Our Birth Story
September 14, 2006
Kevin and I are proud to welcome Jake Francis and Benedict William into the world!!!!!! We are so happy to report that the boys are doing very well. Jake was born at 4:37 p.m. weighing 3 pounds two ounces. Ben was born at 4:39 p.m. weighing two pounds on the nose. It was truly the most wonderful day of our lives!!!!!
The birth of our boys may be a shock to most of you as it was a snap decision made on Wednesday afternoon. We are so sorry that we have not been able to call or email anyone till now. We always had this vision that on the night of their birth we would spend the evening calling friends and family…but with the way the day went we were lucky to get a minute in edgewise to do anything. We are hoping things will settle a little so we can catch up on some calls and chat with some friends.
RECAP: Wednesday we went to our routine ultrasound and we found continued reversal flow of Ben’s umbilical artery. We also did two other Doppler scans (DV and MCA) that showed Ben was not getting what he needed and time was running out. Our doctor pulled us into the conference room and said Thursday will be the day!!! He wanted to give us one more steroid shot to further the boy’s lung development, which needed a 24 hour period of time to go into full effect. At this point, delivery was planned for 1:00 p.m. on the 15th.
We were feeling very good about this plan until late Wednesday night when we were doing our routine NST (Nonstress Test) when we saw Ben have a significant deceleration. His baseline also went from 150/160 to 120. Kevin had just stepped out to get dinner for us when the nurse asked me where my husband went. I asked her why and she replied, “Can he get here as soon as possible?” At this point, I started to panic. I called Kevin and told him not to panic but to get back as quick as possible.
They moved us back down to the high-risk floor where they prepped us for delivery. They set me up with the I.V. and all the monitors. They said if we don’t deliver tonight, you will need to be on 24 hour monitoring all night just incase we have an emergency. At this point, I felt it was time to deliver and did not want to put these boys in jeopardy any longer. I tried talking the doctor on call and Kevin in to delivering these babies NOW. They both calmed me down and said if we can make it to Thursday morning, the babies will have received that extra boost they need from the steroid shots, plus Kevin and I desperately wanted our doctors and nurses there that we had hand picked for the surgery. The plan at this point was to try to make it until morning, but if something comes up…we were going to go for it.
Wednesday night was the most challenging night of my life. I was either starring at the heart rate monitors or the clock all night. I just kept praying that God would give us those few extra hours we so desperately needed. Time went so slow. Finally, at 7:00 a.m. I heard my nurse and doctor’s voice in the hallway and started crying because I knew we made it!!! Plus Ben’s heart rate looked great so the team was comfortable waiting till our scheduled time at 1:00 p.m.
Our immediate family arrived around 10:00 a.m. We all sat their anxiously awaiting the nurse to come in and tell us it was time. Unfortunately, because of a backed up schedule we did not get called back till 4:00 p.m. They got us prepped for delivery and we began the c-section. My very good friend Amy, a new mom herself, told me not to let my nerves get the best of me and to cherish every moment of this miracle. I did just that! I loved every minute of it! After being told such tragic news at week 17, we couldn’t believe we were going to see our little miracles for the first time. Yes, it was painful at times but as soon as I heard each of the boys cry I became overjoyed with happiness. Kevin was soooooooooooo strong!!! He actually videotaped the entire procedure…a video I am not quite ready to see yet!
The doctors showed me Jake but could not show me Ben, but just hearing his little cry I knew he was ok. The boys were rushed to a room where they would get stabilized and then off to the NICU. Well the boys were being treated, the doctors told us something we had been waiting to hear for so long…the answer to this entire mystery. Why had Ben not grown appropriately and why had we experienced so many complications during our pregnancy. Pathology still needs to do their report, which can take 6-8 weeks, but at first glance of the placenta and the cords, the doctors were able to tell us a lot. They said Ben’s cord was extremely narrow at the umbilicus insertion. Initially, this probably caused the growth discordance between the boys. By the way, Dr. Sue (A.K.A. mom/our case manager) predicted this complication before a doctor even suggested this could be the case. The latest decline in Ben’s restriction was probably due to IUGR. It looked like about a 65/35 split at first glance. This means that Ben was getting approximately 35% of the placenta and Jake was getting 65%. Ben was starting to outgrow his portion of the placenta. This will all be confirmed after the pathology reports come back. We will also know what sort of TTTS connections Jake and Ben were sharing. Our neonatologist told us if you have a growth restricted baby, this is the best kind to have. Ben’s slower growth was most likely due to the placenta insufficiency and cord narrowing versus a chromosomal problem or infection.
Once I got stitched up, it was off to see our little guys for the first time. They are so beautiful!! They are so tiny and so perfect!!! Sadly, we could not hold them but we could stick our hand through their isolates and touch their cute little bodies. We still can’t believe they both belong to us. It was so hard splitting our time between the two of them. Jake has a lot of hair and is our big boy. Ben, our little guy, is just as feisty as we imagined he would be. Actually, the nurses said they both are very active.
We were so happy to hear that the doctors said “they had a perfect start into this world.” That was probably the best news we have ever heard. We know that things can change, but we were so happy our boys had the best start possible. In fact, Ben actually went off the vent only four hours after delivery!!! He is now on a c-pap and doing well. I could not believe it when they told us that. He said their lungs are in excellent condition and Jake should be off shortly too. The boys also got an 8/9 out of 10 on their Apgar test, which we were really pleased about also. It was good news after good news last night.
It was so hard to leave them last night. We actually did not sleep well again and called down to the nursery several times to see how they were doing. I can’t wait to go see them again today!!!
For the first time, we feel at ease. We know our boys are getting exactly what they need and are being monitored 24/7 by an excellent team of people. We pray to God they continue to do well. The first week is really important and indicative of their prognosis. Again, I have a great feeling they are going to do very well!
Now for part two of this journey. We are ready to embrace the NICU. It is now time to move on from pregnancy 101 to NICU 101. Lots of studying to do!!
Thank you very much for everything and we will keep posting to update you on the boy’s progress.
Kevin, Danielle, Jake, & Ben