We’re welcomed baby number 3 into our family, our rainbow baby, and I’m sharing what it feels like to be at this stage in our journey. This post is sponsored by AdventHealth for Women Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We recently welcomed a new little one to our family. If you’re following me on Instagram then you already know this and probably have followed along with the #SneakyBaby weekly updates. After losing Tristan we didn’t think that we would have another baby. We went back and forth with the idea for a long time. Honestly making that decision while grieving wasn’t something we could do. Once we found out we were expecting, we were in shock. It took us a few months to get used to the idea of having another baby.
Conceiving Our Rainbow Baby
It took over a year but our rainbow baby came at the perfect time.
After we lost Tristan, we talked a lot about having another baby. Around his first birthday we really got serious about trying to conceive and began to plan. We tried for a short time but then shortly after I was diagnosed with stage 3 Polycystic Kidney Disease. My life changed a lot at that point. I was consumed with doctors appointments, researching my new condition, and trying to still maintain some sort of normal life. If I said I didn’t have a meltdown at some point I’d be lying.
I researched what being pregnant with kidney disease would be like and if conceiving would even be an option. Multiple medical journals said that it would be difficult to conceive and if I did the possibility of miscarrying would be greater than 50%. It was a huge shock and discouraging to say the least. My doctor wasn’t encouraging either and brushed off the possibility of conceiving and never clearly answered any of my questions. After learning all of this information we stopped trying.
Around Tatiana’s 8th birthday I knew something was up. I had been feeling nauseous every morning but was sure that I had developed some sort of food allergy so I just ignored the symptoms. After one long miserable day of being extremely dizzy and bed ridden all day I decided to take a test because I knew I was pregnant. I could just feel it. I think I took a handful of tests because I was in denial.
Our Birth Plan
Our rainbow baby also known as Sneaky Baby to our Instagram family would be our third child. Our first two children were born at different hospitals. Tatiana’s birth was smooth and easy, so easy that I drove myself to the hospital and delivered with my husband by my side in a stress free environment.
Tristan’s birth as you know was very different for us. Nearly everything we experienced was traumatizing and to this day his birth is something that I still reflect on from time to time. I often find myself thinking of how things could be if my care during pregnancy and birth went differently. I didn’t have a birth plan for Tristan. It’s something that I deeply regret. With my risk for premature labor, a birth plan would’ve been something great to have. Had I had one, I would’ve been able to advocate better for myself during his birth instead of leaving the decisions in the hands of the Triage team.
This time around we were determined to have a birth plan so that when the big day came around things would go the way we wanted. We had no plan at all for Tatiana or Tristan. Both times we just went with the flow. All I knew is that both times I wanted a vaginal delivery.
I created a super specific birth plan for Sneaky Baby that I wanted to follow to a tee. When making my plan I made sure to involve my medical team including my OB/GYN and specialists in case any complications were to occur.
The Unexpected Complications
My entire pregnancy I was scheduled to deliver at a hospital other than AdventHealth for Women Orlando. My OB/GYN only had rights at that hospital so it was my only option. It was the same hospital I delivered Tristan at.
Around the beginning of my 31st week of pregnancy, I started to experience pre-eclampsia symptoms. I began monitoring the symptoms at home per my doctor’s instructions. With my Polycystic Kidney Disease things like high blood pressure could be extremely dangerous not only for me but for my baby as well. Once I noticed they weren’t going away, I went to the hospital to be evaluated. That night I was admitted to the hospital. I stayed at that hospital for 5 days before deciding to check myself out against medical advice.
Spending 5 days in that hospital was miserable. I wasn’t receiving treatment for my pre-eclampsia symptoms. I was afraid of the damage that was being done to my kidneys and how my baby could possibly be affected by pre-eclampsia. Honestly I didn’t feel like I received the best care at this hospital which is why I decided to leave. After checking myself out, my husband drove me home. My head was still pounding and my blood pressure was still high. I was home for less than 6 hours before we made the decision to go back to the hospital.
This time I decided to follow my gut instincts and go to AdventHealth for Women Orlando. I’m glad I did. I was welcomed with open arms from the nurse at check-in. From the moment I stepped foot into AdventHealth, I felt comfortable. When I got back into the triage and into a room, the nurses and midwife ran all of the tests needed and immediately began to treat my blood pressure. At that moment I knew that I was in the right place. I was explaining my symptoms, telling them how I was feeling, and they were listening.
After just a few short hours of being in triage the team at AdventHealth decided to admit me which I knew was going to happen but I was completely okay with it. I was confident that I would receive the best care that I needed there. They observed me for 24 hours while trying to get my blood pressure and headaches under control. My body wasn’t responding to any of the treatment. I was still experiencing the worst headache of my life and extremely high blood pressure.
My second night in the hospital was one that I remember vividly. It’s a night that saved my pre-eclampsia from developing to eclampsia. The doctor doing rounds came in and began talking to me about everything going on with my body and Sneaky Baby. His name was Dr. McCreath. In all of my pregnancies, I had only encountered one other doctor who held the level of compassion for their patients as Dr. McCreath. He spent a large chunk of time in my room with me and my nurse talking about a course of action and how important it was to be pro-active. He wasn’t one of those doctors who just looked at your chart and popped their head in to say they saw you. He cared. He cared about what happened to me and my baby.
As soon as he stepped foot in my room he made it a point to get to know about me from me. Of course he looked at my chart but he took the time to ask me questions and asked me to explain what was going on from my point of view. When it came time to make the decision about delivering early, he allowed me to be a part of that decision. He didn’t just make it for me.
That night together we decided that I would be induced and have a baby at 32 weeks.
Sneaky Baby’s Birth
Around midnight that night my husband and I started making phone calls to our family to let them know I would be getting induced. Things moved quickly after that. I was taken downstairs to labor and delivery to be induced. Since I had never had a c-section before the doctor attempted to induce first to see if I could have a vaginal delivery. Unfortunately stress of the induction drove my blood pressure up higher which prevented me from continuing with the induction.
I had to have a c-section. If I’m being honest, this was my worst nightmare. I had always dreaded having a c-section but especially with this pregnancy. In my 28 years on this Earth, I had never had surgery in my life. The closest thing to surgery I have ever had is a wisdom tooth removal and that isn’t even close to a c-section. Major surgery terrified me but I had no option. This was the safest thing for myself and my baby.
One the operating room was ready, I was taken back to be prepped. I remember being rolled into the operating room. It was a bright white sterile room filled with doctors and nurses in blue gowns, way different than what you see on TV. The doctor and anesthesiologist informed me of the process and about how long the surgery would take. Since I was having a c-section I would need an epidural which wasn’t a part of my birth plan but no one in their right mind would have a c-section without one and I’m sure that isn’t even an option.
Shortly after I received my epidural, the nurse brought my husband into the room and began the surgery. I couldn’t feel a thing but my nerves and anxiety got the best of me. I began to think about everything that happened that got me to this point. Feelings of fear and gratefulness rushed me at the same time. I was afraid that my baby would be born with similar anomalies to his brother although my entire pregnancy was healthy. It was a 50/50 chance that that could happen. At the same time I was grateful. Grateful that my husband was by my side, grateful that Tatiana was being taken care of and in a safe place with her grandparents, and grateful that I was in the hands of an amazing team at AdventHealth for Women Orlando.
Minutes later I heard his first cry. It was a strong cry that I won’t every forget.
Trevor Jameson was born on August 21, 2019.
Tips for Advocating for Your Health
1. Take notes
One of the first steps to advocating your health is keeping notes and records of your doctors appointments – think vitals, important points discussed with your doctors, diagnoses, treatment options, etc. One of the reasons I was able to make the decision to sign myself out of the other hospital against medical advice and go to AdventHealth for Women Orlando is because I was very in-tune with my body and knowledgeable of my conditions. I understood what was happening and what my options were. Before signing an AMA to leave, I consulted both my OB/GYN and the hospital doctors about all of my treatment options and every option was explained clearly to me. Ultimately it was up to me if I wanted to continue “treatment” there or seek it elsewhere.
2. Ask for help
In addition to consulting with the doctors I asked other healthcare professionals for their opinions. I chatted with a few experienced doulas and midwives to get their medical advice as well. Before making any decisions I wanted to know all of the “worse case” scenarios.
3. Trust your instincts
If you know your body and are confident that something isn’t right or you’re not receiving the quality of care that you deserve then trust that instinct. Ask questions to gain clarity on things that you are unsure on. If you can’t get an answer then you can always ask for the person in charge. Asking questions aren’t silly and there is no such thing as too many questions especially when it comes to your health.
4. Get a second opinion
If you don’t feel like your questions are being answered by your doctor or you’re not confident in that doctor’s care, you can always ask for a second opinion. Many hospitals and doctor’s offices have multiple doctors that are available. Of course they’ll speak to each other about your case but a second opinion never hurts.
In my case, a second and third opinion wasn’t enough. I still didn’t feel at ease with the treatment plan that was created for me so I decided to seek my second opinion at a different facility all together.
5. Understand your insurance
One of the reasons that I was a little hesitant to sign out of the first hospital was because I was told that if I signed an AMA form that my health insurance wouldn’t cover my stay. I knew that a 5-day maternity hospital stay would be astronomically expensive and something my family just wouldn’t be able to afford. Instead of settling to believe that “what if” I hopped on the phone with my insurance to get the truth. Our insurance verified that that was indeed a myth and they would cover the stay if an AMA form was signed.
If you’re questioning coverage or anything in regards to your care, don’t hesitate to hop on the phone with your insurance company. They can sometimes even be an ally in certain situations and advocate on your behalf.
6. Ask questions
After Tristan’s traumatic birth, I question everything health related. I’m not afraid to rattle any cages with my questions because at the end of the day my health is what is at stake. Question everything if you have even a slither of doubt. At the end of the day you want to walk away with a complete understanding of what is going on.
We knew that we wanted something different for Trevor. We want him to know his brother but we don’t want him to live in his shadow. He has his own light that deserves to shine. However, we wanted to find a way to still honor Tristan because we truly believe that without him there would be no Trevor. We decided to give Trevor the same initials as Tristan as a way to honor him.
I hope that our rainbow baby birth story inspires you to keep trying. Life after loss is not lost. It’s possible to have another baby while still grieving. Truth is you’ll never really stop grieving your lost child but you will learn how to incorporate their memories into your life. They’ll continue to live through the memories you share with their siblings.
With the right team, your rainbow baby’s birth can be something special and memorable. That’s important. It’s one of the biggest days for your family. I’m so incredibly grateful for Dr. McCreath and the entire team at AdventHealth for Women for taking care of Trevor and I every step of the way.