Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:43 AM
The journey to meeting our son started the day I met Paul, six and a half years ago. He told me right from the outset that he was unable to be a father, due to a genetic condition. Ever the optimist, I said never say never. We started hoping for a miracle in late 2007. Often my period would be late, and I would be increasingly disappointed by negative HPTs. We focused on our engagement and wedding plans, and first consulted a specialist late in 2008. He told us there was less than one in a billion chance of conceiving naturally, and that was only because he didn’t want to be sued! Our only option for becoming a family was to use a sperm donor.
Our wedding was in April 2009, and by July, we were ready to go. We did a medicated IUI cycle. I was convinced it would work, and crushed when it didn’t. We decided quickly that IVF +ICSI was a better, albeit more expensive option. In November of 2009, we started that cycle. By the start of December, I was elated to find out we had struck it lucky and despite a crappy result of only one embryo, I was pregnant. Within 5 days, I wasn’t anymore.
Losing our baby almost destroyed me emotionally. We both needed time to process and recover from the hideous rollercoaster that was 2009. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. My two closest friends were expecting their first babies, and in 2010 they were born within months of my due date. I’m not proud of the person I turned into, but being the amazing people they are, they stuck by me.
In 2011, I started to ready myself for the next battle. We worked hard to repair our damaged finances, bodies, and psyches. I booked us in to start a new cycle. From the outset, things looked good. I had lost 20kg, started acupuncture, was on meds for my PCOS that had been diagnosed after the last IVF cycle, and had a much better mindset. Our cycle went well, 8 eggs, 6 fertilised, 3 blastocysts, 2 frozen, and one strong little embryo was transferred.
In early March, I knew I was pregnant. The increasingly dark lines and great blood test results confirmed it. Then at 3w6d, the vomiting started I was completely terrified, but was trying very hard to keep myself together. The first scan at 7+3 showed a tiny fuzzy blob with a strong heartbeat, and from then on, even with bleeding at 10+3 and 11+2, all unexplained, I knew deep down that our little Fuzzy was ok.
I gradually started to believe I was pregnant, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around the idea that there would be a baby at the end of it. I knew he was in there, I could feel him wriggling, but the idea of taking him home was so abstract that it just wouldn’t sink in.
The ultrasound tech at the 11 week scan told us she was confident we were having a girl, so imagine our surprise when we found out at 16 weeks that we were having a boy! Lucky I had restrained myself and not bought too many pink things
I was still suffering from severe morning sickness, even when the heartburn kicked in as the months ticked by. At around 7 months, my blood pressure started to creep up. At the risk of sounding sappy, as sick and uncomfortable as I was, I loved it all.
By 34 weeks, it was decided that I would be induced at 38. Then Paul’s contract was finished and he was out of work. I don’t think that helped my blood pressure! I was starting to show signs of pre eclampsia, and at 37+3 the induction was booked for 38+0. The day Paul was due to start his new job. I asked my Ob if it could be done on a different day, and within minutes we were booked to start the process that night!
I found the cervidil and the associated internals excruciating, not sure if that’s normal or not, but I was hopeful that they were doing their job and my waters could be broken the next morning. At 7am I was checked, and nothing had changed. My Dr decided to try the gels, and gave me 6 hours. I asked what would happen if I didn’t progress and was told I would have to have a C section – the one thing that I didn’t want. I walked laps of the hospital, bounced and rocked on the fit ball, and was actually having a lot of painless contractions, but at 1pm, my cervix was still high, long and closed. I was disappointed and scared to be told that my C section was being booked, because baby had to come out. I didn’t know at the time, but by this stage I had protein in my urine and they were worried. I spent the next couple of hours relaxing with Paul in our room, and there was a very strong, and conscious realisation that our lives were about to change. At that point it finally started to sink in that our journey was almost complete, and we were about to meet our baby.
I was taken into theatre at 4:30, and the anaesthetist had great difficulty placing the spinal. I have no idea how people can manage to sit still enough while they are battling contractions! On the third try (the first two resulted in searing pain shooting down through my hips into my legs) he got it in place, and so began the whole bizarre experience that was my caesarean. I chatted away to the anaesthetist throughout the surgery and asked him to run a commentary on what was happening. Within minutes he announced that it was nearly time.
At 5:14pm, the curtain was dropped and Elliott was held up for us to see. I reached out to him, but he was quickly taken over to be examined and wrapped. I could just see him around the edge of the curtain, and Paul went over to trim his cord. He was placed on my chest and wasn’t crying, instead making little sheep noises. I thought this was adorable, and was too busy falling in love to notice that anything was wrong. Looking back at the photos, by this stage he was dark purple. Too soon, he was taken off to the nursery with Paul, the surgery was finished (having the placenta removed rates as the strangest sensation I have ever experienced) and I was stitched off and sent to recovery. Not long after, Paul came to find me and told me that Elliott was having some trouble breathing. They were putting him in an isolette for four hours to dry out the fluid that was on his lungs, and treating him for low blood sugar. That was the start of a fear that I had never felt before. I still didn’t want to believe that anything could go seriously wrong, and was desperate to hold my baby, but hoped it would happen soon. I was taken back to my room, and as the feeling creeped back into my legs, our parents came to visit. It was completely surreal, having spent the last nine months not believing we would have a baby at the end, then giving birth, and still not having that baby with me. The paediatrician came in to report on Elliott. He was not doing as well as anyone would have hoped. His lungs weren’t clearing, and he was being closely monitored. About an hour later, he returned with worse news, Elliott wasn’t stable enough to stay with us, and was being transferred to NICU. A shortage of beds meant that we didn’t know where he would be sent, if they couldn’t downgrade someone to find a bed he would be sent interstate.
I still hadn’t seen him when at 4am NETS arrived to transfer him - a bed had opened at a city hospital. I asked to see him before he was taken, and they wheeled apparatus the size of a small car into my room. Inside was my tiny baby, his face and head covered with breathing equipment, leads and a feeding tube everywhere, and strapped down with a bright yellow seatbelt. He had been crying, but stopped as soon as I reached through to touch him. And then he was gone again.
The next morning when my doctor came around, I begged him to let me out of bed so I could go into the city to see Elliott. I was allowed up, and got into the hospital at around midday. Arriving in the NICU was a sudden rush of noise, information, and questions. All I could do was cry as I reached through the portals to touch him.
He had been diagnosed with Hyaline Membrane Disease – basically the inability of his lungs to shift fluid. It is a condition that normally only affects premmies, no one could be sure why a big full term baby was suffering from it, only telling us ‘it can happen, he’s just unlucky’. He wasn’t allowed to be held, or even fed, but his prognosis was excellent – a CPAP machine and oxygen were needed for the few days it was expected to take for his lungs to mature.
Although leaving him at the end of each day was torture, each morning he had made significant progress. On Sunday, he was stable enough to be cuddled. The first time I held him, the rush was electric. Having skin to skin, his heart rate lowered, his oxygen sats increased, and he was peaceful. By Monday, he was able to have the colostrum that I had been expressing. On Tuesday morning, despite jaundice needing lights, he was in an open cot breathing room air, and was well enough to breastfeed. On Wednesday morning, we received the news we had been waiting for – he was coming back to us.
Finally, one week after he was born, he was allowed to spend the day with us as we prepared to take him home.
Eight weeks on, I am writing this with a warm bundle snuggled up on my chest sound asleep, and I know that every minute of this crazy journey has been worth it.
If you made it to the end of possibly the longest birth story in I-Do history, well done!
The TL;DR version
Elliott Thomas, born by caesarean at 37w4d on 9/11/12 at 5:14pm, weighing 3.86kg, measuring 55cm.
Pictures to come soon!
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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:28 PM
I'm chuffed he's okay, now. How amazing is it when they lie on your chest like that? It has always my most favourite time with them.
Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:16 PM
Gorgeous name too. Our little guy was nearly an Elliott Thomas
Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:26 PM
Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:18 PM
Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:46 PM
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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:47 PM
Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:59 PM
How devestating not being able to hold your little one when he was born, but I am SO glad to hear that he recovered well and is snuggled up with you now.
I'm so happy for you - it's the best feeling holding your baby in your arms
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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:18 PM
Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:42 PM
Congratulations, I hope the months and years to come are smooth sailing from here on in. xox
Playing together on Rainbow Bridge
Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:19 PM
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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:45 PM
My birth story was so similar and I'm so glad Elliott is now doing so well!!
Enjoy all those cuddles!! I still cuddle my little man extra now 14 months on!!
Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:55 PM
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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:41 AM
Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:41 AM
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