Thursday, July 10, 2008

DAY 1: JULY 7, 2008

Daisy and Annabelle were the first ones up Monday morning, as usual. They came into our room where we were still in bed with Finnian, and when they saw that the new baby was here, oh, how big their eyes got! They were enthralled with him. Daisy started calling him "Finny" right off the bat. Pretty soon the boys and Lilah all got up and everyone came into our room to meet the newest member of our family.

I spent most of the day in bed with the baby, per Sue’s instructions. The birth had taken such a toll on me, she really wanted me to stay in bed for at least a couple of days. Finn remained very calm and peaceful all day. He just slept and slept, and I had to strip him down and forceably wake him up to get him to nurse. I couldn’t figure out who he looked like, with that blond hair and blue eyes. Kevin became blond but was born completely bald, and all the other kids had been born with dark, curly hair, and dark eyes.

He continued to spit up some clear fluid here and there throughout the day, but I didn’t think much of it. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, Sue came back for the first postpartum visit. While she was here, Finn opened his eyes, and . . . maybe the angle of his face or something . . . a voice whispered in my head, "He looks like he has Down Syndrome." I quickly brushed the thought aside and told myself I was just being paranoid. I didn’t say anything about it out loud. Sue examined him, and it did seem like she was doing a much more thorough exam than she had Lilah when she was born. I still didn’t think much of it. She asked me if he had peed and/or pooped. No, he had not. Not at all since he was born. I felt a slight sense of concern rising in me. She casually showed me the palms of his hands and said to me, "You may want to ask your pediatrician about this," and she showed me how he had a single crease going across the palm of each hand. I looked at my own hand and saw two lines, one of them curved, going across the palms. "Why is that significant?" I asked her. She said, "Sometimes it can be a sign of certain anomalies." "Like what?" I asked. And just as I knew in my heart she would, she said "Down Syndrome." I felt a pit in my stomach, but even then I wouldn’t allow myself to believe in that possibility.

Sue wanted us to see if we could get him in to see the pediatrician by the following morning because of the fact that he wasn’t peeing or pooping. I called and got an appointment for the following morning. A few minutes later Finn started gagging and coughing and spitting up brownish fluid . . . and then reddish. Sue said, "You have to have him seen NOW." I called the ped’s office back but they were closing for the day and instructed us to take him to the ER. I was panicking now. I was less than 16 hours postpartum, so weak and sore still, but I had to get up and get dressed. Sue said she would stay with the other kids, so we got him into the truck and rushed to the ER. The whole drive over, the baby cried and spit up reddish fluid as I sat next to him helplessly in the back seat.

When we got there, there was a line of people waiting just to fill out the intake paperwork, and the waiting area was packed. Michael cut right to the front of the line and told the intake nurse that we had a baby, born that day, who was spitting up blood. It was unbelievable how quickly they got us into an exam room and immediately the room was swarmed with doctors and nurses surrounding my tiny little baby on the exam table. I just cried and cried - it was scary how serious this obviously was.

Over the next 6 hours they ran all kinds of tests, they hooked him up to an IV, they stuck a tube down his throat and flushed his stomach over and over. They ran a dye study and discovered that he had an intestinal blockage, or Duodenal Atresia. It was noted that there was a suspicion of Down Syndrome. Duodenal Atresia, while not uncommon in the general population, is fairly common with DS. This blockage now explained the polyhydramnios I had during the later part of my pregnancy - excess amniotic fluid is often the result of a fetus with intestinal and/or renal issues. A fetus plays a big role in the process of creating and eliminating amniotic fluid in the womb and maintaining it at a normal level, by swallowing and digesting it. If a fetus is unable to do this, the fluid builds up in the womb, and the condition of polyhydramnios results.

Finally we were told that Finn needed to be admitted to CHOC (Children’s Hospital of OC). The surgeon came and spoke to us and explained the surgery that would need to be performed to correct the Duodenal Atresia. It was so difficult to accept that my tiny newborn baby was facing all of this. After several calls, we were told that the NICU would accept him. This was questionable because he was born at home and not in the hospital, and was therefore considered "contaminated."

When they told us that he needed to be admitted, I completely broke down. I barely remember riding on the gurney while holding him and being wheeled through many hallways and through an underground tunnel that led to CHOC across the street. He was put into a "private" room in the NICU and hooked up to a million tubes and wires and monitors. We stayed for a while to see him get settled, and went home. Leaving him there was so painful I felt sick.

Sue had stayed with the kids at home for a while, but we called Alycia to see if she could take over. When we got home, she refused to take any money for babysitting for us.

I slept for about 4 hours that night, and tried to begin the process of pumping colostrum for Finn.

1 comment:

T-rex said...

Oh geez Lisa, this has ME crying, I can't believe how quickly it went from routine and joyous to so serious! I still have such a had time believing a skilled tech with a deep 20 week ultrasound missed this - the shock of it all must have been immense :(