Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Juliet's pregnancy was uneventful. All scans and screenings checked out. Lachlan's birth was far from uneventful, and far from "just" premature.

Lachlan had always been an active baby in utero. Thu April 16, in Lachlan's 32nd week (he was due June 12), Juliet noticed decreased fetal movement, a worrying but not terrible sign. Listening to her body, she observed from 10pm to midnight exactly zero kicks. According to some, a healthy fetus should be kicking at least 10 times per hour. So we called our obstetrician who ordered us to the hospital's labor & delivery dept.

We arrived at Alta Bates around 12:30am Fri April 17. We waited at labor & delivery triage. Still no kicks. Lachlan's heart rate was a healthy 130bpm or so. At around 4am we had an ultrasound with poor results: a 4 out of 8. There was blood flowing in the umbilical cord, his heart was beating fine. But he wasn't moving, not even practice breathing (the process by which the fetus tones the lungs in preparation for breathing). We returned to the triage room where cold juice and water didn't work either. Heart rate was still strong. Our OB was called but he didn't come yet, we mostly talked to nurses.

We were moved to a delivery room (which I was slightly suspicious about, but welcomed the nurses taking the matter more seriously) close to 7am. Fairly quickly Lachlan's heart beat began falling. First to around 90bpm. At this point the nurse was trying to move Juliet's position to get his rate back up. Then it fell to something like 60bpm and the nurses moved faster, giving Juliet oxygen, medication, a drip for hydration and getting her on all fours with the bed tilting her head down to improve Lachlan's heart rate. No improvement. More people quickly entered the room, including a doctor who immediately said something like "No time, we have to do an emergency C section".

We were both extremely scared at this point. I asked the doctor "why? do we have to?" And he said we had to, in order to save Lachlan. They couldn't do anything for him inside Juliet.

Around 7am they whisked Juliet's gurney down the hallway with me running behind. I suited up but was instructed to wait for the all clear to come into the operating room. There was no time, they said. They had to give her a general and remove Lachlan immediately. Within less than 10min he was out, on a bed with a ventilator. It was around now when our OB arrived. I followed Lachlan, with two nurses and a neonatologist in tow.

Lachlan was very pale. Initially I thought that was good: he looked like how a baby looks. But newborns should be red/pink/purple in color. I soon found out that this was a very bad sign.