Friday, August 17, 2012

Pierce is here!!

This is going to be long, some of you have already read it since I emailed it to friends and family and posted this on facebook, but here is Pierce's story from the beginning.  He's had some struggles and we've been worried sick about him...but we're beginning to be able to be cautiously at the end!!  

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write one email and send it on to all who have asked for updates, all who have prayed, anyone who has supported us through this whirlwind week!!

Monday, we went for our 37 week appointment.  We knew my blood pressure had been elevated (140s/90s) since 32 weeks, but because there was no protein in my urine they weren't concerned too much about it being pre-eclampsia.  Well, not the case this appointment.  Blood pressure was 150/90 and there was some protein.  This is the first time I've seen my doctor come into the room and show genuine concern.  He's a matter of fact type person, doesn't sugar coat, doesn't put on a fakeness that I've seen some doctors do.  
So, that was alarming.  He said he was concerned with my blood pressure, let's go on with the rest of my exam and see where we go.  
He did my physical check and said there was no progress with my cervix, Pierce wasn't dropping for some reason and therefor not causing any thinning/effacing or dilating.  Dr also couldn't feel his head, so he ordered an ultrasound for baby position and to check to see if my high blood pressure was affecting Pierce. 
Sure enough, the little booger was breech.  Pretty as you please, head right under my ribs, rear end sitting to the left of center.  How I was feeling his hiccups down below my belly button I'll never know lol.  
They hooked me up to monitors to check on Pierce's stress levels and see if I was having any contractions.  No contractions.  Pierce's heart rate was good and strong...between his punches and kicks to the monitor on my belly.  We knew then he was a feisty little guy.  
Dr came in and said he had read the ultrasound, and he didn't like the lowered levels of Pierce's amniotic fluids, prepare for a c-section likely Thursday.  He wanted to check my blood pressure before I left, having already said I could go to work that night but not Tuesday night.
Blood pressure was 150/120...put the brakes on work!  Immediate bed rest, strictly no getting up unless it was to go to the bathroom or get food.  

Off we went for me to sit until Thursday, J went to work...what were we both going to do at home, stare at each other?  lol

Tuesday, I woke up and left J sleeping since he had gotten off at 6am.  I called my mother to chit-chat...what else is one to do while on such strict bed rest other than talk on the phone?  lol
While we were talking, and actually while we were discussing our plans for my parents to come down from Kentucky, the Dr's office called.  "Hold on, Mommie, let me see what time Thursday we're having a baby"
"Hi, Amanda, need you at the hospital tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6"  
"PM?"  Surely she didn't mean Wednesday 6am for a Thursday c-section
"Nope, AM, c-section tomorrow morning"
Come to find out there was a scheduling conflict with my Dr and the hospital, and thankfully the surgery date wasn't changed for medical reasons.

So, woke up J, we made the phone calls changing everything everyone had planned!  And then started becoming anxious...I just had my one full day taken away from me.  From the time I was called, I had 17 hours to mentally prepare for a c-section...something not in my birth plan!  I quickly realized this little boy is going to be like his daddy, and not want to follow my carefully thought out plans!  

Fast Forward to Wednesday, August 15, 2012 430am.  We woke up, a mixture of nerves and excitement.  Pierce was moving around, his daddy got to feel his incredibly strong movements...movements that actually hurt for the first time.  
Off we went to the hospital.  I got really nervous when we could see the hospital.  I've had several surgeries, but none that involved more than one IV...certainly nothing that involves someone ramming something into my spinal cavity!! Truth be told, the IV was the *worst* part of the actual c-section.  Hands down, the worst part.  

During delivery, J was allowed in of course.  Delivery went smoothly, he was born butt first!  When he came out, he took a huge first gulp of what should have been air...but his head wasn't delivered yet so he gulped in breath full of more amniotic fluid.  J could see Pierce, I knew he was in love.  It was amazing.  If I couldn't see my baby for a few minutes, that was fine, I had the next best view...his daddy falling immediately in love with his son.  

"Seven pounds, three ounces, nineteen inches long" said the nurse.  I could hear him fussing, but knew he wasn't crying like he could be

Pierce was requiring a lot of attention to help his breathing.  They grabbed him, showed him to me, I was able to kiss his beautiful face, and off they went with my husband and my baby.  

They knew they were taking him to NICU, just didn't know for how long.  They could keep him, treat him, observe him, for up to 4 hours without admitting him.  
I went to recovery, not knowing how my beautiful baby was, but thankful that J could go with him and stay with him.  I told J to not even worry about me, focus solely on Pierce...I've had plenty surgeries, and sat in many recovery rooms alone.  Pierce needed his Daddy if he couldn't have his Mommie.

I was wheeled back from recovery to the NICU to see Pierce.  I got to touch his little legs and his little arms...I rubbed his chubby little cheek.  I could see that his chest was pumping so very hard, trying to breathe.  

He ended up being admitted into the NICU around noon Wednesday.  J went back to check on him after I got settled into my room.  They had to put Pierce on oxygen and a CPAP.  
I was attached to too much on Wednesday and wasn't allowed out of bed at I would worry about Pierce and send J down to check on him, talk to him, love him.  I'd take that time to pray, rest, relax.  
I finally was unhooked from IVs, caths, and monitors Thursday morning and given a wheelchair.  We had learned that in the night, Pierce was so fatigued from fighting to breathe that he had to be placed on a ventilator.  Not because he couldn't breathe on his own, but because he was working so hard to expand his lungs he was just worn out.  
It was heart breaking to go down Thursday morning and see my handsome little boy hooked up to a ventilator and IV.  Pierce is such a fighter that he wouldn't relax and let the machine breathe for him...he was still trying to breathe on his own over the ventilator!  
He would have good hours and bad hours.  We were finally told that he was being easily over stimulated.  We could tell...when we would talk to him his respiration would go up, heart rate up, his movement would increase.  He would turn toward us, open his heart soared knowing that he knew who we were.  LOVE!  

He eventually was moved to a quieter corner last night, he just wouldn't relax, kept fighting, was disturbed by other crying babies, by people walking around him.  We asked them to call us if they had to use sedation to help calm him, or if they needed to take greater actions for his breathing.  Around 2am I was woken up by the phone ringing, NICU calling.  Sure enough, they had to sedate him...I just cried.  It seemed like nothing they were doing was helping him.  They had called in the on call neonatologist, who decided to stay the night just for Pierce.  Very overwhelming information.
J went down to the NICU at 3am to check on him.  He came back and told me that he's resting.  Knowing that he was resting better than he had the whole time was helpful.

By the time we got there this morning (Friday), the doctor was with him.  Again, he wasn't doing well.  
The neonatologist explained to us that Pierce was still fighting his machines.  He has pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in his lungs).  Since nothing they were doing was working, and he wasn't resting well at all, the doctor suggested they were going to go from sedation to anesthesia, just to take over control of his body.  Not what this new mom wanted to hear, dad either...but we fully understand that this will help him in the long run.  They also wanted to put him on nitrous oxide.  I'm not sure I fully understand how that helps, but whatever, the doctor seems very confident in that treatment.  They also put a central line in through his little belly button, I was glad to see that, instead of constantly poking him every time they needed a blood sample or anything.  Every blood draw, every injection, can go right through that belly button catheter.  

I got to see his dark hair for the first time today.  I just love him, he's so handsome, even more handsome than his Daddy!  He has his Daddy's skin color and hair color.  We're not totally sure what color his eyes are, either dark blue which I expect would turn brown, or brown like J's (almost black).  

We asked them to call us when they finished with the nitrous oxide and catheter, and that we would come down a few hours later...give him enough time to be very calm and rested.  

I still haven't held by baby.  I have given him one kiss on the cheek and stroked his skin just a few times.  We were excited to get to hold his pacifier in his mouth for him.  Because of the tubes he can't get the paci in his mouth on his own but they put it right next to his mouth and he sucks on it best he can.  The nurse told us it's good to see him trying to take a paci, means he's getting/has gotten his appetite.  They're giving him nutrition through his IV.  
I am trying to pump for him.  So far I have given the nurses about 25ml of collostrum and as soon as they can feed him they'll give him that.  

As soon as the tubes come out, I can hold him and try nursing.  If nursing doesn't work for us, I'll just exclusively pump and bottle feed him.  

The doctor today, and nurses have said that it's the bigger babies that they have the most trouble with.  Not the tee tiny 1-3 pounders, but the 6-8 pounders.  He is developed enough to fight them.  

How did all of this occur?  From what a great nurse told us, it's a four-part issue.  One issue is enough to cause a newborn issues, but compound them all together, and they seem happy with where he is because of all of his issues
1. 37 weeks, yes it's "full term" but ideally the longer babies stay in the womb the more developed their brains and lungs are
2. Low amniotic fluid
3. Breech/c-section.  When babies are born naturally, going through the birth canal forces the fluid out of their lungs
4. Boy...white baby boy at that.  Apparently boys, especially white boys, have higher instances of breathing difficulties
Combine all of that...and you get Pierce!  My poor baby.

I'm going to attach the pics we've been able to get of him, some of them are quite dark because the NICU is dark.

We're going to go see him again around 3-330, so we'll see what we find out then.

Love to all, and I can't say thank you enough to everyone who's prayed, thought about him, asked about him, it means more to me than I could ever say.

First, thank you SO much for the prayers...they're working!

We saw Pierce at 3, after my original note.  
When we came in, I was startled to see 5 nurses near his bedside.  Thankfully, they were just teaching a few new NICU nurses about the use of Nitric Oxide (the gas in his ventilator, that is going to take the place of oxygen because of the pulmonary hypertension).  
I noticed that my precious baby was still, very calm, very peaceful.  My first thought, "They had to sedate him again"  When I asked, the nurse proudly told me no, that he was resting this calmly on his own!  VICTORY!  
We just sat there at his bedside.  I cried happy tears, I had not seen him that still, that calm in his 2.5 days in this world.  

Pierce kept covering his temperature monitor with his hands, keeping the machine from reading it properly, making alarms go off.  The nurse came back over and tried to move his hands...he wasn't having any of that.  She finally got his hands moved onto his chest under a blanket and asked me to gently hold them there!!  Silly as it sounds, I just cried because I could touch him through his blanket.  I sat there, arm out stretched, for 10 minutes.  I finally relented and let J touch him like I had been.  

The nurse today was very optimistic with us, realistically optimistic.  Yes, he is one of the sickest babies in the NICU right now, but this is working.  We'll be able to be more optimistic about this treatment tonight, and more again tomorrow.  

Pierce is an amazing fighter, strong, stubborn.  We keep talking to him, in a low whispered tone because that doesn't overly stimulate him.  We are excited and happy to see the progress.  

J went down again to check on him at 530, and he had started to put up a fight again.  Silly boy doesn't realize that the ventilator is there to help him.  His nurse said that if he didn't stop soon, he would need to be sedated again.  He's gone without sedation meds since 1030 this morning.  
I just called and he has settled himself down and didn't need to be sedated.  
My beautiful baby boy is strong.  Keep praying,'s working!!  \

The pout kills me!!

His daddy sleeps like this!
His long feet!  He probably gets that from  I only wear a size 10/11

J holding his paci for him.  

He has the sweetest face ever

I got to hold his paci.  It was amazing to get to help him with something, do something for him
The first glimpse of his adorable head and dark hair!

I never understood when people said you will love like you've never loved's so true.  He's my sunshine, my heart, my everything...already.  

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