Welcome to the world, little one!
Micah Jair Hanley
[who is like God] [he shines]
8 lbs, 10 oz
It wasn’t the easiest entry into the world, and little did we know just how appropriate his middle name would be.
At my last OB appointment, I measured 4 cm with regular, though weak, contractions. The doctor advised I call whoever I wanted around for delivery and to come to the hospital for an induction in the morning if it didn’t happen on its own before then. Please understand that my greatest concern for delivery was that I’d go into labor with my husband on the other side of the road, leaving me to have a baby on my own with five children. Everyone in my OB’s office knew this. I think they flagged my chart or something. Oh, and I live an hour from the hospital with a history of going from 7 cm to a new baby in about 15 minutes.
I know women all over the world have done it alone throughout history. But that isn’t me. Hospitals and epidurals suit me fine.
So anyway, I showed up for the induction and they got it going around 7AM. The contractions continued, but never got all that strong. Around 11, the nurse asked me where I thought I was at and honestly I’d had stronger Braxton Hicks than what I was feeling. But I was beginning to feel some pressure, so they checked me.
Eight centimeters. Eight! And apparently my water had broken at some point without any noticeable signs. There just wasn’t any membrane there anymore. It took another half hour to get to ten, and then it all just sort of stopped.
OK, so the contractions didn’t. But I pushed and pushed and pushed and nothing happened. He refused to move. Remember my history, now. Because yeah, I’m a wimp thinking this was hard and all, but the longest I’ve ever pushed is maybe five minutes. Three or four good pushes and I’m holding my baby. But not with Micah. I pushed for fifty minutes with him firmly lodged and showing no signs of descending further. I was tired. Until finally he decided he’d had enough and made it the rest of the way with two pushes.
And he was silent. The cord was wrapped around his neck and he was blue. It took some suctioning and patting before I finally got to hear that first cry. And then I got to hold him through the stitches and afterbirth.
Best anesthesia. Ever.
But the nurse kept harassing him, patting his back and keeping him crying. He was struggling a bit to breathe, but I was just so happy to have him in my arms, to look at him, to touch him, and to hear his cry.
But then they took him away. I caught glimpses of him between the nurses working him over. Measuring, listening, keeping him crying.
“He has some fluid in his lungs,” they said, “Probably from the quick delivery. Sometimes they inhale it when they come too fast.”
So they suctioned his lungs. And put him on an oxygen monitor. And gave him back to me.
And all seemed well. Except that little noise he made when he breathed. And the fact he wouldn’t nurse. But I guess if you had to make the choice between eating and breathing, you’d choose breathing, too.
“Some babies just struggle a little more to transition,” they told me every time they listened. “It’s just taking him a little longer.”
At 11 PM, I asked the nurse again to listen. He’d been making the little grunting noises for over an hour without a break. She called in another nurse who called in a nurse from the neonatal intensive care unit. And little Micah was transferred down to NICU.
By the time he was 12 hours old, he had his first IV, three blood draws and his first X-Ray. He was hooked up to monitors to track his heart rate, his respiration and his oxygen levels. And he was placed inside his little spaceship, where we had to reach through little holes to stroke his skin and comfort him.
While downstairs, I was glad they were taking it seriously. That he was being tested and monitored.
When I went back up to my room to get some of my things, however, he wasn’t there. I had to fight back tears because I didn’t know what was wrong. Was it something little that would resolve on its own? Or something more serious? Until his respiration came down to 60 or below, they wouldn’t even let me try to nurse him. So they tracked down a pump, and I wanted to cry again.
He had fluid in his lungs and a pneumothorax. At this point, it was probably good that the internet wasn’t working, because I only knew what they told me: he had a small pocket of air that had leaked from his lungs. Probably from the quick delivery. It would probably resolve on its own. But they had to rule out infection so they started him on antibiotics while waiting for the results from the blood culture.
I would have totally (and unnecessarily) freaked if I had realized that “pneomothorax” is more commonly known as “collapsed lung.”
By Sunday morning, I knew I was going to be released without him. I tried not to think about it. After all, it wasn’t like I had to leave. I got to sleep on a recliner and John got to sleep on a little couch right in Micah’s room. We could listen to his monitors beep all night and stroke him anytime we wanted.
But he had improved overnight and he was moved back to a regular bassinet. I could nurse him. I could hold him. And though it was a little awkward holding my wee little Micah hooked up with so many wires, he spent very little time out of my arms after that.
By Monday morning, there were rumors of him going home Tuesday.
By Monday evening, the pneumothorax and fluid in his lungs had resolved itself and there were no signs of infection in any of his bloodwork.
But then his bloodwork showed that he was having a reaction to my blood. Now, I’m A positive and he’s B negative. I don’t pretend to understand this stuff, but up until that moment, I thought the only issue was if the mom was rH negative. Apparently not, though problems are rare and not as severe.
And that meant increased risk of jaundice and of that jaundice becoming more severe.
So they started him on light therapy, and let me know he wouldn’t be going home until his biliruben levels stabilized.
All of our children have animal nicknames, mostly for the purpose of talking about them online. We had been calling little Micah Cricket. But we’re thinking of changing that to Glow Worm.
But his levels continued to rise. They added a light to his blanket. And while he seemed to enjoy his tanning salon, mom fretted.
They added a second light. And we had to wear shades to hold the little guy. Remember his middle name? Yeah, he shone alright.
But he finally turned the corner and his levels continued to decline, even while stepping off the light therapy. And Wednesday morning, we were allowed to take little Micah, our little Glow Worm, home to five anxious siblings who are beside themselves with joy over their new baby brother.
And I still hardly put him down. I know I’m going to have to share. My other children are begging to hold him. And I want them to hold him. But I also don’t want to let him go.