since last time Josh wrote so much has happened, I would apologize for the absence if I didn't think we had a really good excuse. I am going to do this in journal form to try to chronicle the time and fill in the gaps between what you know and don't.
Had an amniocentesis to see if the babies lungs were developed enough to induce in hopes that it would help the back pain. The back pain is treated with an assortment of meds and I try to stay away for the most dangerous ones to the baby. Josh and I spend our last night as a couple without children splitting a pint of Ben and Jerry's and trying to relax together.
We are awoken to a doctor bounding into the room and turning on the lights to let us know that our little one's lungs look good and should be fine for delivery. They check me again and I am 4cm so my body is moving along in the process with or without the doctors. I am given an epidural and am out of back pain for the first time in four months...it was glorious. I also didn't feel any contractions either, so that was a plus. Josh and I had a peaceful, restful day. The first and last in months. Around 3 the nurse checked me again and I was 6 cm and progressing so Josh and I decided to try to get some last minute rest. We woke around 5 to a nurse telling me I was 9 1/2 cm and it was go time. As they prepared the room, Josh and I tried to prepare for what was ahead...no way that could have really been done.
Labor/birth was great. Truly the a positive experience (please remember I had an epidural). Around 5:15 the nurses got me ready and helped me do some practice pushes to make sure I could feel enough and know what to do. By 5:30 we were pushing for real and Rowan Joshua Hayden made his entrance at 5:49. 6 lb 5 oz, 18.9 inches long, and a full head of hair.
He was having trouble breathing so they immediately took him to the nursery to work on him. I sent Josh with him to get information and found myself alone in a room that should have been filled with joy and little cries. It was hard to let go of expectations and the dreams of the first moments of being a family.
I am still in Fauquier hospital and Rowan is in the NICU at UVA. Josh splits his time between us and it is just a devastating time. The back spasms return. The doctors were hoping it was just pregnancy induced, but it looked to be something more complicated. I has two MRI's in the span of three hours and then a bone biopsy to test for an infection that might be growing in my back causing the pain. During this time Josh and I also weigh our options and discuss transferring to UVA. If I am going to be in the hospital for an unknown amount of time, at least we could all be in the same building. Rowan's health during this time is fuzzy for me, since I was on so many pain meds. But he had to be intubated, treated for pneumonia, and had a bilirubin issue.
On the 14th I was transferred down to UVA, admitted on the "infectious disease floor" and was finally able to meet and hold my son for the first time.
The doctors continue to try to figure out what crazy disease has ravaged my back and Rowan graduates from an isolation bed to a regular hospital crib. He is taken off oxygen and is breathing completely on his own. I am subjected to an another hour long MRI laying flat on my back on what feels and looks like an ironing board. The results from the MRI and biopsy are both inconclusive...it looks like a infection called osteomyelitis, but neither show results that are exact. They decide to treat me with a six week antibiotic administered through a PICC line in my arm. After we are released, twice a day Josh has to put on rubber gloves and go through an extensive treatment of giving me this medication through a line in my arm that is connected to some deep artery. In his other life he was a nurse, we just know it. Rowan plugs along, we try breastfeeding when we can and he has a feeding tube to supplement his eating.
I am released from the hospital and Josh and I book a hotel right near the hospital and get our first good night sleep in weeks. We shuttle between there and the hospital, trying to make as many feedings as we can and spend time just being with Rowan.
They tell us Rowan is going home! He had shown signs of progress and growth and had gained weight three days in a row. Breastfeeding is going better, and he and I are both getting the hang of each other and this new role we have in each other's lives. We are able to stay the night in a room in the NICU so Rowan is able to sleep in the room with us (it is kind of the hospitals version of a suite) and parents can stay the night before their discharge day to bond with their baby and be a family. It was nice to relax and be able to hold him out of the lime light and watchful eye of a million nurses.
We come home! Rowan did great in the car, didn't get fussy until we got to Opal. He seems to like his car seat (even though it swallows him). Coming home is both wonderful and terrifying. Wonderful to be in our own space, in the quiet and be able to relax. Terrifying that we are now on our own with this little life. I think I wouldn't be so scared if I felt better, but the pain is still chronic even though much more manageable and it makes it impossible for me to be left with Rowan alone. I can't pick him up or carrying him, if I am sitting with him I can't stand up...it makes care difficult. Josh is doing and amazing job. He is some how taking care of us both, and doing it with such humility. He is truly the best person I know.
It is good to be home. Please check out this web album to see some picks of our little guy. I am sure there will be many more to come.