They worked on the baby for quite a while, during which time I received a couple of stitches and chatted with the doctor. I was concerned that we didn't hear him screaming, but eventually he did let out some pitiful little whimpers. They brought him to me for just a minute before they took him to the nursery for observation - he was a hot little mess. His head was grossly misshapen, and he was so swollen and bruised. His right arm was not moving. But he was the chubbiest, sweetest little thing I ever laid eyes on (at least, since the last time I had a baby!). We didn't know at the time, but we wouldn't see him again for over 6 hours.
The hospital pediatrician came to talk to us later in the day. He told us that the baby was not breathing correctly - he was breathing very fast, and very labored. He also said he believed that Seth's ribs were broken on his left side. He said he detected a heart murmur. He said the right arm was not moving, due to nerve damage during the birth, when the right shoulder was stuck. He gave us a very worrisome report on our little babe, whom we hadn't even seen since he was born. We did eventually get to see Seth that night, for about half an hour. He was very sore, and every movement or jostle caused him to cry out. His head was a mess of bruising and swelling, and the right arm and shoulder area seemed to bother him. We reluctantly gave him back to the nursery nurse, as she had to monitor his blood sugar through the night. By the time we woke up the next morning, they had moved him to the NICU nursery.
His breathing hadn't stabilized, and they put him on oxygen. We went to visit him in the NICU nursery, and he had the little tubes in his nose. It was so sad looking. Overnight they had also done a second chest x-ray, and told us that they no longer believed he had any broken ribs. We were so glad to hear this! The pediatrician told us that he thought the baby would be staying at least 3 more days, which was disappointing to us, but not too bad considering how rough his entry into the world was. Over the next few days, they also inserted a feeding tube, which they taped to his face. They didn't want him swallowing, since he was breathing so rapidly - they were afraid he would inhale liquids into his lungs, which would cause even more complications. He seemed to hate the feeding tube, and I have to say, when I went to visit him and saw the tube for the first time, I sat down and cried. He looked absolutely awful, just covered in tubes and wires. We were able to visit him in the NICU nursery, but not really spend time with him. It really broke my heart for parents of babies who stay in NICUs long-term, who are worse off than Seth was, who maybe don't have the hope we had. I can't imagine what they go through every day.
In the end, Seth stayed in the NICU for 5 days - we brought him home on Monday, the 17th. I stayed with him, although he wasn't released to my room until Sunday evening. On Friday the pediatrician told us that Seth had a blood infection, and started him on an agressive round of antibiotics. On Saturday, we were told that a second culture had been done, and there was no blood infection after all. We were also told that neither the pediatrician nor the nurse could even hear a heart murmur anymore. In the end, he had a rather nasty cephlahematoma, and the nerve damage in his right shoulder. All of his other problems had disappeared. He's a little miracle baby, I tell you. The damage to his right shoulder is called Erb's Palsy. He has full movement of his right hand (fingers and wrist) and some movement in his elbow; however, he does not have any movement in his shoulder, meaning he cannot lift or control his right arm. We've been told by several doctors that this type of nerve damage, common in hard births with large babies, will heal itself in time. We are waiting for that healing to come! Otherwise, he is a perfect little baby boy.
It was an incredibly difficult labor, and a long and emotional hospital stay. I was so happy to finally check out of that hospital and bring him home! I can't imagine going through a birth like that again, so very traumatic for both of us. But we made it through, no drugs, just as we planned! And we have a wonderful, gorgeous little snuggly pile of a boy who we could not possibly love any more.