Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome Baby Maddox!

When Jax was almost two my husband and I began trying for another baby and almost instantly became pregnant with another boy. I can’t pretend I wasn’t afraid, deep down to the core afraid, but I was also more determined than I had ever been in my life. I was going to protect this little man if it killed me. I must have said to my high risk doctor over and over again “pump me up with whatever drugs you need to, just get this baby out alive and healthy.” I started IVIG treatment once a week at 16 weeks pregnant. Each infusion lasted approximately six hours, and essentially wiped me out for the whole day. I also began taking daily prednisone at 20 weeks which brought me to being border line diabetic. I pricked my finger three times a day to check my glucose levels and was fortunately able to keep it under control with diet and exercise. My doctor sent me for non-stress tests once a week for the entire third trimester, and I had monthly ultrasounds to check for hemorrhaging for the entire length of the pregnancy. The nurses all knew me by name (even the ones I had never met), and my doctor joked that they should set up a permanent suite for me at the hospital because I was there so often.

My second child, “Maddox” was born via scheduled c-section at 36 weeks. Because he was not full term, there were concerns that his lungs may not be fully developed.
Although our nerves were pretty shot, we felt confidence in the team of doctors and nurses surrounding us that day. Every person that was involved in Maddox's delivery, right down to the anesthesiologist, had copies of my complete chart (including Jax’s history). They were all given a print out from a medical journal providing a run down of NAIT. My OB said they were more prepared for my surgery than any other she had ever done... and it showed!
After getting prepped and numbed in all the right places, Nolan was brought into the OR to sit next to my head. Before we knew it my doctor was saying the words I had been waiting to hear for 8 months; "here comes your baby!" She pulled his head out, and before the rest of his body had left my stomach he was screaming. I have never heard a more relieving sound in my life. Screaming equals breathing. I cried harder than I have cried since Jax was born. It's impossible to put into words the amount of pressure and fear that was lifted from my body with Maddox. Physical, mental, and emotional pressure that I had been carrying for months, finally gone. Well, mostly gone anyway. He was out, but we still didn't know how successful the treatments had been. Because he seemed physically stable, the nurses allowed Nolan to hold him by my head for a little while. I gave him plenty of kisses before he was whisked off to the NICU for testing. As I was being stitched back together, the nurses explained to me that they found only one small patch of petechia (broken blood vessels that can sometimes signal internal bleeding) near his groin, but insisted he seemed healthy otherwise. By the time I was wheeled to recovery the numbers were back and seemed promising. Maddox's platelet count was 92k, 30k above what Jax's were at birth. I'll admit, they weren't as high as I had hoped for, but they were still great counts. And better yet, an ultrasound performed on his head found no signs of brain bleeds. The pediatrician let us know that they would test his platelets again in six hours, and if they continued to climb over the next few tests he would be allowed to room with us.

Unfortunately, like dejavu, six hours later his counts had dropped down to 50k, and then 33k six hours after that. It was Jax's delivery all over again, with one thing majorly different. We were in control. I decided after Jax was born that if we ever had another child I was going to be armed with as much information as I could possibly get my hands on. I absolutely refused to be in the dark again. So with the help of hematology we came into Maddox's birth with a game plan. If his counts were to fall below 50k but above 30k they would administer IVIG (the same infusions I had been receiving all the way through the pregnancy) and test again an hour after the infusion was complete (infusions take about 5-6 hours). Because Jax only needed one round of IVIG our hopes were that Maddox would only require the same. If Maddox's counts dropped below 30k they would transfuse with the donated platelets we had standing by. My sincere gratitude to the three donors that gave their platelets for my son... Thank God they weren't needed! After one round of IVIG Maddox’s platelets climbed back up to what they were at birth. They dipped again a few hours later, but climbed steadily from there on out. By our third day in the hospital he was released to our room and was able to spend the remainder of our stay with us. We were all released after five long days in the hospital.

What I didn’t realize was during the entire pregnancy it was as though I was holding my breath, just waiting for something to go wrong. Once it was over I could breath. Best of all I could enjoy this little person we had created. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what I did to deserve one miracle, let alone two... but I have a feeling God has great plans for these boys. I'm so blessed to be their mother; I truly would walk through fire for them.

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