December 11, 2016. My sweet Maxwells birthdate. Little did we know he’d decided to grace us with his presence five weeks before his due date. A few weeks prior to my delivery I started to have some small preterm labor issues, but nothing that seemed too out of the ordinary. My OB ordered me some meds, told me to take it easy, drink plenty of water and that if I could make another month or two, that it would be great. He also informed me that if I happened to make it to 35 weeks gestation and went into labor, that he would not stop it.
So the wee hours of the morning on December 11th rolled around (I was 35 weeks and 4 day) and I woke up feeling very achy. The days prior would full of lots of discomfort and pressure and I just knew that he’d be coming soon. After drinking lots of water and still having contractions, I decided to take a light walk around the block in hopes that my mind was just playing tricks with me and that I was just experiencing some false labor signs. Still no relief, so I decided to shower. I thought maybe a hot shower would help to ease the pain and make the contractions slowly go away, but no, they were still consistent and painful.
8 hours later, still in pain, I decided maybe we should head to the hospital to just get checked out. I figured they would just confirm that it was false labor and hopefully send me back home. After a quick exam they decided to admit me. I was dilated to a 4 and having true labor contractions. Inside I panicked a little. I knew Max was probably going to come early, given the fact that I delivered Asher at 37 weeks, but I wasn’t exactly sure how it was all going to play out.
After laboring for 7 hours or so and my water finally breaking last minute, Maxwell McGee came into this world. He was quiet, good size (6lbs 9oz) and had a head full of dark hair. I cried. Jacob cried. Here he was, our sweet baby. Every emotion possible ran through my mind… how Asher would react to him… everything. Do to having a preterm birth, my room was full of hospital staff. Doctors, nurses, NICU Doctors.. it was crowded in there. Jacob and I only got to spend about 10 minutes with him until they took him away to nursery to be evaluated. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to hold my sweet boy until almost 12 hours later.. talk about a strange feeling. At first we were told that he looked great and that they were just taking precautionary measures with evaluating him. At about midnight the nursery pediatrician came into my room and informed me that Max was having some respiratory issues due to his early arrival. He seemed confident that they would quickly resolve, but after a few hours and him still breathing heavy, they decided to admit him to the NICU where he would be able to get oxygen and a more thorough evaluation.
My heart sank. I felt terrible that my body wasn’t able to hold him in a little longer and that these complications were my fault. It still breaks my heart to think about.
Around 7am the next morning, Jacob and I finally got to head to the NICU to see the little guy. When we got there he was off the oxygen, which was wonderful and had an IV due to his low blood sugar – another common premie complication. I seriously think he was the biggest kid in the nursery. All the nursers were quite surprised at his size and the amount of hair the kid had. 3 days later I was discharged from the hospital and luckily Max got to come home late the next day. Heading to the hospital to deliver a baby and then leaving without on is another feeling that is so strange. We were so thankful that his recovery was quick and that he got to come home so soon.
After coming home, we knew that Max was still trying to catch-up to a full term newborn. The doctors warned us about “premie lungs” and informed us to call if we noticed anything out of the ordinary. A few weeks went by and we noticed Max still breathing heavier than a term baby. I mean babies breathe a little weird anyway, but Max’s respirations were always on the higher side.
Fast forward to a few days later, more doctors appointments and an Echogram/EKG, they confirmed with us that the heavy breathing was indeed due to underdeveloped lungs and that he would probably continue to breathe this way for a few more months – typical for a preterm baby. That being said, the breathing still made Jacob and I a little nervous. I wanted peace of mind all the time and not ever knowing what his O2 sats were made me a nervous wreck until we discovered the Owlet monitor.
The Owlet is a monitor that not only tracks Max’s oxygen levels, but his heart rate as well. Max didn’t necessarily need a hospital grade O2 sats monitor since his were great, but I wanted peace of mind. Every nap and bedtime, we place the Owlet device – which is a little sock with the monitor in it- on Max’s foot and let it do its thing. If his oxygen level or heart rate fall below a certain number or are high, the Owlet is designed to notify us via phone and the base. I love that I can always look at what his levels are by just opening the app on my phone. As for the device that goes on his foot, the sock that it is placed in comes in many sizes. Max has super tiny feet so right now he’s still in the size 1 (newborn) sock. When the monitor isn’t in use, I always have it charging on its base station on my night stand.
We’ve been really pleased with the Owlet so far! It’s given us a peace of mind, which in return has lead to a better nights rest and me not constantly counting his respirations. Obviously we still pay great attention to other signs of respiratory distress and don’t rely on the monitor for everything, but my goodness do we love it! It’s handy, informative and so easy to use! Even though Max’s lungs are still developing, he is overall a very healthy baby! I highly recommend this monitor to all of you! It’s made for all babies and is definitely a registry must have!