Monday, April 13, 2009

Miracles Do Happen......I have one.

Benjamin Robert was born April 13, 2007.

My husband and I were so excited when we found out we were pregnant!! At twenty weeks, we found out that we were having a boy and starting painting the room, buying clothes, and getting ready for the big day. At 32 weeks I started having what felt like chest pains. I didn’t think too much about it because this was my first child and thought he was pressing on my lungs. I mentioned it to my doctor who said that I should have called immediately and if they happen again to call. At that same visit I had some protein in my urine. During the middle of the night the chest pains came back worse than before. We left for the hospital at 2:00am.

My doctor reviewed my blood tests when he came on that morning and he told me that I had the HELLP syndrome, which is a condition where your liver enzymes elevate and your platelet count drops down very low. This was very dangerous for me and the baby. I was given steroid shots to speed up lung development and was put on magnesium sulfate (worst stuff of earth; makes you feel like you have the flu 10x). The NICU came down to let us know what to expect about babies born around 32 weeks. I felt very lucky to be at our hospital, because it is has one of the best NIC units in the country.

My doctor went off duty and a new one came on the next morning. She felt that they could not wait and had to deliver as soon as possible. They scheduled a C-section and it was kind of surreal. I knew this was happening, but could not believe it was happening to me. My husband and family were close by and I was comforted that God has a plan for all of us.

Next, they wheeled me off to the operating room and prepped me for surgery. During the c-section I was waiting for that moment when you hear the baby cry. My moment never came. Ben needed help to breathe when he first came out. He had an APGAR of 1 and 9. He weighed 2lb 14 oz, but had a precious face and we saw right away how beautiful he was. After only a brief glimpse, I really couldn’t see anything except blankets, tubes, and wires. I didn’t get to “see” him again for another 24 hours. It was the hardest 24 hours of my life.

I was able to see Ben for the first Saturday evening. It was an overwhelming moment. He was still connected to a ton of tubes and wires. I couldn’t hold him yet, but he did grab my finger. We also learned that he had another condition called IUGR -intrauterine growth restriction which was why he was so small at birth. He progressed well over the next few days and was off all by breathing treatments by four days old. When he was about 10 days old I got to do kangaroo care. This is when you hold the baby skin-to-skin. It was truly amazing to feel him nuzzle into the nap of my neck. It was in that moment that felt like I became a mother.

Ben about two weeks old.

Ben graduated to an open crib and was doing well on gaining weight and feeding. I started to breastfeed after about three weeks twice a day. As Ben’s feeding volume increased, he started having bradycardia and apnea moments. They would decrease his feeds and get better, which continued for a few weeks. Once he was incident free for five days were cleared to go home after 37 days in the NICU.

Ben came home on a heart monitor that he wore 24/7 and had home health care for the first two weeks. He was on a few different prescriptions every day and was on a strict feeding schedule. Each day got easier and better. He was off his monitor by the end of August; eating remained to be our biggest challenge. Ben had severe acid reflux.

Today, you would look at Ben and never know that he was a preemie. He is on the regular growth chart at 90th percentile for height!! We feel that God has blessed our family with the miracle of Ben’s life. We think that he is perfect in every way and are so glad to have him.


Mandy said...

And what a darling miracle he is! I never knew the story, thanks for posting! He certainly is a blessing. :) Happy Birthday Ben!

Sara and Patrick said...

Happy Birthday to Benjamin! What an amazing blessing and miracle he is!

Chelle said...

What an amazing story! It really goes to show you that there are miracles and they are all around us.

I hope you has a very, very Happy Birthday!

Tanya said...

Hey Susan, thanks for sharing your story! Ben is truly a beautiful miracle. What a great way to reveal in God's amazing hand every year to celebrate his birth. Actually, that there were two miracles. That you were ok as well! It could have been a lot worse for you too! Thanks for posting!

Lori Beth said...

Happy Birthday, Ben! What an amazing story!!

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

I love stories with happy endings. He's a cutie for sure!!

Jenny said...

What a little miracle you have! Happy Birthday little man...

shannon said...

wow susan! what an amazing neat to document what happened. he looks amazing now, and you're right, you'd never know he was a preemie! definately a miracle baby!~ and darn cute too!

McMommy said...

I'm a little late to the party, but Happy Birthday Ben!!!

Every baby is a miracle...but a little NICU baby always leaves me in awe. They are so tiny and yet so tough.

Courtney said...

What an amazing story thank you for sharing. HELLP is such a scary thing and the magnesium is indeed the worst stuff to be on EVER.

He is an adorable little boy and a miracle indeed!