Sunday, December 11, 2011

Emmett's Birth Story

3 Weeks Old

At 12:45 in the morning on August 19, while we were sleeping, Reini's water broke.  We rushed to the hospital in anticipation of the birth of Emmett.  After an uneventful labor, he was born at 3:19 pm.  He weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.

When he was born, he wasn't breathing and his skin tone was blue/grey.  They immediately started working on him.  We were terrified!   

 They called in a recovery team and almost instantly the room filled with people.

They continued the process of resuscitation.  He pinked up quickly and they reported that his heart rate came up as they added oxygen.  However, he was having a hard time breathing on his own, so they rushed him to the Newborn ICU.

Jared went with Emmett to the NICU where the team immediately went to work on him.  Before long, they had him stabilized.  They had to hook him up to a CPAP machine to help him breathe.  The CPAP is the thing that looks like a snorkel coming out of his nose.  After about an hour, they were able to take him off the CPAP and he began breathing on his own.

 About two hours after he was born, Reini was finally able to meet him for the first time.  (They had rushed him out of the delivery room before she was even able to see him.)  After all of the turmoil, it was an emotional time for her to finally meet him.

The proud Daddy got to hold Emmett after Reini. 

We immediately fell in love with him.

He was very uncomfortable that evening.  The doctors decided to keep him in the NICU for observation.  They expected to release him in the morning.  The next morning, they came to tell us that he had started having seizures in the middle of the night.  They wanted to rush him to Primary Children's Medical Center for an emergency CT scan to check for bleeding on the brain.

Jared went with the AirMed team for the walk from the University of Utah Hospital to Primary's.  On the way back, Jared told the nurses that Reini was having a hard time because she had only seen Emmett for a few minutes and was really worried about him.  They offered to swing by her recovery room on the way back to the NICU.  They took Emmett out of the incubator so Reini could hold him.  This was a very special moment.  We were touched that the AirMed nurses would go out of their way for us.

The CT Scan came out clear, but Emmett continued having seizures all day long.  The doctors had to give him three doses of Phenobarbital throughout the day to get the seizures under control.  Unfortunately, the medication pretty much knocked him out for the rest of the week.  He would wake up a little bit throughout the day, but he was always very groggy.

He always looked so sweet while he was sleeping. 

This was his little setup in the NICU.  While he slept, the doctors ran every test under the sun to determine what was causing the seizures.  After having an MRI, he was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).  In short, at some point during the few days before he was born or during his birth, he had a shortage of oxygen for about 9 minutes.  We don't know when it happened, but it caused some minor brain damage.  Less than 10% of his brain was damaged and most of the damage occurred in "quiet" parts of the brain.  He has some damage in the area that controls right side motor function.  The neurologists tell us that it is very difficult to know what the long term effects will be.  A brain this young has some ability to compensate for damage, so we may not know for several months or years if he will have long term difficulties.

After the diagnosis, he still needed to become stable in order to go home.  During his stay in the NICU, the nurses were sure to involve us with everything.  It was nice to have a lot of opportunities to take care of him while we were waiting to take him home. 

We were always encouraged to spend time holding him.  These were some of our most cherished moments in the NICU. 

During most of his time in the NICU, he had to eat from a feeding tube.

 When he was starting to stabilize, the doctors told us that if we could get him eating and get the feeding tube out, we could take him home.  The next day we started him on the bottle.  He loved it!  He took 7 of his 8 feedings by bottle that day. 

The next day, the doctors told us that if he kept eating at that rate, we could take him home the following day.  They told us to prepare to go home. 

He kept eating like a champ and they sent us home the next day. 

After 11 days in the NICU, we finally got to bring him home. 

He still had minor oxygen problems when we brought him home, so we had to keep him on oxygen until he grew out of it after a few weeks.

We are so happy to have him home!

He is now almost 4 months old and is doing great!  He had an EEG when he was one month old and we were told that he was seizure free.  We were able to slowly take him off the phenobarbital.  The doctors told us that the brain damage that he had when he was born probably caused his brain to swell which caused the seizures.  Once the swelling went down, the seizures went away. 

He is now growing and developing well.  He loves to talk and laugh.  He is doing great at reaching for his toys with both hands and he is learning to roll over.  So far, the doctors say that he is on par with where he should be at this age.  Hopefully he will continue to amaze us! 

We are thankful to all of our friends and families who have offered countless prayers in his behalf.  We feel these prayers and know that they are helping him.  We are also thankful for the excellent medical team that took quick care of him when he was born.  We know the outcome could have been much worse if we weren't at a top notch hospital.

We feel blessed to have him in our lives! We are continually amazed at how deeply we fall in love with him on a daily basis!


Heidi said...

Love you all.

Lisa Louise said...

so glad to hear that he is doing so well!! I love hearing success stories like this :)

Cheryl and William said...

Reini and Jared, having had baby Jane in the NICU for only 2 days, I still cannot even begin to imagine the turmoil that would have caused you both. What a miracle that he is doing better and it is obvious yo me that he is a fighter for sure. Much love to all of you