Introducing Davey

David Martin

Little David Martin was born on July 16, 2000, at 11:29 p.m., after a very exciting ride!

We first found out we were pregnant in February, and Kathy, the midwife, gave us a due date of September 27. The ultrasoundHowever, at each check-up, she measured me further and further along. Finally, to be on the safe side, we had an ultrasound done, and this moved the due date up to August 29.

For the next few months, my pregnancy was uneventful. In June, however, my feet and legs started swelling significantly. I couldn't even get into my shoes! Kathy said it was a little early to be concerned, but nevertheless she asked me to start coming in every week. Then my blood pressure started climbing. Not a lot, and not fast, but it was definitely getting higher. Kathy was worried about pre-eclampsia. At the beginning of July she sent me into the hospital to be evaluated; they monitored me for a while, then sent me home with instructions to stay in bed. By now I was seeing Kathy twice a week.

At what was to be my last appointment, Monday the 10th, they dipped my urine for protein as usual, but this time they found some. Actually, to quote the nurse, they found "oodles." Kathy had arranged for me to see a different midwife, as it was her day off but she felt I needed to be seen. Lisa took my blood pressure several times, but it was even higher than before. Finally she sent me back to the hospital.

Once in the hospital things just kept getting worse. First they were just going to watch me for a few hours. Then they decided to keep me for at least a day and watch the protein in my urine. Tuesday I had another ultrasound, and they also consulted a specialist in high-risk pregnancies, Dr. Lavin. He came to visit me Wednesday, and told me that basically I was in for the long haul - I would be spending the rest of my pregnancy in the hospital on bed rest. At this point, I was 33 weeks along, and he said he hoped to get me to at least 36 weeks before I delivered, but he said there was no way I would go full term. They would do an amniocentesis to make sure the baby was healthy, then induce me. (After my experiences being induced with Sarah, I was less than excited about the prospect!) In the meantime they gave me shots of steroids to help baby Davey's lungs develop. Every day, they drew labwork to check my liver and kidney function. And despite the enforced bed rest, my blood pressure crept slowly but steadily higher.

Friday night the crunch came. I started experiencing pain over my liver, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Bloodwork showed my kidney and liver functions were being affected. Saturday morning, bright and early, they moved me to Labor and Delivery to begin the induction.

Surprise surprise, the nurse who admitted me to L&D was an old friend of mine who had worked with both me and my mom several years before. After helping me to the bathroom, she asked if she could put a catheter in - I was peeing tea-color, and that also was bad news from my kidneys. Inducing laborDr Ryan, the resident, came in and started the induction with something called Preppadil, which is injected into the cervix to help it dilate. After a few hours, I was one centimeter dilated, so they decided to go ahead and start a Pitocin drip. I also had a magnesium sulfate IV running, to prevent the seizures that go along with severe pre-eclampsia, IV Decadron to hopefully halt/reverse the liver damage, and antibiotics because of my mitral valve prolapse. (Did I mention anywhere that I don't like needles?) I wasn't allowed even to sit up, nor was I allowed to eat - ice chips only, and not many of those! I begged for just one cherry Popsicle, but nothing doing. The contractions weren't bad, but at the end of the day I was still only one centimeter dilated. Saturday evening they turned off the pitocin to let me get some rest. One of the nurses wheeled a gurney in so that hubby David could spend the night with me. About midnight, I got another dose of Preppadil and the pitocin was turned back on a couple hours later.

Sunday - well, Sunday went from bad to worse. I still wasn't dilating. Sunday afternoon my water broke, but it was dark and looked like dried blood. Since the bag was broken, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Bailey went ahead and hooked up internal monitors - one for Davey and one for me. They also ran a catheter in and hydrated my uterus with saline. What fun. I had tubes poking out of everywhere. The contractions were getting rather painful, and since I couldn't move around to ease the discomfort at all, I went ahead and had an epidural put in. At least they let me sit up for that! Once that was in, I felt so much better - warm, cosy, and comfy, although I still had a craving for a cherry Popsicle. Then Davey's monitor started showing "deccelerations" - his heart rate wasn't picking back up after each contraction the way it should. They turned off the pitocin, but without it my contractions faded away to nothing. They decided to stop for the night. My mom went home, and David found a big armchair to sleep in.

Suddenly, just as we were getting settled in, the nurses came back in. Ready for the C-sectionDr. Kistner was on her way back in to talk to me about a C-section, they said; she'd gotten pulled over for speeding but she should be here any minute. (OK, when they're SPEEDING in to see you, is this a good sign?) I called Mom to come back in. Dr Kistner came in at 11, half in scrubs and half in street clothes, with a bevy of nurses behind her. She explained that Davey wasn't tolerating the induction well, and that with my deteriorating condition, they needed to get him out to keep both of us healthy. Did I have a problem with a C-section? At this point, no I didn't - I just wanted the whole nightmare to be over. Ready for the C-section Before I'd even finished agreeing, the nurses were shaving me and dressing David up in a scrub suit. They whisked me off to the OR, draped me, started yet another IV, turned up the epidural, and started poking me to see if I could feel anything. Finally David came in, and as he started to sit down he got a look over the drape - "They're gutting you like a pig!" he said, and turned a really nice shade of green. It took about 5 minutes before we heard the baby's cries. The baby is born David stood up and snapped his picture. They whisked him away into the back, where they had a neonatologist standing by. Then they finished the surgery - I had asked them to tie my tubes while they were in there. (I asked for a tummy tuck and some liposuction too, but no deal!) The neonatologist, Dr Butler, called up that Davey was doing fine and let David take another picture for me to see. Brand new babyThen I was wheeled off into the recovery room ,where my mom was waiting. I spent about an hour in recovery, while the epidural wore off. They hooked me up to a PCA pump - an IV which delivers a set amount of morphine and also gives you a button to push in case you need more.

On my way to my room, I was wheeled into the Special Care Nursery to see Davey. He weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces and was 17 1/2 inches long. He was tiny. What a tiny creature! He had an IV and a NG tube in, but that was all. Dr Butler said he was very healthy and strong. considering how early he was. He didn't have to be on a respirator at all, and would stay in the SCN rather than being transferred to Children's Hospital. The three of us stayed and looked at him for a while, then they took me off to my room.

Monday was a blur - between the morphine and the magnesium, I was very fuzzy! Mom says when I looked at her my eyes weren't even pointing in the right direction! I still had the Decadron IV, the catheter, and I was allowed only 40 cc's of fluid to drink every hour. Misery. I had a wonderful nurse Monday night who smacked me into shape, pulled all the tubes out, and had me walking to the bathroom - although with a lot of help! Daddy and I visit DaveyThe second day they also wheeled in a big double whammy electric breast pump so I could have milk for Davey. Every three hours I trotted down to the SCN - ok, first few times I went down in a wheelchair - with my little bottle of milk. After a few days they let me try nursing him, and to everyone's surprise he took to it like a pro! He stayed in the hospital for a week after I went home, and Sarah and I went in several times a day to feed him and visit. He was so small that the effort it took to nurse exhausted him, so we always gave him a bottle too to make sure he was getting enough to eat. Sarah helps feed baby brother Like most babies, he lost weight at first - down to 3 pounds 13 ounces! - but over the weekend he turned it around. The criteria for him to come home were: he had to be gaining weight, he had to be loud enough to be heard outside the isolette, and he had to be able to hold his body temperature in an open crib. By Tuesday the 25th he had gained enough weight for them to start the open-air trial, and he passed with flying colors. Thursday morning they actually let me take this tiny baby - now up to 4 pounds 2 ounces - home.

Davey is now more than a month old and doing wonderfully. He's up over 6 pounds now, can lift his head, and spends a lot more time awake. I'm still nursing him every three hours around the clock, but he's started occasionally going four hours before he asks to be fed. He and I have both been given the all-clear by our doctors. When I look back at everything we had going wrong, at all the possibilities for tragedy, I can only believe that someone was watching over us. The toxemia was dangerous enough, but when they did the C-section, they found that the placenta was already starting to detach - if they had continued the induction, they could possibly have lost both of us. We were blessed to have a wonderful group of doctors, nurses, and midwives taking care of us. Our families really rallied around - my mother came in every day bringing Sarah, who spent the whole weekend I was in labor at my sister-in-law's house. My sister-in-law helped get Davey's room ready, gave us a crib, and went shopping for preemie clothes for me. Not to mention all the love and caring everyone showed to all four of us.

David Martin

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