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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ethan Scott Graham's birth story

10 weeks later, and I am finally posting Ethan's birth story. Holy cow. All I can say is that life is crazy with an almost 3 year old and an infant who's not great at sleeping! But we are starting to get in the hang of things around here, and I found a rare moment of peace, so here it is. A warning to those who are squeamish:  I have posted pictures of my unique placenta and uterus on here after many people requesting to see it.

Ethan Scott Graham was born via C section 5 weeks early on January 4th, 2013 at 7:52 am, weighing 5 pounds 7 ounces and 18 inches long. On the morning of the surgery, I was feeling anxious, but prepared and at peace. Here is a picture of me right before we left for the hospital:

I knew everything would go well. I had made it this far through the tumultuous pregnancy, and I knew I had finally reached the end safely. I had not been admitted to the hospital on bed rest as previously planned, and was able to be home not only for the whole Christmas season, but even New Years. This came as a huge relief, and surprise. We were all feeling very blessed, and I know it is because of all the many prayers and blessings we received. And also because of divine inspiration that lead me to the most amazing, knowledgeable Periantologist I could have gone to. Because of her rare experience and intuition with Vasa Previa, she felt I was able to be home, that it would be better for me and the baby if I less stressed and comfortable, and that as long as everything looked good at my bi-weekly check ups, she felt good about me being at home. I am so grateful I found her, because most doctors would have just admitted me at 30 weeks,  regardless of any tests, just out of pure ignorance and fear of this rare condition. 

I woke up pretty nauseated due to having to be up so early (4:30 am) and not being able to eat anything. I through up on the way to the hospital twice, and was given a zofran injection. After that, it was smooth sailing. I felt great, and at ease. So excited to meet my baby. I thought I would be freaking out because I have always been terrified of being cut open, but I had no fear. It probably helped that I had had 3 months to prepare for it, versus being in labor and having to do it in an emergency. I got pretty shaky, so my awesome anesthesiologist gave me something to calm my nerves and even rubbed my head. My whole team was awesome, and they let me know everything that was going on. Here is a picture of me in surgery:

After I got the spinal tap, everything went really numb. The sheet went up, and Scott was right by my head. They asked me if I wanted a mirror so I could see the surgery, but I said no. I didn't want to see what was going on at the moment it was happening, but I wanted pictures. So I told Scott to take some pictures. I know at first he didn't want to watch, but when Ethan came out, he looked over and from that point on, Scott was watching. It was quite fascinating  At one point, they had to completely lift my uterus out of my body cavity in order to remove part of my placenta from the wall. Here is a picture of that:

Ethan came out screaming his guts out. Boy did he sound mad! Can you imagine what it would be like to be in a nice, warm environment, and without any warning you are ripped out and exposed in bright lights and cold air? I'd be screaming too! My first thought when I saw him was, "Look at all that dark hair!I knew it would be dark." I was so relieved to hear that beautiful cry. It's amazing that all the hardness of the past eight months was all revolving on hearing that one, piercing first scream, and that it was all so worth it. Here is Ethan shortly after birth:

When my doctor saw my bi-lobed placenta, she asked me if she could take a picture. I said of course. After all, I had a very rare case! She came into my room after surgery and told me something I'll never forget. She said, "Latissa, I didn't want to tell you while you were on the table, but the veins that connected the two placentas were so large, that even if I were to have admitted you to the hospital on bed rest, and even if you were right next to the c section room, ready to deliver the baby the second they ruptured, I don't believe I could have gotten the baby out in time to save him. He would have bled out too fast." I am so grateful that this never happened. Here is a picture of my bi lobed placenta. those veins are huge!

Recovery was better than I thought, but still quite hard. Mostly revolving around the many trips to the NICU and all the walking involved. I also pulled a muscle in my obliques, and had to see a physical therapist while in the hospital. But I was taken care of very well, and had many visitors. Here is a picture of Carson and I:

Ethan was in the NICU for only 8 days. By the time he left, he was 4 pounds 14 ounces, and I remember thinking that I couldn't believe how small he was. He was so healthy and strong, and his doctor was surprised how well he was doing. We were so blessed!

When I came home, I walked into my room and discovered that it had been painted and all set up and clean. While I was in the hospital recovering, both sides of the family came together and did it all. Our room used to be this nasty green, and it was so depressing, and so my mother in law thought I would like to have a beautiful room, since I'd be spending so much time in it. I was so surprised, and grateful. I really am so blessed to have family and friends that love me and my family so very much. We have so much support. Life would be a whole lot harder without them.

Since we brought Ethan home, life has been a crazy blur until just recently. Getting used to two kids, one of which doesn't sleep well, and the other who won't sleep when the baby sleeps has been super hard. Also dealing with some post pardum depression, and a trip to the ER after a seizure scare with Ethan, (turned out to be a reaction to acid re-flux  January and February were pretty much a blur. But life has seemed to level out, and we are adjusting. I love my tow boys more than I could have ever imagined. I am so happy and fulfilled. So thankful beyond words that I have two healthy, strong, beautiful boys, and a steady, loyal, selfless husband who has supported me through all the light and darkness. Life is beautiful.

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