At my 33 week doctor's appointment, I was told I was measuring only about 28 weeks. I am not a huge person, so this wasn't really alarming to me as both of my other two were somewhat small as well. However, my doctor was slightly concerned just because I mentioned that I did not feel this baby move very much at all. In fact, throughout my entire pregnancy I would comment that I never really felt him move. I would occasionally feel a kick or two throughout the day, but never anything like I felt with my other children. I remember Christian and I spending one night, taking almost an hour, to try and get him to move or give us some indication of movement. We eventually did feel him, but that was just an early indicator to me that something was different about this pregnancy. So at my appointment, Dr. Lafranca decided we needed to check on things via ultrasound. I went back later that day to see what was up. At the ultrasound, it was determined that he was in fact measuring quite behind. He was about 6 weeks behind where he needed to be and only measuring in at about the 4th percentile for what was normal. Dr. Lafranca wasn't really sure what was up, so she decided to send me to Maternal Fetal Medicine, just to see if we could further determine what was causing his slow growth and development.
At our MFM appointment, the doctor spent about an hour performing an ultrasound and thoroughly checking him over for any signs of something being off. He then took us into his office and informed us that Baylor was indeed small and honestly he was quite confused as to why he wasn't growing. He felt like everything looked normal with all his organs, but that he was just lagging behind. He was also slightly concerned because he could not get a Doppler on the umbilical cord...something was off and he couldn't quite figure it out. He knew that Baylor was functioning okay in my belly at the time, so he wanted to see me in a few days to check again.
We went back the following Tuesday, which put me at 34 weeks. We went in for the ultrasound and two doctors and the representative from GE (the sonography machine) came in to perform the ultrasound. The specialist also had trouble finding the oxygen going from the umbilical cord, but couldn't see that Baylor was in any distress. They were overwhelmingly perplexed as to why the machine couldn't pick up on the arterial flow through the umbilical cord. They consulted other doctors and no one could explain what was happening. This made me as a mama very nervous. I knew his umbilical cord was his lifeline and to think that it was not functioning properly made me think it was just a matter of time before things went downhill. The doctors kept telling me to keep track of his movements, so I would know if anything was wrong, but I kept telling them that I couldn't ever feel his movements, so how on earth would I feel if something was wrong! I was a nervous wreck. The MFM doctor told me he wanted to see me in two days and we would do another ultrasound to check him again and then make a decision on what to do from there. As we were leaving, he said, "you know what, let's just do a stress test on his heart later today...just in case". Christian and I agreed and went home for lunch. I went back to Lafranca's office a few hours later for the stress test. I hadn't been on the machine for more than 5 minutes when the nurse flew in and told me to get on my side and handed me a drink. I was slightly confused, but did what she said. About 5 minutes later, she came running back in and told me to go immediately to the assessment center. At this point, I knew something was up. I checked into the assessment center and they began monitoring his heart. He had absolutely no variability and you could see the concern on everyone's faces.
After a few hours of constant watching and tons of doctors checking him out, I was admitted to labor and delivery. At this point, I started to have contractions on my own and each time I had even the slightest contraction, Baylor's heart would decell into a dangerous point. This was greatly alarming. At this point we had about 6 nurses in my room and multiple doctors on the phone and in the room. It was complete chaos. The doctor was extremely blunt and said, "ya'll have 30 minutes to get him out". At that point, I lost it. I was informed that I would have an emergency c-section and may or may not be put to sleep. The thought of being asleep during his birth devastated me and I was just sobbing. I was immediately rushed to the operating room and I was just beyond scared of what was going to happen with Baylor. I knew he was in distress and things had gone bad very quickly. I honestly didn't care at that point about anything but getting him out safely.
Not 30 minutes later, I was prepped and ready to go. Thankfully they were able to give me an epidural and allow me to be awake for his delivery. We watched as the doctors pulled out our lifeless little boy. He didn't make a sound as he came out and was purple. They spent what felt like hours, rubbing him raw to get him to respond. He actually had a nasty looking abrasion on his back from where they rubbed him so hard to get him to respond. Finally, our little guy let out some sounds and was whisked away to the next room full of a whole team of nurses and neonatalogist.
I don't remember a lot of those next few moments or hours because I was so drugged up and miserable (morphine is my new enemy). It wasn't until the next morning that I was able to see my little guy in the NICU. I was blown away by just how small he was and all the tubes, wires and machines hooked up to his little body. As a mama, this was one of the hardest things I've ever had to see or experience... to see my little guy, fighting, helpless and so sick broke my heart in pieces. Every single plan and expectation I had had for my little guy felt like it was crushed, it felt like a cruel punishment that I couldn't even hold my sick child to comfort him and give him that love I so desperately desired to lavish upon him. I couldn't even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that he was fighting for his little life.
Dr. Lafranca came to see me a day or two after his birth and told me, had they sent me home, and not done the stress test, she had no doubt that he wouldn't have made it to Thursday. She explained that my placenta had come back normal, but my umbilical cord was extremely flat, meaning not much oxygen or nutrients was able to get to Baylor throughout my pregnancy and that finally his little body had just had all it could take. That coupled with the fact that each time I had a contraction caused his oxygen to be cut off, would have been detrimental to his tiny, frail body. Hearing those words, coupled with the emotions of the last few days, caused me to just break down in her arms. I knew it was vital we got him out when we did, but actually hearing those words from his doctor was like a punch in the gut. Christian and I can overcome a few weeks in the NICU and a traumatic birth, but I don't think I could ever overcome having to bury a child. I just wept at the mercy and the hand of God. It is only by His grace that Baylor was delivered safely.
On day two of his little life, we learned that even though he was here safely...he was most definitely not out of the woods. His bloodwork, organs and overall health were still functioning at very dangerous levels and his body was not well. We were told that morning that they were going to do a spinal tap to check for bacterial and viral meningitis, as well as bleeding on the brain. Again, this was just absolutely devastating to Christian and I. We left the room with tears streaming down our faces, but faith that God brought this little guy here for a reason, and we were confident that He would walk us through this trial. We clung to family those next two days and prayed that God would once again come through in a mighty way. They did a spinal tap on Baylor at just 2 days old, as well as a blood transfusion because his platelets were dangerously low. The spinal tap came back inconclusive because of blood contaminating it, so they proceeded to do another one on him. Again, it came back with blood in it...we decided at this point to not risk another tap and just treat him with the antibiotics regardless. Over the next few days, we watched, waited and prayed and miraculously...Baylor began to improve. He has done amazingly well considering just how sick he was and how close we came to losing him, not only in the womb but with the infection that he encountered soon after birth. God spared his little life, not once but twice and we give Him all praise and glory.
Baylor has a long road ahead of him of growing stronger and bigger, he is just 3 pounds 9 ounces right now, so he has to get a good bit bigger before going home. Doctors are keeping a close eye on his liver and heart, hoping that with time both will get back to 100%. We are watching his platelets and bloodwork closely, just to make sure those improve over the next few weeks as well.
Our little guy has had quite an entrance into this world and our lives, making a huge impact on so many already. We have felt the prayers and support of so many, and I know I have said it before...but I'll say it again...we could not walk this road without our family and friends. So many people have been absolutely amazing and gone out of their way to offer texts, social media messages, meals, gifts and well wishes and each one has been felt whole-heartedly by Christian and I. We look at our tiny little miracle and we are in awe at the goodness of God. He has spared us from many far worse outcomes and He has sustained us throughout each day. We are so thankful to God for his divine protection and hand being on our Baylor. I have no doubt that God will do mighty things through my little guy and this is just the beginning of many testimonials of God's goodness in his life.
I pray that Christian and I will never forget these days, this journey, but that we will take these lessons learned and become stronger in our faith, more sensitive and caring towards others walking tough roads, and above all that we would be a witness to God's amazing power and might...may Baylor's story be one that does nothing but give glory and honor to God. As a family, we will only grow closer and stronger because of Baylor and his journey...we are so honored he is a part of our family and that God saw to it that he was able to overcome the toughest of odds, right from the start, and ultimately he will fight his way to a glorious homecoming! We look forward with great anticipation at his joining us at home with a clean bill of health....and on that day we will once again give all glory and praise to our healing Savior. Keep fighting my precious Baylor...we are all cheering for you.
Our little warrior, tiny but oh so mighty.