Wells’ Birth Story | Whitney Beth Photography
June 29th I arrived at Altaview hospital with Danny. We were being induced today and having our 5th baby boy! We got up to labor and delivery around 7:30 am. By the time I had changed and was fully checked in it was near 9 am. Dr. Larsen came in, broke my water and started me on Pitocin. It was baby time! I usually labor pretty fast, and luckily with this being my 5th, I have a bit of “street ‘cred’” and my nurse took my word that by the time I hit 5 cm dilated I usually have a baby in less than an hour. She knew Dr Larsen was going to assist a C-section at noon so she had all the sterile delivery stuff come and get set up in our room so we were good to go when it was time to push. I joked with them that I was going to try and have this baby by lunch so that I could eat!
Soon after getting checked in, my birth photographer and friend, Hannah arrived. She’s photographed all but my first birth and knows the drill. I labored until the contractions started to intensify and I wanted an epidural. I called for the anesthesiologist around 10:30 am and by 11 I was getting my epidural placed. When the anesthesiologist was placing the epidural it felt different than other labors. I began to feel relief, but only on the right side of my body. I tried laying on my left side to get things more evenly distributed, it helped a little, but I still felt the majority of the contractions on my left side.
Soon after my epidural was placed I started surfing the channels to see if there was anything good on. To my delight, “10 Things I Hate About You” had just barely started. (The last few births the only thing to watch was “Storage Wars” or “Pawn Stars” – so this was a treat!) Hannah had been popping in and out of our room periodically to photograph here and there, but she had stepped out for a bit. Around 12:30 my dilation was checked and I was only at a 4. 15 minutes later, we were about to watch the scene in the movie where they go to prom, when I felt a lot of pressure building. I threw my phone at Danny and told him to call Hannah in here now, all while I was calling my nurse and telling her it was go time.
My nurse joked that I wasn’t kidding about my fast dilation. Before everyone filtered in she checked me and with a surprised voice she said, “Oh! You’re complete! Time to push!” The entire room filled in and Dr Larsen quickly dressed in his smock. I was feeling everything pretty intensely on my left side and all I could do was close my eyes and push! Two-ish pushes later and I felt a squirming little baby being placed on my chest.
Wells Thomas Robbins was born at 12:54 pm, 7 lbs 4 oz 20 inches long. He looked so angry and just like all of his brothers. I remember thinking, “He has hair!” (Only Jones had come out with a full head of hair.) He snuggled into me and cried. It was the cutest sound ever. I delivered my placenta and then was stitched up for a teeny tiny tear. Just as quickly as the room had filled, it emptied and Danny and I were left to soak in the newborn cuddles and take everything in. Hannah was there, snapping away and photographing our first moments with the newest member of our family. For which I will forever be grateful.
After Hannah left, my nurse came in to start to help get us ready to move to the recovery room when she noticed Wells was blue! She took him off my chest and placed him in the warming light. His oxygen levels weren’t great so they took him to the nursery to monitor him and try and get his color looking better. Danny went with him while I got cleaned up and put in the wheelchair. Instead of going to my room I had them wheel me to the nursery. They played the lullaby over the intercom. They usually do it on our way to the room, but it wasn’t until I heard the song on the way to the nursery did I realize things might be more serious than I thought.
My mom had come over with my kids and sister to see the baby. Passing by the glass doors, away from my room and towards the nursery I saw them. It took everything not to burst into tears upon seeing them. Things were starting to register and the emotions were quickly following. I was wheeled into the nursery, next to Wells’ bassinet. In that tiny baby bed lay my baby, wires coming out of everywhere to monitor him and his poor, little, labored breathing seesawing so harshly in his tiny, bare, chest.
Normally they don’t let kids into the nursery, but since Wells was the only baby there they let my boys come in to meet their little brother. Such a blessing! Jones, Fields and Remington got to look at their little brother, rub his head and touch his feet. After awhile my mom and sister were able to come in and see him too. Soon they left and took the kids back to their place and I was left in the nursery with Danny. I’m not sure how long I stayed there – eventually Danny had me go lay down and eat something since I had come straight from delivery to the nursery. I was exhausted and starving and ate everything that was placed in front of me. Family came and filtered in and out of the nursery with Danny while I stayed in my room and pumped to get my milk going. I was able to get 20 ml the first go! Around 8 pm that night I made my way back to the nursery with my little bottle of milk to see my baby. They had placed an IV in his hand earlier but needed to move it to his head. He looked like a little unicorn. Wells was also on oxygen with the tiniest little nasal canal tube ever. I sat with Danny at Well’s bedside until 9 when Danny went back to our room to sleep. I was able to finally hold Wells at 9:45 since his breathing was less labored. I held him until 12:45 when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Leaving my baby in the nursery and walking down the hallway alone was so hard. It felt so unnatural and my heart ached to hold Wells.
I fell asleep quickly next to Danny. Waking up every so often for my vitals and pain meds. We both woke up around 7 am. I stayed in bed and pumped while Danny showered and went to the nursery. After pumping I got up to join Danny. While walking down the hall I ran into Dr. Larsen. He stopped to walk with me. He said he heard about Wells and how there was talk of him being transferred. If so, Dr. Larsen asked if I wanted to be discharged in order to go with him. I said I did. Dr. Larsen said, “You’ve done recovery before, you know what you’re doing, do you feel ok? – all things considering?” I nodded, “Ok! I’ll discharge your right now and get the paperwork filled out.” I thanked him and went into the nursery.
Danny looked like he had been crying. He told me that they didn’t have the tools needed to keep Wells here and that it was looking like we were going to be transferred. Wells lay in his little bassinet, still heavy, labored breathing.
Over the course of Wells’ little life so far we were blessed with so many tender mercies. One being that that morning the guy over all of respiratory just happened to be in on his day off to file some paperwork. Up until working at his current job he was head of respiratory at Primary Children’s. When he heard that there was a little day old baby with breathing problems he headed up to the nursery to help assist and monitor. Another blessing was my sister in law got the days mixed up that we were delivering Wells. She’s the pharmacy director at Altaview and was actually in the room when I delivered Remmy. Since she had worked from home Thursday (the day we had Wells) she was in office on Friday. She stayed with us and helped explain what was going on – and eventually drove me to IMC where Wells was transferred.
We had a tele-dock phone call/examination with one of the top respiratory specialists in Utah and he confirmed that we would need to be transferred to IMED’s NICU. While Wells was prepped for transfer via life flight everyone at Altaview was so helpful in getting us out of there. From making sure I had a breast pump to our pediatrician assuring us that Wells would be ok and that he wasn’t worried.
When the life flight helicopter arrived and the paramedics intubated Wells for his joy ride we were once again blessed. We had been told that no one would be able to fly in the helicopter prior to the paramedics arriving. But once there they asked for Danny’s weight and said he could fly with Wells to the next hospital. We hugged goodbye and Danny followed our baby out to the helicopter. Once they were gone I ran down to my room and began throwing everything in my suitcase. From where the room was situated I was able to watch life flight take off at 10:21 with my boys in it. Mindi took my flowers to her office while I showered and quickly rinsed off. I got dressed and my nurse walked us both out to the car – all the while giving me the discharge speech as fast as she could. Mindi drove my van and we stopped to get a breakfast burrito for Danny and I since we hadn’t eaten yet. We raced straight there and I got to the hospital just after 11. I was able to hold him for a little bit after I got there and that helped calm my nerves. It felt so foreign to hold my baby with wires and tubes coming out all over him and being tethered to a bed. But I loved being able to snuggle him.
I was really worried that the action of leaving the hospital without my baby would trigger a trauma of leaving with out Banks just 5 years earlier. Luckily I said a quick prayer and was so preoccupied in getting discharge instructions and calling over to the pharmacy to have my meds ready that I didn’t have time to think about it.
At this point the general consensus was pneumonia. Altaview had started Wells on Antibiotics Thursday night while they waited for the cultures to come back. They also noticed that he had a small tear in his lungs – which we assumed was as a result of him working so hard to breathe. Because of that tear and escaped air we weren’t able to hold him. They had him laying on his side to act as a splint so his body could resolve the trapped air. Danny stayed with me most of the day but then left to check on the boys and bring me dinner. Just minutes after 5 o’clock hit I got a phone call from our pediatrician. He had waited until they were officially closed and off the clock to call and check on me. He reassured me again that Wells was in the best place for him and that he would be alright. Even going as far to say that it’s better to be the healthiest baby at the NICU than the sickest baby at the regular hospital. It was so kind of him and just the pep talk I needed.
Danny brought me an 18 inch Philly cheesesteak and I ate the entire thing! I was starving but you can’t eat near the babies and had to leave the room – so I just didn’t eat. We stayed with Wells until just after 11 o’clock that night and went home to our empty house to sleep.
Wells was still on the ventilator when we left and was still pretty snowed from his joy ride over here. In order to leave the NICU we had to wait for Wells to be well enough to get off the vent and then get off the CPAP, finish off his antibiotics and take all of his food orally. That was his job to complete over how ever many days he needed.
On July 2nd they were able to extubate Wells and I could do skin to skin with him for the first time since he was born. It was heaven! Even with the littlest CPAP mask I had ever seen! The next day right after we got there Wells was able to get off of the CPAP and for a glorious hour or so I held my baby without any wires or tubes on his face. After monitoring him, his oxygen levels kept dipping so he needed to be on some low flow Oxygen. So back on a tube went, but at least I was able to start nursing him.
On the Fourth of July our “to-do” list included increasing his feeds orally so that we could take out the feeding tube and finish off the antibiotics. Everyday Danny and I would wake up and drop me off at the hospital around 10:30 where I would stay all day until 6 for dinner. The boys would pick me up and then I’d drive back over just before the 11 o’clock feeding and would stay until after midnight. I’d get home around 1 am – sometimes later depending how long Wells ate for and then do it all again the next day. My legs were so swollen during this whole week from going back and forth and sitting in chairs that I had to order compression socks just to get my feet small enough to fit into shoes. Not to mention all the other postpartum healing my body was needing to do.
The next day I came in to see that Wells had his IV out! His cultures had come back negative for pneumonia so they stopped the antibiotics. Now the only thing he needed to do was monitor his feeding to make sure he was getting enough and then we could get out of there. This was easily my favorite part of the entire NICU stay. No more “clocked” feedings. I could hold him and nurse him on demand all he wanted. This was when I was hopeful he was like his brothers and would want to eat all the time. Which he did! He also had his first bath and passed his hearing test that day.
On the 6th, and at one week old we got the news that Wells would be going home tomorrow! He just needed to keep eating (which he proved he was very good at) and pass his carseat test – which they would do after I left that night. Wells wasn’t keeping his oxygen where they wanted it’s so he’d be going home on some low flow Oxygen. But I was fine with that so long as we got to go home!
July 7th Danny and I got to the hospital to take our baby home! We had to wait for home health to deliver the oxygen tank they forgot to send us yesterday and wait for discharge, but then we were outta there! We picked up the boys from my mom’s at 2 and by 4 we were all home and finally together.
Wells ended up staying on his home oxygen for 2 weeks when I was finally able to wean him all the way off. The day his oxygen came off my mental health improved drastically and things finally began to settle.
Wells had quite the entrance to this world, and at the end of it we still aren’t 100% sure why he needed a little extra help. The best guess the NICU gave us was when he took his first breath it was too big and caused the hole in his lungs. But even then they aren’t certain. Regardless, Wells is doing amazing now and I can’t remember life without him. I’m so happy he’s here and a part of our family.