Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Adam's Birth Story

This is a tad long and most likely not very interesting to anyone else but my family, but in honor of Adam's eleventh birthday today, I've finally written down his birth story in more detail (by far the most memorable of all my birth stories):

I remember thinking when I found out that our fourth child was due on October 8th, that I hoped he wasn't born before the school deadline at the end of September.  I'd seen friends waver in their decisions whether to send their boys with late birthdays forward to kindergarten or hold them back a year, and I knew that that kind of choice would be hard to make.
Turned out to be a non-issue though when not only did the school deadline pass, but my due date also came and went with nary a centimeter of progress. After three kids, I knew well that babies are much easier in than out and I was not stressed at all by his lateness. I do remember trying a few old wives' tale tricks to get him to come on his own, but alas nothing worked and  eventually my OB scheduled me to be induced on the morning of October 16th.

In general I've always had somewhat easy pregnancies.  I had had some very minor morning sickness in the first trimester, but it had otherwise been a very easy and uneventful pregnancy.  I  don't remember where my comfort level was during those last few weeks of being pregnant with Adam, but I do remember well what was going on in the news at the time.

October 2002 was the month that the DC snipers were terrorizing our area.  No one knew where and when they would strike next and so the whole area went on lockdown.  The kids' sport's seasons were canceled, school field trips were postponed, and everyone was jittery.  Being nine months pregnant, I was more than happy to put myself out of the target zone and hibernate away at home as much as I could.  Every day though I was glued to the news and would cringe every time I'd hear sirens.
the newspaper headline from the day he was born
During the evening before my scheduled induction I started with the signs of early labor.  I am a slow laborer, so I knew not to panic or rush, but we did start counting contractions.  My mom was there and she helped us put the kids to bed.  Around midnight I knew that this was the real deal and we headed to the hospital.

After three previous uneventful deliveries, I expected this one to be no different.  Once again, Adam had his own plans.

Sometime after they started monitoring me, it was discovered that Adam was not tolerating labor very well.  His heart rate would dip dramatically during contractions and when my water broke, it was filled with thick meconium.

This is when everything kicked into high gear.  Suddenly the room filled with doctors and they put an oxygen mask on me.  It was smack dab in the middle of the night and I was exhausted and scared.   Luckily I was progressing quickly enough at that point that they did not need to do a c-section.

Finally at 4:04am Adam was born into the world limp and blue.  The cord had been wrapped around his neck and the doctors were worried about him inhaling the meconium, so he was intubated before he could take a breath.  His APGAR score at birth was 2.

Those first few silent minutes of his life were endless for me.   They'd told me that they wouldn't let him go past a certain time without breathing, but the clock that was closest to me was not working, so I couldn't tell what time it was.  I was convinced that the doctors were referring to my broken clock, so I kept telling anyone who would listen that it had been longer than they thought it had been and they needed to let him breathe.  Finally a nurse reassured me that they were using a more accurate clock and that he would breathe when it was time.

 Finally after a few minutes (maybe 3 or 4 minutes...I can't remember)  I heard his precious cry for the first time.  It was a weak and raspy mew,  because the tubes they had placed down his throat had temporarily damaged his vocal cords, but I couldn't have been happier to hear it.
At five minutes old, his APGAR score was 9 and  the worst was definitely behind us.
They let me "hold" him for about 5 seconds (for this picture) before they whisked him off to the NICU for a gazillion pokes and prods and I did not see him again for about 24 hours.   Finally after a little over a day, they let me go to him, hold him, and start nursing him.  He weighed in at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and was quite literally the baby giant in the NICU.

I am also convinced that he was also the most stubborn baby there.  

Despite only being less than a week old, he completely and utterly refused to take bottles.   Normally I do not want my newborn babies to take bottles, but once I was released from the hospital after the standard 48-hours after delivery, I no longer had a bed at the hospital. We would go to visit him from 6am-midnight every day, so that he could nurse whenever he wanted, but since we had to go home at night to try to get a little rest, it was a bottle or nothing at night.

It would break my heart when we came back in the morning and the nurses would complain that he'd cried the entire night and never taken more than a sip or two of breastmilk from the bottle.  After a full week of this exhausting routine of driving back and forth (all the while, still on edge about the sniper) he was finally released and we all went home together.

Unfortunately that difficult early week of life took a toll on Adam and he spent the next year-and-a-half recuperating from it.  We are convinced that that week of  oxygen tubes,   IV's (in the arm and head),  nights without his mommy, and countless heel pokes, made him a little insecure about what this world had to offer him and he needed a lot of extra reassurance that this life was going to be okay.   I am certain that he cried more than our other four children combined ever did and we pretty much held him 24/7 until he could walk.  Not surprisingly my memories from his first year of life are embarrassingly few.  (thank goodness for our very crappy camera)
I like to think, though, that all those kinked necks and sore arms from holding him day and night  paid off.  In amongst the oft relentless screaming, he had a smile that could light up the world!
Adam is eleven years old today and has long ago outgrown his baby neediness.  He is now even-keeled, quick-witted, and genuinely fun to be around.   I love the extra time I'm getting to spend with him this year while he is being homeschooled and I am grateful every day for the light and joy he brings into our family.

And in honor of Adam's eleventh birthday today, here is a glimpse at Adam in NUMB3RS:

1st and only of our kids to walk before they were a year old (11-months old)
2nd of the 2 boys in our family
3 sisters means he knows how to get along with girls
4th kid in our family
5-weeks old and he ended up in the hospital for another week
6 x 53 = easy mental math for Adam
7-days in the NICU
8-lbs. 12-oz. birth weight (2nd biggest in our family)
9 months old when he started talking ("uh oh" was his favorite word to utter as he threw things off his high chair)
10 times a day he asks a "What if..." question
11-years-old today!

his "coming home from the hospital" outfit

1 comment:

Steve-Rosanna said...

Thanks for sharing the details of Adams birth. Although Mom was well aware of the story, it is the first time I have heard much of this.

What a sweet baby boy you have. We love you Adam!! Happy Birthday!!

google analytics