2:32pm, Saturday, January 5, 2008 - Our sweet Micah was born.
That morning started like most of my mornings for the previous month: bed rest with contractions anyway. Mark had gone out on some errands (my mom was at our house helping me and Nathan). Contractions weren't decreasing following my procardia dose, so I called the OB to ask about increasing my dosage. Nope. Not over the phone. Come on in to Labor & Delivery (L&D). So I called Mark and he came home. I was drying my hair and he was trying to rush me out of the house (basically like, come on, let's get this over with, because I had a couple of admissions to L&D during this pregnancy so he knew that we would get sucked into the L&D vortex for most of the day).
What I didn't realize until we arrived at the hospital is that they don't stop labor once you get past the 34-week mark. They declared me officially "in labor" and were getting things rolling to send me to Milwaukee via ambulance so that I could deliver him at Children's and be at the same hospital.
[Background: Micah had duodenal atresia, so he would need to go to Milwaukee for surgery.]
The EMT's who would be taking me to Milwaukee came into my room, asked me some questions, and went outside my room to fill out the final paperwork. The on-call OB came in to check me one last time before transport and she declared, "You've gone from 2cm to 5cm in 1/2 hour. You're not going anywhere. We have to deliver Micah here." My heart went into my stomach. I'm crying about it just typing it here. I knew that meant I would be separated from my baby.
Spinal was administered and Micah (5lb, 6oz, 18in... a big boy for a kid with Down syndrome at 34weeks, 5days) was pulled out at 2:32pm. The NICU team was there, but after they cleaned him off and puffed him with some oxygen, they did let me see him before taking him away.
I did not get to hold him that day. Or the next. Or the next. Mark went to Milwaukee and I stayed in the hospital. They did wheel Micah into my room before sending him to Milwaukee, but he was already "packed for transport" so I couldn't take him out of his little box. This is as close as I got to him (note the clock on the wall in the upper left):
That photo was of me seeing his little hand for the first time. Oh, how sad I was... he was diagnosed with amniotic banding syndrome on his left hand. His fingers stop before the first joint. "Just one more thing for kids to use for mocking him," I thought. No one had told me before then. It was a surprise at birth. With all of the ultrasounds I had during this pregnancy, everyone always talked about how cute it was that he was always making a fist ("My little fighter!").
We knew Micah had duodenal atresia. We knew he had a complete AV Canal heart defect. We knew he had Down syndrome. We were "ready" for those things (aka, we had already spent time grieving that stuff). But not being able to hold my baby and finding out he had ANOTHER birth defect... so hard.
Off he went to Milwaukee, but not in the intended helicopter. There was too much fog in Wisconsin that evening, so they put him on an ambulance instead. Knowing that it would be hectic getting Micah settled into the NICU at Children's that night, and that Mark didn't have a "go bag" prepared, we opted for Mark to sleep at home that night, come by the hospital in the morning in hopes of us deciding on a name for our baby boy, and then hit the road for Milwaukee. Micah was on the surgery schedule for Sunday afternoon (though he was eventually bumped due to a critical cardiac case... always better to be the "bumpee" than the "bumper"). This was my first blog post after his birth (I didn't post until Tuesday... other friends had guest blogged about his birth).
I need to go back to the operating room for a few minutes. After Micah was born, the OB's (there were two in the OR for the c-section) were asking Mark and I some questions about our intentions to have more children. We told them we didn't know, but that we weren't planning on having my tubes tied. They were satisfied with that answer, but they came by later to explain why they were asking. The OB told me that I had a very large "uterine window," which is a thinning of the uterus, usually due to adhesions caused by scar tissue from a previous c-section. She could see her whole hand through the wall of my uterus. She took that moment to tell us that it was a good thing that we didn't get on the ambulance, because if I had labored another hour, my uterus probably would have ruptured. Yes. Ruptured. On an ambulance. And both Micah and I probably would have died.
God truly protected us that day. And given everything else Micah has been through since then (a very difficult heart surgery, toxic shock syndrome, etc.), I can say with certainty that He has HUGE plans in store for this little guy. He is a blessing and a gift.