Teeny Tiny Truman

This page is all about Truman, born Aug. 8, 2006 to Kara and Ben.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Truman's Birth

Well, it has been a difficult few days, so rather than repeating this story over and over again to each of you in person, I think it will be easier to simply write the story down here. I hope this will make it easier to concentrate on the present and on Truman's progress rather than dwelling on the difficulty of his arrival.

A word of warning: You may not find this an easy read, but this is exactly what I (Ben) experienced. This was hard to write, but I feel it's accurate and honest.


Monday, July 24th

Kara and the Baby had their week 21 sonogram, and we finally got to find out the gender: it's a boy! This is a wonderful day, and the appointment concludes with a consultation with Kara's obstetrician who is encouraged by everything that she had seen to that point. Promises could not be made of course, because there are a number of problems that are undetectable in utero, but so far as anyone could tell, we are all on our way to having a perfectly healthy and normal pregnancy.

Friday, August 4th

After an evening of home remodeling, including lots of painting and getting up and down off of the floor, Kara has her first spotting of the entire pregnancy. It happens only once and it's brown, which is an indication of older blood, and is not usually something to be concerned about. Kara checks her reference books and messageboards, which all reassure us that such spotting is often common among pregnant women, and that so long as it is not accompanied by cramping that there is nothing to really worry about.

Saturday, August 5th

Kara spots once again (only once), but it is brown and there is no cramping of any kind. We attribute it to all of the extra exertion of the last two days from working on the house.

Sunday, August 6th

Once again, Kara has a brown spot which is not accompanied by any cramping. We wonder if this can really be being caused by the extra physical exertion of the previous few days. I try to make Kara sit on the couch and watch her favorite TV shows rather than let her be her normal, high-energy, always-busy self.

Monday, August 7th

Morning - After getting up, Kara find yet another brown spot. There's still no cramping, but we're not really buying the theory that this is fairly routine for pregnant women anymore. Kara calls her obstetrician who tells us that in all likelihood, she might have picked up a yeast infection, but to come in for an evaluation on Wednesday, August 9th just in case.

10:00pm - About an hour and a half after some slightly spicy noodles from Pei Wei, Kara starts to experience gastrointestinal pain accompanied by ferocious flatulence. This pain gradually intensifies until midnight, when I run out to the nearest drugstore to pick up some Pepto-Bismol and some Gas-X. After I get back home, Kara is still in pain, and takes the medicine. After about 30 minutes, it appears that the medicine is going to have little or no effect. We're starting to get frightened. We look in her pregnancy reference books for information regarding GI pain and excessive gas, and cannot find anything other than advice to stay away from certain kinds of foods (possibly implicating the noodles from dinner), and that this kind of pain and bloating is not all that uncommon among pregnant women. Telling us to watch what she eats wasn't particularly useful at that time, I must say. Still, because of the amount of gas being constantly expelled and because of where the cramping seemed to be originating, we were led to believe that this was still some kind of gastrointestinal problem. We could not find anything in our books that indicated this could be a symptom of anything else.

Tuesday, August 8th

2:00am - Kara encourages me to go to bed, since I am going to have to go to work in the morning. She lies down next to me, but as I gradually fall asleep, the pain keeps her awake, and she eventually heads to the bathroom around 3am.

4:00am - After an hour of sitting in the dark in the bathroom feeling nauseous and incontinent, something tells Kara that she'd better switch on the light. There is red blood in the toilet; a sign of real trouble. She immediately dials the hospital which orders her to come in to the emergency room, and she wakes me up.

4:09am - The on-call obstetrician from Kara's doctors' office receives the call that we are on our way to Baylor hospital.

4:12am - Terrified, Kara and I are both dressed and we head to my car. The route we take is primarily down Skillman. After about one minute into the trip, I realize that there's no time to wait at stop lights, so I switch on the hazards and take the car up to nearly 70mph in spots, only slowing down enough at intersections to make sure that it is safe to cross.

4:15am - During the car trip, Kara's pain continues to intensify, which is exacerbated by our mental states. We know that there is a problem and that our little boy could be at grave risk. We worry about whatever may be happening, and tears start to flow.

4:20am - About 2 minutes away from arrival at the emergency room, Kara's water breaks. For the first time, we both realize that she is in labor. How can this be happening? We're only just about to enter week 23!

4:23am - We arrive at the Baylor women and children emergency room driveway (after driving past it once because we were looking for a sign that said "Labor and Delivery" which we'd been told to look for). I leave Kara in the car, sprinting inside, only to be greeted by locked doors and no one to talk to. After what is probably only 20 seconds (but seems like an eternity), a voice comes over the intercom telling me to step away from the doors. When I do, they are unlocked. I run inside and speak (as well as I can manage) to the people at the reception desk, who immediately bring out a wheelchair to the car where Kara is waiting.

4:25am - As Kara is changing clothes and being positioned onto the emergency room delivery table, I call her parents as well as my own to let them know that something has gone terribly wrong. Kara's parents, only 80 miles east, immediately get ready to head to Dallas. My parents, 400 miles to the west, are too far to come immediately, so they take to prayer.

4:30am - While waiting for the resident obstetrician to come down to the emergency room, the team of nurses already there does a sonogram on Kara's uterus, but they cannot find our boy's hearbeat. Sheer panic begins to set in on me. However, after a couple of minutes they are able to find it... in the birth canal.

4:34am - The resident obstetrician arrives and lifts up Kara's hospital gown. I see our boy's head already crowning. Despite our protests, the doctor tells us "You're having this baby now." She instructs Kara not to push because we need time for the neonatologist and his NICU nurses to arrive on the scene. I call both sets of parents again, to inform them that birth is imminent.

4:36am - The neonatologist and the NICU nurses arrive. Kara is given the instruction to push.

4:38am - Our boy is born to the world, 17 weeks early. He does not cry, and is immediately taken by the NICU team. After about two minutes they take him from the room. He comes out completely purple and unmoving, and I am crushed with despair, thinking that he is stillborn.

4:43am - Dr. Craig Schoumaker, the neonatologist, returns to our room to let us know that our boy is alive! A bizarre sense of relief and dread sweeps over me at the same time. At this point, we have no idea what sort of condition he is in. We are told that he currently has a good, strong heartbeat and that he is breathing on the ventilator, but that is all we know, and all we will know for some time. We are told that a child born at his age stands a 50/50 chance of survival.

4:55am - The on-call obstetrician from Kara's Ob/Gyn office arrives, too late for the delivery but quickly enough to offer us advice, answer questions, and to try to console us.

5:10am - Kara has been cleaned up a bit and I've packed our things. We are getting ready to head up to the hospital room when we are invited to come see our new, tiny little boy. As we look at him for the very first time, the emotional roller coaster we had just been on contributed to a temporary, surreal sense that he wasn't really ours; this poor, tiny little boy with tubes coming out of his stomach and his mouth, eyes still fused shut, and practically small enough to fit in the palms of my hands. It is really hard seeing him like this.

5:20am - Kara and I head back down to her hospital room, where we grieve together until her parents arrive around 5:40. At this point in time, it is very difficult to find any joy in our hearts. Of course we love our son, but we want him to begin his life being able to be touched, spoken to, interacted with, and comforted. None of those things are an immediate possibility. It just seems so unfair to make him start out this way.


Wow, that was hard to write. But trust me, it's easier than telling it over and over again.

Since the day of Truman's birth, Kara and I have both learned a lot, and despite the extreme emotional difficulty of this situation, we have come to trust the good and gifted physicians and caregivers at Baylor hospital, and we have come to expectantly hope that our son will come through this ordeal with surprising success.

In conversations over the past week with Kara's Obstetrician and the neonatologist, our view of Truman's early delivery has been changed. The doctors believe that Kara had a condition called "Incompetent Cervix," where her body was simply unable to hold the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac. Most women who have this condition lose at least one pregnancy before the condition is identified, and sometimes more.

When a woman has Incompetent Cervix, as the weight that is being carried presses down on the cervix it starts to give way, and the mother begins to dilate slightly. When this happens, the amniotic sac becomes exposed to the vagina, which can cause it to become infected. Once the amniotic sac is infected, it becomes weak, and coupled with the increasing dilation of the mother and the weight continuing to press down, things eventually give way and the water breaks, whereupon birth cannot be avoided. For that matter, once the dilation begins and a small infection begins, it is too late to do anything about it, and the birth will soon take place, unavoidably. This condition is extremely hard to detect in women with no risk factor, especially when it is their first pregnancy. Kara was doing everything in her power to give our boy the best chance possible, and was told that there was nothing else that she could have done to prevent what happened.

When most women lose their pregnancies due to Incompetent Cervix, it tends to happen before week 20. Kara and Truman made it all the way to week 23, which gave him just enough time to develop to have a real, fighting chance at survival. When you couple that with the fact the we got to the hospital just barely in time and that he is now being cared for in one of the best Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the state, you can see why we have come to feel like Truman is here for a reason.

We all continue to appreciate the help, warm-wishes, and prayers. Thank you, everyone.


Anonymous Jeri & Chris Gerald said...

Thank you for the whole story, we have been praying for you all from the beginning and sending as much information as was available to this side of the family. MANY churches, prayer warriors, prayer chains etc. in this neck of the woods are lifting you all up daily and claiming complete victory for Truman. We love you all and will be keeping in touch. Take care of each other and trust in God.

Chris & jeri

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben, Kara and Truman -
I too believe that Truman is here for a reason and there is an even greater reason why you two were chosen for his parents. Truman's beginning will be just a part of his beautiful story. I love you three much and wish I could hug everyone.
Love and hugs,
Aunt & Great Aunt JoBeth

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got Prayer Power from Gillette, Wy.!!! Thanks for the story!! When word came, all our Prayer Chain knew was that, Truman was born early. Now we all really feel like we're apart and that we know all of you, not just Truman.
Love & Prayers
Rozzie Ten Eyck (Sharon Ten Eyck, sis)
PS-I was born only 2 months early and am now 49!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard of Truman through I village. You all are in my prayers. Good Luck and God bless you all.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sending you lots of love and hope from Utah. Your story is very heartbreaking, but also educational and full of love and hope. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. I'm 26 weeks and just finished painting our basement tonight with my husband before reading this... it just brought it all home even more.


11:41 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I found your blog through a link at babycenter. Your story has touched me so much. I am almost 23 weeks pregnant myself and my heart goes out to the 3 of you. I'll be praying that your little man keeps growing stronger everyday.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... that is all I can say. I just recently (back in the end of February) gave birth to my daughter and I can't imagine what the both of you and your family when through... You're both very strong people and I pray for you and your little boy. Just know that the world is out there for Truman, and he is more than likely meant to do great things!!!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went into PTL because of IC at 22 weeks and my son didn't survive. You and your son are so very fortunate that he is alive and doing so well. I will keep you in my prayers.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

I also found your blog on a link on babycenter. You have people all over the country praying and celebrating little Truman. Stay strong mommy and daddy, Truman is already stronger than most people ever have to be...

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kara & Ben, Our prayers are with you. May God give strenght to both of you and healing for baby Truman. We will continue to read his progress and pray.
I am a friend of your mom, Kara. we went all 12 yrs. of school together. My son David and your bro. Chad were good friends in school and graduated in the same class.
Sherry T.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Ben, Kara, and Truman -
I don't know if you remember me Ben, but this is Stephanie (violinist in Lubbock - we were in school together at TTU). I just want to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Every moment with Truman is such a blessing. I have great hope that he will come through this with flying colors and you will have many happy moments with him to come.

In the past year, Alex and I went through some tough times also... we had two consecutive miscarriages. It is such a hard road, but there is so much hope in your story and Truman is in good hands. I'm glad to see that so many people are giving such great support.

Thank you for the updates, and just love each other through this. Truman is such a joy.

Love Stephanie and Alex Ezerman

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story is amazing. I have tears running down my eyes, as I thought I was going through this exact same thing with my first born last year. The potential for this situation forced me, thankfully, into bedrest for 3 months. Turns out that more than likely I did not have incompetent cervix as I delivered 5 days shy of my due date, but just naturally dialate early. In any case, reading your story brings back all of the fears that I had, but also all of the hope that I was preparing to garner up had the instance occured. Your son is beautiful, and my family sends love and the hope of strength for you all, but especially your little Truman.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Martha said...

Truman, Kara and Ben you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I heard your story through Ivillage, and as a mom of a preemie myslef, my heart goes out to all of you. Truman is truly a miracle!!!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Wow...sounds like you are walking a tough road right now. My prayers are definitely with you!

For what its worth...I'd definitely encourage you to research the whole "incompentent cervix" thing before your next pregnancy. Not really a high priority at the moment...but something to tuck away. The most common treatment for this condition is to put a stitch in the cervix called a "cerclage," however research has not shown this treatment to be at all effective...and actually suggests that the agitation of the cervix caused by putting in then removing the cerclage may actually hasten the birth.

I don't really buy the theory that a slightly dilating cervix causes the amniotic sac to break under the weight of a preterm baby, because many women walk around for weeks at full term at 4 cm dialated. They do not become infected, nor do they experience rupture under the pressure. It is most common for water to break spontaneously at 8-9 cms, and given how quickly birth happened in your case after the water broke, I'd guess that your wife's water broke at around 8-9 cms.

I had a client whose water did break at 32 weeks...and then she went on to give birth to a perfectly healthy baby at 35 weeks--5 lbs 9 oz and no NICU time. She was lucky in that she didn't go into labor--in your case labor was already well established when the water broke. And wow...23 weeks!

BTW...the flatulence was most likely because the hormone that causes uterine contractions--oxytocin--also contracts the intestines--forcing the gas out.

I would encourage you to research pregnancy nutrition at www.blueribbonbaby.org Nutrition has been linked to preterm birth, but Dr's don't learn much about nutrition in medical school so often downplay its significance in many situations. Even if it wasn't a contributor in your case, at the very least having well rounded nutrition will give any baby the best possible start in life.

Hugs & prayers!


3:44 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

My prayers are with you from Minnesota. I'm a mother of twins that were born at 23-1/2 weeks and are now 2-1/2 years. Keep your faith and give Truman all the love you have and everything will be fine. A word of advice, don't stress and never read too far into things.

Take care and God Bless.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

My heart goes out to you and Kara and to Little Truman!...Your story of his birth made me cry, but God will watch down on him..I pray that he makes a full recovery. He's a special little guy, and we all have angels in Heaven looking over him to make sure he pulls through!!...God Bless you and please take care of each other!!..

Austin and Lil Ronny's Mommy

1:26 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ben, Kara and Truman-

You're all in my thoughts and prayers. Little Truman's story of his birth brought tears to my eyes, but he's a little fighter. I wish you all the best and my prayers are with you. He's got a lot of little angels watching over him, so God Bless you guys.

Mommy 2 Austin and Lil Ronny

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother suffered from an incompetent cervix. My brother, sister and I were all born prematurely. I hope Truman does as well in life as we have. Katy x (Northamptonshire, UK)

5:07 AM  

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