Welcome to our Blog!

I realize not everyone has experience with blogs so it might help to mention how they work for those of you that don't read them often. When you first get to our site the first post you see will be the most recent. If you have missed any posts or my wonderful storytelling of the crazy events leading up to all this, or if you are bored out of your mind and need something to help put you to sleep; you can go to the right side where it says 'Blog Archive' and click on the date you missed. Older posts are at the top. Also you can click on pictures to enlarge them and then hit the X in the right corner to get back to the blog. Now, on to the more important stuff: Ethan!!

Ethan's Story Part II

Just a few hours old
After his O2 tube came out
He already has a strong grip!
Winking to the camera ;)

As I mentioned before you can't plan ANYTHING! The doctors told me I had PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes, which happens in fewer than 3% of pregnancies) and we hoped to stay on bed rest for 5 weeks to prevent a premature birth. I had fetal heart rate monitors on my stomach because they were concerned with the lack of amniotic fluid he could press down on his umbilical cord & cut off his oxygen. He was treating my stomach like a bounce house so this happened often. Anytime his heart rate went down, day or night, a nurse would come in and shift me to get him to move which would always bring his heart rate back. Well, almost always. Thursday afternoon his heart rate went down & didn't come back up after shifting me several times. The room went from 1 nurse to a lot of people fast & then they were telling me they were going to have to do an emergency C section. You can imagine my reaction... "Really? Seriously?" Actually it was a little more panicked than that & involved some crying & shaking. Blake was at home painting & they had already told me an emergency section would have the baby out in 5 minutes. Given that we live 40 miles from the hospital he was not going to make it. Also they would have to put me under because it was the fastest option for anesthesia . I would not be awake to see him or hear him cry, instead I would wake up in a recovery room with him already in NICU. They had me in the operating room with my arms strapped down, just about to put me under when his heart rate came back. The little guy just shaved off some of the grounding time he is already under. They decided not to proceed because I was only 29 weeks and better to wait it out. They put me in a room right outside the operating room just in case it happened again I would be close by. After monitoring me for 24 hours with no more drops I would be able to go back to my room. Late Friday night I started to feel pressure but didn't know what it was so they checked me & I was 2 centimeters dilated. This was around 12:45 am. I had gone up a centimeter but that didn't necessarily mean I was in labor so they said to let them know if it got worse. It got MUCH worse. About 1:15 am I woke Blake up & told him it was worse & might be contractions. He started timing them (the one thing we learned in the 2 childbirth classes we managed to go to) & called the nurse. They were a minute apart & progressively getting worse. A massive team was trying to get assembled as I had to have doctors & nurses for me and a NICU team for Ethan. I heard somebody tell someone else to call my doctor & then heard someone reply with "She's not going to make it, this baby is coming now!" I just wanted to know where the guy with the drugs was. I kept telling Blake "they need to do the epidural now before the next one comes" & Blake kept telling me this would be the last one, just get through this one. Wrong. He was trying but the nurse said "actually she's gonna feel a few more". If she could have read Blake's mind it was saying "SHUT UP!" I finally got the epidural & Ethan was born probably 2 minutes later at 2:37 am! The epidural hadn't even taken full effect. I don't know how or why it progressed so fast but the entire thing didn't last more than an hour and a half. I was able to hear him cry, see him, & even give him a kiss before they rushed him to NICU. I was grateful I didn't have a C section but scared at the fact he was 11 weeks premature. Of course all I wanted to know was he o.k.
He was born weighing 3lbs and immediately cried. Even though he was so young he never had to be hooked up to a ventilator and his APGAR score was a 8 to 9. All good signs. As soon as I could I went to the NICU to see him. He had an IV, an oxygen tube, a feeding tube, a heart rate monitor, a temperature monitor, & a pulse ox monitor. The poor thing had more wires hooked up to him than my tv. By March 4th he was doing well enough that they were able to remove the oxygen tube and his IV came out 2 days later. He has continued to go up on his feedings and his weight goes up every day. He is now 3.5 lbs & big enough that he can wear preemie clothes while he is in NICU. He is a tough little guy. He has had 2 brain scans to monitor a brain bleed that is very common in preemies. His is a level 1 which is the least severe on a scale of 1 to 4. The doctors are confident it will resolve itself but there are side effects if it doesn't. They will continue to do the brain scans & monitor it until it does go away. He also has a heart murmur, which is also common in preemies, due to a blood vessel not closing after birth. (For a better explanation you can click on heart murmur & then hit the back button to return to this page) Again, the doctors said they usually resolve on its own & will continue to monitor it. At this point the only other thing we are concerned about is something called a Brady which is where his heart rate drops. Because his brain is not fully developed he sometimes 'forgets' to breathe which causes his heart rate to drop. Normally he has a self stemming brady which means he recovers on his own. Occasionally he will have a mild brady where the nurses wake him up & it goes back up. The doctors said this is to be expected and he will eventually grow out of it. He is being given caffeine to help with them. Hardly seems right though, I can't drink caffeine because it goes into the milk and he is getting it prescribed! Over all he is doing incredibly well and we are very optimistic. He wont be able to come home until he is over 4lbs, can regulate his body temp, and is able to eat normally (he has to learn to suck, swallow, & breathe all at the same time). But in the meantime he is in great care & as long as he is healthy we are happy!

Thank you all for caring enough to take the time to follow our little guys progress. As always we appreciate it very much!
Jennifer & Blake