Our Surprise Baby

I'll never forget the day we figured out we we're expecting our third child. We we're watching the Super Bowl, and I had spent the day making a big batch of pulled pork, one of my favorites. But, when it came time to eat dinner, I had a few bites and couldn't eat any more.

"Every night!" I told my husband, "I just can't shake this nausea. I don't know why!" Joel just gave me a knowing look, eyebrow raised.

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"You're not pregnant, are you?"

"No! That couldn't be!" I was on the tail end of a bad winter illness, and our son was going through the terrible twos something fierce. Every night was a knockdown, drag-out battle that raged hours to get him to go to bed. Let's just say my husband and I we're um tired wink. wink.

The knowing look persisted.

Then, somewhere in the thick fog that was my mind, something flickered. "I'm gonna take a run to the drug store I'll be right back!"

This was the first of many surprises brought about by our youngest daughter. Her conception, to me, seemed improbable. I was approaching my 40th birthday. The journey we had taken to create our family thus far included three long years to successfully achieve our first daughter a miscarriage, a tubal pregnancy, an ovarian tumor and two surgeries that claimed a fallopian tube and an ovary, respectively. Yet, here I was, and there she was, too.

SURPRISE! It would become a theme.

The next surprise came about 16 weeks later, when my quad screen came back with a 1:8 chance of having a child with Down syndrome. I was so scared, but quickly convinced myself it was a false positive, based on the unreliable nature of these tests. I talked to so many moms who had false positive experience with the quad screen. My justification was later bolstered when a Level II ultrasound with a perinatologist showed no markers for DS. Our probability was lowered to 1:40. We took the MaterniT21 non-invasive test to verify with near 100 percent certainty that our child would not have Down syndrome. Surprise, again, when those test results came back positive.

A later ultrasound showed one marker, an under-developed nasal bone, which had not been visible with the baby's position on the first ultrasound. A few weeks later, another ultrasound showed a double bubble in her intestines. This meant there was a blockage where her stomach links up with her intestines (duodenal atresia). We changed our OB and made plans to deliver at a different hospital so we wouldn't be separated when our daughter was admitted to the Children's Hospital right away after birth. She needed surgery to repair the blockage.

The next surprise was for the nurse in our delivery room. Very similar to my son's birth, my water had broken yet there we're next to no signs of contractions when I arrived at the hospital. I relayed the story to the nurses who checked me in about how when labor started for my son it was so fast that the doctor barely made it into the room. The nurses for Beatrix's birth decided to put me on Pitocin any way to speed things up; to me that was like throwing gasoline on a ticking bomb. When the contractions started coming, the nurses seemed unimpressed. I asked them to turn off the Pitocin, but they refused. I related again how fast my son had been born. They nodded and told me they we're sure we'd be there for a while. I asked, "shouldn't someone be checking my progress?" They said they would take a look soon.

I looked at the clock and it was a little after 7 a.m. I knew I wouldn't make 8:00. The nurses had left me alone in the room with my husband. A few minutes later, our nurse returned to the room. Now off duty, she had removed her call button that she wore around her neck. She had just popped in to say goodbye. I told her I felt like I needed to push. She told me not to, but it was too late to hold anything back now. As the baby made her entrance right onto the bed (thankfully they hadn't yet removed the bottom of the bed), the nurse told Joel to go to the door and yell for help, "We have a baby out!" She reached across the bed and pulled the panic cord. Surprise!

As the delivery room was flooded with about 50 people in scrubs, running from every direction, our little Beatrix made her grand entrance into this world. The nurse had to fill in the doctor as to the time of birth. She wasn't exactly sure. "She's been out for a while now," I remember her saying. I think they landed on 7:19.

Bea spent her first month, to the day, in the NICU. She had her surgery on our eldest daughter Isabell's first day of school, when Bea was 4 days old. We had her baptized by the hospital chaplain a couple days prior. To my surprise, the date she was baptized turned out to be the feast day of St. Beatrix da Silva, who was the daughter of a nobleman and accompanied Princess Isabel of Portugal to the court of Spain.

There we're just so many things that surprised us about Beatrix. She has the presence of a wise old soul and lots of spunk to back it up. In the NICU, she hated the OG tube in her mouth so much that she pulled it out multiple times. The nurses ended up putting socks on her hands to keep her from doing it, but the second those socks we're left off her hands, she would pull that thing out again.

The majority of her time in the hospital was spent healing the repair of her intestines, which took many weeks. During that time she was unable to eat and was fed intravenously. Finally, when her intestines started to function, she learned to take a bottle, building from 1 teaspoon in a syringe to taking a few ounces at a meal over the span of a few days. I was only able to try nursing her once while she was in the hospital, but surprisingly she would learn overtime to nurse and bottle feed, becoming the best nurser of any of my three children.

When we brought her home from the hospital, just a few days later, when she was just 5 weeks old, she figured out how to roll from her tummy to her back. She was so proud, she did it over and over again. We we're shocked! Here was this little baby, who had low muscle tone and a diagnosis that causes milestone delays, rolling over well before most typical babies can.

If there's anything I've learned about Beatrix, it's don't put her in a box. She will live to surprise you. It's been her theme from the very beginning.

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Posted in Senior Health Post Date 07/30/2018


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