2 weeks before birth
I went for my regular check-up to the OB-Gyn at Cabell Huntington Hospital. At this point, my regular doctor was out of town, so I was seeing his partner. At this visit, my blood pressure went up slightly to 142/92 which caused him to be a little concerned since a week before my numbers were 138/90. I thought I was fine and did not see what the big deal was. Boy was I wrong. He decided to set me up for bi-weekly physiological profiles to monitor the baby on ultrasound. Also, at this visit he decided to do a non-stress test to see if she was having any difficulties. So, I sat still for 30 minutes and watched the screen. The test turned out fine, but decided to watch my urines levels (Phenylketonuria) to make sure that there is no protein for the next 24 hours. This test turned out fine too. So we made it through the weekend at this point.
On Monday, April 2, 2007 we went to the clinic to have an ultrasound performed to make sure that our baby girl was beautiful and growing still as usual. During the test, we made small talk with the technician about her growth and everything seemed to be going very well. If anyone knows me, they know that I am a chatter box, especially if I am nervous. So, I continued to talk, not paying attention to the fact that the tech was not talking back anymore and she became very quiet. When I did notice, Justin and I just sat there in silence waiting for her to say something. She then preceded to say that there was a student on site that day and asked if it would be fine if she came in. We agreed, because we wanted to keep watching Jenna on the monitor. Once the student finished, she left the room. About 15-20 minutes went by and no one came back into the room. Finally, Justin decided that he would go out to locate the tech to see if we were finished. He located her and she told him that they were waiting on the physician and we could not leave until he arrived. So, at this point we did not understand what was going on. But were not really too concerned. Finally, the doctor arrived. He came into the room and immediately began watching the monitor and scanning my belly, once again. He began speaking with the nurse, but not to us. After about 10 minutes, Justin became very agitated and finally firmly asked the doctor what exactly was wrong with the baby. He said, "there is something wrong with the baby's heart". Immediately, my heart dropped. So, the fetal specialist doctor came in and looked at her. He noticed that a main artery (Pulmonary) on her heart was either non exsistent or very small. Basically, it causes her to have a hole in her heart, mixing the blood together, which can cause her to become blue. However, the blood is going to the right places, because she has developed extra arteries on the side of her heart not normally there. This has helped her to develop well and remain stable. He said that he wanted to take a few more pictures and contact Cincinnati to consult about the situation. He also, stated that it would be in out best interest to have an amniocentisis performed to make sure that there were no abnormalities with the baby and to make sure she could survive outside of me. At this point, I began to panic at the thought that she would not survive after birth. The next thing I know, the nurse is coming in to prep me for the amnio test, which apparently did not become an option anymore for us. I was very scared because I was always told that this could harm the baby, but he said that I was far enough in my pregnancy that she was safe. After I experienced a huge needle going into my belly, the doctor came back in and said that her diagnosis was questionable between Tetralogy of Fallot and Truncous Arteriosis, both very severe congenital heart defects. He said that we had to be at Cincinnati Children's Hospital by the next morning for a more in depth test, a fetal echocardiogram to look closely at her heart. He said that is very possible that we will not return and will be delivering the baby in Cincinnati. So, I got cleaned up after my exam, crying my eyes out the entire time, not knowing what to think and how to feel.
We left the clinic and immediately began making calls to everyone. I remember trying to tell my mother over the phone about the situation, but barely able to get the words out, while listening to Justin trying to tell his mother, both of us just crying over and over. I will never forget this moment and I feel like it was just yesterday. So, we went home and prepared for our journey out of town, hoping that our baby was going to fine.
The next day (April 3, 2007) we arrived at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for the echo to determine her exact medical diagnosis. We met Dr. Michelfelder, who spoke with us regarding the situation. He was nice enough to speak with us for about 1 1/2 hours about the situation. He determined after the test that her diagnosis was Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia with MAPCAs (Multiple Aorta Pulmonary Collateral Arteries). He said that he felt due to the severity of Jenna's condition and knowing as to if she was going to be stable after birth, that it would be best for us to stay in town and deliver close to the Children's Hospital. She will have to have surgery done here at the hospital, but we are not sure if it will be immediate or in a few months after birth. Once she is born, they will do a full workup and do an echocardiogram on her, a CT scan and a MRI. She will have to stay here for at least 7-10 days after birth. He arranged for me to meet with Dr. Polzin, OB-Gyn at Good Samaritan Hospital to discuss the delivery options.
On Wednesday, Apil 4, 2007 I met with Dr. Polzin across town at a separate hospital and spoke about what would be the best option for delivery. He said that I was progressing well and seemed to be doing fine, but it would be best for Jenna to come out sooner than later. He stated that he would like for me to wait until Saturday, April 7 and if I had not delivered by that point, then I would like to perform an induction to cause me to go into labor.
Soooo, myself and my enterouge (Justin and our families) had to find something to do over the next few days before the birth. We visited the Newport on the Levee, ate ice cream, played arcade games, and tried to relax. And of course, by Saturday baby girl still had not arrived. Soo, after what I called my last meal (mexican my fave for 9 months), we arrived at 9pm at Good Sam for the birth. I met my physician who would be performing the delivery, Dr. Brady, who was a very comical doctor, lots of jokes the entire labor and delivery process. All the nurses prepped me for the induction by strapping many monitors to my belly, which was very uncomfortable. Once I began to dialate they would give me Pitocin which was to begin at 9am.
I spent the next 24 hours hoping and praying that Jenna would come out, but unfortunately she chose not to. She just decided to bounce up and down in my pelvis instead. I was given 3 doses of medicine to help "jump start" the labor but I never dialated in order for me to receive Pitocin to increase my contractions. I was just miserable and slept terrible the entire time. The doctor finally decided Sunday evening that it would be best for a C-section to be performed due to Jenna's condition and since I had been given so many doses over a 24 hour period. At this point, I just cried and cried because I wanted to give birth naturally as opposed to surgery. But I was just so exhausted I just did not care. I was immediately prepped for surgery, while Justin dressed to come in with me and explained what was happening with the family.
At 10:42 pm on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007 sweet baby girl Jenna Lynn Meadows arrived weighing in at 6 lbs. 8 oz and 18 3/4 in. She was immediately transferred to Children's via the NICU team who was waiting to fully examine her and determine her status. Justin also went along to make sure that everything was fine. I remained in recovery for a few hours, which seemed like minutes. My family stayed with me while Justin was gone. I was very exhausted at this point and do not really remember much since I was given my epidural and an extra boost of pain medicine to help with the recovery. Justin finally arrived back in my room at 3am, once she was settled. So, we got a little sleep, while Jenna was being worked on all night making sure that she was stable. I was so sad that my new little baby was all the way across town and I could not be by her sad, but I knew that she was in good hands.
A number of the next posts have been transferred from her Carepages site, which account a timeline of everything she went through from this point to Dec. 2008. I hope you are able to follow.