Shane's Birth Story

Shane Xavier Kelley - Born June 19, 2008

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On Wednesday night, June 18, I had a very bad bleed. It was as bad as or worse than the one that brought me into the hospital by ambulance more than a month ago. I had to get another blood transfusion - 2 units this time. That night, they moved me to L&D, where they kept me until morning.

Thursday morning, around 5AM, Pat and I were talking. At that point, we had made it to 34 weeks and the baby appeared to be very healthy.  The ultrasound even showed he had big chubby cheeks - a great sign in such a young baby. Making fat is SO important when they're so small. A little chub goes a long way in helping a newborn to regulate their own body temperature. The bleed the night before was so severe that even with 2 IVs pumping fluid into me, I was bleeding faster than those IVs were helping me. If they'd have had to do an emergency c-section while I was already so low on blood, it's very likely that I would have bled to death. The biggest problem that we faced was that my bleeds were so unpredictable. I had tons of small ones (3 per week for the past two weeks before this big one), but there was no way to know if the next bleed would be just a small one, or if it would be one that could threaten my life. We knew that one more bleed would mean an emergency c-section, no matter what... but was another bleed something we could risk? That morning, we decided we couldn't take any more chances. We went with my instincts and decided that we needed to have the baby as soon as I was stable enough to do so.

Thursday morning, I stayed in bed. When the doctors did rounds, I was back in my normal room. Pat and I told them about the decision we'd made. They agreed that it was the right thing to do. At 34 weeks, the baby had an excellent chance of doing very well, and even a slight chance of being able to avoid a stay in the NICU. They told us that they had a meeting to attend, and would let us know as soon as they had arranged a c-section time for us - it would definitely be that afternoon. A few hours later, I started to feel a very small amount of pain with the contractions I'd been having off and on. At around 1:45 or so, I felt pain that felt exactly like the back labor I'd had for an hour or so before Milo was born, only very, very faint. I called my nurse to let her know. "That's ok. You're on your way to L&D right now, anyway. I was just about to come to your room!" she told me. Seconds later, she was here. When I arrived in L&D, they put us on the monitor and found that my contractions were less than 2 minutes apart and very strong, though I was barely feeling anything. In fact, if I was talking, listening or laughing, I couldn't feel them at all. My doctor called the contractions "impressive" and later told me that she's never seen anyone have contractions like that and not be in serious pain.

At 3:43 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008, Shane Xavier Kelley was born via  c-section. He was 5 pounds, 7 ounces, 18.5 inches long, and he was screaming his little head off. I was able to give him kisses and to snuggle with him a little bit while I was still on the operating table. Pat even took a picture of us together.  He stopped crying immediately when I was touching, kissing and talking to him. He started again the moment they took him away from Pat and me, and he continued to cry loudly until I could no longer hear him, on his way out of the operating room.

 Shane was taken to the NICU for monitoring where he was put on a CPAP, which just blows a little air (room air, not oxygen) into his airways to help keep them open. He was having to work to breathe just a little bit, but was not in respiratory distress. On Friday, June 20, they removed the CPAP and he began nursing.  He spent a total of 5 days in the NICU because he developed jaundice and had to be under lights for that.  He had IVs off and on during his stay, but never had to have any further assistance with his breathing.  

We had a few minor setbacks once we got home.  More jaundice and low thyroid meant lots of doctor visits for blood tests for Shane in the first few weeks.   For a few days, we had to have him on a Biliblanket here at the house.  Everything resolved by the time he was a month old, and by that time he was 7 pounds and 19.5" long!  Wow!  He's growing so quickly!

As it turns out, it was a very good thing we followed my instincts on that Thursday morning. At the moment Shane was born, I was in full labor, though it had been relatively painless. I was 6cm dilated. From the first time I had felt a very, very slight back labor pain until the time I was at that 6cm was under two hours. The placenta was trying to deliver first, which would have meant death for both of us, most likely. If we'd waited any longer, at the very least, we'd have had an emergency c-section. It would also have been very possible for me to have delivered the placenta even without being fully dilated. Since my contractions weren't painful, even though I was in full labor, it could easily have happened without any, or with very little, warning. Thank goodness for instinct! I have always been one to trust my instincts combined with logic, and I will never, ever doubt my instincts from this point on. They saved Shane's life and mine!

At some point, I'm going to sit down and write up a summary of the history of this pregnancy, with all the bleeds and what happened each time. I have them all on my calendar, and it's really crazy how long we fought that stupid bleeding!  I'm so glad things have had such a great ending. It was all worth it!

Oh! I almost forgot... The pictures from the week of the birth are here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/jlkelley/June19252008

-Jen.