Friday, July 1, 2011

The Arrival of Our Rainbow: Welcome Owen!

The past three weeks have been so busy that I haven't had much of a chance to really sit down and write about it. But, I am happy to say that our Rainbow baby Owen made his debut on June 16th, 2011 at 12:27pm. He weighed in at 6lbs even and measured 17 inches long. Owen's due date wasn't until the end of July and he was born at 34 weeks and 4 days gestation, so he had to go to the NICU. His lungs were just not mature enough yet for him to breathe on his own. So he was transported to a hospital in downtown Detroit where he spent two weeks before coming home.
Owen's Birth and NICU Story:
During the evening of June 15th, I had attended my local Metro-Detroit SHARE support group meeting. It was a great meeting because I got to see so many of my friends and I knew it would be my last meeting pregnant (little did I know how soon that would happen!). During the meeting I had felt contractions off and on but for me, I had issues with contractions at different points in our pregnancy, so I wasn't surprised. I thought I would get home, eat dinner and pop my feet up thinking they would go away.
By the time I did all of that my contractions were starting to get stronger and more frequent. They felt like very intense menstrual cramps and squeezing all at once. Dustin called me from work to see if I needed anything before he came home and I told him I was going to call the doctor because I didn't feel right. When I spoke to the doctor he said of course to go to L&D because of my history of pre-term labor. So as soon as the hubby got home, we left for the hospital. By then it was around midnight.
Needless to say the nurses in triage thought that they could give me fluids and medication and the contractions would stop. To make a long night short I will say basically we tried three doses of medication and a lot of fluid only to have my contractions slow down moderately. They slowed enough at one point that my doctor had me moved to another room for observation because he thought they were going to stop. By then it was about 7:00am. Once I got moved I had Dustin go home to take a nap, shower and eat. He was exhausted from working the night prior and helping me through contractions throughout the night.
After Dustin left, I managed to squeeze in a short nap before I realized that my contractions has returned with renewed vigor and intensity. It hurt so bad I called my nurses in and told them something was wrong. They watched the monitors and the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and not showing any signs of stopping. By then I was exhausted myself and really scared. So I called Dustin back up to the hospital because I wasn't sure what was going to happen. The nurses left to go call my doctor.
At that point it was just me and the contractions and let me tell you, I bow down to all of the women who have endured natural child birth. I wasn't even that far into labor and I was ready to throw in the towel! Kudos to those ladies who go all the way without drugs!
At 8:00am Dustin walked into the room just in time to have a nurse follow him and say "we're gonna have a c-section, the doctor is on his way". This hit us both like a ton of bricks because we knew it was still early to be having our baby. But we were happy at the same time to finally meet our son. Whenever we have something going on in our family, we always take a little knitted hat that Jack wore when he was in the hospital as a good luck charm. At that point Dustin gave me Jack's hat to hold on to for comfort. It helped me stay positive and it reminded me of how strong we both were, to endure the loss of our first baby. I knew that we could make it through whatever happened with Owen.
It was a little after 8am and Dustin started calling family members to let everyone know what was going on. My mom arrived first, followed by my mother in law Marie and eventually my dad and Aunt Melissa. They hung out in my delivery room while Dustin stood with me to help me through the continuing contractions. Eventually everyone had to leave while I got prepped for the surgery. Finally, at about 11:30am I was wheeled back to the operating room to get my spinal.
Once the spinal was in place and the curtain was up, Dustin got to come back and sit with me during the c-section. I had to have a c-section again since I had a classical one with Jack. The doctor planned to look over my old scar to see if it needed any repair and luckily it did not, so he was able to do a horizontal cut instead of a vertical incision. In retrospect, let me say that recovery from this surgery has been a lot better pain wise than the first one. And I am recuperating a lot more quickly.
As the c-section progressed we finally got to hear what we had waited to hear for so very long. The pulled Owen out and he was crying! The doctor showed him to me over the sheet and it was amazing! He looked so big to me compared to Jack!
We cried and cried for joy as they worked on Owen, all the while knowing that there would be some complications. They showed him to us briefly and I was allowed to kiss him goodbye, and then he was whisked away to the special nursery. I was stitched up and sent over to the recovery room. Dustin got to go and watch the team take care of Owen.
In recovery I tried my hardest to just sleep but I couldn't. I was so shocked at how fast everything had happened. I kept trying to wrap my mind around Owen being here and how big he was. Most of all though, I wanted to see him and know he was ok.
After being taken to my room we had a myriad of visitors and the lactation consultant came to see me. I was on a lot of medication at this point so I'm not going to try to recall all of the details of this time except for when I got to see Owen. The pediatricians and staff at the hospital where we delivered decided it would be best for Owen to go to a hospital that had a full NICU because of the severity of his lungs not being mature. And so he was being sent downtown to Detroits Henry Ford Hospital. Before they shipped him via ambulance, they wheeled him to my room so I could say goodbye and in a sense, hello. It was an emotional moment for both Dustin and I because we had waited for so long to hold our baby. And we knew we were going to have to wait awhile longer.
After Owen was taken downtown, I spent the next few days recovering as fast as I could. Finally, on the Saturday after I had Owen, I was released from the hospital and able to go see our baby. I cried so much when I finally got to see him. He was so beautiful. Our encounter with him was so brief at his birth that I really hadn't a chance to really "see" him. It was hard watching him be hooked up to all of the machines, but at the same time, I was just so incredibly thankful he was alive. It would be two weeks in the NICU before we would finally get our baby boy home.
And now after a week of having him with us, it has been both wonderful and challenging. We are both learning what it means to be parents to an earth baby as well as an angel baby. And it is hard. It's hard when you realize that everything this little baby is doing, you know your other baby will never get to experience. It makes things bittersweet at times. Additionally, with Owen being premature he is experiencing some feeding issues and that is never fun for any baby. So we are working through that with our pediatrician. I can say though that all of the shots, doctors appointments, worry, and anxiety were well worth it. Because my greatest accomplishments in my life, I feel, are my boys.