I'm sorry this post is coming so delayed from his birth. You see, the entire experience hasn't been, dare I say, expected? You can't plan a delivery and how the recovery will go but you always have this small hope inside your head that things will go normally and you'll come home with a perfect baby. Then you get a nursing license and fate turns on you. We call it the "nurse curse". All nurses know of it and fear it with all they have. Kind of like Murphy's Law, when a nurse comes into the hospital for any reason, anything that can go wrong, will.
My water broke on Saturday. Two days before my new bundle of joy would make his big entrance. I'm sure you remember my last post talking about bladder leakage. Well, I was wrong. It was actually amniotic fluid. I didn't think my water had broken because contractions didn't start within 24 hours, it was dime sized amounts that I was leaking and I couldn't find a pattern. Sometimes I'd have a Braxton Hicks contraction and leak a little and other times I'd just be sitting on the couch watching t.v. Either way, I was walking around with a broken bag and didn't know it.
I'm sure you also remember me talking about that GBS test that is performed on all pregnant women at about 35 weeks gestation. My test came back negative which was a relief.
All of this makes for the perfect nurse curse storm.
I woke up Monday morning and leaked a little. I was tired of this happening and voiced my frustration to B. He told me to call the OB and let him know what was going on. My OB had me go to the hospital and have the fluid checked. We hoped in the car with our bug out bags in hand and headed off to the hospital. When we go there, we were checked in as normal and shown to our room. The nurse performed what's called an AmnioSwab to check the fluid. You look for the tip of the swab to turn a specific color. The color turned but wasn't as dark as it should be so it was considered equivocal and they did another test called Amnio Sure. This is a test that is like the swab but the swab is then sent to the lab for confirmation. A short time later the nurse confirmed my fear. My water was actually broken and my baby was coming today.
Fear is probably the word not many people would use in this situation but I was scared because any rupture over 18 hours increases the chance of infection for the baby. I was immediately fearful for my little one and couldn't believe I let myself go that long before going to the hospital. But there was nothing I could do about it at that time. I had to pray for the best and accept what God was about to hand me.
The time we spent in the L&D room was actually pretty short. Family started filtering in around 12 and that helped take my mind off of things. I had my epidural placed at 11 (way too long after the pitocin was started) and didn't feel another contraction until I started pushing at 5. I pushed for 2.5 hours and there he was. My little Jackson. I would go into depth on the delivery story but I don't want to relive that nightmare right now. Let's just say I had an epidural placed but ended up with a natural birth.
After the delivery isn't a grand experience either. I'll sum that one up by saying the delivering OB had a body part inside my body well after the baby was here to help stop my bleeding. My dreams still haunt me.
We were then taken to my postpartum room to begin my long journey as a mom and my difficult recovery period. Remember, I work as a nurse on postpartum so this part was very familiar to me. I knew what to expect here. My fellow staff member welcomed me with open arms and showered us with hugs and kisses. Correction, they aren't staff, they're family.
The first night was pretty hard. Jackson had a lot of fluid in his throat and tummy so he was pretty spitty all night. Because I was a prolonged rupture, the pediatrician decided to do a blood culture and CBC on the baby. I'll explain the labs and their significance a little later. The next morning we woke up unrefreshed and ready for a shower. I had gotten sick during the delivery and wasn't allowed to shower due to my IV and foley catheter. The first shower was magical. You can never appreciate a nice warm shower until you've had a traumatic delivery.
The day was progressing along quite nicely and then we got the news. My unit manager and clinician came in for a quick visit with me and also dropped the heartbreaking news on me. My clinician told me that Jackson's blood culture came back positive.... WHAT!? I've never heard of a positive blood culture.... ever. What it means is that his blood was put in a dish and began growing bacteria. My brand new baby's blood was infected. This isn't supposed to happen. They're supposed to be born perfect and fresh. She then informed me that the pediatrician was being notified and they would let me know what was going on. A few minutes later another nurse came in and informed me that the pediatrician wanted Jackson to be admitted to the NICU to begin receiving his antibiotics via IV instead of muscular shots. My mind immediately went to my prolonged rupture and I began blaming myself for making my baby sick. After all, I was the one that didn't go to the hospital. I had about 5 minutes and the nurse came back and took my sweet little one on over to the NICU so he could begin his injections. I sat in my room with B and my parents and cried harder than I ever had in my life.
When babies are admitted to the NICU in our hospital, the in house neonatologists begin following him and making all of his medical decisions. Working there made this transition a little easier. I knew the neos already so I was pretty comfortable with the group. When he got there, one of the neos called me to inform me of this care. I couldn't go to his room and meet with her because he was having IVs started and getting medicine. They requested that I wait about 30 minutes before coming to see him. The neo informed me that she thought he had a GBS infection. There's that bacteria again. What we expect now is that I am actually GBS positive and my initial test was a false negative. The other theory is that I developed GBS between the time I was tested and the time my sweet Jackson arrived.
The next few hours are a blur. I ended up deciding to be discharged the next day and come home without my baby. I'm so happy with that decision because it allowed me to come home and get adequate rest so I can serve him a little better.
As of today, his lab values look great and you can tell he's feeling much better. The neo that saw him a few days ago wants to keep him until next Friday which would equal 10 days of antibiotics. He's doing so well that I still cling to the hope that he could come home at the 7 day mark on Tuesday. Either way, I want a healthy baby boy coming home and not a sick one. I would take care of him either way but if he's safer in the NICU right now then that's what we will do.
I'm hoping to keep everyone updated on his care but remember that the NICU is a very tiring place. Right now we get there around noon and stay until 9 at night. We then come home, eat a snack and go to bed so we can rest to do it all over again.
There are some parts of the story that are missing, like how he did the past few days, but they will come into play a little while later.
I called this morning to get an update from my favorite nurse, Heidi and she said his jaundice levels have come down and he's now off of phototherapy. YAY!! Phototherapy is a therapy of lights that help break down bilirubin that sits under the baby's skin. The bilirubin is what causes baby's to have a yellow appearance and is what is called Jaundice. When the bilirubin is passed, the yellow goes down and the phototherapy can be stopped. I expected him to be on therapy when he was born and it isn't a NICU specific thing. I have an appointment with a lactation specialist today at noon so she can watch Jackson feed. He and I both are adjusting with that right now but things are going well. I'm also pumping about 4 ounces each time so his night time feedings are covered with two pumping sessions.
Here are some pictures of our little one. The bright blue lights in some of them are the phototherapy lights.
-The B Family