The Doula was lined up...the coming home outfit was washed and ready for our new baby...the birth announcement was chosen and all I needed was to email her a photo and the "stats". I was finally off bedrest and in the home stretch. But then I found out that Gavin was breech...that he had enlarged ventricles in his brain...my OB thought we should schedule a C-section. I chose the date October 8 - Columbus Day - the anniversary of the date Ed proposed to me. Even though I wasn't getting the natural birth I planned on...everything seemed...perfect.
September 29th, 2007 I started having contractions. And then my water broke. Ed was out in the driveway washing the car when I told him and he quick grabbed our stuff and we rushed to the hospital after I forced him to take one last photo of my belly.
I didn't have a blog at the time - it was months before I even started my CaringBridge page. What follows are personal writings that have never been shared. Emails to family or friends or posts in an online pregnancy support group I was in at the time. Reading through these today brought me right back to the day of Gavin's birth and the weeks after. Despite the smiles you'll see...I was never so scared in my entire life.
This photo was taken in Gavin's nursery before we left for the hospital. I wanted one last belly shot. My smiles says, "I'll be back in this nursery in four days nursing my newborn son." Little did I know what was in store that same evening...
September 30, 2007
Gavin David Leong made his dramatic and early entrance into the world on 9/29 at 8:43pm. He is 5lbs, 7oz and 19 inches long. He is just gorgeous and we honestly feel like we witnessed a miracle when he was born. Gavin will need to spend several days in the NICU as he had breathing issues that are already starting to resolve, thank God! I had to have a C-section as he was in an extremely unusual position....sideways and belly up almost in a back bend! The doctor had to do some serious maneuvering to pull him out so Gavin is very bruised...and Mommy is extremely sore. He said he's never seen a baby present like that in his entire career....leave it to me to be the first!!
We will send pictures when we can. I will be in the hospital for four days and hopefully Gavin and I will go home together. Ed and I are just thrilled...our lives forever changed in an instant. If you have any extra prayers, feel free to throw some baby Gavin's way!!
kate & ed.
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 19:35:45 -0700From: firstname.lastname@example.orgSubject: News from Kate, Ed & Gavin Leong...
I just wanted to let you what's been going on with us. As you know, our son Gavin was born on Saturday evening, September 29th. I came home yesterday, October 3rd but I had to leave Gavin in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Gavin was born early at 37 weeks, but is acting more like a 34 week baby. He was on a CPAP machine for the first two days of his life because he was struggling to breathe on his own. That was removed and although he still has issues with breathing, he's doing a lot better. He also has a feeding tube in his nose because he's having trouble eating. He just can't master sucking and breathing at the same time....they feed him through the tube when he tires out during a bottle feeding. He had to have a central line inserted in his scalp (which was just taken out this morning) to get fluids and antibiotics. He also developed jaundice which he is receiving phototherapy for. That is also improving.
Gavin's position inside me was very very strange. My doctor said he was squished in there like a sardine...he was practically doing a backbend and his face was smushed up against my side. His head was flexed back very far. His poor little head will take some time to mold back into a normal shape - it's a bit misshapen right now. His nose was practically flat to his face when he was born...but it pops out more and more every day!
Many of you have called or written to ask about me, about Gavin...some of you know I'm home, some of you think he's home.....thank you for caring and inquiring. Since I came home we haven't really had the energy to talk to anyone. We spend most of our time back and forth to Paoli hospital to spend time with Gavin in the NICU. I'm pumping and he eats every three hours. We don't always make it there for every feeding....but we try. So, what I'm trying to say is - we're spent. Please understand if we don't answer the phone or return your call. It's emotionally draining to re-tell stories over and over to different people. We really don't know when Gavin will come home...more than a week from now for sure. They're taking it day by day. I guess he came when he wanted...and he'll come home when he wants!!
The best way to contact us is through email....we will try our best to respond, but please understand if we can't. It's a really tough time for us...emotionally and physically. We'd appreciate prayers!!
I'm attaching some pictures of our beautiful "Chirish" baby. It's hard to believe that he'll already be a week old this Saturday!!
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 7:56 PM
Subject: Update on Gavin Leong
We wanted to send a quick update on our son, Gavin, who is still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It's really our sneaky way of peddling for prayers. After making some progress last week, Gavin has taken a turn for the worse. Saturday he turned two weeks old and was having a real hard time with his feedings. They had to feed him through his nasogastric tube for most of his meals. Sunday morning when we got to the hospital and went to change his diaper, it was filled with blood. Turns out he has a form of Necrotizing Enterocolitis. After a few x-rays, they confirmed that it's not the most serious kind which would require surgery to repair a perforated bowel. We're still waiting on test results to come back, but they think it's a severe form of colitis. He's back where he started in the NICU on the most critical bed, and can't eat for the next several days, if not the whole week. Just when we were getting the hang of feedings!! It's heartbreaking to see him get hungry and know there's nothing we can do.
On a more positive note, Gavin had some other tests that have come back positive. He had a normal brain MRI and today had a normal echocardiogram on his heart. They were concerned for a bit that he had a hole in his heart. Everyday it's something new...something overwhelming....something else to "google" and obsess about.
October 24, 2007
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the prayers and positive thought waves sent our way. After 28 days....after 672 hours....after 40,320 minutes - all of which are equal to an ETERNITY...our son is coming home Friday!!! We've endured countless tests, a real medical scare, sleepless days and nights and countless drives back and forth to the hospital. We've had well intentioned nurses tell us when and how we should hold our child, we've changed diapers and tended to Gavin through port holes in an incubator, we've learned WAY more than we ever cared to know about nasogastric tubes and cpap machines and necrotizing enterocolitis (yeah, I know...try saying that three times fast!) and we got too used to seeing our son with tubes and wires everywhere. This journey certainly wasn't what we envisioned when we found out we were going to have a baby 9 months ago...but the end result is better than we could have ever asked for. We're just thrilled to finally bring him home.
10-26-2007 11:54 PM
10-28-2007 01:38 PM
I just finished feeding him in my own living room. We are so thrilled....but strangely terrified. This experience has, at least for me, shaken my Mommy Mojo. I just hope that he thrives and defies all the odds. Please pray that ALL genetic tests come back negative and all the speculation was just that...speculation.
To be continued...