Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21.

When I got pregnant with Buddy, we were so cautiously optimistic. He was my 5th pregnancy and we had no idea if we actually had a "keeper" or not. The doctor thought my progesterone levels may not be high enough so, I was on progesterone suppositories. This was after nearly two years of trying and using Clomid (a very mild fertility drug) and also after I had lost my right fallopian tube to an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

The odds were stacked against us. But we managed to make it work. After the 12 week mark, we felt much more confident. I was due on April 15 - a tax day baby!

At 18 weeks, I had the AFP test, a few weeks later than recommended. I'm not sure why. But, suffice to say I had the dreaded call to tell me that my numbers were "high" for neural tube defects - that means spina bifida or worse. I was told by the doctor who called (not my OB, but another guy in the practice - and I'm glad they're not associated anymore!) that I needed a level 2 ultrasound immediately because at 18 weeks, if I wanted to terminate, I needed to make the decision - NOW! WTF???

An evening of worry for the Evil Twin and I turned into a morning of relief as we found at the level 2 ultrasound that not only was our baby developing normally, but it was a BOY!

We were thrilled. I kind of always knew he'd be a boy. I remember my parents were also thrilled. He was the first grandchild for them!

On January 20, I had a regular OB appt. for my gestational diabetes test and some other blood work. Everything came out okay, except my iron was low. I would need to take an iron supplement.

On January 21, at exactly 28 weeks gestation, I hadn't felt him move much that morning. It worried me and I became more and more concerned as the day wore on. Everyone said, "Babies sleep - he's probably asleep." But, it nagged at me until I called my OB and requested an ultrasound.

When I got there, they did a non-stress test and said everything was fine, but the doctor on call wanted me to have a biophysical profile at the ultrasound department. I went down and the next thing I knew the high risk OB was called in.

In between my non stress test and biophysical profile, I did stop to use the pay phone to call the Evil Twin. He decided to meet me at the hospital. Good thing that he did.

The doctor knew the baby was in severe distress and thought the cord was wrapped around his neck. We had no option but an admission and an emergency c-section.

I was three months from my due date.

They pulled out Buddy - all blue and purple and all. His APGAR score was one (1). A zero (0) is a stillborn.

The cord was fine, so they sent it all off for biopsy. It turns out, my placenta had aged to a full term pregnancy and was shutting down before time.

It wouldn't be until a few years later that we would learn I have a weird blood clotting disorder which causes frequent miscarriages.

Buddy was born at 28 weeks gestation. He weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces. He spent 9 days on the ventilator and 48 days (6.5 weeks) in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Here he is at 4 days old:

And I do this poem every year... it sums up things well.

Jefferey's Poem
By Garrison Keillor

When I first saw you, kid, you were tiny and thin,
And slimy and red and your head was mushed in,
I says to your mother, "He looks kind of sloppy,
And two pounds four ounces ain't big for a crappie."

But something about you, the look in your eyes,
Said you fully intended to grow to full size,
They slapped your backside and you let out a cry,
And I said, "We will keep him, at least we shall try."

Some babies are born in nine months, by the clock,
Some babies are born, and they sit up and talk,
Some babies are born, and no doctor is there.
Some babies are born, on a wing and a prayer.

Poor little fetus, as big as your hand,
Poor little fish thrown up on dry land,
Who came in April, though he had till July,
Too small to live and too precious to die.

They shipped you downstairs to the big Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit's computerized cradle
And attached you to wires and stuck you with tubes
Monitored closely by digital cubes.

And thanks to the latest neonatal therapeusis
And regular basting with greases from gooses
And hot chicken soup intravenously fed
You did not fade away, you grew up instead.

We'll always remember those months that you spent
With tubes in your head in the oxygen tent
And the mask on your face with the wires attached,
Sweet little boy who was only half-hatched.

I'm sure you'll grow up to mature and extend,
To six feet six inches and become a tight end,
But I'll always remember each doctor and nurse in
The NICU who helped make you a person,
The kid who crash landed, who was carried away,
Who survived it, this bundle we bring home today.

Happy 11th Birthday, Buddy! You've brought so much joy to your dad and me - our lives wouldn't be the same if it weren't for you. Thank you for the experiences!


  1. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

    One of my nephews was born at 30 weeks...and he too is going to be 11 this year. Truly amazing how strong and determined such wee little babes can be. I hope you all enjoy his birthday =0)

  2. OM gosh, I don't think I knew this! So glad all worked out and he's celebrating 11 wonderful years with ya'll!! Happy Birthday Buddy :)

  3. That made me cry.

    Happy birthday, Buddy!

  4. Happy Birthday Buddy!!! Nothing like making a big entrance, I like the way he rolls! :) Of course scaring you guys that much wasn't very nice of him.

  5. You are blessed and sure you already know that! Happy Birthday Buddy!

  6. A fighter, that little man of yours...and a sweetie to boot. (I'm sure he'd LOVE to know I called him a "sweetie" on the internet ;)

    Happy Birthday, Buddy :) (And a happy day to you and ET as well!)

  7. Oh gosh, he was so tiny!

    Happy birthday, Buddy!

  8. Happy Birthday Buddy!! It seems that the "littlest" ones are the best fighters. (In a good way.)

  9. Happy Birthday Buddy !!!!!!!!!!

    I am a sobbing mess. That poem was so beautiful. I'm going to pass it on to my cousin (if you don't mind) her baby was born 3 months early and almost did make it numerous times. Morgan is 3 years old this May.

    I think Little Buddy has his own angel on his side !

  10. Heartwarming story and poem.

    Happy Birthday big man! :D

  11. Hard to believe it has been eleven years!

    Happy birthday to Buddy, and I hope you all have a great day!

  12. Wonderful outcome to a scary story. It's one of those events that you thought you'd never survive but now can't imagine it any other way. Happy birthday Buddy!

  13. My mom is a NICU nurse. She worked at Women's and Children's up until 3 years ago. (Parents moved to Kansas 3 years ago). I wonder if she was one of your nurses? Cindy McChesney

  14. I think I'm having an extremely emotional day...because that honestly made me cry. It's the "what if's" in life that can drive you crazy. Here Buddy is 11 years old..but what if....

    What a great day to celebrate...Happy Birthday Buddy!

  15. Ah, ETW, that's a GREAT story! The miracle of love!!!

    I'm so happy buddy is a healthy child - he has a wonderful and loving set of parents - what a lucky kid!

  16. That really gives me hope, ETW. We have a lot in common!

    I also am a "one-tube wonder" - heh heh. (mine was for a dermoid cyst - I was trying to aesexually bud, apparently :)

    Nina almost died because she was too big and they tried to induce a vag birth rather than the c-section. She was also born blue.

    I am so glad that you have Buddy as your personal miracle. Please tell him happy birthday from us!!

  17. Happy Birthday!!! The "miracle baby" has grown to be a fine young man. Here's 11 licks and one to grow on. :)

  18. I never knew that before. What a miracle!! Happy Birthday, Buddy!

  19. Happy Birthday Buddy!

    He was truly a miracle baby!

  20. He, obviously, was meant to be.

    COngratulations to all!

  21. Happy Birthday, Buddy! I was born 9 weeks early, and I turned out PERFECT! other than Asthma...thanks grandpa for that genetic disease hand-me-down!

  22. What a wonderful story with such an incredibly happen ending. I believe Buddy is destined for greatness. Thanks for sharing his story with us. And, most importantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUDDY!!! Have a wonderful day!!!

  23. What an incredible little guy. Thanks for sharing the story. Happy Birthday to Buddy! Have a graet day.

  24. Oh Wow, ETW....what an incredible story!

    Happy Birthday to Buddy!!!!!!!

  25. How sad and beautiful! God has blessed you profoundly with your two children.

  26. Happy birthday to your precious boy! That picture brought back so many memories - I know exactly what you have been through. It doesn't matter how big and grown up they get, they are a miracle...every day :o)

  27. Wow!!!

    That one made me dig in my purse for the hankie.

    Happy Birthday, Buddy! And happiness to you, too, Mom, on such a special day.

  28. So touching!! Happy Birthday little Buddy! :)

  29. What an awesome story!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Beautiful poem.

    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!

  30. That is just an incredible story and poem ETW ! So amazing you could find a poem to fit Buddy so well.

    You two were very lucky, and I think Buddy is just as lucky to have parents like you two!

  31. Hmmmm...was on here earlier, left a comment (or so I thought), came back to see the others and there's no comment from me.
    So anyway, Happy B. Day to your little man!
    I am so happy he's perfect. It is amazing to think of all the things that could have been, and thankfully are not. I have a hard time looking at the pictures of my 28 weeker, it makes me cry every time. *Hugs and kisses*

  32. Made me cry too.
    Happy Birthday Buddy!!
    And Happy Birth Day Mommy!

  33. Happy Birthday, Buddy! It's hard to imagine that our Buddy is already growing the peach fuzz. Time flies so quickly.

  34. What a sweet story. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

  35. Happy Birthday Buddy!

    It's amazing what medical care and science can do. But I also think that your love had something to do with it as well! *hugs*

  36. I hvaen't been by lately, ETW. But knowing Sissy and my gal were both sick today, stopped over to see what you had to say.. I'm glad to not have missed this post. The poem is great!

    Happy Birthday (belated) buddy!!