We woke up very early on May 10, 2013 to head to Johns Hopkins to meet our baby girl. We knew she had a brain hemorrhage and enlarged ventricles (hydrocephalus). I was 35 weeks pregnant and would have a procedure done to determine if she had a blood disorder on top of everything before she would be delivered or induced. If she had the condition, they would do a blood transfusion before an emergency c-section. If she didn’t, well, we wouldn’t have answers about the bleed, but we would know she could be delivered safely.
After a very long epidural insertion and a very long procedure trying to get Kelsey to remain still in the womb so they could insert an long needle through my stomach and into her liver to get a blood sample, it was determined that she did not have the blood disorder the doctors were concerned about. This was, of course, a good thing but while in the throws of all the action, it was a disappointment that we didn’t know what the problem was. Nevertheless, I was brought to, covered up and sent back to pre-op to wait for my c-section. At this point we had been at the hospital for about six hours.
We ended up having to wait even longer because another, more pressing patient came in and needed the operating room. Dave and my mom were very anxious, as were…come to find out…many friends and family members who were in close contact with them at the hospital. I was calm (numb!!) and didn’t feel the need to rush things. She was coming five weeks before her predicted birthday so what was the rush!? As long as she was in my belly, I didn’t have to face all the challenges I knew were to come.
Around noon, we went back to the OR again. I was given more meds and felt like I was an old pro on the metal table this time. I cannot say enough about the anesthesiologist who was assigned to my care. The obstetricians were also very caring and helpful, but they were focused on Kelsey…as they should have been. The anesthesiologist was focused on me, and on my comfort level. Later the blue screen you hear about in c-sections went up, the doctors told us it would be about an hour operation…and about five minutes later Kelsey was born! I was on that table for a long time but her arrival was QUICK, compared to what we were prepared for.
In the weeks between her diagnosis and the minutes before her birth, Dave and I were scared what Kelsey would look like. If you research hydrocephalus online you’ll find a world of information from SUPER scary to not-so-bad. We were worried about deformations, a large head and many unknowns. When the OB yelled, “Baby out!” we saw a beautiful, pink, skinny and perfect baby. Born on 5/10/13 (35 weeks) at 3:10pm weighing in at 5 lb. 10 oz. (how’s about that number luck?!). To the blind eye, you wouldn’t even notice the hydrocephalus, but her head was larger than the average 35 weeker, for sure. Initially she did need oxygen and the CPAP machine, but by the end of the night, tucked snug in the NICU, she was breathing on her own.
We were terrified but also relieved. She was here. She was no longer abstract. She had a long road ahead…one that would begin with surgery in the coming days. But for now, our fears were calmed by the beautiful sight of her.