November 16, 2014

seth's birth story

I went to my 37 week appointment on Wednesday, July 16th, at the University Hospital in Salt Lake since I was going to be delivering there to be near Primary Children's in case Seth needed help with his heart after he was born. The doctor scheduled me to be induced first thing in the morning on the 21st (so that I didn't go into labor on my own so far from the hospital), but he wanted me to check in the night before so that I could get some cervix-softening drugs overnight. He seemed slightly skeptical that it would even work and was trying to give it the best chance to happen in the mid afternoon, when everyone was there and could care for the baby. He told me specifically that I definitely wasn't ready to go into labor any time soon.

Fast forward to 9 am the next day and I'm weeding the garden while Sam mows the lawn and Carter plays on the front porch. I just finish the weeds and stand up and my water breaks. Well! I thought I had the whole weekend to finish preparing for birth! I had to wash all our laundry, vacuum, do the dishes, wipe down the kitchen, take out the garbage. We were preparing ourselves for a possible few weeks or more away from our house in case the baby needed to stay in the hospital for awhile. Sam had to finish packing his hospital bag, even. I was planning on having clean hair and painted toenails. None of those things happened, obviously. I didn't feel any contractions, but I called the hospital and they said to come in as soon as I could. I asked if I could at least shower first since I was all dirty from the garden and the nurse okayed it but told me not to waste any time. So then it was crazy panic mode, trying to get everything we needed in the car, myself showered, Sam packed, I was trying to clean up the house a little, etc.  We ended up throwing Carter's entire hamper of dirty clothes in the car to take to my mom's because he had no clean clothes to pack.

We rushed and rushed and my mom met us at the hospital to take Carter. And then, we waited. I still wasn't having contractions and the labor and delivery department was super busy that morning. We just sat in an admitting room for a couple hours until they finally had an open bed in labor and delivery and could start me on Pitocin. That happened about 12:30. I was really expecting this labor to go so fast since Carter's was pretty fast after my water broke the second time and everyone says your second labor is faster than your first. So for some reason I had set myself up for disappointment when I didn't have my baby within the hour. Instead, we hung out for couple hours while my contractions got stronger, I got an epidural in the late afternoon when I was at about a 5. Again, like with Carter, I had a fore bag of waters that had broken originally meaning I had another "bag" of waters yet to break so they broke that for me at about 7:30 pm. Then I really expected to be ready to push since with Carter it only took 5 minutes to get from a 6 to a 10 after my water broke the second time. But again, no luck. I hung out for another hour and a half, but then suddenly I seemed to not quite be on top of my pain management. Every few minutes, when I was allowed, I upped my dosage of epidural drugs but I was still in pain. Finally I called the nurse to tell her this and she checked me and I was a 10 and ready to push. They called the anesthesiologist back first to get my pain under control because I was curled up in a ball, not having a good time of it. Sam was applying counter pressure to my legs and the nurse put me on oxygen just in case because they were having trouble picking up the baby's heart rate since he was so low down by now. After another epidural shot, I was good to go. I'm really, really glad we have epidurals.  I started pushing. The doctor and nurses were pretty demanding of me to push harder, mostly because everyone was worried about the baby's heart since they couldn't pick up the heart rate on the monitor anymore. They wanted him out as quickly as possible. It was about ten or fifteen minutes of pushing, just like with Carter, and at 9:27 pm, he was out! They held him up and showed him to me, Sam cut the cord, and they whisked him away through a little window in our room into the NICU.

I didn't see him again for four hours but they would come give us updates on his condition, which was great. He did so well, such a strong little heart. They kept telling us that he looked perfect, if they didn't know something was wrong, they would never have guessed. He looked and acted and had the vitals of a perfectly healthy newborn. Sam got to go in the NICU and see him and take some pictures for me but I had to stay in labor and delivery for a few hours because I kept bleeding slowly and technically it counted as hemorrhaging but it didn't seem too bad from the nurse's demeanor. While we waited for the bleeding to slow enough to move, Sam went out and got us some food from Wendy's since I hadn't eaten anything since noon. I had one bite of burger and promptly threw up so that was fun. The nurse gave me some medication in my IV for nausea along with the medication to slow the bleeding and eventually, after a few hours of dozing and nibbling crackers, at 1:30 am I was given the ok to go to a recovery room. But first they wheeled me through to the NICU so I could hold my little baby for the first time. I was so tired and crazy hormonal of course so it was a little surreal and I just sat there with him in my arms and cried. I wasn't sad, actually, the wires and such didn't bother me at the time. He was doing so well and everyone was so reassuring and kind that I felt really good about him and the NICU situation. I just cried, because, that's what you do when you hold your baby for the first time. Mine just happened to be four hours after he was born. When I look at the pictures of him in all his wires, now it makes me sad. But at the time I was fine, which was such a blessing.

After a few minutes of holding him, they took me to my room for the rest of the night. In the morning we went back to the NICU and I nursed him for the first time. I spent that first day back and forth from my room to the NICU, trying to sleep and then going back to visit him (and come up with a name). They did an echocardiogram that morning and we waited all day for the results. At about 5 that evening, they finally said his echo looked great and released him from the NICU to stay in the room with me. They took all his wires off and his IV out and there he was, just a perfect, normal baby. We stayed one more night and one more day and went home the next night at about 10 pm. Everything was the opposite of what we expected, a rush to the hospital, a longer labor, a delivery late at night, a perfectly healthy baby, and being able to go home right away instead of after weeks. It could not have gone better, we were so ready to deal with hardships but his little heart was fine all on its own.

Seth has had a couple follow up echocardiograms and his tumors have shrunk to more than half their size at birth. They have not affected blood flow at all and will continue to shrink until they disappear. At this point, we're pretty sure he has the tuberous sclerosis since he also has the ash leaf patches on his skin (just spots without pigmentation that don't cause any problems but are a symptom of TS) as well as the heart tumors. But for right now, he's just like any other baby. It might change someday and later in the next year or so we'll talk more with the geneticist about getting an MRI to check for tumors in other organs, but we'll deal with whatever comes. He is our perfect little baby just the way he is and I am so grateful for him. I've never felt more blessed. He's our little miracle.


Raechel 11/17/14, 7:12 AM  

I'm so glad to hear your sweet little guy is home and doing well! While things didn't go the way you had envisioned, I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father is in charge and He wants us to be happy! Time in the hospital and NICU, as well as many follow up appointments afterwards, can be scary and unsettling. Always hold on to the faith that you have!

Katie 11/17/14, 5:58 PM  

Amazing, and oh, so wonderful. I'm glad he is doing well. Your birth story made me cry, as all birth stories do. There's nothing like holding your baby for the first time. Seth is blessed with one amazing mom!

Marina Elliott 5/21/15, 1:07 AM  

Thank you for sharing! What an inspiring story as I am going through the same thing. Rhabdomyomas were found in my baby's heart at 28 weeks. Delivery will be scheduled at level 3 facility for NICU. How is your son now? Any other signs of TS? I'm so nervous for what is to come but praying for a safe delivery and healthy baby girl!

Krista 5/22/15, 3:02 PM  

Oh I will pray for your little girl too! That can be so stressful, I remember. I hope it all goes well and that she does fine!

Seth is doing well as a ten month old. He certainly has tuberous sclerosis and has the brain tumors now and the seizures (or infantile spasms) that accompany them. They are not completely controlled yet but they are doing a little better with medication. His development is slightly delayed now, too, but we're working with early intervention to fix that.

But he is so sweet and happy and not difficult at all, just maybe a little different. But you wouldn't even know it unless someone told you. It's not a bad life at all. I hope that as you adjust to your new expectations for your little girl that you don't spend too much time being afraid of what she'll be like. She'll be wonderful and she'll be yours and it will still be so good!

Keep in touch if you'd like! My email is

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