Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quinn's birth story and update

Quinn’s Birth Story:

Stepping back a bit, I think you all know I was admitted back to the hospital again on Monday, July 14th. While I was in OB triage, Brian arrived and said to me that we had better name our son at this point. My front runner name was Cooper. Brian hasn’t been really hip on the name Cooper. He was on his way to play hockey in the fireman’s Olympics down in San Jose and his friend was driving him when I called and said I was bleeding and that he had better come in. His friend Paul G. suggested the name Quinn to Brian. When he told me I said it softly to myself and I really liked the name. It rhymed with Corinne. It sounded very nice to say my children’s names are Kaitlyn and Quinn and their angel sister Corinne. Quinn is an Irish name (even though I am 80% German and Brian is about 35% Irish), McCarthy is obviously a very Irish name and our children have Irish blood in them. So thank you Paul for our son’s wonderful name.

At about 5:00 am on Monday, July 21st, I noticed bright red blood when I got up to go the bathroom. It wasn’t a lot, but I had only seen bright red blood a week earlier when I was admitted to the hospital. I let my night nurse know and got back into bed. It happened again over the next few hours (bright red blood every time I got up to go to the bathroom). The nurse felt then that it was time for the nurse to reinsert my IV (I had so many IV issues before that I was currently IV-less). The nurses contacted my doctor (who was in the hospital about to do a C-section) and she wanted me moved back up stairs to active L&D.

At that point it was around 6:30 or so that I called Brian (I woke up his dorm room at the fire department). And told him what was going on. It still wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was definitely much more than I had seen to date and it was fresh.

A few hours later, after being wheeled upstairs in a gurney (no wheel chair for me this time), both my OB and one of the high-risk Perinatologists came to see me. They felt that this was so different than I had ever seen before, (sort of constant active red-blood) that they felt the best situation was to deliver me today. If I had been earlier in my pregnancy (28weeks or so) they would have let it go as it wasn’t a hemorrhage. The other option would be to take a chance and let it go, and nothing might happen. But the fear was at this point it could start to hemorrhage at any time, which might be in the middle of the night and it would require an emergency c-section.

So I called Brian back and said it was time and that he needed to come in right away. I asked the docs if I had time for my mom to fly up from Los Angeles and they said no, they’d rather do it immediately. I called my mom at that point and still told her to come right away (which she did) but didn’t make it up until later that afternoon.

At least the date wasn’t July 26th, which was the day I told the doctors in no terms did I want to be delivered. July 26th 2005 was the date that I had my fateful amnio and my life changed forever. It is in a way the day I think of loosing Corinne, even though she stayed with me for 3 more months. Her fate was sealed on July 26th and that was not a good date for me.

The tears started coming then! I was 34weeks 4 days and I had so wanted to make it to 36 weeks. This was feeling so much like last time around (when I was 26 weeks 6 days) even thought I KNEW how much further along I was. I just wanted to keep the little guy out of the NICU and I knew at this point that wouldn’t likely be possible. I was prepped for surgery, Brian arrived and away they whisked me to the operating room. I was crying, my OB gave me a big hug and said it was going to be ok this time around. That he was so much further. I was a mess.

I had wanted a nice-uneventful planned c-section this time around. I wanted my family to be waiting with joy in the waiting room waiting to see the baby in the well-baby nursery. Why was this happening again to me?

Brian was holding my hand and was able to take some pictures. As the c-section commenced (I was shaking like a leaf and kept getting nauseous from the pain medicine) my OB commented that there was a lot of uterus scar tissue and that it was very, very good that this wasn’t an emergency c-section. She also indicated that the Placentia was directly under the incision area and was very glad to have the time to do it slowly.

Eventually (which seemed like an eternity) they got the part of going to get our son. We had named him just a week earlier when I was admitted to the hospital. I felt a lot of painful tugging and pulling.

I didn’t hear anything as they took him out of me and brought him over to the table. He then started crying. Really crying, I started sobbing, really, really sobbing. Brian was with Quinn at the time and I can’t tell you how hard I sobbed and how incredibly joyous I felt at hearing my son cry. I never heard my daughters utter a peep. I had dreamed about this moment since my girls came into this world silently almost 3 years ago. Brian and I spoke about it while I was pregnant, wondering if I’d get to hear out son cry.

I did, and it was the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard.

They cleaned him up a bit and brought him over to me. The nurses held him right close to my face so I could kiss him and feel his breath. I was sobbing, he was so beautiful. I had wanted this so badly I ached for this moment of joy that I was robbed of before.

Quinn Edward McCarthy was born at 10:31 on Monday July 21st

They did take him away to the NICU at that point and the docs worked on closing me up. Which hurt again and took some time. I remember hearing the doc ask for towels or something like that. I became very nauseous again and couldn’t stop shaking/trembling. The anesthesiologist was great and pressed on some pressure points on my write to try to keep the nausea away. (Afterwards Brian mentioned to me that he was a bit freaked out as he saw a lot of blood squirting out of me onto the floor and the day after we found out from my doc that I had a post-hemorrhage and that I lost over a liter of blood).

Brian asked if he could go with Quinn and I said absolutely! I was wheeled into recovery which panicked me a bit (brought back horrible memories). I was extremely thankful that I was placed in a different corner in the recovery room as I so clearly remember being in recovery with my twins when our NICU doc came in and told us the grim news that Corinne wasn’t doing very well and wouldn’t likely survive.

Brian came to me after a bit and said Quinn was doing great. Not on oxygen, (that was so joyous to hear) and that his APGAR scores were 9 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes! Wow!

In comparison:
Kaitlyn’s APGAR scores were 5 at 1 minute and 8 at 5 minutes.
Corinne’s APGAR scores were 5 at 1 minute and 6 at 5 minutes, 7 at 10 minutes

A score of 7-10 is considered normal, while 4-7 might require some resuscitative measures, and a baby with apgars of 3 and below requires immediate resuscitation.

In recovery I started itching horribly (a side-effect of the morphine). This itching lasted a full 24 hours and kept me from getting any sleep the night of the delivery. My good friend Lisa B came in (she has been a god-send to me while I was in-patient and was going to deliver clean-laundry to me that morning, when I called her to say I was going to deliver). Lisa spent 9 months in-patient hospital bed-rest for her first set up twins (she was extremely ill and almost didn’t make it) and then was also on bedrest for her 2nd set of twins.

She is a Doctor herself and it was reassuring to talk to her about Quinn and ask her why I was itching. She had already been in the NICU to see Quinn and said he was doing great. I felt so happy (but very out-of-it coming out of surgery).

I’m not sure how much longer it was, but they eventually wheeled me into the NICU on the recovery gurney (boy, did I have freak-out flash backs of this. The view while on my back, brought me right back to when I was wheeled in on a gurney – I couldn’t believe I was back in the NICU again, but this time I was brought to my son (in a different place in the NICU thankfully – I had actually known the baby in the spot before from 2005, it was our “twin” friend Ethyn).

I was able to hold him! I started sobbing again. I put him on my chest and put him to my breast. I felt so much incredible joy! I NEVER was able to do this before. (Remember I held Corinne as she passed away the day of their birth and then couldn’t hold Kaitlyn for 6 full weeks after she was born). I don’t remember how long I stayed there holding him. It was incredible. (I was itching like crazy the whole time which was horrible).

A few hours later in my Post Partum room I started pumping, everything caused me to say, “wow, remember how horrible this was last time around, I had just said good-by to my daughter and was now having to learn to breast pump.)

Tuesday: Quinn was nippling a bit of his feeds (a few drops of my colostrum) and formula. The rest of the feeds he was still being gavaged via an oral feeding tube. I took my first shower. Visits to Quinn where in a wheel chair. My mom was staying at home with Kaitlyn with some help from our nanny in the feeding department. All 3 of them came to visit me and Kaitlyn got to “meet” baby Quinn for the first time. That was such a strange experience, to have Kaitlyn be in the place where she spent the first four months of her life.

Wednesday: Quinn continued to only nipple a bit of each feed and was gavaged the majority of his feeds. He just didn’t wake up much at all. Quinn was transferred to the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) which is for healthier preemies, which meant things were indeed really good. This unit was right near my post-partum room so I was able to walk for the first time and not have to use a wheel-chair. Even though it was around the corner, it was exhausting.

Thursday: I was exhausted today and slept a lot of the day. My milk really started coming in and was able to provide Quinn full breast-milk feeds. He was upped to 40ml (a bit over an ounce) per feed. The hospital provides a “Celebration Dinner” on your last night in-patient. I had about had it with hospital food at this point. Memories kept flooding back of our last “Celebration Dinner” 3 years ago when we had just held our dying daughter in our hands, our surviving daughter needed a heart surgery and I was septic and being packed in ice. I wasn’t feeling all that great, but it was nice to chuckle at the horrible food they served and feel things were so much better this time around that although we weren’t really celebrating, we certainly were in much better spirits than last time around.

Friday: For the morning feed his oxygen saturation really decreased and the nurse put a blow-by oxygen mask in front of him which really helped the saturation levels. Today was the day I was to be released. By the next feed they had put a nasal cannula on Quinn. I started freaking out. How in the world could he be saturating at 99 and 100% for the first 3 days of his life and now needed oxygen? He was supposed to be awake more and wanting to eat. Instead he continued to sleep through most of his feeds which were fed via oral feeding tube.

He has lost ½ a pound by this point.

Brian and I were both super down and depressed. We packed up my belongings (from being in the hospital for 2 weeks), flowers, “It’s a boy balloon” and got ready to leave. I was told I didn’t need to be wheeled out of the hospital and was ok to leave on our own. Normally they have to confirm that the baby is going to be in a car seat, which obviously wasn’t necessary in our case.

I got really depressed and started crying as we made the walk towards the elevators. I can’t believe that I was once again making my departure from the hospital without my baby. I so wanted this to be a wonderful experience that I missed out on almost 3 years ago. Now it was feeling so similar. The feelings were so similar, even though I knew Quinn was in such better shape this time around. I couldn’t hold it together at all and started sobbing, carrying my “It’s a boy” balloon out the door. This sucked!

Saturday – Sunday:

Quinn’s oxygen needs kept increasing every day. Sunday while we were in the NICU, the docs decided to give Quinn a chest x-ray, as they too are concerned and think he may have a pneumothorax (a whole in his lung). We left the NICU (very sad and worried) went home and when I called to check on the results of his x-ray, was told the needed a 2nd x-ray, which made me really worried. The phone rang and I heard the docs voice (not the nurse who told me she’d call me back) then I became really worried! He said that the first x-ray wasn’t as clear as they liked so they wanted a different angle. The x-rays did s how some RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome) or immature lungs. (Which of course is what Kaitlyn had/has a severe case of), but no pnemothorax, thankfully.

He really was puzzled why his oxygen needs have continued to go up the last few days, especially after not needing any oxygen for his first few days. At least he has started gaining a bit of weight, they are now supplementing his feed with a fortifier to make my breast milk more caloric.

Oh and when I left the NICU earlier that day I was back in the main “pump room” (it had been out of commission for a few days). I spent a lot of time in the “pump room” where NICU moms pump communally for breast milk. It actually was a somewhat comforting place for me, as helping to talk to others is helpful to me. It’s where I spent a lot of time with my friend Jenny (Ethyn’s mom) who also lost a twin and whose surviving son was a 24 weeker and was quite ill). We shared a lot of tears of the nicu up and downs together.

But it was also very surreal to be back there. This time I felt like a stranger in the room. So many memories. I’m having a rough time. When I walked out of the main NICU unit I saw a mom being wheeled in on a wheelchair in a hospital ground. I had been told by our NICU doc that she had been up all night taking care of an extremely ill baby, and I had seen many doctors over the isolette. I could tell it was a micro preemie. This preemie was in Kaitlyn’s spot when she was first delivered, the spot next to Corinne where I said my good-byes to her. My heart thumped in my chest as the memories flooded back and I became so worried for that mom.

Today I sadly heard that they had lost a baby yesterday and I know it was that baby that I saw, and was filled with the grief and loss that I know the mom must be consumed with.

I started crying at home trying to go to sleep. This sucks!! I can’t believe I’m going through all of this again. Why isn’t my baby home with me? Why can’t I have a “normal” newborn experience?

The NICU docs are still stumped as to what is going on. They decidedt o give him some Lasix (a diuretic drug that Kaitlyn received a lot of) if there is fluid in Quinn’s lungs, the Lasix will help eliminate it from his body. His urine output will increase a lot and will likely loose some more weight. Monday night when I called in to see how he was doing the night nurse told me that she was able to get in a whole feed (40ml’s – 10 mls’s over an ounce) into him orally! Wow, the only time he’d taken anything was a max of 15 up till this point. She said he vomited it up afterwards in his bed, but was really pleased! I’m starting to feel a bit of hope at this point. His oxygen needs have also started decreasing a bit.

I think the NICU roller-coaster ride and having a preemie ride is like this: just when you really start to worry that there is something seriously wrong with your child (I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to Kaitlyn while she was in the NICU and continues to happen since she’s been home) they suddenly start improving.

Every day I go back to the NICU I see more of the nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists that took care of Kaitlyn. They all know me and remember Kaitlyn and it is nice to be in a “familiar” place, as much as I wish I wasn’t there.

Here I had been afraid that I didn’t know how to tend to a “newborn”, I didn’t’ know how to take care of umbilical stumps and all that stuff. Now I had the most expensive type of nurses doing it all for me again.

Crossing my fingers tomorrow will be better still.

He nippled some ½ feeds (25 mls) which is again better than up till this point. His oxygen requirements were down. Of course when Brian and I were there he was very very sleepy and had to be tube fed the entire feed. I’m still hoping that he will be more awake and want/be able to nipple more.

Once again, I seem to be a good breast milk producer and I don’t need to bring any milk in for a day or two at this point. At least I’ve got that going for me. I continue to be really tired and I’m waking up in the middle of the night to pump (which is very sad, that I have an intimate relationship with my breast pump and not my baby) but at least I know I’m doing something really great for my little fella.

Kaitlyn is very very happy to have her mom home. She doesn’t really like visiting her baby brother in the hospital. I think she’d be very happy if he never came home at this point, but is still upset that mom can’t really take care of her at this point. We are getting into the swing of my pumping, Brian driving us to the NICU every day, with or without Kaitlyn.

Well I think that gets you caught up with where we are now. I’ll post more pictures soon. When I look at the pictures we’ve taken Quinn looks so “big” but when we are there in person his head is dwarfed by my hand. He still is so much bigger than Kaitlyn was, but he’s still a very tiny, little fella.


Sarah M. said...


MamáChanga said...

Sending you tons of hugs, positive thoughts & prayers. What a strong person you are!

Hugs & Blessings!

Anonymous said...

dear liz--i just finished reading your post and hope that the roller coaster will be over soon and quinn will be home healthy and happy. i am thinking of you...


Kendra's mom said...

Wow! What an emotional ride. I hope things just get better from now on. My daughter was a 35 weeker and was also very sleepy in the beginning. She came right and eventually became quite the chubs! Lots of hugs:)

Anonymous said...

I will keep Quinn in my thoughts and prayers. It really stink when all those memories come flooding back.

Anonymous said...

Sending lot's of LOVE and WHITE LIGHTS y'alls way!


Sarah said...

Augh, that situation SUCKS so much! I can't IMAGINE how distressed you are right now - I gotta say, the thought of being wheeled into the NICU to meet another baby of mine makes me more than a little bit queasy, and I don't even REMEMBER the ride from recovery to NICU.

Hang in there... we're all pulling for you guys.

sierra said...


Congrats on your new baby boy! I loved reading your blog and seeing the pictures. I know its hard to leave Quinn at the hosipital. Just know that he will come home soon!

Hang in there girlie! You are my super-hero!!!

xoxo - Sierra

Anonymous said...


I've never commented before (that I can remember). However, I wanted to take a moment to encourage you and congratulate you on the birth of Quinn. He is absolutely adorable!

If, anytime at all, you want to talk please email me. I left the hospital 3 times leaving a baby in the NICU. It just plain sucks. I'm so sorry that you have to go through it.

Much prayers and wishes for a happy homecoming.


Anonymous said...

Liz, I know that you probably hate it when people say things like "you are so strong" or "how do you do it?"

But, really. Your spirit is amazing. You are such a fine example of just putting one foot in front of the other and getting through hard times. I'm aware that you "complain" -- I"m not talking about that. The fact that you just keep on keepin' on...that you found the time to write a long post for all us when you obviously have other major concerns -- well, it's just amazing.

When I first looked at the album of your twins births, the images haunted me for some time. The agony in your face, as well as your husband's was so hard to behold. And the fact that the woman (and man) in those pictures is still standing and thriving, and raising a child (two now) is just a miracle! What strength of spirit you have.

Prayers to you and your family.

(long-time lurker)

Kristin said...


I had wished and hoped for such an easier time for you... I was talking with another fellow blogger just the other day about you and we both agreed you deserved a break...

Please remember that you are doing everything good for your children, and its a tough road, but when your children are older, they will understand the struggles and heartache and worries and how much you love them for everything you have gone thru to have them here.

From our experience, we were only in the NICU part of the hospital for a couple of days and then moved to the feeder/grower section (special care nursery) and in the SCN, you can be assured you wouldn't be there if Quinn wasn't well on his way. :-) (I had to get that reassurance many many times.)

Grow Quinn Grow :-)


skeybunny said...

I'm glad to read baby Quinn seems to be doing better each day. When Evan was born (32 weeks), he didn't need oxygen at first either. Then he needed blow by, then nasal cannula, then CPAP. Our NICU nurses said it wasn't uncommon to need some O2/breathing help on the third day. I guess they lose the energy reserve they had from birth and just get tired. I'm sure not having to work so hard to breathe will help him gain weight.

Sarah S.