Joel keeps pointing out that I really ought to give an update on our sons birth and the vasa previa. He’s worried that if anyone finds the blog after discovering they have vasa previa, they’ll be worried something went wrong since I haven’t told about our baby. I would hate for that to happen!
First, I’ll just give the quick info in this post. Then (maybe) I’ll give details on the c-section and recovery, NICU, my thoughts and feelings, etc in another post. Actually, I would love to do two more posts on it. One with the detailed version of all of this and another on the miracles we experienced throughout the whole thing. With 4 kids now, who knows whether or not either will happen. Anyway, here’s the basic info:
Our sweet baby, Alexander, was born via scheduled c-section on May 21, 2014!
He was 5 lbs 6 oz and 19 inches long. Not bad for a 34-weeker! I believe the smallest he ever got was 4 lbs 9 oz.
He was in the NICU for almost 3 weeks (he was born on a Wednesday and came home on a Tuesday).
My doctor used a vacuum thing to suction Alex out of my stomach. This isn’t normal for c-sections, but he didn’t want to risk severing the vessels with his hand (unimportant info for most, but for those with vasa previa, it might be interesting). They held Alex up so I could see him and then whisked him through the door which led right to the NICU. Joel was able to go with them.
They stitched me up and then laid out the placenta to show me and to take pictures. The vessels were huge! I’m still trying to decide how to actually post those pictures. They’re quite disgusting, so I might do a link to them or something rather than just putting them on here. Not sure yet. They’re fascinating.
Alex had to be on oxygen for a day or so (I really should have written this stuff down) and was given some lubricant stuff to help his lungs stay open, but otherwise his lungs were great! He also had an IV in for awhile. I believe to help with his blood sugars and fluids(?). He was in an isolette (the little incubator thing in NICU’s) for awhile until he could regulate his body temperature on his own. He had jaundice a bit (definitely to be expected for such an early baby) and was under lights for a few days. And he had a feeding tube in his nose because he wasn’t eating on his own.
We couldn’t hold him for a few days, and then for a few more we weren’t supposed to rock him or stroke his skin. They need as little stimulation as possible when they’re so early. It was so wonderful once we were really able to snuggle our sweet baby!
Eating was the biggest issue, and the reason we were in there so long. Caucasian males take the longest to mature in the womb, so they have the hardest time as preemies. Look up “wimpy white boy syndrome.” It’s a thing. Alex had a really hard time figuring out how to suck, swallow, breath, and stay awake all at the same time. The nurses and doctors kept telling us that one day it would just “click” and it did!
Here’s something I want to pass on to anyone who ever has a baby in the NICU who can’t take them home because of eating. Don’t try to breastfeed until you get home. It will just take longer to get him out of the NICU. It’s easier for the baby to eat from a bottle than to breastfeed.
Pump and get a hospital-grade pump (insurance now pays for pumps that are a few hundred bucks, but they aren’t good enough. You need one that is thousands). If you’re pumping that often, it needs to be a good one so that you can keep up the milk supply and so that it doesn’t hurt you. You should be able to rent one. The lactation specialists with the hospital can help you figure this all out. I was “allowed” to try nursing once a day at the end of the first week, so I did. It always seemed like he ate less those times than he would have if I’d given him a bottle. I ended up deciding not to try actually nursing anymore in the hospital (I continued to pump and feed him my milk through a bottle). Best decision. He started doing much better once he was only working at a bottle. I wish I would have realized that from the start. (My cousin, who has had all of her boys around 34 weeks, has also found this to be true.)
We don’t have any problems with breastfeeding now. He does a great job and caught on within a week once we got home.
It was so wonderful to get to bring our sweet baby home! He’s doing great! He’s still quite small for his age, but doing well for his adjusted age (he’s 4 months, his adjusted age is 2 1/2 months). He definitely acted like a newborn longer than most babies do. I didn’t think about that beforehand. It took him a long time to smile, which was kind of hard on me. I want to point that out so that anyone who might be about to deliver a premature baby (because of vasa previa or anything else) can know that it’s normal. And if you expect it, maybe it won’t be as hard on you.
Those are the quick details. Like I said above, hopefully I’ll be back to share more another time (and to get some pictures up because he is CUTE!!!)!