The story continues after his actual birth. When I sat down with him against my skin he was crying a lot. He wasn't settling down very easily. He seemed a little distressed and his face was very purple. We were worried it was because he wasn't getting enough oxygen, but he was crying hard so we were confused. The more I looked at his face the more I thought it looked like bruising. Especially since he was breathing well and it wasn't labored. We both listened to his heart and there was no swishing (we were concerned it could be a heart defect that wasn't caught on the ultrasound). His heart sounded very strong. His lungs sounded normal. But he was crying a lot more than usual and a lot harder. I couldn't get him to settle down. I stayed calm and felt like we would figure this out.
I really needed to readjust because I was still in way more pain than usual after birth. Usually the pain is mostly gone once the baby is out, but my bottom was really really sore and I couldn't sit up to breastfeed him very easily. So I handed him over to Phil for a few minutes and he did skin to skin with him. He stopped crying once we took him off his face which made me think it was bruising even more. We cut the cord and checked it for 3 vessels which it did have. Then I took him back and breast fed him. He latched right on no problem! We passed him around a bit more and kept an eye on his face. He was acting like a normal newborn and nothing really too out of the ordinary was showing up. But my midwife kept noticing how purple his lips were and his hands and feet were a little purple too. Even though his face showed signs of bruising, because his lips were so purple she recommended that we go to the hospital to make sure he is ok. As much as I dreaded going to a hospital right after having a home birth I knew it was the right thing to do and have always firmly believed that there IS a time and place for medical care. I never questioned her judgment, if anything I just wished so bad that it wasn't true, that we didn't need to go, and that he was really just ok. But it just didn't look good, we needed to get there to be safe.
The ER doctor put my mind at ease. Of course the first thought on your mind is "are they going to tear me apart for having a home birth? Are they going to over do things to make a point?" You hear horror stories you know? But not one person did that. The ER doctor told me that his sister had several home births, the NICU nurse told me her best friend had a couple, not one person judged me. But I'm getting ahead of myself. So the ER doc looked at him. His vital signs were great and right off he said it was definitely bruising, but to be safe they were going to admit him to the NICU for overnight observation because the color was definitely a concern. They said they'd draw some labs and once those came back we might even be able to go home early.
Ok, this sucks, but we can do overnight, we'll live, no big deal. I was disappointed, but had no control over it, we had to do what was best. So they got us a room to sleep in. I was exhausted having not slept all night and not having the chance to sleep since I powered out a 9 pound baby that wouldn't move down the birth canal (it's really indescribable how tired I was while pushing. All I wanted to do was lay down because I was SO tired. I actually did lay down through a bearing down contraction, I just didn't have the strength to keep going. I'm emotional thinking about it because it was really just so indescribably hard).
I tried to get some sleep, but was woken up by a phone call about an hour after we got to our room. I needed to come feed him, and some of his lab work came back abnormal and they needed to talk about it. So I walk down there, slowly, still in so much pain from the birth. My room is all the way in the back of postpartum in the overflow area out of the way too. I get down there and the neonatologist explained that his labwork came back abnormal showing signs that he was fighting an infection and that they had to start antibiotics. My heart sank. All I could think about was all his wonderful brand new gut flora being destroyed. Still breaks my heart to think about. Then she told me he'd have to be in there at least 2 days. I broke down and cried. I tried not to cry so hard, but I cried and cried. That's not what you want to hear when you just had a home birth. You want to be at home snuggling with your babies enjoying skin to skin. Kissing their soft cheeks and sweet lips, rubbing their bellies, singing them lullabies. But I knew it was the right thing. The infection was unrelated to the purple face, but a nurse did say that it can happen with difficult deliveries, another neonatologist said it's just luck. We're SO lucky they caught it because he had no signs or symptoms of infection. If we would have waited for a sign, he would have been a lot sicker and it would have been more difficult to recover from and possibly life threatening.
That night was a long night. I got almost zero sleep. The next morning I went down and the day neonatologist talked to me about his second lab draw. His blood work was still abnormal. He said sometimes the first one is abnormal and they just treat right away and the second one will be back to normal and he could still go in 2 days. However, since it was still abnormal they had to do a full dose of antibiotics which would be 7 days. I cried and cried again. I started to feel like they would keep extending the days forever. It was just really difficult to hear.
It's been 48 hours since his birth now and I'm feeling a lot better about it all. It's going to be a really long week, but knowing I have friends that have been through having NICU babies has helped a lot. I never thought I would find myself in this situation ever. My kids never get sick. I mean, I can count on one hand how many times both Nate and Audrey have gotten sick total combined. This is a new concept for me.
He's going to have to be put on bili lights tomorrow which I knew would happen as soon as I saw his bruising after he came out. He hasn't gotten worse, but the doctor said around day 3 is when they start to fight the infection and get better. The nurses have been absolutely AMAZING! I'm feeling good about it all now. Just tired and anxious to sleep in my own bed with my own baby by my side. The NICU is uncomfortable and awkward. I want to wear him around all day and I look forward to this being a distant memory!
Bonus for making it this far, pics!:
Day of birth, note the purple face
1st day, his face started looking way better.
2nd day (today) his face is perfect and beautiful!