Every pregnancy and birth story is unique. And mine were no exception. By now, most of you are WELL aware that Travis and I were expecting a baby boy this summer. However, what some of you MAY not know (unless you follow me on Instagram) is that our baby boy arrived 7 weeks early. Yes, SEVEN!
This may seem like a shock – and it was to all of us – but I am happy to report that Bizi Baby (aka Tucker Landon Biziorek) is a happy and healthy baby boy. He had to spend a little extra time in the hospital’s NICU to make sure he’s developed enough to come home with us. But other than learning how to take a bottle, there were no other complications with our little guy- THANK GOODNESS!
But how did all of this happen? Were there any signs of early labor? How did I know I was going into early labor? What was his NICU stay like? These are some of the many questions I’ve been asked by inquiring minds on a daily basis. Those, and the ever looming “When is he coming home?”.
Well, hopefully this post can share a little light on Tucker’s birth story, for all you curious cats out there…
Bizi Baby Pregnancy
Its safe to say that my pregnancy with Tucker was probably as close to the “perfect pregnancy” as one could get! Seriously, no joke. Travis and I knew for a very long time we wanted to start a family. We thought it would be ideal to get pregnant around January 2016. But being the planner I am – and knowing very well how hard it can be to get pregnant (even with perfect timing, the average couple only has a 25% chance of conceiving each month) we decided to start trying a couple months earlier.
Well, exactly 4 weeks after our first go round, I found out that I was pregnant. WOWZA! What a lucky miracle!
I had absolutely no morning sickness and no crazy cravings. I did have an aversion to chicken (which I usually LOVE) and wanted more bread and cheese (which I usually avoided). But other than that, nothing too out of the norm.
At 11 weeks, I got my blood tested and a genetic scan to make sure everything was progressing nicely. Everything came back normal – thank goodness! Things were progressing “perfectly”.
Again, at 20 weeks, I had more blood tested an another anatomy scan. Once more, everything was perfectly normal. Hooray!
I continued to go to my monthly OB-GYN appointments, and had my urine tested at each for any elevated levels of protein or sugar (which can indicate problems in utero and possible pre-term labor). Again, all my levels consistently showed up in the “normal” range. Nothing to worry about.
At about 25 weeks, I began to feel a bit of sciatic nerve pain in my back. I asked my doctor about it (and read up on some mommy blogs) and I found out this is quite normal. My doctor told me to take some tylenol and to keep active, and that should help the pain.
She was absolutely right! As soon as I started to do some light cardio on my elliptical, the pain went away. So I continued to make sure I stayed active (aka- broke a sweat) at least 2-3 times a week. It kept me fit, and kept the pain away. Hooray for me!
At 28 weeks, I took the dreaded glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. You know, the one where they make you down an incredibly sugary drink in 8 minutes and then test your blood after to make sure you can process sugar normally while pregnant. I found the drink quite tasty, frankly, and was afraid I loved sugar too much and the test was sure to come back positive.
24 hours later, I checked the results on my doctor’s web portal. Again, no need to worry. I passed with FLYING colors. Hooray! This pregnancy couldn’t have been going smoother.
To add to it, I was gaining weight perfectly. Slow and steady, and well within the total 25-35lb range the doctors say is “normal” to gain throughout a pregnancy. At my 30/31 week appointment, I had gained 19 lbs. Right on target.
However, it was right around this appointment where I started to notice a change. I began to feel increased pelvic pressure, almost like Tucker was “knocking” at the door to get out. Additionally, 4 days after my 31 week appointment (the day he actually turned 31 weeks) I noticed what I thought was my mucus plug when I went to the bathroom. If you don’t know what that is, don’t look it up. It’s gross.
I immediately freaked out. FREAKED OUT! It was 7:30am on a Sunday morning, and I urgently called my doctor’s emergency line. The operator patched me right through to her, and I hysterically told her what had happened. She said as long as there was no blood (in what I thought was the mucus plug), and I wasn’t bleeding, then I had nothing to worry about.
I felt a bit relieved, but decided to still do some of my own research online. From what I found, there were conflicting reports. It could just be normal pregnancy hormones, or it could be my mucus plug. But the general consensus was that I had no reason to worry. I was still scared, but decided ultimately to trust my medical professional’s advice and not to worry.
Well, fast forward almost 2 weeks. 12 days to be exact. 2 days shy of Tucker being 33 weeks baked. I was sitting in my dining room, trying to finish up some Etsy orders. I stood up to walk to the living room, and all of a sudden it felt like there was a water balloon in my stomach, and someone popped it. No pain, just an immediate GUSH of water. There was no mistaking this- my water had broken.
I started freaking out, crying, and I immediately texted Travis. At first, he thought I was joking. Why I didn’t just call him so he could hear the tone in my voice? I have NO idea. I was panicked. But after he made me promise a couple times that I was serious, he quickly left work and was on his way home.
I then called my doctor, still crying, and was told not to wait for Travis to get home. She wanted me at the hospital immediately. So I got in my car and sped off to the hospital- my iron was still on, water still on the floor, and puppy wandering around with nobody to watch her. This was a mess. It was now 3:45pm on a Friday afternoon.
Although Travis and I live across the street from one of the best hospital’s in our area, I was all set to give birth at a hospital 20 miles away from my house (for insurance reasons, blah!). Once I got there, the nurses gave me some medication to try and prolong labor, and keep Tucker in as long as possible. But the contractions were consistent on the screen (although I couldn’t feel them yet).
So I decided if Tucker was going to come premature, I needed to be transferred to the hospital nearest to our house (with the higher level NICU). I had the doctor initiate the transfer, and an hour and a half later, the ambulance showed up to transport me away.
This was my first ambulance ride, and was less adventurous than the TV shows portray it to be. No sirens, no craziness; just a really bumpy ride on a wobbly bed in the back of a large vehicle. But it was in the ambulance that I could start to feel contractions (by now, it was about 8:30pm on Friday). Not crazy, but a bit uncomfortable.
By the time they got me settled in the new hospital, my contractions were getting much stronger. The doctors had given the nurses specific instructions now to check how dilated I was, because they were trying to prolong labor as long as possible. But once my nurse had me settled, I knew the pain was getting intense. It wasn’t 5 minutes after she left my room (around 11p) that I called her back in and told her it wasn’t stopping and I needed my epidural.
Reluctantly, she checked to see if I was dilating… 4cm she said. And then she called for the anesthesiologist. THIS WAS HAPPENING. He was coming that night.
About an hour later, I was 5cm dilated and I received my epidural. If you want to give birth naturally, good for you. But I have to say… THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE! Were the contractions sooo unbearable I wanted to claw someone’s eyes out. No. Were they uncomfortable enough that I couldn’t stand anyone touching me when they were happening? Yes.
But after that epidural… man – that room turned into a party. I was in such a good mood, and I was going to bring this baby into the world with a smile on my face.
About this time is when my angel photographer, Stephanie arrived. She was able to come on a moment’s notice (and again, after one false trip earlier to the first hospital) and take pictures of the entire birth for us (sans the graphic parts).
If you live in the SF Bay area and are looking for an AMAZING baby photographer, you need to check her out (here). I can’t recommend her enough! After all, she’s seen me in my “not so finest hour” – if you catch my drift – and she STILL is sweet to me 🙂 hehe
Below are some highlights from that night:
John Muir Hospital – where Tucker was ultimately born.
Wheeling me in the labor and delivery room on my gurney bed
About 3:15am (on June 4th) it was time to push.
Despite the lax picture, I couldn’t have pushed without Travis’ help!
He arrived – with lungs of steel. Crying his heart out to announce his entry into the world.
And then I cried…
… and cried
All wrapped up and showing mommy his handsome face
Daddy cutting the last bit of the umbilical cord
And he was then whisked off the the NICU
Travis followed Tucker to his NICU room. An hour and a half later, this was my first time getting to hold him.
My little love <3
One proud papa in the NICU
This was the sunrise on June 4th. He couldn’t have picked a prettier morning to say HI.
The Joy and Pain of the NICU
Oh gosh. The NICU. What can I say except this place is such a double edged sword. I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful that my preemie baby was in such great hands with these people. I mean, they’re all TOP NOTCH at what they do. And without them, who knows if Tucker would have been ok.
However, when you have a baby, you never expect them to be whisked away from you immediately. And be kept from you in a room of their own. No. They’re supposed to be born and lay with you. They’re supposed to stay in your room, with you, and then you get to go home with them in 2 days. That’s the plan. That’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen. That’s what feels natural. The NICU was NOT a natural feeling.
But I got it. And although I was sad my baby wasn’t with me (very, very sad) I knew he needed a little oxygen to help his lungs mature, a little light to help with the bit of Jaundice he had, a little IV to help make sure he got all the nutrients he needed, and a little tube to help him feed. And I 100% trusted all the medical professionals to help him get to where he needed to be. Did I cry often? Yep, you betcha. But I also visited as often as possible to make sure I got to hold and bond with him.
After about a week, Tucker had his IV taken out (prematurely, because they couldn’t find a vein to stick a new one in). But did JUST fine. He also pulled his own oxygen tube out around the same time, and the nurses decided to see how’d he do without it. Again, he was JUST fine. Such a little warrior boy! And the lights for Jaundice… he only needed those for 3 days. His bilirubin numbers decreased, and he was keeping his core temperature high!
After about a week in the NICU, he was transferred out of his warmer incubator into an open bassinet. Hooray! The only thing keeping him in the NICU was his ability to take a full bottle on his own, and I was cautiously optimistic he’d be home soon!
Flash forward another 3 weeks… and he was STILL in the NICU. Every few days, the doctor would increase the amount given to him in each bottle. And although he kept taking more and more at each feeding time, he just couldn’t seem to keep up with the increased amount. I swear, I felt as though there was a conspiracy against my baby and he was being held hostage by the people in the NICU.
Although that wasn’t the case, it felt like it. And the stay became a frustrating one. He seemed strong enough to do everything else on his own, if they would just give him the CHANCE to feed on demand (instead of on their schedule) I was convinced he’d do just fine. But that wasn’t my decision to make. And if he was going to get out of there and home with me, we needed to get him feeding every 3 hours, on demand.
But this was the most trying part of having a premature baby. The waiting, and the wanting, and the urning. My baby wasn’t with me, and although he was just fine, I wasn’t ok with it.
And if I had to hear one more nurse tell me to be patient, or friend ask me for a Tucker update (when there was none to give) I was going to go insane. Everyone came from a place of love and concern, but nobody could truly understand my frustration with the entire situation. It was hard enough to deal with it myself, and didn’t help having to talk about the things I wasn’t even sure of over and over and over again 🙁
I was so thankful for the care he was getting. But yet, so sad that he seemed so well and still, wasn’t allowed to come home with me. It simply put, was the WORST.
So, I decided to shut myself off from inquiring/caring minds, and just focus on my baby boy until he could come home. No more answering phone calls, texts, etc. It was the only thing I could do to keep myself sane and strong for my baby, who needed me the most.
Coming Home With Our Baby
This was Tucker the day before discharge. Getting chunky!
After what seemed like an eternity, I began to get clear cut signs Tucker was near to discharge. His feedings became easier for him to take on his own (without having to give him through his feeding tube) and more consistent.
So when I got a call from his pediatrician telling me that she was going to schedule a time to see him in the hospital (because she knew Tucker was close to coming home), I knew the end was near.
I got her call on Thursday, and by that Monday Tucker was able to have his feeding tube pulled! THIS WAS HUGE! I had been waiting for this day and thinking it would come for at least 2 weeks. So to have this happen was a BIG day for us (all of us). And it happened exactly 1 month after Tucker was born, on July 4th. Talk about a new reason to celebrate “independence day”.
And once the nurses in the NICU agree to pull out a baby’s feeding tube, the baby has 48 hours left. As long as Tucker continued to take his bottles and gain weight, he would get discharged.
Tucker was finally discharged today, July 7th, 34 days after birth. I can absolutely tell you there is no better feeling. And any worries I had of not getting any sleep have been thrown out the window. Keep me up as late as you want, buddy boy. I’m just glad to have you home and that we get to snuggle you whenever I/you want 🙂
Tucker now weighs 6 lbs 10 oz and is 19.2″ long (almost 50% fatter and a full 2″ longer than he was at birth). And he’s as happy to be at home as Travis and I are to have him. Welcome home, T-Biz, Jr! Cheers to the next 18 years…