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[Brennan Michael - 35w5d, 4lbs 11oz]
After the positive result from the first test, my friend and I went out to CVS to purchase a second test. On July 25, 2008, it finally sunk it that I was pregnant. I had no health insurance, and no support. I estimated that my last period was May 15, 2008, and that the date of conception was May 30, 2008. I was already 10 weeks along. I panicked, and immediately applied for state health insurance. By September 5, the application had been approved, and I made an appointment to see an OB-GYN immediately.
On September 8, 2008, I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time. I remember the Dr. saying to me in a soft voice, "That's your baby." and I nearly cried. I felt the breath catch in my throat. It was real.
On September 11, 2008, I had my first ultrasound, they estimated I was 15.5-16.2 weeks along already. I was amazed at all the details I could see of the little person growing inside me. He wouldn't cooperate with me, but I was scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound in three weeks.
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[Brennan Michael - 5in,5oz]
On October 1, 2008, I was 20 weeks along. At my follow-up ultrasound that day, the Nurse confirmed what I had long expected-- I was having a baby boy! They noticed he had stopped growing properly, and so I had to be watched closely.
At 24 weeks, I was having cramps, and bleeding. When I called the Dr, they had me rush into the office to be seen. I was 1 cm dilated. They gave me a FFN test, and sent me to hospital for monitoring. I was so nervous and worried about my son. I was given an ultrasound, and the FFN came back negative. They just said these were "Braxton Hicks" contractions, and sent me home.
[Missing pieces here]
On December 24, 2010, my cervix was still 2-3 cm dilated, and I had been having contractions. I was sent to the hospital for monitoring.
On December 30, 2010, at 32 weeks and 5 days, I was given another FFN test because I had been having regular contractions, and sent to the hospital for monitoring. Everything looked okay, and I was sent home. Later that night, I received a call from the On-Call Dr. saying that the test had come back positive and I needed to come to the hospital immediately to get a shot of steroids to help mature the baby's lungs in case delivery was imminent.
All through that night, and through the next day, December 31, 2008, I was having constant and regular contractions. When I got to the hospital for my second round of steroids, I was hooked up again for monitoring. I was still 3cm dilated, and there was no apparent change in my cervical length. I was given two doses of trebutaline, and monitored for an hour after the contractions stopped.
On January 5, 2010, I went to my regular Dr's appointment and my OB found that I was 5cm dilated. He sent me to L&D, where I was re-checked, and found to be a "loose" 3cm. By that time, I had already been admitted. Since I was on the trebutaline, I was not having any contractions. I was discharged from the hospital at 34 weeks, on Thursday.
At my next appointment, they put me on a procardia, which had none of the terrible side-effects, but my body adapted to it too quickly, and I was once again having contractions near-constantly.
On Friday, January 16 my Dr called me and informed me that I was being scheduled for twice weekly NSTS and BPPs from here on out to monitor the condition of the baby. This was the day before my baby shower. That night, I was in so much pain, I couldn't sleep, I had had very bad back pain before, and I used to take a shower, and used a heating pad to relieve the pain, However, it was no longer working....
Saturday, January 17, 2010: The day of the baby shower, I attempted to put on a brave face and enjoy the party as much as I could, but I was in extreme pain. Somehow, I made it through and was able to act decent. Sunday, was just as terrible, and by Monday morning it was unbearable.The only thing different was that Monday I had woken up with my underwear tinged with blood. Freaked out, I called the Dr's office. They said they scheduled me to see the Dr. after my upcoming appointments later that day. So I was eagerly awaiting my Dr's appointment.
My appointment was at 1:30 PM. I had my NST scheduled first. My mother had told me prior to the appointment that she was going to tag along because she thought "today was the big day". She urged me to bring a hospital bag with me to the Dr's office, and I was in so much pain I was certain they were just going to send me home again, and leave me to suffer and die on the side of the road.
Sitting in the office while waiting to be called back for the NST, I started feeling like I had a minor BM, but was unable to pee or poo. When I went into NST, sitting in chair was EXCRUICIATINGLY painful, and I was barely able to endure laying back. After 30 min, baby was found to be "nonreactive" and the Nurse wanted to re-do the test. I told the Nurse that she could talk with the DR about re-doing it AFTER my appointment with the DR. She said to me, "You have an appointment with a Dr?" and I said, "Yes I called and made one for after my U/S". She ran back and checked, "But it was not scheduled..." I think she took one look on my face and ran out to schedule it. Thank god, because I might have just started breaking down doors.
We were then sent back to the waiting room, and after an eternity (I was pacing the room by this point), when we got into the U/S room, I told the Nurse I was in terrible pain, and to do this as quickly as possible. Another nurse was in the room, and on her way out, apologized to me saying, "I hope you feel better soon!!" and I felt like screaming at her. I am not normally easily agitated, or rude, but there was something about this pain that I could not handle easily and everything was really getting on my nerves... The Nurse did the ultrasound as quickly as possible. I did not even look at the screen the entire time. I had my hand squeezed tightly together and my eyes shut tight I was in so much pain.
She was finally done, and my mom and I left to return to the waiting room. After several more failed trips to the bathroom, my mother was getting markedly more worried. The pressure was intensifying. It was now close to 3pm. My mother is an orthopedic nurse, but she is a nurse nonetheless. She approached a group of nurses talking and said, "I think you need to see my daughter. I think she is in labor." The nurses shooed my mother away, and said, "We will see her shortly."
Finally, a nurse called me back. She said, "We need a urine sample" and I laughed (yes, I did) and said, "I wish I could, but that ain't happening!!" The Nurse scowled at me, and took my weight and BP (which were fine). I was then brought into an exam room to wait for a Dr. I think we waited for the Dr. for over 15 minutes. In that tiny exam room with my mom, I could not get comfortable. My mother was applying counter-pressure on my back, and I felt like I had to GO now. It was 3:30 PM when the DR came in. She did not even say anything to me as she walked in, she just got right down to business... And that's when we found out I was in labor.
"OH, you are 10 cm, and you have bulging membranes..." The Dr. said, "I'mma go call an ambulance now!" And she quickly left the room. I used the short lull to text a few friends and tell them I would not be over for dinner, as I was having a baby. As soon as the Dr. shut the door, the room filled with Nurses and the Midwife.
They laid me down on the bed, and had it completely reclined. This was a strange experience, and everyone was trying to help me and tell me what to do. It was very overwhelming, and I was in shock. Finally grasping what my body was doing, I started to understand and feel the need to bear down and push. The nurses had me focus on breathing through the pain so I would not push.
The Trip to the Hospital
The paramedics arrived, and asked if I was allowed to be wheeled down to ambulance. Midwife looked at the paramedics and said, "Certainly not!!" They had to bring strecher up, which took an extra couple minutes, and then I was jostled out of the office and down the elevator to the waiting ambulance. In the ambulance, the clumsy paramedic tried to take my BP, but was failing miserably. I was probably not cooperating too well, because I had started moaning with pain now. My mother had left the camera in the car, and my sister was on the way to meet us at....
My sister met us at the hospital in the elevator. The rest of this phase of labor is very blurry to me. I remember getting into the room, and then being undressed, and then the Dr came in. Everyone milled about as if they expected a baby to pop out of nowhere, and then left the room... A nurse came back and tried to take intake information, but I just deferred to my mother, as I was incapable of normal speech. I tried to get out a couple words, but it took a LOT of effort. It ended up as mostly gasps, and I'm not quite sure I added anything meaningful to the intake conversation. (Mind you, this entire time, I still feel like I have to push!!)
Then a nurse came in and said, "okay, you have two options. We can break your water for you, or you can get pain meds. Pain meds will slow your labor down." And I remember rolling my eyes back into my head trying to think, and put two words together. I think I screamed out "I don't know!" by this point, I started apologizing to everyone in the room. I was crying and telling my Mom I was sorry, and I loved her, and all sorts of things. I finally collected myself enough to tell the Nurse to break my water. As she was walking out of the room, I felt a POP and a warm gush of water. Meekly, I said, "Nevermind... It just broke" No sooner had I got those words out then the contractions really ramped up, and I was completely overpowered.
Within seconds, the room was filled with people again, and they told me to PUSH. I think I pushed through three contractions, and at one point, they told me to reach down and touch his head. I tried to, but I was so scattered with the pain, I couldn't seem to get my arm to function. I remember my mom saying "He's right here!!!" Finally, at 4:18 PM on 1/19/09, at 35 weeks and 5 days, my son Brennan Michael was born at 4lbs 11oz.
They placed Brennan on my bed, and I remember kissing the top of his head, and with tears of joy, the first thing I said to my son was "Oh, you already smell like baby" They quickly removed him to clean him up and check his condition. His apgars were good at 8/9. They tried to hand him back to me, but I was laying at an akward position and I felt very uncomfortable holding him, so I kissed his forehead, and passed him off to my mom who followed him down to the NICU.
After the Dr's stitched me up (I had only very minor tears), I tried to "clean" myself up as best as I could, and then was wheeled into the NICU to see my son. I sat there holding his hand, but in the strange room I felt like a stranger, and my head was spinning. (Less than 2 hours ago, I was in the Dr's office waiting to be told to sent home!) I had the Nurse bring me back to my room, and soon after, my dad and brother arrived to meet the baby! My brother wasn't allowed in the NICU, but we wheeled baby over to window and I held him up for him. After my family left, I sat there in rocking chair for a couple hours holding my baby. I think holding him there, then, by myself, really sunk everything in... And the surreal, became real.
Brennan's Journey Home
The next morning, I fed him, changed him, and got to "play" Mommy and even attempted to breastfeed. Unfortunately, Brennan could not come home with me when I was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday. Brennan went on to have significant episodes of bradycardia, and had to stay in the NICU for 7 days after his last incident. He had one or more incidents a day for the first week of his life, and then he came home after 13 days in the NICU.