For several days leading up to Quentin's birth, I had been having horrible abdominal pain which the doctors told me was the muscles stretching to accommodate for my growing little man. On July 4th, the pain just got to be too much so my husband and I went to the hospital. I was admitted to L&D where I was put on a monitor. The pain was not muscle stretching after all, it was preterm contractions.
I never actually went into labor. The doctors did a test to determine my likelihood of going into labor in the next two weeks and it came back positive so at that time the decision was made to transfer me to another hospital that had a NICU just in case, All the while I was being told that they would get the contractions stopped and would send me home the next day on strict bed rest. I was fine with the transfer because I would be going to a hospital where the staff knew me because I had received all of my prenatal care there. Before the transfer, I was given Procardia to stop the contractions. This ultimately is what led to Quentin's premature birth.
The Procardia caused Quentin's heart rate to plummet multiple times. When the doctors figured out what was going on the Procardia was immediately stopped. Unfortunately, it was already too late because the medicine had already gotten into Quentin's system. Shortly before 8a on July 5th, Quentin's heart rate plummeted for a fourth time and stayed down for 6 minutes. The decision was made at that time to do an emergency c-section. Quentin was better off out than in. I had already been given one steroid shot but unfortunately, Quentin came 8 hours too soon to get the second one. Due to previous surgeries, the doctors told me that I was not a candidate for an epidural. This upset me greatly because it meant I had to be put totally under. This meant two things, one I could not witness my son's birth and neither could his daddy. I was so scared to wake up to find out that my son did not survive. Thankfully, someone was looking down on us and Quentin came through the birth. He had a very rough start. He had to be given CPR to get him going. This was because he was exposed to the anasthesia. And so begins our seven week NICU stay.
After bugging the nurses for four hours, I finally got to see my son for the first time. He was the most beautiful site I had ever seen. It was instant love. The doctors told us to expect Quentin to be in the hospital until at least his due date, if not longer. Quentin proved EVERYONE wrong!
He came off the vent at 12 hours old. He did have to go back on for about a week because he just grew too tired. At about a month old, he was totally off all oxygen support. At this time, they let us start trying to breastfeed. I cried the first time I was able to feed my son. He tuckered out after five minutes but it was five minutes that I will forever cherish. He caught on very quickly to breastfeeding.
At just shy of 6 weeks old, Quentin was deemed a feeder/grower, he no longer needed medical support. He just needed to gain weight. He was about 3.5lbs by now. We ended up transferring to a hospital closer to home. We stayed there for 12 more days. Six days into our 7 day "no brady" countdown, Quentin had a pretty nasty brady episode after being given his iron supplement. I was devastated because we only needed one more day and then we would have been going home the day after that. The seven days had to start back over, or so I thought.
The doctor came in to talk to us the next morning and saw the documented brady and asked what had happened. We explained that he bradied because of choking on the iron. The doctor gave him a free pass because it wasn't a true brady! We would be going home the next day as long as Quentin gained some weight. For a few days, he had been bouncing between 4lbs. 3oz and 4lbs. 4oz. At weight check that night Quentin weighed 4lbs. 4.5oz. He had gained enough weight to go home! After 50 long days Quentin came home on August 25th, 2010. Almost a MONTH before his actual due date!
He continues to do very well. He is now 20 months. He weighs about 21 pounds and is somewhere around 31.5 to 32 inches. He's struggling with walking and standing but PT has really helped. He has made a lot of progress since starting.
Note to mommies and daddies still going through the journey:
It may not seem like it now but it does get better. On the tough days, just think of the positives. Your little one has passed a great milestone in just being here.
One major thing I learned from my son's journey is that I am my son's voice. It was up to me to advocate for him. If something didn't feel right to me, I spoke up. I asked so many questions, there were days I worried the medical staff was sick of me. But I had to learn that they were there for me and my son. Asking questions is extremely important.