Saturday, August 25, 2012

Xavier's Birth Story

A year and 6 months after giving birth to Isaac I found myself pregnant again, and Yes! again we were very excited to be expecting baby number 6 for our family. Like every pregnancy I have had so far, I was sick. I probably was able to manage it better than in other pregnancies, I think each time I have gotten better and better at managing it. Also some things have changed to make things easier, now the supermarket delivers to us, so I didn't have to battle the urge to vomit while walking around the supermarket to get our daily things. :0) We also had a great group of friends that lovingly brought us some meals to help make life easier. The pregnancy was filled with many ups and downs. We were excited to find out that we were having another son, 3 and 3. 3 girls and 3 boys, even bedrooms for while. I avoided the doctors for mosts of the pregnancy and I had consider having my baby to home in bath, if the pregnancy was going well. However that wasn't meant to be.

During the pregnancy I had been monitoring my blood sugars and I knew that I had developed Gestational Diabetes again, and with cutting out sugar and grains from my diet I was able to control it. However when I was 31 -32 weeks we moved house, which was very tiring for me. We moved on the Saturday, unpacked some and settled in a bit on the Sunday, and Monday I was back at the house with all the children cleaning. Oh gosh I was so spent. I had some lovely ladies come over and help me clean some of the house. Even though I was very tired I felt bad just sitting while they cleaned, So I pushed myself to work more than I really should have. That night while using the toilet I discovered blooding. I was so tired I seriously considered ignoring it. I did however know better than that, so I called a friend who was kind enough to take me into the hospital.

While at the hospital I had to answer all the hard questions, like why I hadn't been back to the doctor in a while?, why didn't I have the anti - D injection and so on. Anyhow they hooked me up to the monitor, I was having contractions, thankfully the bleeding had stopped, but it looked like baby could be born anytime, so they gave a dose of steroids, and I had another dose the same time the next day. I was in hospital for 2 nights, and then was able to go home. Lots of doctors appointments and tests for the next week.

Well little did anyone know that I would have a reaction to those steroid injections. My reactions pretty much stopped my pancreas from working. My blood sugars went through the roof, no matter what I eat. SO I found myself on insulin within a few days. Then at my next check up to 34 weeks my babies heart rate would not come down, it was staying high, showing that baby was stressed. So I wouldn't be leaving the hospital that day. As it turned out they check my bloods and my body was in high ketosis, and we were very close to lossing him. That probably was one of the worst nights during my pregnancy. That night they keep me in Labour and Delivery incase they had to rush me off to deliver him. Once they took me upstairs to labour and delivery they hooked me up to the fetal monitor, put in a drip of glucose, and finger pricked me every hour for 24 hours, and injected me with insulin every 4 hours. I had so many needles that night. It really was like torture. Every time I would fall asleep I would be woken about ten minutes later to be given another needle. Then it would take me a while to get back off to sleep, only to have it happen again. Thankfully they were able to get everything under control, and about week later I was able to go home. I then had weekly checks of my blood sugar and babies heart rate. At 35 weeks the doctors order a ultra sound scan to check for size and fluid. During the scan they estimated that baby was around 9lb with 5 weeks left to go. Another big bub. After the scan the technician said, just wait while I check if they want to send you home or check you first. A few minutes later she came back and said yes they would like to check you me first. So off I went back to labour and delivery. Well when I got there the doctor explained to me that on the ultra sound it looked like the baby had fluid under his skin, which could mean so many things, from an infection, to water on the brain. He then went on to say that they couldn't be 100% sure with that scanning equipment and they wouldn't be able to get me into better scanning equipment until monday (it was thursday) and they thought that if it was what fluid under the skin, that my baby wouldn't last the weekend... So the best bet was to deliver him tomorrow. Wow that was a lot to take in on my own.

I can't say how thankful I was to have supportive friends, and a church family. I wasn't allowed to go home. So a lovely couple from our church came and drove my van home. Other friends helped Ben with a meal. The next morning they weren't sure when I would be taken for my c-section so were not able to give me a time for Ben. Mean while Ben was at home trying to organise someone to come and look after the children and drive him in to hospital so that he could be there for birth. Again very thankful to friends that came and looked after the children, and one friend that took some the homeschool event for that day, and brought Ben in. In the end Ben arrived 10 minutes before they came to take me for the op. I was so glad he made it in time. It was made so much easier to go through having him there.

At 10.49 Xavier Gabriel was born 5 weeks early weighting 9lbs 2 oz. So at 5 weeks early he was still bigger than that average new born. He was born with a infection in his blood and holes in his lungs. I was able to see him for a few minutes before they rushed him off to have cpap machine on and iv's put in.

Next came the whirl wind of emotions.

I felt extreme disappointed. People would say things like congratulations on having him, or you did well and I would almost burst into tears, because "I didn't have him. He was cut out of me", " and I didn't do well" I knew full well that I hadn't respected his or my body enough during and before the pregnancy. I didn't do everything with in my power to grow a healthy bub and be a healthy mum. Yes I did things towards the end of the pregnancy to look after myself, but by that time it was not enough and too late. I was reminded of this fact every time I went to see my baby in NICU department. Seeing him with breathing equipment, not being able to hold him. All I could really do for him was hold his hand, sit next to him and express milk.

Over the next 5 days, I was slowly healing, and at day 5 the hospital discharged me as a patient, however I was still able to keep my bed, and stay in the hospital with him. Which was both a blessing and an emotional ride at the same time. I was no longer a patient, so I didn't really belong at the hospital, but at the same time, my baby was a patient so I didn't really belong at home without him, either. I wasn't really concerned about my children at home, because Ben is an awesome father, and I knew they would be well cared for, and we had a team of friends that dropped around meals, did some washing, baby sat so Ben could come and visit me, or pay the bills.

I guess I'm also thankful for what the Lord has put in me as well. While I was having these strong feelings of guilt, I also knew that spending a lot of time crying over it wasn't going to make anything better, wasn't going to change anything, wasn't helping my little man, who was fighting for survival. So I stucked it up and got on with the job of advocating, and caring for him the best I could, in any way that I could. What was happening to him was not nice, and I wasn't going to let him go through any of it alone.

One of things that I had to keep advocating for him on was his size. He was a prem baby in a big babies body. So the nurses and medical staff even friends and family that visited had to be reminded that he is prem. The things that normal full term babies can do, he can't because is isn't ment to doing them yet. Also because of his size putting in iv's that he needed were actually harder. His chubbiness stopped them from being able to see or feel the veins, so they often had to be put them in blind. I remember one doctor having a least 7 goes before finally giving up and asking someone else to have a go. One doctor had to make a small cut in is arm to get at the vein, all without pain relief, because at that stage they couldn't give him anything else. Thankfully I had my wits about me, and was covering his dummy in breast milk, and giving it him over and over, which helped keep him calm.

At a two weeks old Xavier was able to come off the Cpap machine and on to oxygen. He seemed to be doing so well. The hospital then had an emergency deliver of very prem. twins, so Xavier had to move out of his Intensive care bed and moved to another room, to accomodate them. He was in the new room for two days, when on the second day he developed pneumonia, and the test results came back from is blood infection. The bacteria causing the infection were resistant to most common antibiotics, which is what they were using for him. So he had to moved back to intensive care, and put on higher strength antibiotics, with his oxygen turned back up. The life of having a prem. Involves many times when you think you are making progress and then all of a sudden it is turned around, and things are not looking so good. Knowing this information would worry a lot of people. Ben and I keep it mostly between ourselves and those that were praying for us and Xavier.

Going through this was a very isolating experience. I didn't have access to a computer or any of the social networking that I had at home. I only had my mobile that I never had it on when I was with Xavier, and didn't really have the money to call anyone any how. The nurses were mostly very nice, and understanding, but of course you had the occasional one the would be a bit ruff and so on. However mostly I found that very lovely ladies that were there to help and support as much as they could.

Feeding was our next issue. It was very difficult to breastfeed Xavier with all his gear on, so we never had our first breastfeed experience until he was 4 weeks old. It really was hopeless trying while he had his breathing equipment on. So he was finally well enough to come off that at 4 and bit weeks. He finished his antibiotics shortly after that, and the next goal was to get him feeding. I was really thankful that it only took a week to get his trying at every second feed. Every feed was too much. Then finally our senior doctor said, with help of the lactation consultant to just let him go for 24 hours demand feeding. Oh I was so excited, the chance to finally having a some what normal relationship with my son. Over the next few days his weight dropped, and every time I saw his weight had dropped my heart sank. However on say 3 of demand feeding he stopped dropping, he hadn't gained but he hadn't dropped. At that point the doctor decided to let us go home, with the proviso that I would bring him back for another weight check after the week end. I was over the moon. I was so excited, I arranged for a friend to come and take us home, and I didn't call Ben. I though I would surprise him. So we did. We drove home and knocked on the door, the whole family was delighted to see us. The children couldn't believe their eyes. Isaac wouldn't stop hugging and kissing me. It was so sweet. During the 6 weeks I was away I was only able to see all my children together twice, and some of them a few more times, when Ben came in for his weekly visit.

Now a 14 months on, I have a gorgeous little boy, who will be walking soon, that I cherish very much. But also a determination to take control of my health, and change the health of my family for the future. I think this pregnancy and birth experience was one of the many reasons that help me make the leap into starting our GAPS journey.


  1. Oh Christina I was crying as I was reading this post! I so want another baby but am determined to wait until I am healthy enough to make a healthy one and carry it easily. Your story has helped me in a time of selfishness that I am having at the moment, to remember why I am waiting and why I am getting healthy BEFORE I get pregnant again. My husband reminds me when I whinge that I want one NOW!! I don't want unnecessary problems and health problems or another miscarriage. Thank you for posting Xavier's story xxx

    1. Oh thanks :) I think the hardest part is knowing that because I didn't have enough respect for myself, that he had to go through these things. I'm so thankful now that I know and am armed with the information to change these for any future babies. They are well worth it. :)