new doctors and ultrasound techs. When I arrived for my appointment, I had been battling an awful cough and congestion for a few days. I knocked it up to allergies considering it was late May and everything had become fully bloomed within the last few weeks. I will never forget this ultrasound. I felt so bad because the tech was working so hard to capture all the necessary images but I could not keep myself from coughing. It felt like every few seconds I was coughing and it would mess up her image. Right towards the end, the tech rudely asked me how long I had had that cough and told me she was going to talk to the doctor about it. After the ultrasound she then shuffled me into the consult room where the doctor came in to discuss the findings on the ultrasound (which were still perfectly fine) and then mentioned nothing about the cough. So I had proceeded to ask and was kindly told to get some over the counter allergy medicine on my way to work that morning. Here is a cute shot of his little face that we got at this last ultrasound.
This was such a fun picture to capture! This was taken just three days before my baby shower and I was super excited to show this off to all the guests. This was a big weekend for me. My aunt came up from California so I took off Friday from work to be with her and my family and to prepare for the baby shower that was 6/3/18. I had spent Friday with my sister, aunt and mom shopping for the baby shower, getting our nails done and having some good solid girl time. The next day they surprised me with a maternity photoshoot at a beautiful state park on the water. Little did I know that the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This picture was one of them taken and it just happened to be taken just two days before he was born.
The next day was the baby shower, I still had my gnarly cough but I was beyond excited to see everyone and to celebrate Kaden! We had a great time and got some really neat stuff! Here is a picture of me and my mom at my baby shower. About 14 hours before Kaden was born.
That day I was experiencing some back pain, but I was nearly 28 weeks so I assumed it was just getting to that point in the pregnancy where I would start becoming uncomfortable. I trucked through the day and enjoyed my time. I loaded up my car and headed home from my long but exciting weekend. I was looking forward to a nice long relaxing evening. Ha! About an hour after I got home, I was still having that back pain, but now I was starting to feel feverish. I just didn’t feel good, didn’t have much of an appetite and was tired. Getting up off the couch took a lot of work. I kept mentioning to M that I was not feeling well and we both chalked it up to be from my long weekend and me over doing it. I took my temperature around 7 and it was fairly normal and nothing too alarming. But I was starting to feel cold, so I ran myself a bath, drank some water and took some tylenol. I continued to take my temperature at this point because the feeling just wasn’t going away or getting any better. Each time I took my temperature, it was creeping higher and higher. When it was at 100.8 I called the nurse hotline to ask what my temp needed to be for me to go to the ER. She told me to wait until it 103 degrees. If it did, give her a call back and she we will go from there. I asked her name, wrote it down and waited. I put myself to bed and hoped I would sleep it off and if not, I would go see my doctor in the morning. At this time, I knew there was no way I was going into work, So I texted my boss and told her I wasn’t feeling well and that I wasn’t going to be coming into work. A few hours later I woke up and my temperature was at 102.9. At this point, I was miserable. I called the nurse hotline and they suggested I went to the ER and be seen immediately. I threw on some shoes, and headed for the nearest ER. Because I was only 27 weeks 4 days, they sent me to Labor and Delivery to check on baby and make sure he was okay. They sent me into Triage and began monitoring me. At this point, I figured I would be seen, treated and sent on my way. The doctor had come in and out a few times, and Kaden was being monitored. His heart rate was high, as was mine. But at this point my fever was 104, so it was not unheard of that our heart rates would be so high. They began to think that I had the flu so they wanted to move me to a room and admit me into Labor and delivery for treatment and monitoring.
I had arrive at the ER at about 2 am on June 4th. By 6 am they still did not have a full idea on what was going on with me. I had text M and told him that they were running every test they could think of but there was some talk about possibly having to do an emergency c-section if they could not get our little boy’s heart rate stabilized. At this point I had tests ran from head to toe, about 15 tubes of blood taken, iv fluids, x-rays, ekg, ultrasounds, cervix check. You name it, I had it. During this time, they were not saying much to me and I was too afraid to ask any questions. Many many doctors and nurses were in and out of my room for hours that morning. It was fairly obvious that something big was happening at this point and quite honestly, it felt like I was an exhibit that people were visiting to see something they were unfamiliar with. It was around 7 am when M had showed up, things were finally settling down. Baby’s heart rate was more stable, I was a little more stable, the fever was under control so they decided they were just going to observe me for a few more hours and see where we end up. It was about this time that I had started complaining of some pressure and pain that was starting in my back and moving to the front for a few seconds at a time and little bit of a break in-between. I was attached to monitors so the nurses were not concerned and just kind of shrug it off but as time went on they became more and more intense. I kept mentioning it and they just said “the monitor is not picking up anything”. So I just tried my best to breath and relax. They had decided to place a catheter (honestly I cannot remember why they did this) but within a minute or two, I felt like I was peeing everywhere. So I mentioned it to the nurse and she just shrugged it off (once again). But I had continued to feel it for a few minutes and at this point I had mentioned it again to another nurse. ( I had had about 15 nurses and doctors in and out of my room at all times throughout all this). At this point, she had lifted up the blanket and nonchalantly said “oh, I think your water may have broke”. At this moment, I lost it. I knew that there was no going back, Kaden was coming and he was coming soon. A doctor rushed in and performed a cervix check and told me that I was at 3 cm already and that I needed to be taken in immediately for a c-section. There was mention of me being sepsis. But at this point, I had no idea what that meant. For those of you who don’t know what it means to be septic or sepsis, here is a definition. “Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s your body’s over active and toxic response to an infection.” – from Sepsis Alliance. At the hospital I was at, they did not have a level four neonatal intensive care unit so they made mention of transporting me to the nearest one. However, it was quickly deemed too risky for me and Kaden at the time and he needed to be born soon and there and they would then transport him afterwards. The doctors all came in and were explaining to me the process (all of which really seems like a blur now) and what was going to happen, where he was going to go and kind of what to expect. They explained that we would be going back for surgery as soon as the transport team from Mary Bridge could get to the hospital where we were at. I was not paying much attention to time for obvious reasons, but I would have to guess about less than an hour later I was being wheeled off for the procedure.
Now, for anyone who has not had a c-section before I will explain kind of what the process was like. They wheeled me down and M followed. They had given him some scrubs to wear prior to us heading to the OR. When we neared it, they shuffled M into a separate room and told him that they would come and get him when we were ready. They then let us say our goodbyes and Wheeled me in. They had me move onto the OR table and sit on the edge so that they could give me a spinal. This is what was used to numb me from the chest down. After that, they laid me down on the bed, strapped my arms down and started prepping me for the procedure. I had heard them mention that they were going to start, but M was not yet in the room. While they were getting prepped, the transport team from Mary Bridge came over and introduced themselves, explained to me what they expected to come out of this and warned me that I may or may not hear him cry. A person from the transport team then had come over and asked to take my phone so that she could capture a few pictures for me from right when he was born. She said ” I know it is not allowed, but I am going to do my best to do it anyway for you. And now looking back, I really wish I knew her name so that I could thank her for doing everything she could in that moment to ease my mind and give me a sense of normalcy within my chaotic birth process.
Moments later, I felt them begin their process. M had walked in and grabbed a seat right next to me and we began talking. Almost as if nothing was even going on around us. I am thankful for that though. Because when I reflect on the procedure, I remember feeling calm and somewhat at ease despite all the chaos that surrounded us. About 15 minutes in I hear someone say ” 11:17″ and another person repeated “11:17″ and at that time, I looked at M and said ” I think he is here, that must be the time that he was born at”