What a week it has been for the Day family. We have been asked by many of our friends and family members about the details of Christian’s early arrival and I have taken the time to compile an extensive description of what occurred and what we anticipate moving forward.
Thursday, Dec 15
We went in for our routine 35 week check up, expecting the usual 5-10 minute appointment. Little did we realize that our life was about to get turned upside down! I had been suffering with swelling for the past few weeks but to that point the doctor was unconcerned and my body had shown no other signs of distress. However, when they took my blood pressure they found that it was high and also discovered that I had protein in my urine. I was diagnosed with toxemia and preeclampsia, for which the only cure is delivery. They drew my blood and performed a stress test on the baby to determine whether we had to deliver that day or not.
I was immediately sent home on bed rest and was told that, based on the test results, I would receive a call in a couple hours telling me either to come back to have the baby that day OR to stay on bed rest and be reevaluated the next morning. I can’t tell you how thrilled we were to get the call that the test results were clear and that we had at least one more night to prepare before we would become parents. Kerry spent the day running errands, cleaning the house and packing our bags while I tried helplessly not to stress out.
Friday, Dec 16
We arrived back at the hospital for a 9:20AM appointment Friday morning and waited anxiously for the doctor who was running an hour late while delivering another baby. Unfortunately when he arrived he informed us that my blood pressure was even higher than before and that I had even more protein in my urine. A quick ultrasound also revealed that Christian was breech and would need to be delivered via C-section. I was immediately wheeled down to labor & delivery to wait for an open operating room. By 1:50PM we were walking back to meet our son, still in shock at the events that were unfolding.
The surgery went smoothly and at 2:07PM Christian James Day entered the world weighing 5lbs 7oz and measuring 20.5” long. He gave us a little scare when it took him a while to start breathing but we were finally met with the sweet sound of his cry. He spent his first couple minutes held by Kerry next to my head before father and son were taken upstairs to the Intensive Care Nursery (NICU) while I remained in surgery. It became quickly apparent from his moaning and labored breathing that Christian was experiencing respiratory distress. As such he was required to stay upstairs in the NICU while I was downstairs recovering.
Saturday Dec 17
Around 3AM, Christian’s oxygen saturation deteriorated to the point that he needed nasal cannula for breathing support. Throughout the day his stats continued to diminish, resulting in the nasal cannula being replaced with a CPAP machine, a pressurized oxygen device meant to help keep his lungs from collapsing. While this was helpful it was still insufficient to support Christian’s immature lungs. The doctor finally decided to intubate him and insert surfactin into his lungs (surfactin is a substance that mature lungs naturally produce that helps the lungs expand and contract with less effort). This finally made his breathing less laborsome and his vitals began to stabilize. After what seemed like an eternity since I had last seen my baby, I was wheeled to the NICU where I was able to observe but not hold him.
Sunday Dec 18
After a tumultuous first few days, Christian turned the corner on Sunday and started to show signs of improvement. He was still too unstable to be held for long but we were relieved to see him begin to recover.
That afternoon someone from my class dropped off Christmas presents that the students would have given me had I not given birth the day before Christmas break. It was a joy to be distracted momentarily with amazing little gifts and cards from my students.
Monday, Tues, Weds / Dec 19-21
The last few days have brought great relief as we have seen the prayers of so many begin to be answered. Christian has been taken off of the CPAP machine and moved back to the less burdensome nasal cannula and today he was taken out of the incubator and moved to a crib. He has been tolerating his feedings although he is still taking breast milk through a feeding tube while he tries to muster up the strength and energy to feed on his own. We are praying that he will have the nasal cannula removed in the next day or two, at which point the biggest challenge will be to get him eating on his own.
We anticipate we will be discharged sometime between Christmas and New Years and, while spending your first holidays with a newborn baby in the hospital is not ideal, we could not ask for a better Christmas present. We serve a faithful and merciful God who does not abandon his children and we pray that these hardships in the midst of joy would be instrumental in bringing glory and honor to the name of Jesus.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14