Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maddox Alexander

After waiting so many months in great anticipation of meeting the little guy who had long been kicking me and keeping me up all night with his hiccups.. I am pleased to finally introduce our newest little man, our "Mad Max"..

Maddox Alexander Negron arrived January 24th, 2012, weighing 8 lbs 10 oz, and 20 inches long. He was a planned C section for 3 days before his due date. This was necessary as our local hospital does not have the resources to ensure a safe VBAC. Everything with the surgery went well and he was crowing loudly from the moment of his birth. He seemed to be crying, "Look Mom!.. I am here and doing great!" There is no sweeter sound!!

I know this is a graphic picture but I felt it really showed how caring the hands were that brought our dear youngest boy into the world.. it almost looks like she is praying as she holds his head in her hands before delivering the rest of him.

We were so thankful for the efforts made by our OBGYNs to ensure a smooth and safe delivery. They were so thoughtful in considering the bad experience we had during Sam's delivery and thereafter and keeping that in mind throughout my pregnancy and delivery. I felt far more secure in their care.

After delivery, Maddox was taken away to be weighed while they completed the tubal ligation portion of my surgery. Maddox will be our last child, officially completing our family. I was soon allowed to nurse Maddox in the recovery room and he took right to it. This was very encouraging to me. Things were going so well that it was a bit of a shock minutes later to be told that Maddox had been admitted to the NICU for monitering. This was devastating news for us as the memories from Sam's delivery came flooding back.

It seems that when they took Max to the nursery for his first bath, he had a dusky episode and a high rate of respirations. They wanted respirations between 40 and 60 and his were more like 100- 130. This is called Tachypnea and we later learned that it is not unusual for babies delivered by
C section. By not passing through the birth canal, they can often retain fluid in the lungs that is not squeezed out.

Looking at Maddox, he seemed great in comparison with what we experienced at Samuel's birth so this made it harder to have him in the NICU and away from us. I was very emotional about not being able to nurse him over the next day or so and the pain meds only made things even more confusing and emotional for me. There really is no way to express what it means to be seperated in this way from your baby after you carried them in your body for 9 months, all along anticipating the bonding you will experience in those first hours.

Then to make us even more concerned.. I watched as they measured a large port wine stain flat birthmark that Max had across his lower back and I asked the nurses about it.

They said he was scheduled for a spinal ultrasound in the morning and I immediately became concerned as I knew from my past experience at the March of Dimes that they were doing a check for spina bifida. This is because birthmarks and dimples can sometimes be a risk factor for an opening in the spinal vertebra underneath the skin. I knew they were just being overly cautious and that we would have likely known of any such risk as I had constant ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy and had such normal alpha fetal protein test results as well as taking my prenatals etc.. but after all we have experienced with Sam.. I guess I just could not handle the threat of anything like this. Needless to say.. it was hard night of worry and prayer.

Thankfully, the spinal ultrasound came back completely normal and furthermore his breathing began to slow to a safer rate. Labs that had shown some iffy immature white blood counts apparently looked far better and I was able to return to nursing Max. He was later discharged from the NICU in time to go home with me. So we counted this NICU stay just a bleep on the radar and were quite thankful to be blessed by no further concerns. At that time, however, I had no idea what was waiting for us at home..a house of illness!

Earlier in the week, Isabella left school with a bad cough, remaining pretty ill all week with cold symptoms. This was our first brush with illness in our home this season...which is really quite a miracle!

Maddox and I had arrived home on Friday to the house of gloom and doom..the dreaded RSV certainly had landed and Sammy was having back and forth issues as well. We were blessed to have my mom caring for Isabella and working diligently to keep the illness away from Sam. But even with his nurses keeping him apart off in his own room, he soon showed respiratory symptoms by Thursday of that week. The Dr saw them both but could not see the writing on the wall for Sammy until it was too late. They were on z pacs and Bella was doing breathing treatments but Sammy took a major downturn. By Friday night he was in full respiratory distress and could not keep his O2 saturation levels up even while on oxygen. The nurses were very concerned. We were up all night helping them and trying to decide what to do. He was miserable and obviously fading fast.

By the following morning, Sam had seen the pediatrician and Jason was rushing him over for an admission to Sacred Heart Children's hospital. I am thankful that one of nurses rushed over to help me pack his medications, protocol letters and equipment. It was not how I envisioned recovering from surgery or celebrating Max home, but I knew God would get us through it. We had the prayers and support of our church and community and for that there will never be enough ways to show our thanks. I felt like there had to be a break on the stress somewhere. Relief arrived when Tuesday Sammy showed signs of recovery and began breathing easy enough for his discharge home. This was a real saving grace as Jason had already missed too many days of work.. there is no vacation for the self-employed! I am not sure what I would have done during this time without the care of my mom, who rushed in to provide support with the girls.

With Grandpa Papi in the hospital..
Yay! Daddy and Sammy are finally home..

Once home, Sammy tried to take steps to walk over to me and promptly hit the floor flat on his face. He then did it once more hours later cutting up his lip which was followed by a low heart rate/ Brady episode. As in the past, we could see some regression from the illness and that we needed to help him ease back into doing regular activities. It took nearly two weeks before he was fully trucking around the house again and eating with a stronger swallow. He has slept most hours of each day and has required oxygen blow-by near his face to counteract saturation problems during sleep. Overall, however, Sammy is doing great and we are thankful that the illness did not take a greater toll on his overall health.

Sam getting back to walking in therapy..

After all this was inevitable that Maddox would contract the same cold illness so I was not shocked when he began getting congested during week 2 of life at home. The Dr informed us the virus was all over town and unavoidable even with washing hands and wearing masks. Max proved to have a very robust cough that has been rather effective in overtaking the bronciolitus that the pediatrician had confirmed at our first followup appt. He had a day or two of bad junkiness in his chest and slower feedings, but still managed to make it back to his original birth weight by the 2 week followup appt. He does continue to have these fast breathing patterns which we first saw in the NICU but I think he is doing well overcoming the RSV, which apparently can be quite dangerous for all infants.

As we head into Max's 4th week at home, I feel so much more at peace. We are getting back on track and I look at my 4 sweet kiddos and feel utterly and overwhelmingly blessed. We have several friends who have also delivered recently and we are so happy for their families. Babies are such gifts from God!

We are getting into a routine with Max's feeding schedule and his little personality is starting to become more apparent. The kids have enjoyed getting to know their newest little brother and Sammy gently pats his head at each meeting and says, "Baby!." Max just seems content to watch all the activity constantly circulating around him. We are praying for the niece of our Pastor who was full term, now 3 days old, and has had some episodes of apnea. I pray for their family and that answers come swiftly. No parent is ever prepared for unexpected health concerns at birth and in my opinion it is the worst kind of pain to not know how to help your child. God's blessings on this baby and all new babies.

1 comment:

  1. You are such a good mother, Amanda. Your beautiful children are blessed to have you - and vice versa.
    Warmest Regards!