After the birth of each of our children I have written the story of how they came into the world. I do this for a lot of reasons, but mostly so that the memories will not fade for me, and so that each of them can read about their birth when they're grown. With that said, I give you little miss Lola's birth story:
Because my pregnancies are so high risk, I don't get the experience of guessing when I'll go into labor, or worrying about my water breaking in public. Our babies are scheduled months in advance and are born via c-section at 36 weeks gestation to avoid head trauma. We have frequent ultrasounds and non-stress tests throughout our pregnancies, so by the time the baby arrives he or she is no stranger. Because of this, Nolan and I decided not to find out the sex of our third baby, we wanted to hold on to one surprise, one little thing we could have some control over. This decision of course drove everyone around us completely crazy, which if I'm being honest, kind of added to the fun. Everywhere I went strangers informed me that I was having a boy based of course on some strange old wives tale. Neither Nolan or I could imagine anything else, and truly had no intuition either way.
The nature of NAIT (Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia) is that it gets more severe with each pregnancy. Being my third pregnancy I was very closely monitored, and our treatment plan was very aggressive and proactive. I began IVIG (intravenus immune globulin) twice a week at 16 weeks pregnant, each infusion took approximately 6 hours. I saw my OB every two weeks from the start, had an ultrasound every four weeks, a non-stress test every week, and infusions twice a week. All of this equals to more time at the hospital than at home with my family.
At 32 weeks pregnant I was put on a very high daily dose of Prednisone (a steroid given to weaken my bodies immune defense against the baby). What was already an incredibly difficult pregnancy for me physically was kicked into high gear during that last month. My body began to reject all of the intervention, which ironically enough, just led to more intervention. The IVIG was causing me to be severely anaemic and my platelet levels to drop. The Prednisone was making my blood sugar go crazy, and despite my best efforts to control it with diet and exercise I was put on insulin. My morning routine involved a cup of coffee, a finger prick, 15 pills, and stabbing myself to inject my morning insulin dose. On weekends this drug cocktail was followed up with six hours of IVIG. I was literally just trying to hang on until the end, but it felt like at every turn my body was shutting down. I was physically feeling worse every day.
At 35 weeks pregnant my best friend flew in from Texas to have a fun filled week before my c-section. Unfortunately a few hours after picking her up from the airport my doctor called with my most recent blood test results. My red cells and platelets had dropped again, and he wanted me to check into labor and delivery for the night, with the possibility of delivering earlier than planned. Kuddos to Annie for rolling with the punches. The girl had just gotten off of a six hour flight, was adjusting to a two hour time change, and still came with me to the hospital and slept in an awful recliner next to my bed so that Nolan could stay at home with Jax and Maddox (who were both sick). What are best friends for, right? I was eventually released, with the plan of sticking to our original delivery date. However, throughout the next few days my c-section date bounced around, moving up because my levels continued to drop, and then moving back to the original date because they couldn't get ahold of blood for me in time for an earlier surgery. Now not only were we concerned about the babie's health and wellbeing, but we were concerned about mine as well. Because my levels were so low, there was a real possibility that I may need a blood transfusion after surgery. Stressful does not even begin to describe that last week. In fact I don't even know how to articulate how I was feeling in those last days, aside from slightly crazy, and incredibly focused.
Thursday (our originally scheduled c-section day) finally rolled around, and Nolan and I said our goodbyes to the boys and took off for the hospital. I was prepped for surgery, and before I knew it we were in the operating room, I was numbed, and the curtain was up. This surgery was so much more stressful than my c-section with Maddox. My doctor was tense, the NICU team was standing in the corner ready to rush the baby to the nursery, Nolan was nervous, and I was struggling to stay in control and focused with an ice chest marked "human blood" sitting next to me. Its a surreal feeling to be sitting next to blood bags that are marked for you in case things should go poorly.
After what seemed like an eternity the nurse was instructing Nolan to stand up and look over the curtain, our baby was being born. I watched him stand, smile as everyone commented on how much hair the baby had, and then suddenly look completely shocked and confused.
"It's a GIRL?!" He yelled, like it was a question rather than an announcement. To which I essentially began to hyperventilate.
They brought Lola to us, and I was able to hold her and kiss her before they took her to the NICU. Nolan followed, and I stayed to be sewn up. As my doctor was finishing putting me back together, he told me that he had never seen anything like Lola's birth. My uterus was apparently so paper thin where the incision from my previous c-section was, that he could actually see Lola looking up at him before he cut. Not only had my body been rejecting all treatments, but I was also within weeks of rupturing my uterus.
Within a few hours we had results from Lola's first CBC. Her platelet count was 147k upon birth, just 3k below the range of normal. This was so much better than anyone anticipated, including our doctor. 47k would have been what we expected, but 147k was purely a miracle. For a disorder that gets worse with each pregnancy, ours got better, it defied logic. In fact, after one round of IVIG Lola was doing so well that we were all released a full day early.
Now, two weeks later, we are all completely smitten with little Lola. She has everyone wrapped around her tiny finger, including her big brothers. She does indeed have a crazy head of black hair, and was born with frosted tips and distinct highlights. It's as though she spent time at the salon before she was born, rather than balled up in my thinning uterus. We feel so blessed and relieved to be out the other side of this ordeal, and to have our beautiful baby girl. Our family truly feels complete, in ways I didn't think it could. I wonder every day what we did to deserve to be so blessed, and still can't come up with an answer. We are the parents of three strong, beautiful, loving kiddos who had to fight harder than any baby should to be born healthy.
After the craziness and stress of the last eight months, we're ready to start living again, and being free to enjoy our little miracles.
Last picture as a family of four. HHeadedto the hospital!
My best friend Annie and I. I do believe my belly is trying to eat her alive.
"I can't believe it's a girl!"
Lola Receiving IVIG in the NICU
Me, looking a bit like a man, but so in love with my daughter!
First bath! Gotta love the look on her face!
Jax holding his sister for the first time. Believe it or not, he adores her!
Not that you can tell by this picture, but Maddox is completely in love too.