On Monday, August 28th 2017, I had my 39 week doctor’s appointment. I was still sitting at 3 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. I was so incredibly frustrated. My doctor did an “aggressive” check, aka membrane sweep, and we hoped for the best. It seemed to work, along with exercise, because around 9:30 p.m. that evening my contractions started. I monitored them for 3 hours until they were 2-5 minutes apart, and after we spoke to the midwife at Bronson, we decided to go to the hospital accompanied by Braxton.
Upon arriving, the nurse check for dilation and told us that we were only about 4cm dilated. She basically told us there was nothing they could do until my water broke. We were both upset as we did everything the midwife advised us to ensure we wouldn’t be going in and wasting our time. The midwife told us we were experiencing false labor. I was livid because the contractions were 2-5 minutes apart and painful. We got home around 2 a.m., and we all tried going back to bed. I laid in bed discouraged and pained until around 2:40 a.m. when I heard and felt a “pop”. My water broke, and the contractions went from somewhat bare-able to extremely painful. We all hurried out of the house yet again and sped to the hospital. The contractions were nearly constant, and I was in some severe pain.
We were met by the same nurse who again questioned if we were in false labor. She checked to see if my water broke and she continued to have her doubts. Jason, at this point, was very angry. They wanted to run tests to ensure my water had broke, and he basically told them “no” and tried to explain to him that my water indeed broke. After a bit of an argument, the nurse went away and came back telling us that we were being admitted because the contractions were so severe and close together.
Fast forward, after completing paperwork, I was finally given an epidural around 5:20 a.m. As I was getting an epidural, I felt the need to push but kept that to myself. I was worried they wouldn’t continue with the epidural. It didn’t kick in fully right away, and I continued to feel some contractions, so we had to wait for 25 minutes until the epidural had fully kicked in.
When that finally happened, the doctor checked me again and her response had me at a loss for words. “You have to push. I can see the baby!” I was fully dilated and baby was already coming. Jason said he could literally see his hair. Two or three pushes later, he was in my arms.
Beckett Levi made his grand entrance into the world on Tuesday, August 29th 2017 at 5:50 a.m. He was a healthy 7lbs. 14 oz and was 21 1/4 inches long. He was a beautiful baby, and he still is! Big brother, my husband and I were elated!
Little did we know what the remainder of the day and the early hours of Wednesday would hold for us.
Once we got settled into our room around 8 a.m. we started receiving visitors. We were exhausted, but the company was welcomed. We tried taking a nap later in the day, but the excitement of the day was too much for us. I, surprisingly, felt great. I required zero stitches and didn’t even feel like I had just given birth. Moving around freely and without pain meds was amazing! I credit that to the vitamins I was taking along with exercise!
The day went by fast, and Jason went home to be with Braxton around 9 p.m. At around 11:30 p.m., I asked the nurse to take Beckett down to the nursery so I could get some sleep because at that point, I had been up since 5 a.m. Monday morning.
30 minutes later, my nurse woke me and said that we had to talk. My heart sank! Where was my baby? Was he ok? Had there been an accident? She explained to me that one of the other nurses had noticed he had labored breathing and after further testing, they concluded that he would be admitted to NICU for further testing and evaluation. Once she left the room, I sat quietly in my best trying to process what I had just heard. I tried getting a hold of Jason, but couldn’t get through to him. Suddenly my door opened and my sister-in-law walked in. She was the respiratory nurse working in the NICU unit and she brought me down a floor to see him. I nearly cried out when I saw him. He was hooked up to an IV, had a feeding tube in, had a CPAP machine helping him breath and was in an incubator. She explained to me what everything meant and what their goal was, but I kind of just stood there in a daze not really comprehending what was happening. All I knew for sure was that my baby boy was sick, and the doctors and nurses didn’t know what was causing it.
I returned to my room around 4 a.m. and called Jason again. He picked up. He apologized for missing my previous missed calls and asked if everything was ok. I explained to him what was going on, and I could pick up how heartbroken he was and could hear him crying. He felt awful for leaving and not being there, but I reassured him that I wasn’t mad, but wanted him to come to the hospital as soon as possible. I had already texted my mother-in-law, and she was on the way to our house to be there when Braxton woke up and get him off to preschool in a few short hours.
Upon Jason getting here, we hurried downstairs to get an update hoping and praying we had some answers. All the doctors could tell us is that he was requiring nearly 90% oxygen and had some sort of unidentified infection. He was sick, and they were using antibiotics to help him fight whatever infection he had. I could see the pain in Jason’s eyes as he looked on at Beckett. Seeing him hooked up to so many machines was and will remain one of the hardest things we’ve ever seen. Throughout the day, we continued to get updates. They were able to determine that he was also battling a pneumonia. His CRP, which basically tells us how severe the infection was, was a 26.4. Normal range was less than 6. Doctors would be monitoring this along with blood sugar, oxygen levels, and other things to determine how he was recovering.
In the afternoon, the doctors told us they wanted to conduct a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. My heart sank. Whenever you hear the word “meningitis” one always thinks to worse. I was concerned for the procedure and for our sweet boy. Wednesday seemed like the longest day of my life.
Late Wednesday, his CRP jumped up to 60. He was worse than the day before, and we were growing even more concerned for our son’s well-being. They continued with the antibiotics hoping they’d kick in. At this point we were at a stand-still. We had no idea what the infection was, and we had no idea how long our baby would be in NICU. Over the next few days, Jason and I split our time up between home and the hospital oftentimes passing each other throughout the day. One of us would be there late at night and first thing in the morning to get updates. He wasn’t allowed to eat anything until Thursday and we weren’t able to hold him until Thursday afternoon.
His CRP started dropping Thursday (30.4) and he started showing improvements as far as his breathing was concerned. Again, we just waited for him to improve. Each day his CRP dropped and his breathing improved. He was eventually put back into a normal bed because he was able to maintain how own body temperature, and the breath apparatuses throughout the week got less invasive to the point where they were removed all together. He yanked his feeding tube out Thursday, September 7th, but because he was nursing and taking a bottle they decided to leave it out. He was improving!
By Friday, September 8th he had nearly fully recovered from his infection and pneumonia. When we spoke to the doctor that morning, he asked if we wanted to take him home. I nearly burst into tears. We were told he would be discharged Saturday, but because he was healthy, the doctor was okay with sending him home a day early.
I cannot even begin to describe how I felt when we walked out of NICU with our baby boy. It was so overwhelming. It was bittersweet, and yet we were terrified. Nothing can prepare you to handle the emotions associated with having a sick child who has spent multiple days in the NICU. I am fearful that he will get sick again, and I find myself being extra gentle with him. Jason and I both are being extra cautious, and we even invested in an Owlet to help ease our minds at night as he sleeps. I’m thankful for everything the nurses and doctors did for our son during his 10 day stint in NICU, but I’m so fortunate to have him home. The last thing we’re waiting for it for our little guy to pass his hearing test. His test is scheduled for October, so if everyone could say a prayer for that, I’d be so incredibly thankful for it!
Thank you to all of those who have followed our journey, offered up advice, sent cards, visited, helped us in one way or another and prayed over our family. We are so incredibly thankful for you all.