Gavin - 32 weeks, 3 days
Our story started like any other day during my pregnancy. I was going in for a routine two week blood pressure/weight/easy peasy doctor's visit. My husband had been traveling and came into town late the night before, so I told him to skip the appointment. He says that "something told me I needed to be there" so we went in together. My regular OB was out on her honeymoon so I was meeting with a doctor I had never met. I hopped on the scale and had lost a pound. The nurse thought nothing of it since my regular weigh in's were on a different scale, or at least that's what she made me believe. The doctor came in and measured me to find I was measuring small. This same thing had just happened to my friend so I wasn't concerned, as her pregnancies were totally normal and she is just a small girl. However, they had us do an ultrasound as a precaution. Of course, the tech's are always stone-faced, so we had no idea what was going on or what the medical jargon she was typing out meant. I remember being sad because the baby (who's gender we still didn't know) was breach. Seems silly to me now knowing what I know.
The doctor came back into the room and said to us (I will never, ever forget this) "You are measuring small, the ultrasound shows you have very little amniotic fluid and your baby is small, like two pounds small, so we are checking you into Labor + Delivery and you are probably having a baby today." My mind went blank. Had my husband not been there I don't know what I would have done. I instantly began crying and he asked the important questions. I literally had not bought a single thing for the baby and couldn't have been more unprepared. Our minds were buzzing as we walked to Labor + Delivery and got checked in. What happens now? Will the baby be ok? How did this happen?
I was hooked up to a monitor and we watched the baby's heart rate go up and down as he rolled on his cord. Since he had no fluid to swim around in, he would lay on his cord, cut off his oxygen supply which would bring down his heart rate, at which point I would have to quickly change positions. I was pumped full of steroids to help the baby's lungs develop and the specialist had hoped I could stay on hospital bed rest for two more weeks. My husband toured the NICU and family came to keep us company. We prayed and prayed and prayed.
Well, very early the next morning (after zero sleep), the baby's heart rate went down long enough that I was rushed into an emergency C-section. An emergency C-section means that you are knocked out and your partner isn't allowed in the room. It was terrifying. Just as they were about to put me under, his heart rate came back and stayed stable. I was wheeled back in my room and we lasted a few more hours until another doctor decided it wasn't worth the risk of keeping him in. This doctor on call was a family friend, to our luck, and the mood in the room instantly changed once the decision was made. The nurses were placing bets on gender, my husband and I were excited and hopeful of a healthy baby and it was go-time.
Gavin was born at 6:05 PM and we were ecstatic he was a boy! He was rushed in to be looked at by a specialist. I didn't see Gav but my husband kept coming back with updates as they sewed me up. Three pounds on the dot, 15.25 inches and crying! So far, it was a best case scenario. As they wheeled me out I got to see Gavin for the first time and hold him with all of his tubes and wires. It was amazing and a moment that is ingrained in my mind. After that he was sent to the NICU where we spent the next month. Gavin had a CPAP for about 24 hours as a precaution and then began breathing on his own. We had no complications and Gavin just needed to get bigger and stronger before we could go home. The NICU nurses were absolute angels and became like family, many of whom we still keep in touch with today. One of them happened to be a good friend of mine from school, and I knew that she was taking extra good care of us. I remember one of the hardest times of it all was leaving the hospital for the first time when I was discharged. We decided it was smarter for us to get a good night sleep at home (not that pumping every three hours allows that) and then spend the day with our son. I cried and cried and cried. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
I spent all day-every day at the NICU, taking his temp, changing diapers, pumping, kangaroo care and learning as much as I could from our amazing nurses. Our room rarely had less than the four person maximum and our friends and family were amazed at how tiny Gavin was when they came to visit. My parents brought dinner every night, so our habit became sitting down for dinner together and then rushing back for the last feeding of the evening to see how his weight had changed. The weigh-in's were so exciting. Some days were less than others, but he was continuously gaining. I look back at those tiny diapers we changed for him and can't believe it's the same boy.
Today, Gavin is coming up on his third birthday and thriving. He is incredibly active and loves anything related to trains, Legos, music or Curious George. He is inquisitive, shy around new people, and just plain hilarious. He is on the smaller side, but has a big personality. Our time in the NICU feels like a lifetime ago, or even a dream. The doctors say it was a fluke, and have no explanation for his early arrival. They are confident that with a few precautions we could avoid this if there is a second pregnancy, but to be honest it makes me incredibly nervous. There is nothing worse than having a sick child and the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. I thank the Lord each day for blessing us with our happy, healthy boy.