Charles Michael Manies joined our lives on Feb 1, 2009. His arrival into this world was anything but boring and predictable. It began with a 20+ hour labor and included 6 days in the neonatal ICU. Obviously not what we had hoped and planned. But we now know Charlie is a fighter and a tough little guy, and we feel lucky and blessed to have him.
The main problem was that Charlie was facing the wrong way for a smooth delivery. Three epidurals (don't even ask!) and hours of intense pushing later, Charlie still hadn't budged. At that point our ob/gyn decided to use vacuum suction to help Charlie along. Once again, Charlie didn't come easily and three separate tries with the suction were needed to help move him along. By this point, our intimate delivery experience included a room full of doctors, nurses, neonatologists and probably a few passers by from the hallway. Charlie suddenly and finally appeared 21 hours after labor began only to be whisked away to the NICU. Turns out the stress of the long labor and the vacuum suction caused a severe hematoma (bleeding in the space between the skull and the scalp) that needed extended observation. As you can see from this photo, Charlie didn't look too good that first night (his initial Apgar score was only 4) and caused us quite a scare. It was a good 24 hours later before we could hold him at all. Charlie didn't end up needing a blood transfusion or any other intervention as a result of the hematoma and he began making a speedy and strong recovery. The neonatologist later informed us after Charlie was out of danger that one in four babies with this type of hematoma don't make it.
Charlie's stay in the NICU was extended once he developed jaundice and he needed to undergo phototheraphy (he chilled in his personal tanning bed) and even brought us back to the hospital for one more night after we had finally been sent home. A week and a day after Charlie was born we were released for good. A couple follow up appointments with home health and Charlie was finally free of all the botheresome tests, measurements, blood sticks and meddling that began his first week. We think all this intervention is the reason he still screams bloody murder every time we change his diaper!