I have another story-time to share with you! But for this one I will be going way back. Back to when I was nineteen. When I had my second baby. Back to when the hospital put my newborn at risk and he almost died because of it.
In my previous pregnancy I was tested and treated for Group B Strep. That was back when I was 16. But I had this knowledge when I went into my second pregnancy. Not that I would always be positive but that I had been previously.
Now I went into labor with Caleb at 35 weeks. The doctor’s didn’t test for Group B Strep until 36 weeks. So I wasn’t tested yet. My active labor with Caleb was 47 hours with at least 95% being in the hospital. It seems my labor was complicated. I had an epidural that wasn’t placed right. I had to have internal monitors because the external ones weren’t picking up on any contractions nor was it picking up Caleb’s heart rate for the most part. I had little to no support from my (ex) husband. So in-between everything I would ask about my previous positive result and if they were going to treat me. I always got told I wasn’t tested so they would have to check.
After 40-something hours, they finally decided to begin treatment (as a precaution). I got half a dose completed before my stubborn child decided it was time to arrive. His arrival was dramatic! The monitors were “saying” it was time to push (the contractions were no longer smooth mountains– they were very rough mountains). I had been in so much pain before and had the urge to push but they didn’t really check until the mountains formed. The baby was there and ready to go but the doctor wasn’t ready to go. The nurses coached me through “candle breathing” and were watching everything. But Caleb wasn’t wasting anytime! He was on his way, no matter what! Caleb was born to three nurses after barely making it to the birthing suite. He was born at 8 lbs 4 oz– happy and healthy little boy!
Honestly, everything seemed fine with my son. I had some complications but that was because of my epidural. We stayed in the hospital for two days and were released. I really thought I was lucky because Caleb was fine!
Fast forward three weeks. We were at a concentration camp with my (ex) husband’s sister (who was also stationed in Germany) and his parents (who had made the trip to visit). We accompanied part of the big trip short and went back to the base while they went other places. When I had fed and changed Caleb a couple hours earlier he was a little stuffy. So I used saline drops and suctioned out his nose. He seemed fine and went to sleep the rest of the trip home! I carried him upstairs, along with Laura. I noticed he was a little stuffy again so I went into the bathroom and started running some hot water in the shower (for steam). I then went and brought him into the bathroom in his car seat. I thought he looked a little pale so I went to take him out of his car seat. He was limp, his eyes rolled back into his head, and he was working very hard to breath. I loaded him back into his car seat and grabbed Laura. I passed my (ex) husband on the stairs and told him to drop that load and get back to the car. I explained on the way to the hospital.
The ER was really a blur. They immediately took him back. They took his father too. They sent someone to take me to a darkened, quiet, private waiting area. I don’t know how long I was there before someone came in with me. Eventually the doctor did come in and explained why I wasn’t allowed to come in with the baby (mother’s tend to be emotional and the member doesn’t get as emotional). That they had to work fast and didn’t need anyone who was emotional there. He explained that Caleb was in respiratory distress and they put him on a ventilator. That he was being taken to the ICU. That he couldn’t go to the NICU because he had left the hospital. I could see him but I should be prepared. Also that I did good– 30 minutes more and he would have been dead. He would have been exhausted and just stopped working to breath. It would have been a SIDS case.
I don’t remember the ICU much. I wouldn’t stay the night because Laura couldn’t stay the night. I was forced to go home with her. My (ex) husband stayed the night with him. By 8 AM the next morning, Caleb had removed his vent and they were trying to let him breath on his own. He also pulled out his IV and they were struggling to get another one placed. He was still a very sick little boy– his veins weren’t there. They warned me when I went in that he will smell like grape. To get his IV started he had to be hydrated so he wasn’t getting breastmilk/formula. He was being given small amounts of pedialyte until he got his IV started.
He was put on IV antibiotics and fluids. He had oxygen support as well. We stayed in the ICU for about 24 hours. His diagnosis was GBS (Group B Strep) Now remember this has been quiet awhile ago– they didn’t define GBS on early or late on-set. The hospital approached me to get my GBS status in labor. His risk was stated to have been reduced drastically if they had treated me during labor (however, if you read the research now the stand is it doesn’t make a difference in late on-set).
We did end up on a pediatric unit. We were there for about seven days. He was still on IV fluids, breastmilk/formula, and IV antibiotics. We did get off any oxygen support. We had to weigh and track diapers. I also had to stay with him. At all times! Truthfully about 75% of the time the room was full with Caleb, Laura, and myself while (ex) husband went out on trips with his parents.
We spent the remainder of our days in a “step-down” unit. We had to complete a 10-day antibiotic course. The pediatric floor wasn’t set up with room for a toddler so the step-down room was better. He did loose IV access on the last day– so we had two doses given by injection.
I got very lucky with how that turned out. I also learned how to advocate better, for myself and my children. It also began my interest in helping other woman’s births. Even if I’m just educating so woman can have a better experience than I did. I also carry the ability to remain calm in extreme situations (when most parents do freak out). This may also have to do with my career choices (I’ve been in the medical field for most of my adult working life).