My tiny miracle, our rainbow of hope made a dramatic entrance via emergency C-section, August 19th at 8:55 p.m., at 35 weeks and 1 day. Weighing 4 lbs, 9 ounces and 17.25 inches. She immediately opened her eyes and Squeaked.
Our birth story is a scary story with a very happy ending. Let me tell you how kick counting saved my baby.
Early that same day I noted baby bird was moving less frequently. After monitoring her movements for an hour I was overcome by fear and an extreme urge to go to L&D. Call it mothers instinct. I had counted kicks several times a day since week 28 per our doctors suggestion. If you are not familiar with kick counting, it's when you pick 1-2x a day, when your baby is most active, to monitor their movements. You should ideally feel 10 movements in an hour. I used an app on my phone or a post it on my desk. Birdie, like her sister, was very active in utero and rarely made me "worry" about lack of movement. Typically following cold water and a lay on the couch, I would get 10 movements under 10 minutes, but never longer then 30. I felt 3 in 45 minutes.
My mom drove me as Beau was out of town for the day. It was the longest drive of my life. Upon arrival to the hospital, I began to hyperventilate and experience the worst panic attack of my life, fearing the absolutely worst. I was in respiratory distress by the time I made it to L&D and immediately hooked up to a fetal doppler, revealing a slow but present heartbeat. Initially they said she was "sleeping" but I knew my baby and knew that heart rate was far too low following the dozen or so NSTs. I adamantly said over and over, very loudly, that something was wrong. Fortunately, my concerns were not ignored and my doctor was paged. Slowly the heart rate began to decline. I was flipped on my side and pumped full of juice in an effort to wake baby. I required oxygen as I continued to hyperventilate. "Deep breathes" the nurse chanted. An IV line was started and baby did begin to show some small accelerations. I can not even begin to explain the fear. Two of Piper's nurses were there and took turns sitting with me on my bed as my mom tried to keep Beau up to date.
Doctor arrived and started a biophysical profile. After baby did not move for several minutes she exited the room and returned very quickly. "Ready to have baby, today?" She had confirmed with our speciality team that baby was in distress and was better out out than in. As I briefly panicked about having a preemie, my doctor said we have everything to lose by leaving her in my belly. Things moved fast from that point as I was prepped for surgery.
Beau was racing down down the interstate to be by my side as I sat in the brightly lit operating room and my spinal tap was put in. I'd like to say I was handling this with grace but in reality after I was numb, I began thrashing around in panic. I couldn't feel anything from chest down and while that's the game plan the loss of what little control I had went out the window. I began screaming and needed to be strapped down. And later medicated. The amazing surgical team kept telling me this was to save our daughter. My mom sat with me as Birdie was delivered, with a yank and a squeak. Beau entered the room as they lifted her above the screen. She was breathing on her own and had a heartbeat, not needing resuscitation, but needed a few minutes to fully come around.
"Happy Birthday", said our doctor. Silence. "There's a true knot in her cord".
You can read that line as many times as I've replayed it in my head. The anomaly we had been assured would not reoccur, almost claimed our second daughter's life. We have been told in is a 1 in 10,000 occurrence, and we should be things of medical textbooks. Lightning struck twice, but this time I was ready.
With all the testing we had done, kick counting and motherly instinct is what saved my daughter. Theory is when she flipped back breech she pulled her cord too tightly, similar to Piper except that she pulled hers engaging for birth. It's also their thought that it was tight enough to restrict growth but not tight enough to register on any of their tests. We are hoping to have more answers at our 6 weeks follow up with the specialist. The rarity of this may have an underlying genetic component. She had consistently measured in the 2nd percentile but was born closer to the 13th with her head in the 75th, gestationally our neonatologist believes she was closer to 34 than 35 weeks.
Without Gods grace, our daughter would have lived only another hour or two. I can't focus on the fact too long or I won't make it. The responsibility is too heavy and the what ifs too much to handle. Birdie is HOME following a 21 day NICU stay, secondary to prematurity. She is a born fighter. She's now 5 lbs 2 ounces,18 inches of pure JOY. She is everything and more that I've dreamed about for 8+ months, for my whole life.
While it will never be fair or make sense as to why we don't have our two blondes together, in this life. Piper sent Birdie to us and gave me the knowledge to save her sister's life.
Rest easy Piper Kai Bennett, we miss you everyday.