A month ago today Cooper surprised us yet again. Being pregnant in itself was a surprise. We thought Brad and I couldn’t have any babies and just when we began making empty nest plans, there she was, I was 9 weeks pregnant and our surprise soon turned to joy and anticipation.
I went in on Wednesday, March 7th for a routine weekly checkup. I was 36 weeks pregnant and we had just completed the nursery and had our last showers the weekend before. The week prior, the doctor became concerned about my blood pressure and protein in my urine and ordered blood work but it was just precautionary. So, we went in there on that Wednesday armed with information about birth plans and natural childbirth without epidurals and Pitocin. Funny how things go sometimes, huh? Just when you have a plan, things start to fall apart. That morning, the doctor said my blood platelets were low (117,000) so he wanted me to go and be observed at the hospital for an hour or so and have some more blood drawn. From my exam, he felt the baby had not turned yet because there was no indication that my body was responding to the contractions I had been having.
With trepidation, we went to Baptist Hospital and got the blood work going and the baby monitor attached. Cooper sounded great and was moving well so there were no worries with her. Me, on the other hand, not so good. My blood platelets had fell too low (101,000) and if they fell below 100,00 there was serious concern of a bleed out during labor and delivery. They moved me over to have an ultrasound and there she was, sitting upright. She had not turned head down and by all indication, was pretty content to be in that position. Had she been down, they would have probably started my labor and tried to see if I could have her myself. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Again, surprise to us, but not to the doctor, it was time to talk about a C-Section. A high risk OB looked at my file and conferred with my doctor. Yep, in three hours, a C-Section was to be had.
Now let’s take a step back and note that I did not have my bag packed, our phones died and we had only two locals numbers written down to make a phone tree. Thankfully, the numbers we had were people who we love dearly and were more than willing to start the calling process. Those three hours passed so quickly, it seemed like minutes to us.
Cooper Rae Hensley Deason was born at 3:50pm on March 7th and she was 5Lb. 8 oz. and 18 inches long. She was perfect, her lungs worked just fine even though she was 4 weeks early.
She was gorgeous and tiny and we loved her from the very first minute we laid eyes on her. We stayed in the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday night and were released to go home on Friday. At release, Cooper weighed in at 5LB. 3 oz. which is normal for breastfed babies to lose a bit of weight so it was not too big of a deal.
On Monday, March 12th she had her first appointment with the doctor and we were excited to see how much weight she had gained. Again, Cooper surprised us by losing down to 4lb. 10 oz. and having trouble keeping her body temperature up. We were immediately sent to Vanderbilt’s Childrens Hospital for admissi
on because low body temps in a baby can be a sign of infection. The next 24 hours were scary and tiring to say the least. Blood and urine cultures were taken. A spinal tap was done as well. It felt like the world was spinning out of control and we had no idea why our baby was not doing well.
Cooper’s jaundice level was 24 when we went into the ER even though outwardly she did not look jaundiced. At 25, they start looking at doing blood transfusions. This was so scary for us. We called on everyone we knew to pray and there were hundreds of people praying on her behalf. Miraculously, her jaundice numbers plummeted to below 10 the next day. The doctors said this would normally take 4 days to happen. The power of prayer was at work.
After much discussion, we decided to supplement my breastfeeding with formula to try and get some weight on her, which in turn would help her to stay warmer, as she would have more fat on her body. This was a very hard thing for me to do because it made me feel like my body was failing her and again things were not in my control and that was so hard for me. We stayed in the hospital through the 15th when we were able to head back home. On the 16th we saw the doctor again and Cooper had only gained a few ounces but her temps were good so we headed home with another appointment set for the 23rd.
Cooper did so well once we got back home. She was eating well with the nursing and supplementing and as we took her temperatures during the week, she was staying good and warm. We were so excited again on the 23rd to take her back and see how much she had grown. She had gained no weight and her temperatures were low again and we were so confused and devastated. It seemed like we just couldn’t get her where she needed to be so back to Vanderbilt we went on the 25th. This time her jaundice was fine though and we took yet another route in feeding. She was now on a eating schedule of every two hours with the goal to get 2 oz of food in her each feeding. She began to maintain her body temperature almost immediately and we were able to go back home again on the 25th, a Sunday.
She saw her doctor again on Monday, the 26th and Friday, the 30th and by then, she was back up to her birth weight of 5lb 8oz. Finally, we turned a corner and could take her home, hopefully for good. Her next appointment is on April 9th and it is a regular well baby checkup, for that I am thankful.
My friend, Jennifer McKinney, came to stay with us the weekend of March 31st. Jennifer is a photographer and she is traveling with her five kids over spring break taking photos across the south. She took some awesome photos of Cooper in between her photoshoots that she had scheduled here on our property. Here is one that she took:
Our days have finally started to make sense again and we are settling into a routine that now includes a baby. We are beginning to realize we need an extra 20 minutes to get out of the house and that we actually needed each of those burp clothes we got at our showers.
Easter is tomorrow and it marks Cooper’s first time at church. We are so excited to show her off. She has precious little dress that will probably be too big but I guess that’s okay, because all of her clothes are mostly too big. We took her on Friday to see the Easter Bunny and she slept through the entire thing, which lasted all of three minutes.
This has been a month! A month of ups and downs and scary and incredible and a month full of love and faith and prayers being answered. I would not take anything for this month. This month when we discovered how well we are loved by our family, friends and church. A month where we fell in love with the newest member of our family with abandon. A month that passed so quickly that I feel she will be a teenager before I blink my eye. Cooper, wait on that, okay? Mom needs more sleep before you get to be a teenager.