It has been a really tough few days.
After we lost Molly at 37 weeks with no concrete explanation for what happened to her, our Doctors all suggested that with the next baby we deliver at 36 weeks. So our plan with Kellen was to deliver at 36 weeks. We lost him at 30. Again, there was no proof of what happened, but because delivering before 30 weeks is beyond scary, we have kept the plan to deliver around 36 weeks with any future pregnancies.
When we got pregnant this time around, and we shared our history with our new Doctors, they all agreed that it would be foolish to carry this baby to 40 weeks and the best thing would be to deliver at 36 weeks. This wasn't even because we suggested it, it was just what made sense to everyone. It was understood by all, or so we thought, that he may need to spend some time in the NICU, but that would be preferable to having to lose him too. Something happened to our babies, and taking this baby at 36 weeks would give us 4 less weeks to risk whatever happened before happening again.
So for the last 8 months I have had August 30th marked on all my calendars, alarms on my phone and in my heart saying "36 WEEKS! BABY TIME! WE MADE IT!" etc.
I have looked forward to the day we meet this baby with an excitement that I can't really explain. When I imagine meeting this baby, and seeing Lucas holding his little boy without having to say goodbye, I start to cry or laugh out loud because I can imagine no greater joy. August 30th. That was the day to reach.
While I can't say that I am ungrateful for it, part of what has made this hard is that our pregnancy has been pretty perfect. When every single test, every single monitoring session, and every ultrasound shows that this baby is developing perfectly and that there is nothing wrong, the doctors see the chance of losing him shrinking to nothing, and the risk of taking him early to be more foolish. They aren't trained to ignore the numbers in the tests. It is hard for them to get around the fact that they can't see a single sign of this pregnancy being anything but normal. They seem to forget that we buried two other babies, both of those pregnancies had our doctors amazed at how perfect everything was going.
Problem is, with our history, everything looks perfect, and the next day our baby is gone. We dont know when or why it happens, its like there is a sword dangling over our baby from day one. No matter what the tests on the baby or on me show, nothing takes down that sword but getting him out.
We have felt really well taken care of with both our regular OB and our specialists. They all planned on delivering the baby early. So when it came close to 36 weeks, we scheduled a c-section for August 30th and I began counting down the days, hours, and minutes.
We had an appointment for this last Wednesday, two days before the c-section, to test babies lungs before we deliver him. Everything has gone so smoothly, and they seemed so confident, that we just assumed that this would be another test where baby is ready. Doctor even said, "If the test comes back tonight and his lungs are mature, we'll deliver him tonight instead of waiting until Friday!"
So we got an amniocentesis. Using an ultrasound to see and guide them, they numb my stomach, and stick a needle in through my belly, the muscles and then into the uterus. They take a sample of amniotic fluid from around the baby. The fluid is then sent to be tested, looking for a hormone released into the fluid as the lungs develop. The more of this hormone in the fluid, the more mature the baby's lungs are.
Lucas and I rushed home and packed our hospital bag, got a few more things ready at home for baby, and waited anxiously for the Doctor to call with the results from the amnio. My phone rang just a few hours later and it was the doctor. I answered the phone and Lucas stood next to me, hospital bag by the door, ready to go.
Then we heard, "We got the results back." I am hopeful and I say, "That was fast!" He says, "Yes it was. Unfortunately, it's not good news. The baby's lungs are not mature. In fact, they are very immature. Not even close to what we need for me to feel safe delivering him tonight, or even soon. His results were surprising. We look for a score of around 50, and his came back at 10. I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we won't be able to deliver him tonight."
I can't stop my eyes from watering, but I finish talking to him. We quickly discuss what that means for his lungs, what that means for delivery, and what we can do to speed up his lung development.
He sent us to the nearest hospital that night to get a steroid shot to boost the development of baby's lungs. Then Thursday evening we got a second round of the shot. This shot has proven to be very effective for maturing the baby's lungs quickly, though it is not permanent. It is most effective if baby is delivered within a week of receiving the shot.
We now feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. It can be very dangerous to have a baby who's lungs haven't had enough time to develop. It could cause very severe asthma and other respiratory problems for life. Every single day can be a huge help in the development of lungs for the baby, so we see why the doctors want to give him just a little more time. We do too, unfortunately, we also feel that more time in can be more dangerous than getting him out now, even with premature lungs.
I felt as though I was being asked to wait longer, risking the death of my child, to prevent him from having asthma. To me it seemed crazy at first, and I was angry and frustrated. I couldn't understand how the doctors, who have known from the beginning that the plan was to deliver at 36 weeks, would assume that he would be totally mature a month early. We knew he wouldn't score the same as a 40 weeker, but we also knew it was worth it in an effort to save his life. Why is this test suddenly more important than the fact that we have a 100% record of losing our children and that getting him out could save his life.
The doctor is unfortunately tied by rules of the hospital and board that he cannot deliver a baby in an "elective c-section" before baby has mature lungs. As soon as his lungs test mature, he can deliver the baby, even if it was at 35 weeks. However, it could be another 4 weeks until our baby's lungs show up with a score of 50 or so. I cannot and will not wait 4 more weeks. We are currently talking to the doctor to try and figure out a way to re-test his lungs and hopefully have him delivered before next Friday. That will be 37 weeks, a full term baby. We just pray that in this week, and with the shots, his lungs will have developed enough that he will be healthy and alive.
Waiting is horrible. Im so antsy and every hour or so I panic that the baby is gone and we waited too long. Luckily, while we have been praying about how to time this right and know what to do, we had a feeling to go to the temple. We went to the temple and both felt very peaceful about our decision to wait another week or so instead of delivering him early (if the docs would even let us). We felt sure that he will be fine at least until next week. We are thankful that we both felt the same peace, but it doesn't make the minutes pass any faster.
Thank you to everyone for your constant prayers and concern for us and for the baby. Right now we need prayers that baby's lungs will develop quickly and he can make it to us. A miracle would even be that my body would go into labor on it's own, and then we dont have all this red tape keeping us from getting to hold our son. Prayers are much appreciated.