In January of 2007 we got the surprise of a lifetime, we were expecting again! Kaitlyn had just turned 2 and she was ready to be a big sister!
I was 12 weeks pregnant when we found out we were having a little boy. We went back and forth before deciding to name him Matthew Jackson. I had an easy pregnancy with Kaitlyn and expected as much this time around. We had a scare at 18 weeks when we found out that instead of having a 3 vessel umbilical cord, he had a 2 vessel cord. We were given a level 2 u/s and assured that his kidneys and development looked great. At 24 weeks we would start growth scans just to make sure he was growing ok, and possibly talk about delivering as soon as he was full term, but there was a great chance, he would be born full term and perfectly healthy!
I was 23w5d pregnant and Kaitlyn was in our bed. Dusty was on the computer and Kaitlyn and I slept. It was about midnight when I woke up. Soaking wet. My first thought was Kaitlyn wet the bed. But, I felt her diaper and it was dry. Then, I thought about how I drank a huge bottle of water before bed and didn't go to the bathroom before falling asleep. Maybe I had an accident? I went to the bathroom and my bladder was full. Even after I emptied it, I was still leaking something. I called the hospital and they told us to come in right away.
I went in and they tested the fluid. It was inconclusive, so they did it again. At 3:30 in the morning, our room went crazy. I had no idea what was going on, I just knew that I was getting an IV and there were a lot of nurses talking over me. The original nurse told me that my water had broken and the monitor was showing I was contracting every 3 minutes and not feeling it. They were going to try and stop the contractions until the high risk doctor came in. We called our parents shortly after that.
Around 7 AM, an ultrasound was ordered. There was Matthew, moving around. He was breech, his bottom was in the birth canal and his fluid measured low. At this point he had an AF level around 5.
When the high risk doctor came in, it was about 7:30 in the morning. We were told that I would more than likely develop an infection in the next 24 hours and have to deliver. Since he was not 24 weeks, the chances of his survival were low. A neonatologist came into our room to explain that if they could stabilize him, his long term outcome was incredibly poor. We had to make a decision, did we want heroic measures taken to save his life, even if it meant it would be a short life in pain. After discussing it together, we decided that we wanted him stabilized and we would make any decisions after that.
Since we wanted to save him, that meant they would try to save the pregnancy. I was put on magnesium sulfate, strict hospital bed rest and monitored every couple of hours for infection.
Every day we were told was a miracle. We were given goals, 24 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks, 30 weeks, 32 weeks and then 34 weeks. Every day we were told that his outcome was going to be poor. The amniotic fluid diminished over the next 10 weeks, but I was still pregnant.
I was 32w6d pregnant on a Sunday night when I felt different. I had a new nurse that night and asked to be checked. She paged the doctor for permission to perform a sterile speculum exam and when she did, I wasn't dilated at all. Off to bed I went.
The next morning I woke up at about 1 in the morning. I was in pain. Dusty was asleep in the corner of the room on a pull out bed as he had every night for the previous 10 weeks. I paged the nurse quietly so I wouldn't wake him up. She hooked me up to the monitor. Contractions were every 3 minutes and strong. I was given something to help me sleep so that I could calm the contractions down. An hour later, there wasn't any change. The doctor was called and by about 3:45 AM, I was given another sterile speculum exam. The nurse swore I had been faking the contractions, basically implied that I didn't know what I was talking about and kept saying "Don't be surprised if there isn't any change." I'm sure she was shocked to discover that I was already at 10 cm, his bottom was at a +2 station and he was basically trying to deliver himself while we had been waiting for the exam. Dusty woke up, quickly grabbed the camera, the nurse pushed the red emergency button, a team ran in, flipped on the lights and started unplugging everything I was connected to.
The doctor was 45 minutes away. I couldn't wait. And because of his breech position he had to be delivered by cesarean. The nurses ran down the hallway wheeling me to the OR, Dusty struggled to put his shoe on while running behind them and we just so happened to run into my OB in the hallway. He was grabbed by my arm and we were in the OR.
The anesthesiologist came in to give me a spinal. Dusty waited in the waiting area in blue scrubs and a hair net while the spinal was administered. He was let back in when they had to start cutting. The spinal didn't take. I knew my options. I could grin and bare it, be awake to hear his first cry or I could be given general anesthesia to not feel it. After 10 weeks of being told that he may not survive birth or would have complications or just not make it after, I wouldn't miss it.
At 4:20 AM, Matthew came into the world crying. After a brief look, he was whisked off to the NICU with daddy close behind. He was a big 4 lbs and 14 ounces, not bad for a 33 weeker ;)
Matthew spent 26 days in the NICU growing, learning to eat while breathing, expanding his lungs and getting stronger. He did have some lung disease caused by the lack of fluid and the prematurity, but he came home relatively healthy.
Matthew's time at home was spent being loved on, kissed, hugged, nursed, spoiled, spending time at the park, visiting the zoo and being doted on.
On October 15, Matthew didn't wake up for his 2 :30 feed. He wasn't breathing. Despite attempts at CPR, the assistance of the EMTs and ER doctors, he could not be revived. At 10 weeks old we lost our little prince to SIDS and our hearts have never been the same.