Jadon is my third child so pregnancy was not something new to me. My first two pregnancies were pretty much problem free. Other than morning sickness and swelling I had no other problems. My deliveries were also problem free. My first labor lasted 3 1/2 hours and I pushed for 10 minutes. My second labor lasted 2 hours and I pushed for about 10 minutes. No issues during delivery. My first child weighed in at 6 lbs 13oz and my second child weighed in at 7 lbs 14oz. Pretty normal sized babies.
My third pregnancy was ten years after the birth of my second child. Jadon was our little surprise baby. A gift from God. Once we wrapped our heads around the fact that we were going to have another itty bitty in the house again we were ecstatic! It was so exciting! I really did not have many problems. I had a little spotting around five months and from that point in my pregnancy on I was frequently sore and just hurt all over. I was a trooper though. I just kept on going not really complaining. I was just so thankful to be blessed with another child!
In February my due date came and went. I felt so huge and I was so sore. I just knew that this baby was going to be bigger than my last two but I had delivered my first two children so easily that I was not worried about delivering Jadon. I could not wait to meet him.
At 3:30 am on Thursday, February 26th I woke up in the middle of the night to contractions. I quickly woke everyone else in the house up. Everybody got ready in record time. I think both kids of the older two kids were down stairs ready to go before I even had all my stuff together. I don't know if it was their excitement or the fear that I would deliver this baby at home if they did not hustle. They had heard over and over again that their deliveries were very quick and we did not have time to dawdle.
By the time we made it to the hospital a little after 4 am I was really feeling a lot of pain. This would be my first experience with back labor. Not fun!! I was checked in and it was not long before my water began leaking. The labor seemed to progress pretty normally but the nurses became concerned when I was dilated to 8 cm. and they could still not feel the baby's head. When I asked about it they explained to me that not feeling the head at that point in dilation meant one of two things.....a breach baby or a BIG baby. They were concerned enough that they even got a sonogram machine out. Though I remember thinking that it was pointless because they were both saying the whole time they were running the wand over my belly that they were not sono techs and were not good at figuring out what they were looking at. They did recognize enough to determine that the baby was not breach. So that only left one thing......
No one seemed to concerned about the size of the baby so we continued down the path. As I am typing this the tears are coming to my eyes. It is so easy for me to look back now and see the point where I should have asked more questions. Where so many things could have altered the outcome of this story. Of course I also remember the pain. I could hardly think straight it hurt so bad.
Finally it was time to push! I pushed, and I pushed. I was working so hard. Then in a blink of an eye the feeling in the room changed. I remember hearing my doctors voice and wondering why she sounded so urgent and stressed. Then there were nurses pushing on my stomach from above me. One minute I was supposed to push, the next minute I was told not to push. Then I heard the words I still have bad dreams about..."Is there another doctor on the floor" to which the answer was a "no". Then three not very nice words in a row. After that for me things just got loud and chaotic. Somewhere in the chaos Jadon was delivered (7:10 am) , all 9 lbs 13 oz of him! I was immediately worried because he was not even shown to me. He was taken straight over to the incubator. My husband would tell me later that he was purple. Long after we knew that Jadon was going to stay on this earth with us my husband would show me a cell phone picture he took that showed how purple Jadon was. It was so scary. As soon as they were sure his vitals were good they wisked Jadon off to the nursery. I was pretty upset.
Here is what he looked like after delivery. The first picture was taken pretty soon after he was pulled out. You can see he is still a little purple but nothing like he was in the cell phone pic my husband has. He was also so swollen and covered in bruises. There were marks on his face and all the way down the right side of his chest too. I felt so bad for him when they finally wheeled me into the nursery to see him. Poor little man!
Everyone quickly assured me that Jadon was doing great but he was not moving his right arm so they were checking to see if his clavicle was broken during delivery. I was told this was pretty common with big babies. Xrays were taken and it was determined that Jadon did not have a broken clavicle. That is when we learned the term Erb's palsy. They referred to a Brachial Plexus Injury as Erb's palsy. It was explained to us that Jadon's nerves in his neck were stretched because of the difficult delivery. We were told that in as little as a week to a couple months at the most the nerves would heal and Jadon would be fine. I still wonder how they felt comfortable telling us that. I guess because according to some statistics that circulate 80% of these injuries do spontaneously heal. We would learn in the next 6 weeks however that Jadon's injury was a severe case. He was not going to recover on his own. He was going to require years of therapy and at least one if not more surgeries.
Jadon began seeing a physical therapist when he was just days old. Around six weeks old we had an appointment with a neurologist. This is where the world turned upside down for me. My husband had been doing a lot of research on Brachial Plexus injuries and had prepared himself for the bad news that Jadon's injury was severe. I was doing my best to be optimistic. I remember just trying to almost will away everything that was happening. In the neurologist's office though I remember my wall of positive thoughts slowly just crumble away with each assessment she did. The worst was the skin prick test. She took a sharp object and pressed it into his skin on his right arm in several places and he had NO reaction. She then tested his good arm the same way and he freaked out. Have you ever had a moment in your life where everything just turns upside down? Your whole world is rocked? That was my moment. My "waking up" to the reality of this situation. At the end of the appointment she explained to us that she did not feel that Jadon would ever recover without intervention and that we needed to see a neurosurgeon. We walked out of that appointment speechless. It is a half hour drive home and I don't think we spoke at all. My husband and I both just needed a moment to absorb everything we had learned. We would learn so much more over the next few months....
This blog begins after our appointment with the first neurosurgeon in St. Louis on May 1st, 2009 you can follow the rest of the story from there.