Friday, February 19, 2010

The Discovery

Part 1

The morning of January 5, 2010 couldn't get here soon enough. I was suddenly tired of being pregnant, but probably more excited to finally meet our little girl. Interestingly, Zachary's birthday is August 5. We would soon come to realize all the similarities that were about to be. They would share more than just a number.
We arrived at the hospital at 5 AM. I was so afraid to get my IV. Strangely, I fear the IV more than anything else in childbirth. They took me to my room and made Matt stay in the waiting room until I was settled. I had to get my IV without Matt there to hold my hand. Thankfully, it was the best placement I'd ever had and it really was pretty simple.
The induction was started, and everything progressed as expected. I told the nurse when we started that my baby was posterior. She said we would see. I could tell though, by the movements I'd been feeling that she was facing the wrong way.
I managed to get through my sixth induced labor without an epidural for only the second time. The first being with Zachy.
As she was coming out, the doctor said, "oh, there's her face!" and the nurse asked how I knew she was face up. She was pretty surprised that I was able to tell her that. Zachy was my other sunny side up baby.
I have no idea how it came to be that with these two I didn't do an epidural. I'm sure their births were more painful than the other four together. And yet, I was determined, both times.

Natalie Grace was born at 1:32 PM weighing 8 lbs 13 oz and was 19 inches long.
When she came out, there was no putting her on my belly. They whisked her away to the warmer. She wasn't crying. I've had another baby not put on my belly because he wasn't crying. Guess who? Yep, Zachy. I'm not sure how, but they gave her apgars of 8 and 9. They got her crying and finally brought her to me. At which time I tried to nurse her. But she wouldn't latch very well. The nurse told me to go skin to skin with her to help. It did help, a little. If you're thinking that I probably had this problem with would be right!
Since I had had no epidural, I was able to move from the labor and delivery room to the post partum room pretty quickly. The rooms are on separate floors, and in the elevator I told Natalie that she was such a good girl. She was breathing so well and I told her she would be our baby to avoid a NICU stay. Several of the kids have grunted when they breathed and had to be checked over in the NICU, but she wasn't grunting. I was so happy!
We went to our room and Matt started calling people. He was holding her, and she wasn't wrapped in her blanket. I noticed she was a bit blue, and told Matt she must be cold and to cover her up. Right about that time, the nurse came in to take her to the nursery to transition her.
At the hospital I gave birth at, they take the baby to the nursery to give them their first bath and just check the babies over. She said it would take about an hour.
An hour came and went. Matt was still calling people. I was having quite a bit of bleeding, and asked him to please go check on her. He said we could wait for awhile, that they would bring her back, or tell us if something was wrong. More time passed and I couldn't take it anymore, I told him he had to go check on her. This time he went.
When he came back, he informed me that the nurse noticed that Natalie was a bit dusky and did a pulse ox and her O2 Sats were low. I would later come to learn that they were in the low 70s mid 60s. She had put blow by oxygen in her crib and had called the pediatrician. He then asked if I thought we should tell her about Zachary's heart. I said of course we needed to do that.
The next time he returned he said the plan had changed. The neonatalogist was now coming instead of the pediatrician.
The neonatalogist came and talked to us and said he had to take her to the NICU and run several tests to see if we were dealing with her heart or something else. He talked to us for quite awhile about different things that could be wrong, but it is all a blur to me.

We went with him to the nursery to see her before they took her to the NICU. Also, our kids had just arrived at the hospital with their grandparents. They saw Natalie through the window before they took her away. During that visit, the doctor told us we should have some answers in about an hour.
The kids went home, and we waited. An hour passed and we headed downstairs.
I will never forget walking into the NICU that night. The doctor was a retired military doctor and this was his first night at this hospital. As we walked in, I overheard him talking with the nurses about where they transfer babies to. I felt my face go white and turned to Matt and said, "they're transporting her". Matt said we didn't know that for sure.
The doctor then came and said the tests indicated that it was her heart, and the cardiologist had been called in. My heart sank. I think at that point, though I didn't want to admit it, I knew exactly what was coming.
Right away, the cardiologist was there to do an echo. He introduced himself and then asked us to leave and wait out in the hallway while they did the echo.
We made our way to the hallway to wait. What a long day of waiting it had been.
We tried to make small talk, but we both knew what was happening.
At one point I said the echo was taking too long, and that something was wrong with her heart, but surely it couldn't be TAPVR. I hoped and prayed it was something simple.
After what felt like an eternity, a nurse came out to the hallway and announced that the doctor wanted to speak to us in the conference room. Just so you know, if a doctor wants to talk to you in a conference room, it's usually not good.
I'll never forget the doctor coming and the words that followed.
He said, "I understand you have a son with TAPVR"
"yes," we answered.
"Do you know what type he has"
"yes, supracardiac".
*sigh* "That's exactly what we found with your daughter."
I knew it was coming..I did..but I still felt like all the wind had been knocked out of me, and that this was a horrible dream.
How could this be happening again?? As the doctor continued to talk I just kept wondering why and how. I have no idea what else he said. I was dying inside. I wanted to rewind the day. I wanted her back inside me, where she was safe. I wanted a do-over. I wanted anything but to be sitting there listening to this. I was holding tight to Matt's hand, probably tighter than while I was in labor. And as strong as I tried to be, the tears were just flowing..silently. He kept talking..I remember thinking, "please, just let me go be with my baby". I do know he was talking about how unusual this is, that he's never seen TAPVR repeat in siblings, that this just doesn't happen.
But it does happen.
And it did happen.
And a piece of me died.
I was changed when we went through this with Zachy, I didn't realize I'd be changed even more, but I was. I haven't decided if it is a change for the better or worse.

Finally, we got to go be with our sweet, sweet girl. The transport team was already there, but bless them, they just hung out for awhile and let me hold my baby. For that,I was very grateful.

Sending her to a hospital away from me was so hard.
It came time for her to go. I didn't want to let go. Somehow, I managed.
Before they took her, I had Matt take some pictures of her. I knew there would be very, very few pictures of her without a scar on her chest. For the rest of her life.

We headed back upstairs to my room so Matt could get his stuff and follow Natalie.
My nurse asked me how it went. We had to tell her it wasn't good. She said, "lucky for you, you have a nurse who believes in the prayer. And you have a nurse who serves a God that answers prayers." I will never, ever forget that. I can't remember her name, but I will never forget those words.
I truly believe that had the first nurse not decided to do a pulse ox test on Natalie, she would not have been diagnosed when she was. She seemed so healthy.
Matt left, and I was alone. What a horrible feeling, to be in a post partum room, and have no baby with you. It was just me and facebook.
I didn't sleep that night. I don't think Matt did much either. He says he did, but I know him, and I don't think he did. We knew what was coming, and it wasn't pretty. Our baby girl was fighting for her life. We know people who have lost their babies to TAPVR. We knew..all to well..what might be.
And there wasn't a thing we could do about it.
Except pray. I am eternally grateful that we serve such a loving God. A God who cares what happened to our baby. And a God who held me up, when all I wanted to do was fall into a pit of despair.
Yes, through it all, we knew...God is good.

The Birth Story

1 comment:

GinaBeana said...

Well, thanks for my morning cry...well, my morning bawl! Wow...can you even imagine going through something like that and NOT trusting God? Miss Natalie is blessed beyond measure and so beautiful!

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