Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 1999

It started innocently enough. "New house, new baby." Ed had friends moving the crib into the third bedroom of our townhouse, while I was directing them to send those items to the basement-that third bedroom would be an office.

His push for the house was more inspired by a desire to add to the family than anything else. He knew I wouldn't agree to more kids until we owned a home. My plan was to spend a year settling in, then try for number two. Six weeks later, he convinced me that waiting was ridiculous. My apologies to my friends suffering from infertility, we got pregnant quickly.

Not quite two weeks later, I got the flu. Bad. I stopped at Wal Mart on the way home and picked up a pregnancy test and the TheraFlu. It was early, but I didn't want to use any flu medications if I was pregnant. A faint line showed up and I spent the weekend without any meds.

My OB/Midwives didn't schedule a first prenatal visit until ten weeks, so I waited until I was five weeks to schedule that first appointment. I'd seen the hippy flower child midwife, T, for an annual exam. She gave the all clear for trying for number two and didn't indicate that I should be concerned or call in as soon as I got the positive pregnancy test.

Meanwhile, I called when I was five weeks and a couple of days, and got an appointment in mid December. That sounded good, I even got in with my favorite of the four midwives, L. There were four in the practice and each was a distinct type:
M-the motherly type who gives you the worst case scenario and is very protective
L-another motherly type, but very nurturing and balanced
T-the hippie flower child who spoke of nothing bad
C-the woman who seemed to hate women, yet was surrounded by them all day

In my years of going there, I made it a point that I didn't see C, but the other three were all good and if given the choice, it'd always be L first, then M or T. That first phone call, I lucked into L as the first available.

Two hours later, I got a phone call. "Suzanne, can you come in to see me today?". It was L. I was thinking that maybe she wanted me to get a script for the prenatal vitamins, since I'd been borderline anemic the last go round. I'd already asked T if having the DVT put me at risk back at that last annual, and she said I was fine. I wasn't worried-concerned, but not worried.

It was after hours, and a secretary was waiting to bring me to L's office. We sat down and she gave me some stunning news. "Suzanne," she said, "You are considered a high risk candidate with your history of DVT. We need to put you on blood thinners for the duration of the pregnancy and run some tests to find out why you had that DVT. There's a 40 percent chance you'll lose this baby in the first trimester."

I was numb. Lose this baby? I had even asked if there was anything I needed to be aware of, was I at risk because of that blood clot and was told no. L apologized for the misinformation, but I truly was high risk. We discussed possible causes for the DVT, and agreed that it just could have been the combination of pregnancy, c section and depo provera shot two weeks post partum (at that time, they'd just okayed it for use 2 weeks post partum, but not long after my DVT, they went back to not giving shots until six weeks). L gave me some lab orders and assured me she would not rest until we had some answers.

The bottom line was that she told me that I was to leave retail for the pregnancy, that I was to take it easy and get those labs done ASAP. I left the office with a script for heparin, to be given by injection. (first, 5,000 units once a day) The next morning, I went to get blood drawn and some answers.

There were some answers, but nothing definitive. I showed several markers for Lupus, but didn't have it. L confirmed that I had arthritis from those tests (they were thorough!) and that I had Factor V Leiden, a clotting disorder that affects 10% of the population. That might have caused the DVT, but we'll never know for sure. One thing that came of it is that L recommended that I switch over and see the four OBs instead, assuring me that with a high risk status, they'd be best equipped to handle my situation. Bummer.

The pregnancy was a case of "If it's a chronic issue and I have it, it will act up like it never has before." Five inhalers, several severe hive breakouts, arthritis making me curse the two flights down to do laundry and picking up my nearly three year old Gameboy.

My belly became a patchwork of bruises from the shots. First one a day, then after the second prothrombin, two shots. Then four. We stopped at 6, for 30,000 units a day when my prothrombin finally came up to a safe level to prevent clotting. I gained a perinatologist and got level three sonograms at each visit with Dr. K. He was visiting from England on a fellowship and I considered myself very lucky-as he was very familiar with treating clotting issues in pregnancy.

With all those ultrasounds, it was hard not to see what we were having. Dr. B, the joker of the practice, came in one day and said "I'll bet 20 bucks you're having a boy", but he did it in such a way that I didn't realize until after Chef was born that he'd been looking at one of the biophysical profiles from the perinatologist as he was walking into the room.

Throughout the pregnancy, the OBs all told me that the clotting issues made having a VBAC the best option for me. I was okay with that, as long as this child was healthy. However, the further along I got and the harder it was for me to breathe, I questioned the logic. At my 37 week appointment, I asked Dr. B what they were going to do when I passed out from pushing, as I was having trouble with just normal breathing!

He said excitedly "Would you like to schedule a C section?" Apparently, they had weekly high risk patient meetings where the doctors reviewed treatments of their high risk patients. (Pretty neat, IMO, and very wise in a large practice to keep everyone up to date.) For several weeks, they'd all agreed that it'd be safer for me to have the C, but realized they'd put such a scare into me about having one that they waited for me to bring it up on my own.

Alas, Dr. K had gone back to England, otherwise, we would have already delivered Chef by then-his advice was to administer surfactant at 35 weeks and deliver Chef at 36 weeks(partly because he was afraid that Chef would be as big as Gameboy). Instead, my OBs took me to 39 weeks and I got to choose his birthday.

I'd spent five days in the hospital when I had Gameboy, so when they put the calendar in front of me, I first counted back from my birthday, then asked which doctor would be available. First choice was Dr. L, who'd delivered Gameboy (for purely 'same doctor delivered you' reasons), but he would be out of town. After that, it was no question, is Dr. B at the hospital on the 20th? He was, and that's how Chef Jr got his birthday.

The morning of his birth was anticlimactic after the pregnancy. Kristin stayed with Gameboy while Ed and I went to the hospital at 6am. I was brought into a small room, and assigned my own nurse. She was great and allowed me to cheat by sucking on a Jolly Rancher when I said I was parched. I had a slight delay-someone's baby decided they were coming before Chef. :)

Once again, I was able to walk into the OR. Midwife T attended my second delivery, just as she'd been at the first and was there with a shoulder to lean on while they did my spinal. We were in a jovial mood in that OR suite when Ed was ushered in.

It wasn't long before Chef was pulled out-a BOY! I was more amazed that I could breathe! We surprised the doctor that we hadn't chosen a name AND that when Chef was taken to the nursery, Ed stayed behind with me. Apparently, dads always go with the babies, but I think after all I'd been through this go round, Ed wanted to stick close by.

After a few minutes, I sent him off to see his second son and they stitched me up and sent me to recovery. The big difference with a morning delivery than a night delivery is that I stayed right in the maternity ward in a small recovery room with one nurse keeping watch. Ed came in with me when Chef was sent up for an ultrasound (we'd seen something on one of those biophysicals that needed to be checked out-and he was fine) and the nurse commented that I was the most relaxed patient she'd ever had.

Ed asked if I wanted anything, and as I knew I was in for a long time in recovery thanks to my pale complexion, I asked him to go get me some magazines or something. That nurse was shocked and had a good laugh at how mellow I was, I was reading magazines right after having a baby.

I didn't get to see Chef again until lunchtime. It was at that time that Ed said he was pretty much decided on Chef's name. Looking at him, his name fit (and Ed succeeded in naming both boys). A few hours later, Ed brought Gameboy in to meet his brother, and my gosh, he got huge in a day's time.

Nine years later, this kid is our ray of sunshine. He lives to make us laugh, even when he's not trying. He's such a blend of so many of our family members that it's scary. He'll say something that sounds just like Gramps or Pop Pop would have said.

The journey to get to him was a rough one-but one I'd do all over again.

Happy Birthday, Chef!

4 People talked back:

Joyce-Anne said...

I remember the day he was born! Does that make me old? Happy Birthday Chef!

Gypsydoodlebug said...

Happy Birthday, Chef!!

Bonnie said...

Those curls & freckles are adoreable. Happy Birthday Chef!

Kristy said...

Happy Birthday Chef!!!!