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Susan Michelle's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ Welcome Aidan Thomas!

Hello Week 37! Time is starting to move a bit slower but, surprisingly, that's okay because I have a few things that need to be done before Aidan gets here. It's taking longer to get things done because I've havd Braxton Hicks on and off over the weekend. I'm actually getting used to cleaning around my Braxton Hicks and it's become a joke with Paul and me about my cleaning, cooking, etc., habits. I'll clean until I start getting Braxton Hicks, I'll lay down for a bit, drink water and then it will stop and I'll start to clean again. Now if Aidan just cooperates and waits until our scheduled c-section, I'll have everything done.

I woke up around 5:00 a.m. and I realized that something was different with my contractions. I wasn't having Braxton Hicks, I was in labor. They weren't coming on a regular basis so I just took it easy, laid down on my left side and drank some water. I had them on and off until about 9:00 a.m. when things changed. I was having regular contractions every 8-10 minutes that were lasting about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. The pain was starting in the middle of my back and radiating around to the front and shooting up my belly. At times they were taking away my breath and then something weird started happening. Aidan has always been an active baby but the movement I started to feel wasn't just normal kicks and spins. The movements were hard, almost violent and it started to concern me. I was just getting to call my OB when the contractions and movements slowed down. I sat up, took it easy and talked to Paul about my concerns. We decided to wait to see if the contractions and movements started up again and to go from there. Paul got the kids dressed just in case and we talked about what we were going to do with the kids if I had to go to the OB's office and/or hospital. I called Patti, a friend who was going to watch the kids if I needed her to but she had been called into court and wasn't available. I remembered awhile back that Dana, our neighbor, had offered to watch the kids if we were in a jam and I went into labor. Just as I was getting ready to call Dana, the contractions started up again after a break of 25-30 minutes from the first set that was coming normally. I laid back down, drank some water and after about 45 minutes of timing everything (the contractions were every 8-10 minutes again and the length was the same at every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in length). The violent movement was back also and I was really concerned because it just wasn't what I considered a natural movement. I immediately called my OB's office and talked to Dr. E's nurse. Dr. E said that he wanted me to go directly to the Triage Unit at the hospital and to skip coming into the office because of how concerned I was about the movements.

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I called Dana and she was able to watch the kids so that was a complete load off of my shoulders. The kids love Dana and her kids and I knew that they would be fine there and I wouldn't have to worry about them at all. I thought to myself "Okay we're fine. Now Paul can take me to the Triage Unit" and then it hit me. Paul had scheduled an appointment with our regular MD to get some antibiotics for his cold. We were told earlier that he wouldn't be able to be around the baby without getting started on the antibiotics. Paul immediately called our MD's office to try to reschedule but they couldn't fit him into the schedule for another 4-5 days. The MD's office said that they could get him "in and out" quickly so we made the decision that he would head off to his appointment, the kids would go to Dana's and I would go to the hospital. I called my Sister-In-Law, Karen, and she was able to go with me to the Triage Unit and Paul would meet us there.

I know you'll probably think I was being careless and/or stupid but I made a decision about how I was going to get to the hospital. Karen lived 25 minutes from us and it was getting into the early lunch hour and it would take forever for her to get to me. I talked to Paul and decided that since we only lived 10 minutes from the hospital, I would go and get in the van, wait for another set of contractions to start and as soon as they were done, I would drive to the hospital. The contractions were consistent but not super strong and since we lived so close, I figured I was safe to drive myself. It worked out fine. I got in the car, waited for another set of contractions and when they were done, I drove myself to the hospital. Just as I was pulling into the parking lot the next set started. I was able to get a parking space right up front for "Laboring Moms" and I started to walk into the hospital when I saw Karen. Now I know that she got about a 10-15 minute start on me but still, she must have drove like a crazy woman to get to the hospital. We entered the hospital and Karen was so nervous that the lady at the front counter thought she was the one in labor, not me. I guess she was on the phone when we were walking toward her and the desk was really high so she couldn't see our bellies. It was really funny.

Within less than five minutes, the Triage Nurse came out and took me back. They hooked me up to watch the baby's heart beat and how the contractions were going. Wouldn't you figure that as soon as they hooked me up the contractions stalled for about 18 minutes or so. They called Dr. E and he said to keep me hooked up for a bit and see how things progressed. I started back into some contractions but they were inconsistent and anywhere between 10 minutes apart or more. Ursula, my RN, called Dr. E and he suggested hydrating me to see how I would react. Dr. E said that it would either kick up the contractions or stall them. Within 15 minutes it kicked up the contractions into overdrive. I was having contractions every 5 minutes apart and they were lasting for about 2 minutes. Aidan looked great and his heart beat was 135-145 beats per minute. All of a sudden, Aidan started kicking violently again and I looked at Paul and started to say "Something's wrong". Before I could get the words out there were a bunch of nurses in my room and they were calling for the OB on staff and they called Dr. E. The OB on staff came running down the hall and straight into my room. They started to move me around like crazy and at that point in time I realized that Aidan's heart beat dropped to 58 beats per minute. My heart sank and I heard what was going on and I will never forget the look on Paul's face when he realized what was going on. Everything seemed to go into slow motion. Paul fell backwards and I thought he was either going to fall through the wall and/or faint. He didn't but his face was white as a ghost. It felt like forever but in reality it wasn't too long before Aidan was stabilized and everything was okay. In the mist of all of this, Paul called my parents and they started in from Pittsburgh. Karen hung around for a bit and then she went and picked up Morgan and Shane and took them back to our house to watch them until after we had Aidan.

AidanUrsula called Dr. E back and they decided that we would monitor Aidan for a bit but they had a room ready to go if anything happened. Just as they were getting ready to wheel me down the hall, another woman's baby went into distress and Aidan and I were bumped. Paul and I were nervous but Aidan was stable and we were in the OR shortly after. After all of the bumps along the way, the c-section went smoothly. I mean even the spinal didn't hurt like last time. Paul came into the room just as they were starting to cut and at 8:07 p.m., Aidan was born and screaming loudly. What a wonderful sound after our day. I looked over and saw Aidan for the first time. He was really pink and he looked so tiny to me. They weighed him and I couldn't believe that he was only 6 pounds even and 19 inches. What a little peanut! He was so alert, just like Morgan and Shane and Paul carried him over to me and he just snuggled into my cheek. Paul and I were both choked up, crying and couldn't talk. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath and smelled what used to bother me while we were having trouble trying to conceive. He smelled so sweet and he was perfect. How I wanted to hold him but I knew that wasn't going to happen for at least another hour. I couldn't believe that he was actually here! It just felt like a dream to me. What a beautiful dream!

Aidan with MommyAfter I was closed up, Dr. E checked out Aidan's two-vessel cord and everything looked fine with the vessel and artery. The vessel was really big and we were really lucky for that because after inspecting the cord, Dr. E figured out why Aidan was kicking so violently and was going into distress. Aidan had a loose knot umbilical cord. I had never heard of that before but what it comes down to is that while Aidan was tiny, he swam around and made a knot that looked something like a soft pretzel. It was fine up until Sunday into Monday because the cord wasn't tight but what happened was that Aidan pulled the cord and the loose knot became tight and the more he pulled it, the tighter it became. In essence, every time Aidan pulled the knot and held it tight, he was literally killing himself. Dr. E said that Aidan would have pulled the cord completely tight probably within the next 24-48 hours and we would have lost him. It took both Paul and I back as to how close we were to losing our precious little one.

Aidan meets Morgan and ShaneBy the time I was back in my room, it was late. Paul, Mom and Dad visited for about a half hour and then Paul and Dad drove to our house to take care of the kids. Mom stayed with me. When we had Morgan, Paul had to work so Mom stayed with me and then it carried over to when we had Shane and now again. It's Paul's (and Dad's) special time with the kids and Mom's special time with me and the new little one. Early Tuesday, the kids came to meet Aidan for the first time. I was holding Aidan when they came into the room. Morgan and Shane gently climbed on the bottom of my bed and put a pillow down over my incision and laid Aidan down for them to meet. It was precious! There wasn't a dry eye in the room as both kids gave Aidan and gentle hug and kiss and they just started talking with him like he's always been here. How wonderful life is. It's been a bit crazy in the days following but it's a wonderful kind of crazy. I can't wait to see how the new chapter in our lives unfolds. I'm in "ah" of my husband and my children. This little boy is such a delight and a true miracle. After looking back at everything that happened and could have happened we realized how truly blessed we were and that we were truly touched by Angels that day. I've said it once before in my journey but it fits...life is beautiful and my cup runneth over.

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