Huck | 9 Months

Stats:

  • Birth – 3035 grams | 6 lbs 11 oz
  • 1 Month – 3950 grams | 8 lbs 11 oz
  • 2 Months – 4420 grams | 9 lbs 11 oz
  • 3 Months – 5620 grams | 12 lbs 6 oz
  • 4 Months – 5889 grams | 12 lbs 15 oz
  • 5 Months – 6840 grams | 15 lbs 1 oz
  • 6 Months – 7530 grams | 16 lbs 10 oz
  • 7 Months – approx. 17 lbs
  • 8 Months – 18 lbs even
  • 9 Months – 18 lbs 10 oz

Wearing size 4 diapers comfortably and all 9-12 month clothes. I feel like he’s growing like a weed, and is SO strong. Daddy says it looks like he has muscles.

Eating: Huck has been doing really well on the nutramigen. I’m always surprised at how decently he eats, because nutramigen smells like dog food, but he likes it, so whatever works! He’s also eating anything we give him – baby food or big people food. Seems to prefer big people food over baby food but the other day, put down two of the baby food pouches back to back. And then another later in the day. Plus all normal bottles. 😳 He’s still taking several bottles throughout the night, but I’m hoping to wean those soon.

Food Likes:

  • Puffs
  • Cheerios
  • Eggs
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Peanut Butter is his fave

No major food dislikes yet. He makes funny faces for most fruits but still eats them

Sleep: The biggest change for sleep is that we just moved him to his crib. He’s still waking up 2-3 times a night to eat but I usually sleep a little bit more solid between wake ups since I don’t hear every little sound he makes anymore. I’m hoping he starts sleeping through the night one day.. this momma is so tired.

Milestones:

  • Can sit himself back up from crawling
  • Crawling on all fours occasionally
  • Army crawling super fast
  • Pulling up on anything and everything
  • Cruising the furniture
  • Can stand unassisted if you trick him into thinking he’s holding out to something
  • Just started walking behind the walker toy
  • Cut tooth number seven

Medical Milestones:

We went back in January to the cardiologist for a check up and another echo. He was super calm and they were able to enough to get a good look at his arch and they determined that it wasn’t narrowing and everything looked great! We got released to visits every six months and we weaned one more med. Which left us on one daily med, that he’ll be on long term.

We had our physical therapy evaluation for his torticollis and they confirmed he has it, but it’s very mild. We got some exercises for home and they recommended we see PT once a week for a few months. We haven’t started yet but I’m hoping it’s a fast recovery and a few months is a stretch.

Likes:

  • Eating big people food
  • Whitlee
  • Maggie (our dog)
  • Any dog, really
  • Being outside, always
  • Riding in the car
  • Pulling hair
  • Baths
  • Trucks
  • Anything that lights up or makes noise
  • Snuggling with a blanket
  • Being held
  • Standing up
  • Screaming at the top of his lungs

Dislikes:

  • Being cold
  • Being fed, wants to do it himself
  • Having a dirty diaper, he wants to be changed almost immediately
  • Getting his face wiped
  • His head being rubbed

I can’t believe it’s already been 9 months and that we’re rolling up on a year old so quickly. I’ve started planning his first birthday and we’re looking forward to moving out of the baby stage. We’re betting he’s walking pretty soon, which is a tad on the early side, but sister walked around 9 months, too.

Happy 9 months, little guy! We love you so much and you are the perfect completion to our family. ❤️

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The Day Everything Changed

Today marks one year ago that we got confirmation of Huck’s heart with the fetal cardiologist. But the day everything changed was January 20. That day, we made that hopeful drive to Galveston, praying there was some mistake. That maybe our normal OB’s ultrasound machine wasn’t clear enough. Or maybe Huck was just laying weird and they couldn’t get a good shot of a whole heart. I remember thinking, “This isn’t really happening. This doesn’t happen to people like us. This is all just a mistake. A fluke.” While we sat on the ferry, we didn’t get out and sightsee like most people do. Instead, we sat in the car and googled heart defects. We knew what worst case scenarios were and we read words like “mortality rates” and “survival rates”. We vaguely knew what hypoplastic left heart syndrome was and we knew that a single ventricle defect still has mortality rates. I had a copy of the insurance paperwork from my OB’s office but I couldn’t make myself look at it because I was scared of what it might say. I didn’t know it until much later but the diagnosis codes were listed there, one of which was “apparent life threatening event”. We went to that appointment hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.

They called us back and we had the most in depth ultrasound ever. The tech took the time to show Nolan the things he’d never really gotten to see before, chatting with us the whole time. We saw his hands and fingers, feet and toes, his face and lips, all of his bones. And when she switched over to his heart for the echo, she went dead silent. We squeezed each other’s hands and we knew something was wrong.

They told us before that appointment that we would have the scan and then the maternal fetal medicine doctor would talk to us – good or bad, we would have answers before we left. The tech got up and left the room and we talked about how strong his heart looked. That there was one part that was just ticking away, so strong. We found out later that was his one good valve, which was strong. The doctor came in, sat down right in front of us so that he was at eye level, and said “we think your baby has hypoplastic left heart syndrome”. I swear it was like something in a movie. It felt like everything got really fuzzy around the edges and I was hearing him but I was simultaneously scrolling through my brain of everything I’d read about HLHS and how everything in our life just shifted. In one sentence, our world changed.

We were told that we would be referred to a fetal cardiologist, who confirmed HLHS one year ago today, but like most of you know, we later found out with our rockstar fetal cardiologist at Texas Children’s that Huck has his own rare combination of defects making up his single ventricle physiology. He’s not a straightforward HLHS baby; he has most of the same characteristics, but with a few additional defects complications. (As a reminder, Huck had ventricular inversion with a hypoplastic left-sided right ventricle, tricuspid atresia, a hypoplastic aortic arch, congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries, a vsd, an asd, and a very large pda. On paper it was listed as 7 different defects.)

We left there in rough shape. I don’t think we’d ever been so sad before in our life. I remember we tried to eat lunch but neither of us had much of an appetite. We were driving down the seawall in Galveston and I think we both saw him at the same time. I heard Nolan say “oh no” but it was too late. I’d already seen him. There was a dad waiting to cross the street, with a happy little baby boy in his arms. Something relatively small, but we both completely lost it. Nolan was on the phone with his dad and he just handed me the phone and I managed to choke out that we’d call them back. We had no idea how we were going to make it through this. But here we are, one year later and we’ve survived so far. And we’re home and happy and Huck is doing great, all things considered.

Yesterday he had a cardiology appointment and an echo to recheck the potential arch narrowing and his heart function. I’m so relieved that we found out that his echo showed almost zero gradient in his arch, which means no narrowing and no cath lab! His ventricle function is still the same – mildly depressed – and that may either stay the same or may still return at some point. His cardiologist was able to check out his consistent retracting that we’ve been noticing for a while, even when he’s very clearly not in distress, and she determined it’s not from respiratory distress, but mechanical from the way his sternum and ribcage healed from his two surgeries. We’re weaning his enalapril, discusses plans for the future, talked a little about his Fontan, and got released to visits every 6 months. Oh, and his saturations were holding steady at 89! I’ve been so anxious for this appointment, especially with it basically being the one year mark from THE day, but I left there feeling like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

This time last year was so hard on us. But this year, things are looking pretty bright. ❤️

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Huck | 5 Months & 6 Months

Well it finally happened. The inevitable second kid problem where you don’t have nearly the time you had with the first kid and you almost miss TWO months of posts. But I’m finally getting 5 and 6 months posted just in time for 7 months.

Stats:

Birth – 3035 grams | 6 lbs 11 oz

1 Month – 3950 grams | 8 lbs 11 oz

2 Months – 4420 grams | 9 lbs 11 oz

3 Months – 5620 grams | 12 lbs 6 oz

4 Months – 5889 grams | 12 lbs 15 oz

5 Months – 6840 grams | 15 lbs 1 oz

6 Months – 7530 grams | 16 lbs 10 oz – 32nd percentile! 🙌🏼

Well since I last posted at four months, we went from size 2 diapers up to size 3 diapers and he pretty much blew right through 6 month clothes within a few weeks and we’ve moved on to at least 6-9 and a lot of 9 month clothes. Baby boy is growing!

Eating: Whew, so much has changed since my last post. We were still inpatient at that time and eating was Huck’s biggest obstacle to be discharged home. He was really struggling with acid reflux and vomiting large volumes of milk. He was still on breastmilk but my supply completely crashed a couple of months ago so he was on the back stash I had pumped for him. We finally ended up doing an upper GI study to check for a few things and another heart mom pointed out in a blog post, it sounds odd, but we prayed for a bad outcome. Because a “bad” outcome means there’s an answer and a reason for his struggles with eating. And a reason typically comes with a solution. In our case, Huck’s GI study showed that his stomach wasn’t emptying properly and he was actively refluxing at random times. This meant that his poor motility was causing him to reflux more and was most likely causing his disinterest in eating. We started him on a motility agent and slowly but surely, he started eating more, keeping it down, was able to come off tpn and lipids, and eventually ate enough to earn his ticket out of the hospital!

Since we have been home, we transitioned from the last of my breastmilk to Enfamil Gentlease. We had a good experience with EG with Whitlee, so it was familiar territory to us. Huck did okay, but he still seemed so uncomfortable while eating and I know him well enough to know he was still silently refluxing. He had stopped spitting up but he still had all of the signs. Another heart mom had told me that they had tried a European formula and her daughter loved it. I did some research on the difference in European formulas and American formulas, how to actually get it, and decided to give it a try. In the first week, Huck’s entire disposition changed. He was much happier, seemed so much more comfortable, stopped looking so reflux-y and his bowel movements even changed back to looking like breastfed baby poop. We have been on this formula for a while now and loving it! I’ll probably make a separate post about the details but if you’re curious about anything, feel free to ask! We chose to go with Holle Stage 1 and tried the Stage 2 but he seemed to prefer the Stage 1, so we went back.

We also started baby food between five and six months and he loves the vegetables and does not care for the fruits at all. He really likes to eat but I’m a little worried about the constipation that seems to be coming with it. I’ve been reading up on probiotics and we may start that if we get the all clear from our doctor and cardiologist.

Sleep: We finally seem to be making some progress in this department. At our first visit with his cardiologist, who is very well versed in single ventricle babies, she asked about his disposition and certain behaviors. We told her about how fussy he is and that you really can’t leave him to play for even a couple of minutes without him losing his mind. She reminded us that in the interstage for single ventricles, they absolutely cannot let them cry (their BT shunt is so dependent on different variables and crying can cause restriction to his lungs), so any time he ever made a sound, someone was always there to comfort him – rock, pat, shush, bounce, etc. So when you are post Glenn and stable, there’s a whole new world for these babies where they can actually cry without it being life threatening. She said that it’s one of the most common concerns she hears from single ventricle heart parents, that their babies cry so much and it’s exhausting having to constantly console them. So she not only gave us permission, but encouraged us to start letting him cry it out a little. Self soothing and entertaining themselves with toys is a learned behavior from a very young age, and he never had that opportunity, so here we are at 5/6 months with a baby that has no idea what to do with himself. We attempted the same mild version of cry it out that we did with Whitlee and he at least will put himself to sleep now. He still wakes up one million four-six times a night to eat, but it is what it is. Whitlee didn’t sleep through the night until 18 months, so I guess that’s evidence that we’ll get there eventually.

Milestones: Rolling like crazy

  • Standing with support
  • Sitting unassisted longer stretches
  • Self weaned his swaddle (thank God for that. Weaning it with Whitlee was a nightmare.)
  • First baby food
  • First trip to Galveston and rode on the ferry
  • First Halloween – he and Whitlee were both puppies, per her request!

Medical Milestones:Finally discharged from the hospital just before 5 months!

  • Had our first outpatient cardiologist visit and echo – ventricle function has remained the same (mildly depressed), but his arch may be narrowing again. We go back in January to check again.
  • Weaned several medications
  • Got his first round of vaccinations
  • Got his flu shot at 6 Months
  • Got approved and received his first synagis shot (rsv prevention)
  • Had his first hospital readmission for a random virus that had him running fever and a high white blood cell count, the day of 5 months. Thankful to report it ended up just running its course and being done. Sats and blood pressure all held steady throughout.

Likes: Being held

  • Eating
  • Whitlee
  • Maggie (our dog)
  • Riding in the car
  • Baths
  • Vegetable baby food
  • Big people food – constantly trying to eat my food
  • Chewing on anything!
  • Snuggling with a blanket

Dislikes:Diaper changes

  • Lovenox shots
  • Being strapped into his car seat, totally fine once he’s in and the car is moving
  • Fruit baby food

Whew! Life has been so hectic. Actually, I think hectic is the understatement of the year. But even on our craziest days, we are so incredibly grateful for the gift of our two babies.

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Huck Inlow! We are so proud and so blessed with every day we get with you. Forever thankful for life at home together as a family. ❤️

Five & Six Month Photos

Huck | 4 Months


Late posting, as usual! But in our defense, with Huck’s last surgery and recovery, things have been a little hectic!

Stats:

  • Birth – 3035 grams | 6 lbs 11 oz
  • 1 Month – 3950 grams | 8 lbs 11 oz
  • 2 Months – 4420 grams | 9 lbs 11 oz
  • 3 Months – 5620 grams | 12 lbs 6 oz
  • 4 Months – 5889 grams | 12 lbs 15 oz

He is wearing size 2 diapers and currently not wearing clothes since he just had his Glenn surgery. Was wearing 3-6 months right before though! He has almost completely outgrown 3 month onesies.

Eating: Huck was eating anywhere from 120-150 mls per bottle, every 3-4 hours up until the point he went for pre Glenn cath lab at around 3 1/2 months. After that, he developed necrotizing entercolitis (NEC) and was put on bowel rest and antibiotics for 14 days. They ran IV nutrition during that time. He was released to restart feeds the Sunday after his Glenn and we started with 15 mls and are up to 30, but so far he is not tolerating his feeds very well. He has taken 7 bottles in the last 24 hours and puked up the entire volume of 3 of them. Eating is the main thing he has to figure out again post op in order to be able to go home.

Sleep: Again, pre Glenn, he had a pretty decent routine, but it kind of all went out the window post op. He is starting to sleep more at night and nap less during the day, though. He still sleeps a lot in the mamaroo which helps his reflux, but will also sleep pretty decent in his bed at a pretty steep incline. I’m still brainstorming ideas for sleep when we go home.. pretty sure we will be getting a mamaroo, but trying to think of other options too. We had an arms reach co sleeper that I’m trying to figure out if there’s a safe way to elevate the head of it. If you have any ideas, let me know! He will be sleeping in our room for quite a while because I’ll be a nervous wreck for … oh, the next 18 years.

Milestones: He rolled belly to back a few more times before he went back on chest precautions post op, and when he’s on his back, he rocks really hard to one side. Wants so badly to flip to his tummy! Has really great head control and can sit unassisted for up to 20-30 seconds!

He also went through his first hurricane. We are still in Houston, so we were here throughout Hurricane Harvey and it was pretty intense here for a little bit.

Medical Milestones: He had his Glenn on September 7! This was his second open heart surgery. Post op recovery is going well! He was extubated the day after surgery and has been on room air since then. We have been working on getting back up to full feeds so that he can get off tpn and lipids and hopefully go home! His reflux is back with a vengeance so we’re trying to work around that. He is still on lovenox shots, clonidine, a diuretic, reflux meds, diazepam, and methadone for opiod withdrawals, but we are actively weaning methadone. They turned milrinone off a few days post op. So far, labs look good and indicate a successful Glenn!

Currently satting in the high 70’s to mid 80’s, heartrate is 120-150, blood pressure is usually 90s/40s.

Likes:

  • Being held / rocked / snuggled
  • Mamaroo
  • Watching videos of sister
  • Watching movies, really likes Sing
  • Being tickled
  • Listening to Elvis
  • When you blow kisses at him
  • The lights that reflect off his monitors
  • Warm bottles
  • Chewing on toys
  • Field trips out of the hospital room

Dislikes:

  • Diaper changes
  • Picc line dressing changes
  • Baths
  • Lovenox shots
  • Getting his blood pressure taken
  • Getting his temperature taken
  • Being listened to with the stethoscope
  • Pretty much anything hospital related anymore, haha
  • Pacifier
  • Being restrained in any way

Whew, another month down. 123 days in the hospital and 128 days in Houston.. we are so ready to go home. We basically missed the whole summer being down here with Huck and we’re ready to get out of here, get back to the country, and enjoy the fall. Even though our stay has been long, I couldn’t imagine how things would be if we were anywhere else but TCH. We’ve now seen what happens with babies that start out where we were supposed to start out (that’s a story for another day), so that alone makes us thankful to be here, but we are also so thankful for how so many people have taken what seems to be a special interest in our boy and our whole family. I’ll actually miss a LOT of people when we finally go home!

Huck Inlow, you are so loved! I hope one day I can explain to you how much not only your daddy, sister, and I love you, but how much our entire community and family and friends and nurses and doctors and PCA’s and therapists and complete strangers love you. You have so many people supporting you and we have been shown so much kindness from all of those people. I hope you always know that kindness. And I hope you know how many people have rooted for you, prayed for you, and fought for you. You have love from and support from all over!

Happy 4 months baby boy! We can’t wait to show you the world!

Huck | 3 Months


Stats: 

  • Birth – 3035 grams | 6 lbs 11 oz
  • 1 Month – 3950 grams | 8 lbs 11 oz
  • 2 Months – 4420 grams | 9 lbs 11 oz
  • 3 Months – 5620 grams | 12 lbs 6 oz | 62 cm

He is wearing size 2 diapers and mostly 3 month clothes, but a few of those are starting to get snug length wise. He basically just blew right through that size.

Eating: Huck is currently eating 85-100 mls of breastmilk (roughly about 3 ounces, give or take a few mls) about every 3-4 hours. He was made NPO (nothing by mouth) for a week due to a bloody poopy diaper and that hindered his volume capacity a little but he’s finally doing a lot better.

Sleep: His daytime sleep is still fairly consistent. He’s normally sleeps until about 8 AM, gets a bottle, then meds, and lovenox about 9 AM, takes a shortish nap, gets his weight done, a bath, and lead sticker change, followed by another bottle and meds, then a really long nap from about 12-2/3. He’s usually awake and happy around 3 PM where he will eat/play/cat nap until around 5:30. He’s been eating less and sleeping more at night which the doctors and I are both good with. He’ll normally eat again about 9 PM, sleep a good stretch, eat again around 2-3 AM and sleep another good stretch.

He still sleeps a lot in the mamaroo which helps his reflux a lot, but will also sleep pretty decent in his bed, in his “nest” that they make for him.

Milestones: He rolled belly to back for the first time and has had a few little laughs! He also sits up assisted and can control his head and body really well.

Medical Milestones: Thankfully, nothing has changed majorly since 2 months. Currently still inpatient on the CVICU heart failure unit while we wait on our Glenn surgery. We will be here until then. He is on milrinone and clonidine + reflux medications + a twice daily diuretic. He is not on any respiratory support at the moment and taking all feeds by mouth. He is finally off tpn and lipids, but still getting therapeutic doses of lovenox for a blood clot in his picc line. The Glenn should be happening in the next few weeks!

Likes:

  • Being held / rocked
  • The mamaroo
  • His playmat
  • Anything with lights and sound
  • The bumbo chair
  • Warm milk
  • Listening to Elvis (it seriously calms him down immediately)

Dislikes:

  • Diaper changes
  • Picc line dressing changes
  • Baths
  • Lovenox shots
  • People messing with his feet

I can’t believe this little guy is already a quarter of a year old. It seems like it’s both flown by and crawled by. I love getting to know him and spending time with him and seeing him with his daddy and his sister. His next surgery should be very soon and if everything goes as planned, we should be home not too long after that. For the first time, all four of us will be together under one roof. I can’t hardly wait! ❤️

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Huck | Two Months


Stats: Well Huck was born at 3035 grams which converts to 6 lbs 11 oz and was 3950 grams at one month which converts to 8 lbs 11 oz and now we’re sitting at 4420 grams which converts to 9 lbs 11 oz. So he gained two pounds exactly in his first month and one pound exactly in his second month. This is great because he needs to be at least a certain weight before his next surgery. Hoping he gains at least a pound a month! (But since it has taken me a few days to post this, he’s already crossed over 10 lbs!)

He is wearing size 1 diapers and just outgrew the last of his newborn clothes. Which caught me a little off guard and I realized all of the clothes we brought with us are newborn! Had to go buy a few new outfits because they want him wearing clothes now.

Eating: Huck is currently eating 50-60 ml of regular breastmilk at each feed, typically about every 3 hours. This amount is down a bit from 1 month due to some significant reflux issues. He’s slowly working his way back up though. In the past few days he has taken his old normal of 75-80 a couple of times.

I’m still exclusively pumping for him, still hating it, still sticking it out. 10 months to go. 😝

Sleep: His daytime sleep has gotten pretty consistent. He’s normally awake for an hour and is happy and playing, then naps for two hours. We’re still working on a night time schedule but last night he was awake and upset on and off from pretty much 6 pm to 11 pm and then he slept from midnight to 4 am, ate a bottle and got a picc line dressing change, then slept again from about 5 to 9 before he was ready to eat again. He sleeps mostly in the mamaroo now which helps his reflux a lot.

Milestones: We started tummy time! He got the all clear at 6 weeks post op and we started giving it a go. He doesn’t love it but he at least tolerates it for a short bit before he’s over it. He actually prefers to do it more on my chest than on the bed.

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e gotten lots of real smiles! And he's been cooing at me a lot lately.

< b>Medical Milestones: Currently still inpatient on the CVICU heart failure unit while we wait on our Glenn surgery. We will be here until then. He is on milrinone and clonidine + reflux medications + a couple of diuretics. He is not on any respiratory support at the moment and taking all feeds by mouth. He is still getting a little background nutrition help from tpn and lipids, and getting therapeutic doses of lovenox for a blood clot in his picc line. The Glenn is tentatively scheduled for 4 months old on September 13 but they will start discussing options at 3 months and 5kg weight.

Likes:Being held

  • Mamaroo
  • Laying on his back and looking around
  • Anything with lights and sound (I’ve been letting him watch newborn stimulation videos on YouTube and he loves it)
  • Warm milk

Dislikes:Diaper changes

  • Picc line dressing changes
  • Taking his medicine
  • Baths
  • Lovenox shots

We are so in love with this little guy and can’t wait to get him home. He is developing such a cute little personality and I’m so amazed at how well he’s handling being in the hospital. I guess he doesn’t know any different, but with as much stuff is hooked up to him, he really doesn’t seem to mind it much. I spend my days just hanging out with him all day, trying to have as close to a normal experience as I can with him. His doctors tells us all the time that life after the Glenn will be so much better and I’m starting to get anxious for that. Almost there!

Happy two months, sweet baby Huck! Mama, daddy, and Whitlee love you so much!!

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Huck | Birth Story


I feel like Huck’s birth story starts where Whitlee’s left off. You can read her birth story here but the gist of it is that I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 34 weeks with her and my doctor decided she was safer out than in so we did an emergency cesarean with her. When we decided to have another baby, I had a pre-pregnancy consultation with my new OB and he advised us to absolutely pursue another baby and that while I did have one or two risk factors for having preeclampsia a second time, I didn’t have all of them. At that time we also discussed the possibility of a VBAC. In Beaumont, at the hospital where we would deliver, there are a handful of doctors that share on call duties. So while my OB was considered “the VBAC guy”, he said one of his requirements was that I go into labor spontaneously because he had no record to go on of how I would react to an induction. He wouldn’t induce for a VBAC unless I’d been previously induced or had a previous spontaneous labor. And on that note, promising to support a VBAC with spontaneous labor would put me at risk for showing up at the hospital with a 1/5 chance of him being there and a 4/5 chance of having a doctor that did not support my birth plan. So at that point, we agreed to a repeat cesarean and I felt peace knowing that it would be scheduled and we would know what to expect.

When we actually got pregnant with Huck, we went into it knowing he’d be born via repeat c section and it would most likely be scheduled and hopefully be full term. But then we found out about his heart defect, we had to transfer care to the facility where he would have his treatment. During my first visit with my new doctor, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, we discussed my plans for delivery. At which point she casually asked “so for delivery, would you like a repeat c section or would you like to tolac?” I asked what was best for our situation and she very matter of fact laid out the risks of both but then said a vaginal recovery would be better and faster for me and would also be beneficial to Huck’s lung function. So we went down the path in pursuit a tolac/hopeful vbac. She said that spontaneous labor would be best but that depending on my blood pressure staying stable throughout the pregnancy so that we could make it to the point where my cervical conditions were favorable, she was not opposed to inducing.

All throughout my pregnancy I have been on a low dose blood pressure medication because around 8 weeks it started creeping up. They labeled me as having “chronic hypertension” but my blood presssures have been really great since being on the medicine. Towards the end of my pregnancy, they’ve had me check it twice a day and keep a log. And they’ve continued to be excellent, as well as no signs of preeclampsia- no swelling, no vision changes, no excessive weight gain, no weird headaches, no protein in my urine. From here it will be a timeline to show how this all happened.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 | 7:30 PM – At 38 weeks, I checked my pressure for my log that afternoon and it was a little high. I rested, checked it again and it was much better. So I kept resting and decided to check it again later to make sure it stayed down, but it was actually back up again. I called my nurses line and the advised me to go get checked at L&D. While there they hooked me up to the monitors and checked blood pressure, which was high and it didn’t take long before they decided to keep me and induce. I started calling Nolan and my family but after a good while of monitoring, the doctor on call came back in and said my blood pressure was a lot better and they were actually going to send me home. What a rollercoaster! I called everyone back and told them it was a false alarm.

Friday, May 12, 2017 | 8:00 AM – Whitlee and I went to what would have been my last appointments anyway since they were planning to induce next week, but my blood pressure was high again. We went through all of the normal appointment stuff but my doctor ended with, we ARE going to go ahead and induce today. She said their standard care for chronic hypertension is to deliver at 38 weeks, but since mine had been so great she was willing to go to 39. She also said at this point, it was possible that if I stayed pregnant, I could end up with preeclampsia in the next week.

9:30 AM – She told me to go get my stuff from the apartment in Houston and to be back around 11 to start the induction. I called Nolan and the rest of our family so they could all head that way.

11:15 AM – Whitlee and I got to hospital to get checked in for the induction process to start. Unfortunately, May is apparently a busy month for babies so they were extremely backed up in labor and delivery and we had to wait F O R E V E R for a room. Like 10 hours.

9:00 PM – We finally got moved to a labor and delivery room to get set up. After that, it seemed like things went fairly quick for the most part. At this point I was dilated on my own to a 1, maaaaybe a 2 and 50% effaced but Huck was still really high at a -3 station.

10:40 PM – They decided to start with a Cook Balloon which they insert into the cervix and inflate one small balloon inside the uterus and one small balloon outside the uterus with a middle section meant to dilate the cervix manually. They said we would leave it in for 12 hours, then take it out and from there I would either be dilated to a 4 or 5. The balloon going in hurt. like. hell. Oh man, it hurt.

12:00 AM (Midnight) – They warned me I could feel some strong cramping and then it was possible that the balloon would intensify the prodromal labor contractions that I’d already been having. Well it did and they started coming super strong and I puked during a particularly hard one. It was at that point that I honestly started questioning this whole vbac thing. I ended up getting two Benadryl to help me sleep and nubane in my IV for pain. The nubane didn’t do much for the pain of the contractions but it did help me sleep between them. So basically I was already having to work through the contractions. They were super strong and I couldn’t talk through them but never very consistent. Some were 4 min apart, some 6, some 12 but all lasting about minute and a half to 2 minutes.

May 13, 2017 | 8:30 AM – The residents for the day came in and said I’d get the balloon out in a couple of hours, then we’d start low dose pitocin, check to see how low Huck was at that point and if he was low enough, they’d break my water. I went ahead and requested an epidural before all of that business. I’ve heard from several people to get. the. freaking. epidural. I was told pitocin contractions plus no amniotic fluid for cushioning after they break my water is no joke.

11:00 AM – They took the balloon out and checked me. It did its job! I was dilated to 5, and 60% effaced, but Huck was still at -3 station, so they were going to wait on breaking my water.

1:00 PM – Anesthesia came in to place my epidural, while my nurse (who was absolutely the most amazing labor and delivery nurse ever) got my pitocin set up. I didn’t care much for the epidural process. I was kind of scared of the pinching pain I’d felt suddenly when I had my c section so I kept having trouble not tensing up. But my nurse just talked me through it and we got it in. Once the epidural was in and I started going numb, I started feeling really bad and proceeded to puke again. I was actually pretty numb from about mid belly down so that was weird. When I puked, I felt like my stomach muscles were numb and almost like I would aspirate. After they started the pitocin, I was having contractions almost immediately and very regularly but I couldn’t feel them. General thoughts on epidurals –  they’re super weird and glorious.

3:00 PM – Huck had a few heart decels so they came in and put me on an oxygen mask and checked me again and I was still a 5 and now 80% effaced, but he was at a -2 station. They decided to go ahead and break my water and see what would happen.

4:30 PM – I was able to actually catch a nap between 3 and now and when I woke up I asked my mom if I was still having contractions. She said oh yea, definitely, so I got her to take a picture of the screen because it was above my head and I couldn’t see it.


This is showing how fast and regularly the contractions were coming but if you look at the top section towards the end, you see Huck’s heart start to drop off. I actually heard this happening on the monitors and said “something’s wrong” and about 5 seconds later my nurse came running in and kicked everyone out except Nolan. She called for a resident and another nurse. They threw my bed back, flipped me to my other side, started pulling iv lines loose from their connectors (not like from my arm), and started massaging my belly a little. After about 5 minutes his heart rate recovered. They said that the contractions were basically drowning him and his heart rate wasn’t recovering like it should have between them. They decided to stop the pitocin and give him a break for a little bit. They also decided to put in an internal monitor to see how strong my contractions were and would start the pitocin again in 30 minutes. At that point, they said if that happened again, we’d go straight back for a c section. By this time it was almost 5:30 so they went ahead and checked me again and said I was still a 5 and 80% effaced, no change at all. But they asked some specific questions about how I was feeling and I told them I was starting to feel my contractions. I was kind of having to breathe through the pressure of them but I couldn’t really feel the pain of them. They said they’d check me again at 7:30 and see how things were going. I think that was the point that I said if I hadn’t changed by then at all, I was ready to talk about another c section. The heart decelerations scared me and I was so tired. I’d been stuck at a 5 for 7 hours or so and the problem I had with that is my body didn’t go to a 5 on its own, it was a mechanical dilation. So if I wasn’t progressing past that, then my body wasn’t doing its job.

7:30 PM – The resident came back in to check me and I was fully expecting her to say “no change” but she felt around a lot and then looked up and said “well, looks like you’re at a 9, 100% effaced.” I started crying out of pure relief. I could not freaking believe it. I asked “Are you serious?? Are you sure??” And she said “Yup! Your cervix is almost completely gone.”  He was still at a -2 station though so while my body worked through the last bit of cervix, they had me sit straight up and let him start laboring down so I could get ready to birth our boy! My nurse started getting the room ready for delivery and they made all of the appropriate calls to the NICU and cardio team.

9:47 PM – The resident came back in again and checked me and said I was complete and Huck was now at a +2 station. She then explained how to push and said we were going to try a few and see how it went. They had me reach down and hold behind my legs while Nolan held one leg up and my nurse held the other one, and they had me push for 10 seconds and do 3 pushes inside one contraction. So I would push really hard for 10 seconds, get a breath and do it again, 3 times. The maternal fetal medicine on call had made it in the room by this point and was coaching me through the pushing as well. In between one, she said “you’re pushing really good. If you keep pushing like that, he’ll be out in a couple more.” That was super encouraging to hear. I just kept thinking about all of the birth stories I’d read and listened to on podcasts about how to push and I kept trying to remember to apply those things. I think the next contraction and set of pushes, they all started saying “whoa whoa whoa, okay stop pushing!” I heard something about getting nicu in the room; nobody had made it yet besides the resident and mfm. Nolan said all of the sudden “was that his head???” And they said “Yes, that was definitely his head.” I asked if they were serious?? And they said “Yup! Do you want to see?” I said yes so they moved a mirror over and I could basically see the top of his head, which kind of went back in as the contraction ended. They took my internal monitor out and said “Okay momma, next one is on you. When you feel the contraction, push as hard as you can.” So I waited until I felt the pressure and then pushed with all of my life, took a deep breath and pushed as hard as I could again and out came his head! Nolan said on the third push they guided out his shoulders and the rest of his body.

10:09 PM – They told me to look down and I saw our baby boy enter this world! He instantly cried, which was a great sign and Nolan got to cut the cord. I cried like crazy too, of course, just like I did when Whitlee was born. They took him over to do their initial checks and to decide if he needed prostaglandins at the bedside (he didn’t). They did his weight and measurement – weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and was 20″ long. Then they brought him over to let me hold him for a few minutes. We got a good look at him, then they let Nolan run to the waiting room to get Whitlee so she could meet him. She looked at him and said, “he’s pushed out??” We all got a good little giggle at that. Then Nolan took her back out to the waiting room and they took Huck back over to his warmer so they could start placing all of his lines. During all of this, I delivered the placenta and got a little stitch for a superficial tear. I felt so. much. relief. as soon as Huck and the placenta were out. They also turned my epidural off so I started feeling my legs again which was nice. I kept watching Huck’s team of people working on him and he was so quiet that I thought they’d sedated him but when one of the doctors commented that he was so calm, I realized he was just hanging out. They said he was just laying there watching them do their job. Random side note, right as I was delivering him, the NICU team kind of ran in the room. I didn’t really notice them come in but when I looked up, the room was full. They said something later about how they expected me to be pushing for a while and I asked how long I pushed and my nurse looked at her notes and said “about 10 minutes”. I was shocked!






11:15 PM – They transferred him across the sky bridge to the CVICU and Nolan went with him. Once they got him over there, they started all of his testing and trying to get a better idea of his heart. He was doing really well and breathing great on his own. We were told the next couple of days would be spent gathering data on his condition and we would most likely get an update on Monday from the cardiac team on plan of care.

12:30 AM – I was in a postpartum room, up walking, using the restroom and overall feeling great. Exhausted, but great!

So that’s his story! I can’t believe I did it and it was such good closure to the pregnant part of my life. I feel now that I had one emergency c section which was the best choice for that child and I had a successful vbac which was the best choice for that child. I have recovered from both major abdominal surgery and a vaginal delivery and we are so blessed to have two beautiful children.