Baker's Birth Story

I've been trying to find a time to type up Baker's birth story this last week while we were in the hospital. I thought I'd have some "down time" but it turns out they keep you pretty busy in the NICU between nurses coming and going, lab draws, feeding, pumping and napping. I should get used to it because we're home now and I'm expecting life with three kids to be utter chaos. Any "down time" will cease to exist, I'm sure of it!

We had a previously scheduled birth date of August 23rd which meant I was supposed to have 3 more weeks to get ready for this guy.

This boy had other plans! (I apologize in advance for the novel that follows below... ha!)

I went in for my regular 37 week biophysical profile and appointment with my doctor on Friday morning (August 4th) with plans to head to the office to work for the day since the girls were still in South Dakota with my parents. For the first time since 28 weeks, Baker "failed" his BPP, which means he didn't quite meet the criteria for the test. In particular, he wasn't practicing the fetal breathing movements that babies normally make in the womb. He'd take a "breath" here and there but nothing consistent so I was sent upstairs to labor & delivery for a non-stress test as a precaution. My OB thought everything would be fine and they'd send me on my way after watching him on the monitors for about 30 minutes or so. I sent a text to work letting them know I'd be a little late and called Justin just to give him a heads up; I told him I'd call him when I was finished.

I got up to L&D triage around 9:30 and was hooked up to the monitors. After about 10 minutes, the nurse came back in and had me roll over to my side - she wasn't getting a great heart rate reading and figured it was just the way I was positioned. Another 15 minutes passed and she came in again - and again had me roll over. She also gave me some apple juice and made a comment that my baby "wasn't the prettiest" one she's ever seen, meaning his heart rate wasn't really perking up. It was a totally fine heart rate in the 120s but he wasn't excited - they weren't seeing the accelerations and decelerations they'd like to see. I rolled over to the other side {again} and this little dance continued for the next 30 minutes or so.

With each passing minute, I began to slightly panic that she'd come back in and tell me we were having a baby that day. The nurse eventually came to tell me she was waiting for my doctor to come over and chat. I knew at that moment that yes, we were probably delivery that day. Cue a minor freak out! Ha!

My doc came in and we went over what she was seeing and discussed some options. Based on what we knew about Baker regarding his heard defect and Down syndrome diagnosis, I could either stay hooked up to the monitors and they'd continue watching him the rest of the day (and possibly into the weekend) to see if his heart rate picked up OR we could deliver that afternoon and monitor him from the outside. Either way, she wasn't comfortable sending me home at that time. We ultimately decided to deliver that afternoon so she could perform my c-section and we'd be surrounded by our "normal" team of doctors - Baker's cardiologist was on staff that day and the NICU would be completely ready for him.

I asked if I could go home and back a bag - I literally had nothing ready! - my doc sort of laughed at me and apologetically said no. I had showered that morning but didn't have time to shave my legs! I was starving since I had only eaten cereal for breakfast and was now being told I couldn't have anything to eat or drink the rest of the day. They waste no time as I was being immediately hooked up to an IV.

I had been texting Justin here and there while I waited and finally called him to fill him in. By now it was pushing 11 AM and he was working on a job site about an hour outside Kansas City. I told him to start heading back towards home because we were having a baby that afternoon. I couldn't stop laughing so he thought I was joking. I tried to reiterate that I was dead serious (laughing was most definitely a coping mechanism at that moment!) and expressed that he needed to go home and gather some things because Baker was coming. TODAY. My doctor was aiming for surgery to start around 2 PM that afternoon!

The next few hours were quite comical. I sent Justin a list of things I needed/wanted from home all the while praying he didn't get into a car wreck or something on his way home and to the hospital. Once home, he called me back in a minor panic because he couldn't find anything that I had listed. We got on FaceTime while I was getting into a gown so I could point out what leggings and nursing bras I needed him to grab from the closet. I called my parents and a few other family members to let them know what was happening. They were all just as shocked as we were but sent their love and good juju vibes into the universe on our behalf.

I was sweating because the air conditioner in the hospital room was apparently broken and never mind that my husband was running behind as surgery time inched closer and closer! Justin finally arrived around 1:45 PM, just in time to snap a selfie and I was wheeled back to the operating room a little after 2PM.

Anesthesia did their thang and before too long, Justin was able to join me in the operating room. Things moved relatively quickly for it being my third c-section and it was eventually time to meet our little guy! They set up a clear drape so I could kind of see what was happening; Justin was able to get a few pictures of Baker's head emerging from my tummy. As soon as he was out, he let out a big, beautiful cry and that's when I lost it. I had kept it together all day, most likely because I hadn't had time to process the last 6 hours of my life but once I heard his cry, I knew he was going to be OK. And that WE were going to be OK.

Baker Dee Oakley | August 4, 2017 at 2:42 PM | 5 lbs 7 oz | 17.5 inches
Baker was so alert after birth! He cried the entire time the NICU team cleaned him up and examined him. Justin was able to be by his side in the OR during the whole thing and I was able to hear what was going on. He was doing so well.

Then I really lost it when the neonatologist came over to my bedside, held my hand, looked me straight in the eye and told me Baker was perfect.

I mean, for real. At that point I wasn't even making sounds I was so emotional. I just tried to nod along and maybe give a thumbs up in between my {very, very happy} tears.

They brought Baker over to me for a few quick snuggles and pictures before Justin went with him upstairs to the NICU while I finished up with surgery. Justin was able to feed him a bottle pretty much right away and my cousin came and sat with me in recovery for the required 2 hours before I had the chance to get wheeled up to "meet" Mr. Baker again.

He is just the sweetest little babe and we're so in love. After 6 days in the NICU, he was released and we got home last night just in time to celebrate his first week of life! He never required oxygen or medication while in the NICU and ate like a little piggy from day one. We're so thankful he's here and are praying he keeps up the good work and continues to thrive. He's itty bitty and barely fits into his newborn sleepers but has somehow stolen our hearts. I already can't imagine life without this sweet boy. He's rocked our world and we love him so much!


  1. Tears of joy for all of you and us! He melted my heart as each of my grandchildren has done before him, the moment I laid eyes on him. Holding him, hearing his little noises, wondering what he's dreaming, what his future will hold... the same amazement I had with the previous grand-babies and that feeling of 'it's all going to be OK'. You've got this! He's a fighter, a rockstar, a heart warrior and he's going to change our lives, forever. LOVE!

  2. Oh these pictures are so sweet! Goodness he is handsome! And what an exciting story! "He's perfect!" So happy for your family!

  3. Gahhh, Im a sobbing mess (pregnancy hormones are no joke ;) What a beautiful birth story!! I wondered if you had gone into labor naturally or what happened, so glad everything culminated in his safe arrival!

  4. Oh Mackenzie, this is just the most perfect story...just like Baker himself! Loved reading every moment of it and so glad you guys are home sweet home! Enjoy all of those sweet baby snuggles!

  5. HE IS SO PERFECT! I am just overjoyed for you!!

  6. He is sooo precious! You handled that situation like a boss! I would have been freaking out way more being by myself! Congratulations you have a beautiful family!

  7. Oh, he is absolutely ADORABLE! He has this mature look in such a cute little boy.