As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was pregnant when I had my hemorrhage. This is easily the best and most important part of my entire experience.
While I was in the University of Tennessee Medical Center, I learned that the child I was pregnant with was a boy. I was going to have a son :) In a matter of days I learned that, not only had my baby survived the hemorrhage, but that he was no longer my baby, he was now MY SON.
My new OBGYN, Dr. Hourigan out of BRMC in Corbin, Kentucky spoke with a neurologist and decided that I would not be able to give birth vaginally. This was a pretty terrible blow, not only because I felt like I was being denied something that is such an essential part (or so I thought) of being a woman and a mother but because I was going to have to have another major surgery.
Throughout the rest of my pregnancy I experienced terrible heartburn and reflux, sciatica, and strep b. After the hemorrhage, this was nothing, though. AND once the extreme amounts of pain meds I received following the AVM and the surgery wore off, I was FINALLY able to get on with enjoying my first pregnancy. We tossed around name after name and argued incessantly because our ideas for suitable names were entirely different. Finally, we decided on the perfect name for our son. Rogan (it was a name that B.J. found and that we both loved instantly) Benjamin (This is B.J.'s first name and my contribution, and the name really grew on B.J. although he was leery at first).
Rogan was due on 05/27/2010. Dr. Hourigan scheduled the Csection on 05/20. Dr. Hourigan did not want me to go into labor at all due to the AVM (although my neurologist said that there was no more risk involved with my delivering vaginally then there would be in my delivering by csection) and he did not want my water to break due to the Strep B. However, during the day on 05/15 I began having frequent and painful contractions. They became severe enough that they woke me multiple times through the night. My parents wanted me to go to the hospital immediately, but I held off because I had experienced contractions and lost my mucus plus two days before and had thought that I would have the baby then. The contractions slowed over the next two hours and I was sent home. I did not want to make another wasted trip over an hour away. B.J,. had done some online research, and began timing my contractions, which were about tive minutes apart at that time. Again, he took me to the hospital, and all the while I was thinking they would send me home again.
As I said, I had been to the hospital two days before after losing my mucus plug. At that point I was a little more then 50% effaced and dilated to one. They checked my cervix this time and I could immediately tell that something was different. When they had checked my cervix two days before it was extremely painful, but this time I barely felt it. The nurse informed me that I was dilated to three and that more then likely I would be having my son that day. I was in labor. She left to call Dr. Hourigan who was seeing patients at his office at that time, and then came back to tell me that they would be doing my csection in about half an hour. B.J, had gone to get Tums at that time, so I was able to hold the doctor off for a little while. He returned in a few minutes, and had just enough time to call my parents and let them know that I was going to be having the baby. They barely made it there before my son was delivered. Due to the rush, we were not able to get ahold of any other family or friends.
The csection was quick, and my son was born in about 20 minutes. I did not get to see him be born, but I heard his first cry, It was the most amazing sound I have ever known, and in an instant I was crying like a baby myself although I had yet to see him. They let me spend a few minutes with him and then his father took him to the nursery while they finished my surgery.
About four hours later I met my son. Rogan Benjamin Altimus. He was 6 lbs and 5 oz., 19 5/8 inches long. He was, and is perfect. My son survived the worst experience of his and my life, unscathed. He is a perfectly healthy and perfectly beautiful baby. For two weeks I could not look at him without crying, just thinking of how close I was to never having him at all. I wonder how I could have ever been so lucky. He could so easily have never been born. I thought at first how terrible my luck must have been to have had the AVM at all. Then I look at him, and know that my luck cannot be bad. It must actually be great.