Saturday, February 6, 2010

She's here! And the rollercoaster began...

What an emotional week this has been!

Tuesday was the day for my scheduled induction of Sophie. Turns out she had other plans. At around 6:45 Sunday morning, I woke up having strange pains. I wondered if I was having contractions, but it didn't "fit" - felt different than when I was in labour with Emma, and running through the checklist from the doctor (belly tightening, gets worse, can't talk or walk through the pain) didn't really help. My husband woke up at 730 and asked if I was ok. I honestly answered, "I don't know!" I had him start keeping track of the timing just in case, and when I realized it was happening every three minutes (which puts me in the "10 an hour" range for the doctor) I had him call the office.

The on-call doctor said I should come to the hospital to get checked out, just in case. So my husband woke up Emma, she salted the front steps, he tried to shovel the ice off (unsuccessfully) and showered, I finished packing, and we got ready to leave. Thinking that we'd probably be sent back home, I didn't hurry, and we both thought we had hours. Finally around 930 I was putting on my shoes to leave when my water broke.

I changed clothes, and we headed to the hospital. We arrived at the door at 10:20. Emma ran in to get a wheelchair because by then, I REALLY couldn't walk. I was rolled up to a room, put in a gown, and examined. The nurse said I was between 4 & 5 cm and had someone call my doctor at home to let him know I was there. The anesthesiologist came in and tried to put in an epidural, which was difficult because apparently Sophie wouldn't tolerate me being in certain positions and her heart rate would drop. He finally got it inserted, and less than 5 minutes later at 11:18, she was here! My doctor walked in as I was being cleaned up. He told me that from the time the nurse called to say I was at 5 cm until she called back to say I was delivering was only 15 minutes.

A pediatrician came in and checked her out right away, and seemed surprised to find her in such good condition. He explained that many times a birth that is too fast is just as dangerous as one that is too long and puts the baby in distress. She was perfect, though, and passed all her screenings with flying colors!

Oh - for those who want to know she was 9 lbs 2 oz, 21 inches long, 39 weeks along, and has blue eyes and hair that looks both red and blonde, depending on the light.

Monday night we were discharged and went home. I was moving around pretty well, she was in excellent condition, and there was no reason to stay another night. We left the hospital at 6:30 and took our girls home. It was a sleepless night, but a normal one. The usual several feedings, and just her getting used to life on the outside.

Tuesday morning Chris took Emma to school and came back home. Around 8 I noticed Sophie's right arm was jerking a bit. I thought it was strange, but really didn't know what to make of it. I thought it was probably her hiccuping and her arm was just positioned the right way to be moved by the hiccups. I filed it away in my head just in case, though.

Then an hour later it happened again, but her eyes and mouth joined in. I called to make the appointment for her first checkup with the pediatrician, but since I had to change the information for her birthdate and all I forgot to ask for a nurse to ask about it. Then, another hour later, it happened yet again, and this time her right leg was involved. I called the office back and spoke to a nurse, who wanted to check with one of the nurse practitioners and call me back. She called back within a few minutes and wanted us to bring her in at 2 instead of Thursday, appointment day.

It happened again at 11, then three times at 12. We went to the doctor's office and tried to explain what was going on but having a hard time of it. Then, while the NP was out of the room, it began again. I had Chris get them right away, and all the practitioners came in to see. Phone calls were made to the head doctor, to Children's Hospital, and I think one other place. The verdict was they did not feel qualified to take care of this, with her being only two days old, and the doctor at Childrens Hospital wanted us brought in immediately by ambulance as a precaution. Sophie and I rode to the hospital, Chris picked up Emma from school and followed.

In the ER we were shown into a room right away, and testing began on her immediately. Seizures in a two day old are taken VERY seriously. She had an IV line inserted, blood drawn, urine drawn, and eventually a spinal tap. If you want to know what true torture is, sit with your two day old infant as she has all this done to her. I hope none of you ever have to go through that. She had another seizure while we were in the ER, and that was her biggest one yet. The others only lasted 20-30 seconds and that one was two full minutes. She was given Ativan to stop the seizure, and then phenobarbital to keep her from having any others. She was sent for a CT scan, and after the medicines were finished we were taken to our room.

We've seen a neurologist, an infectious disease specialist, and several pediatricians. She had an EEG on Wednesday, another spinal tap, several cultures taken, and blood for labs every morning. The infectious disease specialist was leaning toward a viral infection, which is what the second spinal tap was sent out for. Even though she didn't feel comfortable saying "probably" or anything definite, that is the most dangerous out of all the possiblilites. The neurologist read her CT and EEG and was positive her only problem was bleeding on the left side of her brain, which is actually common in vaginal births but does not usually affect the baby. He wanted to wait 48 hours and have another EEG to compare. If it was the bleeding, it would resolve itself.

Yesterday morning we had the second EEG and he read it and talked to us before we even left the room to come back to ours. It was perfect! She is 100% fine, and now that the combination of anti-seizure medicines have worked their way out of her tiny body she is awake and alert now. (Everyone wishes their newborn would sleep a lot. Trust me, you don't. It's unnatural and scary and nervewracking.) Unfortunately, even though the neurologist has cleared her and said there is no reason for us to stay, he is not her admitting doctor and she doesn't feel comfortable releasing us until the second spinal tap test returns, clearing her of the viral infection. I understand it's just a precaution, but we all want to be home so badly.

Today was a quiet day. Since we're just waiting for the last test to be returned nothing else is going on. One of the doctors came to check in today and our nurse checks in frequently, but that's it. Chris did our laundry and he and Emma came for a visit and brought clean clothes back. Sadly, though, Emma began feeling sick so they are back at home tonight. Hopefully she will be better tomorrow and they can come back.

I must say, though, that I have been overwhelmingly touched by the huge outpouring of love and support we've received this week. This is the first time I've been able to be on a computer all week, but I can check Facebook and Twitter on my phone and am amazed at how many comments and messages we've received about Sophie. Several friends have even posted about her on their own profiles asking for prayers for her. Gladly the prayers have worked and she is healthy and seizure-free again! The people in our church have been amazing, also. Emma has been staying with a family at church so Chris could be here with me. There have been so many phone calls and emails checking in on us every day. I am just amazed. And touched. And overwhelmed. It will take weeks to respond to everyone once we are able to return home! So, if any of those wonderful friends and family members read this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your care and support. It has meant so much to us and really helped us get through this week of ups and downs and joy and tears.

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