I have been writing before I walk into work. I’m staying home today to help my wife though. She is pregnant with our third child and this morning woke up with really bad “morning sickness” which lead to her having contractions. This might not be a concern for some, maybe chalk it up to “braxton hicks”, but my wife is a high risk pregnancy.
Below is part of the story of our first child’s birth. I am sure I could go into more detail but getting this out is hard.
With our first daughter there was a placental abruption at 23 weeks. I left for work in morning like it was any other day. About 30 minutes into my work day she called me in a panic because she was bleeding. My first response was, “did you call 911?” She had called me first so I told her to call 911 and then I hung up. I locked my tool box and ran to my manager to let him know I was leaving. I may have driven a little recklessly because I got to my house before the firetruck had left. I remember not really understanding what was happening, running on pure instinct.
When I got to the hospital she was already in the prenatal unit of St. Vincent’s Hospital. We are lucky to have lived so close to top NICU in the US. The Doctor immediately started scanning and listening to the baby. Trying find the cause of the bleeding and contractions. We were in a large room with multiple beds, I’m not if anyone else was in there but I’m it scared the hell out of them if they were. Once they had an idea of what was going on they had to give us the facts, it is there job and one I do not envy.
My wife was bleeding out internally. Her placenta had an abruption meaning the walls of the placenta were separating. Blood is a natural irratant and it was cause labor whoch was causing the abruption to get worse. The placenta is the primary way a baby gets oxygen. The doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “before you weigh the options I need you to understand you may lose both of them. Your wife is bleeding out and your child is suffocating. There is also a real chance that even if we save your child, she could have serious brain damage.”
I don’t wish those words spoken to my worst enemy. When a child is delivered at 23 weeks there is less than a 1% chance of survival. They let us know they were going to do everything they could to stop the contractions and labor. Saving both was the priority. The options were doing a C-section and either actively try to save the baby or “comfort care”. Comfort care is when they dose the baby and try to keep it as calm as possible you can hold them while they die in your arms.
We spent the next several hours in that room talking to doctors who ran different tests and prescribed various medications. There were a few times she started labor but each time they were able to stop it. She had labor contractions for a couple hours straight at one point. It was the longest day of my life. By the end of the day she was semi stable and we were told two things. First, my wife and child would be in the hospital for at least a month. Second, it is a miracle they were both alive and stable.
There was a lot going on that day and it would take a book to get it all down. You already know my wife and daughter ended up alive. We My daughter is perfectly healthy and way too smart. I’m gonna be screwed in a few more years. It was that day though. That day changed everything for me and my family. No when she has contractions the fear of reliving that day and the ones which followed.
So today, I stayed home from work to make sure she was ok and got some rest.