I hope readers will excuse the more personal notes, but. . .wow.
My wife noticed this morning that her fetal movement had substantially diminished, so off we went to the hospital to have it checked out, expecting nothing more than the baby facing the wrong way or some other such minor problem. Monitoring there turns up nothign really wrong, per se, but nothing reassuring either, so they opt to induce labour. Further discussion about my wife's body's readiness for such a thing leads them instead to opt for a c-section.
Fast-forward two hours. While the baby was being removed, we hear her cry for about two seconds, before one of the doctors bellows "she's much too pale! Get Dr. Cook!"
Nothing is said to us while we hear great commotion going on on the other side of the curtain. Doctors are flying in (let this be a lesson to any readers who prefer home birthing. Today I became emphatically and unequivocally convinced that such a choice is purest idiocy--doctors go to med school for a reason!). We're left speechless, while I try to console my wife who has broken into the tears I was choking back--it was without question the most emotional five minutes of my life.
The next two hours are a blur of half-answered questions, while doctors and nurses milled about my daughter (and, of course, my recovering wife). Finally, we get a full rundown.
"Unknown causes" led my daughter to have incredibly severe anemia. Normal blood pH is 7.35-7.45. Fluctuation from that is very bad news. My daughter's was 6.94. Her hemoglobin count was thirty-four. That's less than twenty percent of what it should be (somewhere in the neighbourhood of 200). Her red blood cell count was 30 percent of normal.
By rights she should have been stillborn. Not only wasn't she, her heartrate was always fine, she could breathe on her own from the outset, and her oxygen levels were always on the low end of normal. The hematologist has no explanation for this. My daughter was in an oxygen tent for all of two hours, and that purely precautionary--again, her levels were fine.
An injection of saline was administered immediately to give her heart something to pump, and a transfusion was started a couple hours ago (a six hour process--I won't know the results of it until I return to the hospital in the morning, but she was progressing well when I left). The saline (and the doctor who so promptly administered it) unquestionably saved her life--at least as it stands now. It's impossible to say for certain that her body will produce it's own hemoglobin and red blood cells after the transfusion, but failing to do so is (I'm told) quite rare, so the prognosis is good. Amazingly, none of her organs--including her brain--show any indication of damage from what should have been a substantial lack of oxygen. Though it's still too early to tell for certain.
If we'd arrived at the hospital even an hour later, my daughter would be dead. I can't begin to describe how much I hope we made it in time.