Sunday started out like any other day, well, besides being on day 4 of our hospitalization. Due to my sassiness the night before, and my hesitation at staying longer in the hospital, Dr. Pates had requested that Dr. Wagner round with me first that morning. Jeff had to leave early that morning to deal with our cable hookup at the new place (#priorities) so my mom had come by to hang out with me.
Overnight, my blood pressure had started to spike into the danger zone (up into the 160s/100s), which required me to go on IV medication, and bumped by mild preeclampsia up into the severe preeclampsia range. Dr. Wagner explained that this would require in-patient monitoring, until I delivered. I called Jeff and cried about it, and then basically got over it.
Dr. Wagner was so thorough in explaining everything to me. They really have no idea how fast any of these situations will escalate, but he informed me on the criteria that the doctors use to decide when they would need to deliver Brady. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, liver function, and kidney function were the main concerns. They took labs, and everything looked fine. Dr. Wagner said I looked great and that he didn’t sense that I would need to deliver that day, but also said that he’s seen things escalate quickly. I seriously questioned his assessment of my “great” look, since I was unshowered and looked pretty rough by my standards, but I digress.
Since Jeff wasn’t able to be there for the conversation with Dr. Wagner that morning, we had the doctor stop back in for a “quick” version once Jeff was able to make it back to the hospital. We had a laugh over the term “quick” since he spent a good 20+ minutes explaining everything to us again. He is a seriously great doctor, and we had so much trust in him.
I hadn’t been allowed to eat until later that morning, due to waiting on lab results, and I got some killer heartburn. I couldn’t get it to go away, even with eating (which normally works for me), so I asked my nurse for some medication. Even that wasn’t working… so I asked her for something for the pain. I should’ve known at this point that things were going south. I’m not typically someone who complains much about pain, and I’m not a big fan of taking medications.
I tried to nap, watch TV, rest… but nothing would make the pain go away. I was feeling so uncomfortable and miserable, and was also starting to feel a little nervous, since all indications had been that I wouldn’t be delivering anytime soon. Having to feel pain like this for weeks on end seemed daunting.
Around dinnertime that evening, the nurse came in and said they wanted to do another lab to see how my liver was doing. My liver enzymes had been slightly elevated that morning, but not yet at dangerous levels, so they wanted to make sure I was still doing okay considering the pain I was experiencing. They told me to order my dinner and that they’d hold it until my results came back.
The nurse came in a few minutes after the labs were drawn, and said that she needed to take my water so I “wouldn’t be tempted” and that Dr. Wagner would be by in a few minutes to explain. We knew what this meant, without even needing to talk to the doctor. Brady was going to make a seriously early arrival! Despite how premature he would be, I felt so excited to get to meet our little man.
Sure enough, Dr. Wagner came by a few minutes later, with his surgical hat already on, and the rest is a blur. I remember him saying, “Remember how I said things can change quickly?” My preeclampsia had escalated to HELLP syndrome and my liver was on the struggle bus. My nurse got swapped for a labor and delivery nurse, the anesthesiology team came by to explain the spinal block I would be getting, and Jeff got changed into his blue suit. We snapped a couple of awkward “about to go into surgery” photos and off I went, Jeff-less. They take mom away first, get everything and everyone situated, and then come back for dad. The nurse assured Jeff that she had never forgotten a dad, but it also meant he had some alone time while me and Brady were getting all the attention. He was (obviously) really nervous, and he may or may not have taken that opportunity to chug a beer 😉
Soon, my team was ready, Brady’s team was ready (they have a NICU team next door to take him right away), and Jeff was by my side. I prepared myself for the fact that Brady probably wouldn’t cry. At just 26 weeks 5 days gestation, his lungs were far from being fully developed. They started operating, and it seemed like an eternity before they announced that baby Brady had arrived at 8:06 pm. He let out a few of the tiniest little cries I had ever heard, but he was crying! It sounded like a cross between a kitten’s mews and the sound that a super quiet goat would make. It was the sweetest sound I have ever heard. Dr. Wagner asked if Jeff wanted to peek over the curtain at Brady, and he surprised himself by taking a look. He had thought that he wouldn’t, but I guess getting to sneak a peek at his son was pretty tempting! It was only seconds before they whisked Brady away and had him in the care of the NICU team.
Everything went well with Brady, and it wasn’t long before they were wheeling him past me in his little isolette. He was total perfection! I couldn’t believe how amazing he was – and that he was all ours! They were still working on getting me stitched up, and I needed to go to recovery, so Jeff left and went with our little man to the NICU. He got to talk to the doctor, who shared a ton of information with him. Most of which he does not remember. Jeff remembers stopping her and asking “What are his odds?” and she replied “Oh, honey, like 95%! I see him going home with you.”
After they got me stitched up, they brought me to a recovery room, where I was required to hang out for a couple of hours. I got a text from Jeff with a picture of our little 1 lb. 1 oz., 11 inch long badass. I couldn’t believe how adorable he was. It was complete love at first sight. I will never forget that photo – his tiny white hat, gray star-speckled eye cover, and the teeniest preemie XS diaper that somehow still looked enormous on him.
It was when I was in recovery that I finally got to text some people and let them know that Brady had made his unexpected arrival. Everything moved so fast that we hadn’t even had an opportunity to tell our parents that Brady was going to make his early arrival.
Once my two hours were up, the nurse wheeled me into Brady’s room in the NICU. My mom, dad, sister, and Jeff’s dad all popped in for a quick visit that was totally against the rules. They let it slide for that night. Our families had known that we were planning to name our little man Brady, but we had kept his middle name a secret. We proudly announced that we’d chosen the name Brady John, after my dad. My dad, John, has two daughters and never got to name a son after himself. Jeff and I were so honored to name our son after his grandpa!
Brady amazed his doctors and nurses from the very start. Due to his growth restriction, he was about the size of a 23-weeker, but moved around and had the feistiness of a 27-weeker. We knew then that our little Brady John wouldn’t be anything short of incredible.