I have been meaning to update this for over a week now. Our gorgeous little boy, Arthur Barendrecht has been born. He had to one up his sister even with his birth and he made one hell of a dramatic (and traumatic) entrance.
Let me rewind a little. When we had Olive we had to have an emergency c-section after a difficult, long labour (42 hours after waters broke) which resulted in Pais and Olive getting an infection and us needing to stay in hospital for a week.
Fast forward to a month or so ago and after several growth scans and talks with the midwives we decided to have an elective c-section with Arthur to make our lives easier. We had it all planned out. We would go into hospital, Olive could stay at grandma & papa's for the night then we could come home the next day and Olive would get to meet her baby brother.
It didn't quite go as we planned.
First things first, he’s here and he’s healthy.
Things didn’t go too well. It was extremely traumatic and still ended up as an emergency.
Everything was going well, we had a nice easy morning. Got to the hospital early, got seen early and we were the second c-section planned for that day. Pais went into theatre to get ready for surgery and I was taken to get some scrubs on. Pais had her canula put in, met the team, had her epidural and was laying down. I got changed and was waiting outside the theatre room.
This is when things got traumatic. I'll start from my point of view then I'll do Pais point of view.
I was ready to go in and see Pais when I heard alarms go off and started see doctors and midwives running toward the theatre room Pais was in. Instantly I started to think the worst.
It all went so quickly so I can't remember the exact order but a nurse came to me and said that Pais had passed out but she was awake now and showed me Pais through the window with an oxygen mask on. Then suddenly the alarms went off again and more doctors ran into theatre and the nurse quickly escorted me into another room. All I heard was them say that they "couldn't find a heartbeat" as they were rushing in to theatre. At this moment I instantly regretted watching the movie "Fatherhood" on Netflix with Kevin Hart (if you haven't seen it, it's a good movie but heartbreaking). I thought that I had lost Pais and Arthur. I remember saying to the amazing nurse who comforted me "please just go save her". I can't explain how I felt in that moment and to be honest it's the reason I have put off writing this update. I thought my wife and son had died. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you pass away but I just kept thinking about everything we still have to do and the lives we are creating together. I didn't think back on memories I just thought about our future. It felt like forever but it wasn't long after all of the alarms stopped that I was allowed to go in and see Pais and Arthur. Unfortunatley it meant I missed Arthur being born, but it was such an overwhelming relief to see them both alive and okay.
"I opened my eyes to alarms ringing, a theatre full of people and a surgeon shouting my name. I was so confused as had no idea I had lost consciousness! I was told I had blacked out for aroud 4 minutes and my blood pressure had dropped so dramatically during this time that they had to check the baby as it would have affected his blood flow and oxygen and they wanted to make sure he was ok.
They orignally tried to listen to his heartbeat wth a doppler but couldn’t find it and so got an ultrasound machine in to find it and still no luck.
I will never forget the look on the midwives face performing the ultrasound as she struggled to find a heartbeat and looked at one of the other midwives to say she couldn't locate it. That particular moment will haunt me forever.
I’m crying my eyes out surrounded by people trying to desperately find a heartbeat or looking at my stomach seeing if they can see any movement and they all looked so worried. I kept asking if he was ok, begging for reassurance and no one could answer me.
It was all extremely traumatic. The midwife shouted that he needed to be out immediately. Suddenly all the doctors, surgeons, nurses and midwives swarmed round. I wasn’t wholly ready for surgery at this point so they had to very quickly put a screen up and catheter in and literally cut me open and pulled him out within minutes. Luckily the epidural had already kicked in and I had confirmed I couldn't feel anything from my chest down.
I heard crying as soon as he was born and couldn't believe that it was my baby I was hearing! I was just convinced we had lost him minutes earlier. Unfortunatly I didnt get to even see him as he was very quickly rushed off to neonatal.
Mason was only allowed in once he was born and so missed the birth. The whole time he was outside beside himself as just heard alarms ringing and about 15 doctors, nurses and midwives all ran in to theatre but couldn’t tell him a thing. "
Now back to me.
Arthur got rushed to neonatal for oxygen because he was having trouble breathing. He was also very pale and didnt look in a great way. They had to put a tube down his nose and pull out a bunch of fluid. They had him on a vapotherm to assist with breathing, a canula for IV fluids and I am convinced that their swift actions to operate so quickly and then the care he instantly recieved in neonatal saved his life.
This is just the start of the tough week we had. This is the first hours.
Later the next night he was moved to a cot from his incubator and all looked well for us to be ready to leave soon. I even went home to get some rest before we could pick up Olive and go home the following morning. We messaged Pais parents with an update but an hour after the message he sadly suffered a little seizure and then 2 hours later had another one.
This meant he had to go back in an incubator, have more wires than ever and get a CFM test which recquired 4 needles in his scalp, monitoring his brain for 24 hours, as well as having more blood tests, a feeding tube inserted, a chest xray, another canula in each of his feet and a brain scan.
We were told we wouldn’t be able to hold him because of the needles in his scalp but because he was so unsettled they let Pais do skin to skin and he was instantly so content.
After 31 hours the needles and brain monitoring was stopped. They believed he could have had 2 further seizures whilst on the monitoring but as they didnt have a usual seizure pattern and he didn’t physically show any signs of a seizure, they couldn't say if those were true seizures or not.
He was put on antibiotics incase it was caused by an infection and he had to have a lumbar puncture to be able to rule out infection.
They then arranged an MRI and EEG brain scan.
The results from his MRI showed that he had a minor stroke and that as a result of this stroke, it caused a lack of blood flow to this one particular part of the brain (the left side that controls the right side of his body) which caused the seizures that we saw. Fortunately though the EEG results showed that his brain activity is completely normal.
They can’t say exactly when the stroke happened but they seem to think it was likely when he was still in utero.
They are happy with all his movements now, as are we. He seems to be moving completely normal as well as feeding brilliantly, sleeping & waking great, and showing all great & normal signs.
What that means long term now is difficult to say. They keep telling us that babies brains work differently to adults and are much more “plastic”. It could likely mean no long term effects, or it could possibly mean he has some trouble with the right side of his body in future - whether that be a weak wrist or a tight ankle every so often. We don’t know and there’s no way to tell just yet. Also, the doctors seem positive that nothing a bit of physio can’t help with. Positives are he is currently showing all normal movement and signs.
He will have to have follow up appointments and be closely monitored, at least for the first 2 years of his life.
We were advised that this is more common than you'd expect and it’s not usually picked up on until there is a problem. We were in neonatal and witnessed the episodes which caused them to look deeper in to it and we were fortunate to pick up on it early. It also means we can be more focused and look out for anything that may be a concern and flag it straight away as well as focusing on him hitting his milestones and really working with him.
Me and Pais are staying positive and taking a very “parent” look on things as in “well we can’t change what happened but at least we know and everything will be fine because our son is absoloutly perfect!”.
There's so much more I could say and loads more detail I am sure I've forgotten but I just wanted to make sure that I said a special thank you to all of the staff on the maternity ward and the neonatal ward. They were amazing, caring, thoughtful and made our whole time there much easier than it could have been. They let us have a room on the neonatal ward so we could stay close to Arthur, they made us feel welcome and made us feel reassured even in some of our darkest moments.
I'd also like to thank Pais parents. Without their support with everything, especially with Olive it would have made the last couple of weeks much tougher and even more difficult than they have been. They came and visited us out the front of hospital with Olive and brought us dinner. It was really nice for us to see her and knowing that Olive was having so much fun with Papa and Grandma meant that I could stay with Pais and Arthur. It took a massive load off our shoulders and really helped us out.