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April 13, 2014

{Baby Millie's Birth Story}

As I sit here in the hospital room with my wife and grab a few minutes of much needed solitude, I cannot help but reflect on the last 5 days of our lives, which have been filled with the most unforgettable, chaotic, emotional, unpredictable, and simply wonderful moments.

This past Sunday, I updated the blog for Taylor and shared the mayhem of being rushed to Saint Luke's hospital on the plaza after Taylor's water broke. The prayers streamed in and by Monday morning Taylor was doing so much better. Her contractions had subsided and she was completely off the magnesium drip by early morning. Oh, and most importantly, she was finally allowed to have some water! The doctors were hopeful the baby would stay in the womb for a few more weeks to continue developing, but anticipated 5-7 days at the very least. However, early Tuesday morning everything changed.

Here is Millie's birth story...

I had become accustomed to sleeping on the couch next to Taylor in the hospital room and waking up frequently in the night to feed her ice chips, place damp rags on her forehead or reposition her with pillows and blankets. Around 4:00am on Tuesday, she softly called my name and complained that her stomach was feeling somewhat tight again. Unsure whether or not this was a true contraction, we decided to page the nurse and notify her of the faint discomfort. The nurse, Heather, came in and explained it was definitely possible these were minor contractions and she wanted to monitor Taylor's stomach for certainty. Sure enough, her contractions had returned but were far from serious. It was possible her body just needed some more fluid and they proceeded to hook her up to an IV. Unfortunately, the contractions increased by a fraction and the nurse felt the need to call the doctor in for a closer look.

Doctor Curry entered the room with quiet confidence and questioned Taylor about her pain level, which was around a three. She determined it was beneficial to perform a cervical exam where she could check to see if the cervix was dilated (warning: it gets a little graphic here). As uncomfortable as this was for Taylor, she too knew it was necessary. The doctor began the examination and we were unprepared for what happened next.

As the doctor reported her findings to the nurse, she muttered these words I'll never forget..."I can see the umbilical cord."

Then with watered eyes and a shaky voice Doctor Curry looked directly at both of us and said, "Your baby's umbilical cord has dropped down into the cervix and we have to perform immediate C-section surgery."

They call this condition a Prolapsed Cord. The umbilical cord can drop down through the open cervix into the vagina before the baby. In our case, because the baby was breech, the fear was that she would be sitting on the cord, which in turn could potentially cut off oxygen and blood supply. All of this can happen in a matter of minutes.

The fear overcame us.

Within seconds the room was filled with about 8 other medical professionals, ready to move Taylor to the operating room. The doctor, whose hand was still on the cord, directed the nurse to take over for her. Her primary job was to hold the baby up off the cord until surgery was complete. She was literally on top of the gurney, with her hand through her cervix on the unborn baby as we all rushed down the forever, long hallway to surgery. It was absolutely crazy.

I was still holding Taylor's hand as the team surrounded her bed, moved her out of the room and down the hallway as quickly as possible, knowing that every second counted. As we approached the end of the hallway and they began to turn into the operating room, the doctor said, "Dad, I'm sorry but you have to stay here." This was absolutely the most difficult thing I've ever experienced. Taylor's eyes were filled with terror and I had to let her go.

Standing behind two giant doors with two small, rectangle windows, all I could see were swarms of people moving around frantically. There were continuous beeps and alarms bouncing off the cold floors of that hallway. At one point I even heard Taylor yell out in pain, although I couldn't see her. There was no one else around. Just me...watching, waiting, and fervently praying.

Taylor's experience at this point was quite different. Immediately after prepping her for surgery, the doctors realized the anesthesiologist wasn't in the room. Everyone kept asking, "Where's anesthesia?!" Taylor swears she heard them ask that about 10 times. She could read their minds through the panicky expression on their faces. It was obvious they were considering making the incision without any anesthesia. They finally looked right at Taylor and said, "We have to get her (baby) out now! We can't find a heartbeat." Without hesitation, Taylor responded, "Just do it." In that very moment the anesthesiologist walked in and they quickly administered the gas for surgery. (We learned later they actually changed protocol and moved the anesthesia offices closer to labor & delivery after this experience.)

Outside the operating room someone handed me scrubs to put on for when they finished. With the scrubs on I paced back and forth waiting anxiously until someone emerged from surgery with any news. I was preparing for good or bad. After about 15 minutes someone from the room exited the large double doors where I was standing and informed me that both my girls were ok. Taylor was still under and would be for at least another hour. The baby was doing great and I was about to meet my daughter. As they moved her from the operating room to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), I walked alongside the incubator and saw her little body for the very first time, wrapped in blankets and hooked up to several machines. She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

Still in shock from what just unfolded, we arrived to the NICU and the doctor asked me what her name was. As my eyes welt up with tears and my heart spilled over with joy, I proudly said "Her name is Millie...Millie Catherine." They opened the incubator and allowed me touch her sweet, little head and hands for a while before asking me to leave NICU so they could get her settled. From there, I met Taylor's parents in the waiting room. The doctors joined us and explained everything from the prolapsed cord to the C-section to Taylor's condition. We discovered that even the doctors and nurses in the operating room were saying prayers in the midst of the surgery as Millie was not breathing upon delivery and needed resuscitation. It was so evident that God's hands were directing theirs and He was watching over the entire situation.

One of my favorite memories of the day was when Taylor got to meet her daughter for the first time. An hour after surgery we joined Taylor in the recovery room where she was still in quite a bit of pain but alert enough to see Millie. She remained on the gurney as we wheeled her to the NICU, rounded the corner and placed her right next to her daughter. It was truly an unforgettable sight.

Millie Catherine Jenkins was born Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 6:15am at 29 gestational weeks.  She weighed 2 pounds 14 ounces and measured 15 3/4 inches long. Immediately after she arrived, doctors put her on a ventilator to help her little lungs breathe. By Tuesday afternoon she was taken off the ventilator and breathing completely on her own. Overall, the doctors have been extremely pleased with her progress thus far and she is showing signs of continued maturity each day. She will remain in the NICU until around the time of her original due date of June 23rd as there are several milestones she must meet before coming home. Taylor will continue updating this blog on her progress frequently.

Taylor has made an impressive recovery after the C-section surgery and is feeling stronger every day. We cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has kept all of us in your prayers. We will never forget the family, friends, nurses and doctors who have already been such an integral part of Millie's life. You have showed us love and support beyond our imagination and we are forever grateful!

We leave you with some pictures of Millie Catherine, whom we dearly love.

Big yawns

Giving much thanks to God,


1 comment:

  1. Wow! I have chills reading this! I have twin little girls who were born premature and had to be taken by c section quickly also, followed by a month long nicu stay. Their names are mia and milla- who we call millie for short:-)! God bless your beautiful little millie!