“It gets better”: Sean’s Story

Sean H

The cost of our baby (we too had the dreaded folder with the bills) came in just shy of $1 million. Our little fighter is now 12 and doing awesome.  It's a tough road it gets easier.. Hang in there.  :-)

The subject says it all. I had always taken a sort of pity on people who had a birthday right before Christmas. Then life does what it does best and gives us our oldest daughter on December, 21st. But, since life really likes to throw 100MPH curve balls at times the twist here was that she wasnt supposed to be born until March 20th.

The day is etched so clearly in our minds and always feels like slow motion when we talk about it. It started like any other day with getting ready for work, getting our son his fruit loops, watching some TV, and then she says it. This wasn't something she hadn't said a thousand times before but it was the way in which she said it. I heard Traci call my name from the bathroom but it was in one of those "all time just froze and something horrible is happening tones". Long story short: Six months pregnant and blood. Lots of blood.

Fast forward to the hospital where they get her sorta stabilized and start to work on "what the hell is going wrong here?!" After a two hour ultrasound the doctors turn to face us and pretty much drop this bomb:

"The placenta is abrupting. This means it is separating from the uterus and that is causing the blood loss. The baby is stable at the moment but one ofyour choices is for you to have an emergency c-section and deliver prematurely with a 90% chance of survival."

If my life was a movie this is where the frame freezes and my head just explodes. It was like a scene right out of a prime time TV show. Sitting there we talked to ourselves about what we should do (to say we were terrified is an understatement) and finally asked what would happen if she just stayed in the hospital under observation etc... I'll never, ever, forget the look in the doctors face when he said the following:

"If the placenta fully abrupts she will be prepped for surgery and the duty surgeon called. But, the placenta is the lifeline for the baby. Once it is off, (here he paused, looked right at me and said) Let me ask you this:

How long can you hold your breath? How long do you think the baby can?"

We made our decision right there. C-section in 25 minutes.

Now, to prove life isn't just happy with 100MPH curve balls her sister was already scheduled to have a c-section on the same day in Orange County, CA.So, needless to say calling the family to inform them we couldn't make it on account of Traci having one too... went over well. 

Fast forward some more and our daughter is born coming in at a whopping 2pounds 7 ounces. Within 2 minutes she was on a ventilator and being prepped to travel to a different hospital where a level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care unit was going to put her on 24 hour watch (dedicated incubator side nurse).

For the first 70 days of her life that was her home.

So much happened in that 70 days from having blood taken from me to use for her transfusions to approving procedures that, if they went bad, could end her life... it's just mind boggling and surreal. To think that for the first week of her life we were not even allowed to hold her. The most we could do was touch her fingers and forearm. It's near impossible to describe.

Today, she is a fully energized insane mini-barbie. If you look closely at her heels and hands you can see dozens of itty bitty scars from all the tubes, pricks, bloodwork, and you name it.

Oh, why did the placenta go south? They never figured it out. My wife was the picture of health: vitamins, food, no smoking, no drinking, all straight and narrow. The doctors kinda left it at: One of those things.

Curve balls suck. Hitting them out of the park doesn't.

Hug someone you care about. :-)

-Sean, father of Paige