Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Titus' Birth Story Pt 1

I don't remember feeling so uncomfortable during the last 2 months with Eden. Jonah and Silas were born at 7 months, so that was a cinch after I passed the morning sickness. This little boy though, he was all sprawled out. He was so low I felt like I couldn't walk longer than about 10 minutes the last couple weeks without looking so weird I was making people uncomfortable. His backside was still so high that I had constant heartburn. He moved nonstop, punching and kicking. The movement is very reassuring that he is healthy in there, but it also felt like he was trying to break out with his heals right through the middle of my rib cage. It's funny to see him now. He moves a lot while he is sleeping, so it makes sense that he was never still on the inside either. 

We were in Guatemala City for 9 days. Then Jimmy came and we had another 5 days before it was c-section time. The dates kept changing, but I think my c-section was at about 39 weeks exactly. I was trying to savor what baby kicks felt like since this is probably our last, but I was READY to get him out!
Leaving our apartment
We arrived at the hospital at 7:20. My surgery was scheduled for 10:00. I was really hoping the same OB from last time that assisted my OB would be there and he was! I was also hoping to get the same female anesthesiologist that was in the operating room with me. (I kind of had a fiasco with a male one while we were trying to give birth naturally last time.) She was there too, SO grateful! That assisting OB is perfect for that job. He is really funny. He knew we are Christians, so he played Marcos Witt in the operating room. He's good at lightening the mood.

Things have really lightened up at that hospital anyway. They let Jimmy go into the operating room this time once they were ready to cut me open.
Jonah asked for Dada to send him a picture of himself in his doctor clothes! So this was for him.
He even filmed them taking Titus out. Yes, I have watched it, probably shouldn't have. I found out that they used a spoon. Titus' cry was so sweet and gentle. He still now doesn't let it rip very often, it's usually just one yell. He is THE quietest baby. It kind of worries me that I won't hear him in the middle of the night to tell me he is hungry.
Titus James Dinsmore
 born at 11:32
9 lbs, 3 oz
21.25 in

This time they showed me my baby right after they pulled him out... the sweet, very long, little man! Then they brought him back a minute later and I got to kiss him and look at him real good.

There was a problem with my c-section though. Evidently my bladder adhered to the top of my uterus after my last c-section which if it was caused by the surgery is called secondary endo. I already knew that at one time I had stage III endo based on a surgery I had had to get pregnant with the boys. I have sticky insides that aren't always in the right place. Who knows unless you get a video of your insides! My OB did say I could have another baby. Did you hear that, Jimmy?! He said that WE COULD HAVE ANOTHER BABY!! That thought is payback for making me laugh so much after surgery. It hurts!

So my bladder got cut through when they cut open my uterus. Thankfully it wasn't a large hole. Jimmy actually got to see it... I know he was thrilled. So then I got to meet a urologist too. I got to hear his voice at least. They kept saying I was asleep, but I wasn't. I am thankful that this complication wasn't any worse because I know it could have been. Jimmy went with Titus, so he wasn't there when they were repairing me. My surgery lasted 3.5 hours. Poor Jimmy. He was worried like last time.

Recuperating from something like that isn't a pretty process. I was standing in my hospital room 3 days later with all kinds of disgusting things still attached to me and Jimmy says sincerely, "You are so beautiful!" I know there were some serious "mother of my baby" hormones at work there, but that is true love! Jimmy stayed with me from Friday to Monday, every night. He's my sweetheart!
Titus in the NICU with his daddy
I'm so thankful Jimmy was there because he truly was an advocate for Titus. From the operating room they took him to the NICU. They could hear liquid in his lungs. They were also concerned that they might be a little under developed. I realize the complications with his lungs might have been avoided now if we had waited to go into labor before having the c-section instead of a scheduled one, but knowing what we do about his heart now, this very well could have all been part of God's plan to protect him. At that point the first pediatrician came and told me it would be 6 hours. Titus was not given surfactant, just put on a CPAP machine, never going higher than 40%. I think this was the first passive decision of many that was made for Titus in that NICU

After the 6 hours went by we were told 12. Then the next conversation was 24 hours. I was upset because there were several doctors involved by this point, but I didn't feel like any were taking an active role in making any types of decisions for Titus. We weren't ever told of any setbacks, just of extended time frames. Each doctor came by and checked his stats for a couple seconds, but no one took personal responsibility over him. Once they checked out for the day, your baby sat there for 12+ without anyone being able to make any decisions for him. He was doing good, but no one would ever lower the oxygen level after saying they were going to several times. This is what was making me frustrated. By the time there were 4 different baby doctors on our bill, we were given a new timeline of 48 hours without any explanation as to why the timeline had change, other than no one ever turned down the oxygen.

My major issue with the doctors in this NICU wasn't that my baby was there for longer than I thought was necessary, but it was that there was no priority given to uniting my baby with his mommy once he was stable. He could have stayed in the NICU with me being able to hold him and do skin to skin. Also I would say (or shout) that they are ANTI breast feeding (so take your "breast milk is best" sign down!) In Petén everyone nurses, it's not like that in the capital. I had met the lead pediatrician there once before at his practice. It was 6 years ago, right after we got back with our preemie twins. He said, "You are never going to be able to make enough milk for these boys." Then he wanted to sell me very expensive formula which had the stuff they "needed" in it. Well I nursed those boys exclusively for 6 months, no solids. Then we went all the way to a year, no problem. He was wrong, dead wrong! I'm figuring out I'm kind of a lactivist I guess...

 My OB understood my frustrations and wrote an order for them to let the nurses roll my bed in there the next morning for a little visit. I couldn't see his face from that low, but I did get to pat his back.

 I wanted to touch him to trigger my body to do it's job. I wanted to give him the colostrum that had been designed by God to help him! There isn't a breast pump, electric or manual in the whole hospital. Jimmy drove around town trying to find one that first night once we realized we weren't going to be allowed to nurse.
He found this little glass German pump. It was horrible, but did the job. I was very happy to see it. My baby got his colostrum. The doctors kept saying, "Your milk comes in on the third day." I don't think it works like that, at least it hasn't for me. There is a lot of good stuff those first couple days. Jimmy made sure Titus got it! Now we were back to like we did the first 2 months with the twins, pumping every 3 hours but with a much less sophisticated pump. Also, with my 32 week preemies, the NICU in Jacksonville gave me much more access to them and skin to skin time. They even tried to get them to nurse even though they couldn't get the suck and swallow thing down until around their due date. Different world.
Jimmy fought like crazy for the doctors to let Titus nurse. Finally the second night they said that they would let me try. Of course there was no follow through, so the first time I was scheduled (that's a silly word to use in regard to nursing a newborn) to go up, I got there right after the nurse had given him Pedialyte, because no one told her. This is their quality work. So of course Titus wasn't interested. 3 hours later, he was hungry and it worked, just like it's supposed to! So from that point on until I left the hospital, every 3 hours they would wheel me up to the NICU and let me feed my baby! I am so thankful. That would have not happened without Jimmy.

Eventually after we were 60+ hours in, we were told by some hospital staff that they had not ever heard of the pediatricians releasing a baby from the NICU to go down to the maternity ward. Once you are in the NICU, you stay there until you are discharged. They are concerned with the care the baby would receive in the regular nursery. They wanted them to be monitored more closely. Well that's fine, if that is your standard practice, but don't keep telling me 12 more hours, when you never had any intentions of releasing him.

We had an extended conversation with 2 of the pediatricians on Sunday afternoon and they said that they would release him to go home with me on Monday. I knew they would change their story because they had every single time before. Later Sunday night, sure enough, when Jimmy had left for a short time, they confronted me and said that they were keeping him until Tuesday, not for any reason, because nothing had change, just to observe him. In fact, they said it like the other conversation never happened. I started panicking. I knew the bill, after my complication and now with the NICU was going to be way more than we had thought. I was thinking, this may never end, they are going to get every last penny they can out of us. I was crying... again.

If those pediatricians would have spent half the time observing Titus as they did defending themselves to me, they might have noticed something about his heart. Something very important. They just kept tagging in their friends, making sure everyone got a piece of the pie. In the end, I thought their fees were incredibly disproportionate to the care they gave my son in comparison to what we paid the hospital, the OB's, the anesthesiologist, and the incredibly nice urologist for their excellent care of me. It's shameful what they did! If I had it to do over again, I think we could have used the hospital we liked and avoided the conflict with the doctors in the NICU by hiring our own pediatrician ahead of time, one that shared our same values and ethics and have him in charge of Titus' care.

One of the pediatricians did say, right before we left the hospital that we should get an echocardiogram done on him in about a week just to be safe. He wasn't really clear as to why, other than a comment about infants born before full term don't always have their valve close all the way.

Everyone taking care of me was wonderful. The nurses on the maternity ward and even in the NICU were angels (they should have gotten the pediatrician's wages). I am so thankful for all of them.
One of Titus' sweet nurses
I was so exhausted from fighting for Titus. I prayed Sunday night that God would just fix everything without anymore conflict. I didn't want Jimmy to have to argue with the pediatricians anymore. Sure enough, Monday morning one came up to us in the hall and said, "This is plan B, but we will let him go home today." I was so thankful!
Ready to take his son home! No wires or tubes!
Up to that point it hadn't been the birth story I wanted for either of us. All the joy had been sucked out of it. I was a mess, still with stuff connected to me. I definitely didn't feel connected to Titus or even like I had had a baby at all. I wanted to be. I loved him very much.

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