Declan’s Birth Story + Friday the 13th

I was telling a friend about Declan’s birth the other night and thought I would dig out the email I had sent to everyone (after I was coherent enough at the time to do so)…

Not to mention today is a Friday the 13th – which is now a lucky day for Declan!


Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2002 8:04 PM
From: Bryan & Aimee

Here is the whole story…. Warning, blood and gore ahead!

Friday morning (September 13, 2002) I was walking through the kitchen and felt a “pop.” Thought it was my water breaking – but I look down and there is a stream of blood flowing between my legs (just had underwear on). I have never been so shocked in my whole life. We rush over to the hospital… Thank god Bryan has the presence of mind to grab some towels because I am soaked through my pants and part of the towel. My car seats would have been ruined (not that I really care!).

They admitted me very quickly and my doctor was on her way. I was balling at this point, so Bryan had to answer all their questions.

They put an IV into my right away and never took off the bra and t-shirt I had on. (John Mayer t-shirt, by the way – I will add that story on the end of this email). They had some trouble getting the IV in my arm and had to put hot water compresses on to get the vein to show up enough to put the IV in.

They do a quick check over and the bleeding has slowed. They decide to wait for my doc before doing anything.

My doc shows up and I am taken to some special section of labor and delivery, where the docs are extra trained at reading ultrasounds. They look everything over very carefully and see that his amniotic sack has NOT broken. But do find an abruption of the placenta from the uterine wall. They estimate about 15% has separated. The u/s doc tells my OB that he would let me labor vaginally if it came to that today.

They take me back to my room and tell me I am not moving until baby is born. Meaning bed pans. They give me a steroid shot to start maturing Dex’s lungs. Their 1st hope is that he holds on for 24 hours for the 1st steroid shot to work… Next hope is 48 hours so they can give me a second steroid shot. Best case scenario is they keep him inside for a few more weeks.

The rest of the morning is fairly quiet. They have me hooked to heart and contraction monitors to keep an eye on Declan. He is doing just fine and I am having very mild contractions. I am checking my blood sugars periodically, and I was getting some lows. No food or water for me just in case they need to go to c-section, so they added sugar to my IV since I hadn’t eaten that day yet (or given myself my insulin shot, thank god).

At 2:30, my water breaks. They still aren’t too concerned since Dex’s heart rate is fine. They tell me they have had a woman’s water break and they have held off labor for 10 weeks before. I had no idea – I thought once the water breaks, baby is delivered within 24-36 hours.

Around 3pm, they start noticing very mild decelerations in Declan’s heart rate. Also, for some reason the contraction monitor is not picking them up – so Bryan starts timing them for me. They are fairly mild, but I am having them every 3-4 minutes.

My main nurse decides she will put an IV in my other arm, “just in case.” She was French, and very stereotypically French (“I know better than everyone else”) – she was HILARIOUS and we loved her – AND she proved to probably be the one who saves Dex’s live with putting this IV in. (I told her that when she came to visit me a few days later.) Anyway, as with the morning, it took her a good 15 minutes to get this IV in, time we did NOT have later when the shit hit the fan.

Around 5pm, we are visited by the NICU doctor and we discuss what it would mean if we deliver soon. She tells us the 2 main issues with 32 weekers is lung immaturity and possibly some retinal immaturity. She did make me feel better when she said the survival rate for 32 weekers is better than 99%.

Around 6pm, Declan’s decelerations are becoming more significant and my doctor starts to seriously discuss c-section. Around 6:30pm, gives him one last chance and makes me flip over to see if the problem is he is just laying on his umbilical cord or something. It’s a little better, but not enough to satisfy her, so she decides it’s time to do it.

Right then, the placenta must said FUCK YOU and completely ripped away because I got this huge gush of blood EVERYWHERE. Poor Bryan, witnessing this nightmare! That’s when everyone starting rapidly firing off orders. They cannot find the baby’s heart rate anywhere and they shoot something into my 2nd IV to resuscitate him. Something like that – it was absolute chaos! The nurse orders me to get on my hands and knees and move to the gurney. She tells me to stay on my hands and knees (I guess gravity trying to stop the bleeding?) and I am rushed down the hall to the operating room with my ass in the air. (I thought I was exposed to the world, but Bryan told me later that they DID cover me with a sheet!) I am completely hyperventilating at this point.

The get me to the operating table and the anesthesiologist starts asking me all kinds of questions that I am barely able to answer. Bryan comes in and they ask him to leave until they have me settled.

They shoved a catheter in – HOLY SHIT, did that hurt!!! (Earlier in the day Doc has told me that childbirth strips you of all dignity and privacy – I remember thinking at that point, “Well, there goes the last of it!”) …As they are yelling at me to un-tense my legs so they can get the damn catheter in!

I also remember Doc yelling at a nurse to just dump the bottle of antiseptic (or whatever that brown stuff is that they nicely paint on your tummy for a normal surgery). She is yelling, “just dump to whole bottle on her stomach, NOW NOW NOW!!!”

They give me oxygen and then whatever it is that makes you go to sleep. I remember thinking, “Thank god I am hyperventilating still – because this stuff is really hard to breathe… I am never going to konk out…” And then I was out.

Apparently, Bryan got there just as I was going to sleep. The nurse tells him to look up over the curtain and he sees 3 doctors hands in my stomach and Declan was born! It was ONE minute from when they had me asleep to when he was out. I was under at 6:40pm and he was born at 6:41pm. Unbelievable! I also later told Doc that she saved our son’s life.

Then I was getting stitched up for about 20 minutes. Dex breathed on his own for about 3 minutes – then they intubated him and moved him to the NICU. He then promptly pulled out his tube himself. Ornery from the get-go, that kid. They let him breathe on his own for about 7 hours and then intubated him again because he was working too hard.

So, Declan was born on Friday the 13th. I hear that is a lucky day for you if you are born on it. Let’s hope so for this little guy!

I woke up in recovery and was HURTING! I don’t know if they need to make sure you are awake before giving you morphine, or what – but it felt like an eternity before they gave me some medicine. They gave me a wand that I could push whenever I needed it (but it was set so that I could only have a hit every 10 minutes). I was on that till Saturday morning. Boy, I tell you – I don’t know WHY people pay a lot of money to buy morphine for recreational use – I hated it! I was incredibly nauseous, slurring all over the place and slightly hallucinating.

They moved me to a regular labor and delivery room at about noon on Saturday. On the way we stopped in the NICU so I could see Declan for the 1st time. I said hello to him and promptly threw up red Jell-O. Nice way to greet your child, huh? Luckily we had a sick pail there for me, so I didn’t get it on him or anything else.

Can I just tell you right here and now what a saint my husband is? He completely took care of me through this ordeal – from bedpans to puke clean up duty. He definitely proved the “in sickness and health” part of our vows!

Anyway – there they are – all the gory details.

The great news is that Declan is down to only a canula now for his oxygen (he also was on a C-PAP for a day or two), off the jaundice lights, off the IV… and he is gaining weight well! He isn’t taking to the bottle quite yet – but we are working on it. I was supposed to start trying to breastfeed him today, but we couldn’t go see him because we both have colds with fever. Maybe tomorrow!

They did let me “kangaroo” with him yesterday – where they put him inside your shirt for skin to skin contact… It was wonderful.

Thanks for the nice thoughts.


P.S. The John Mayer story! When we were trying to conceive… We were listening to John Mayer’s 1st album all the time. Er, I guess it’s more like I was making Bryan listen to it – but whatever. It turned into a big joke that every time Bryan would hear a John Mayer song, he would get, um, you know… um, horny. Then, also we saw John in concert for the 1st time while pregnant with Declan. I just know he was rocking out.

So, here I am accidentally having my John Mayer t-shirt on that particular morning – and since they put the IV in before getting me into a gown, I actually gave birth with the t-shirt on. I am so surprised they didn’t cut it off me. THEN, after they have discharged me, we get into the car and the SECOND Bryan turns the wheel to leave, the new John Mayer song comes on the radio! I swear, Declan had BETTER like Mayer’s music – it seems like they are psychically connected.

Either way, that John Mayer t-shirt is now in Declan’s memory box.


P.P.S. Declan’s hospital bills totaled over $250,000, and mine over $20,000. Thank god for insurance. Although, we did have to fight with them for 6 months after Declan’s birth to get everything charged the correct way.

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