Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sorry Friends This is a Long One

For a long time I've been wanting to write about when little man was born. There is no reason that I picked today, just like I said, it was a big deal and I've been wanting to write about it for awhile.

So rewind a few years Shane and I are living the good life as DINKs (Double income no kids). Shane and I both have good jobs. We live in our first house that we love, in a community that we really love, and what should happen but we start feeling the need to do a little repopulating. So we decide to make a baby, we think its just that easy. I buy a few pregnancy tests and wait a month...negative. No problem, we'll try again next month...negative. Fast forward a year and a half, and five rounds of Clomid later. Still no luck and the increasingly high amounts of Clomid, are making me an emotional wreck (read raving lunatic) several days out of the month, plus we are moving from the place we love to a place I am not so sure about. So in honor of the move (and pretty much because I can't take it anymore) we decide to skip the Clomid this month. A few weeks later yep you guessed it...POSITIVE! We were pregnant (Go figure). I surprised Shane at work that day with lunch and a book for expectant dads that I had saved for almost a year just for this occasion. It was a great day.

So the pregnancy progresses and we both revel in the fun of planning for the baby. We find out that we are having a boy (which I swear that I knew all a long). We start thinking of names. We continue to get ready. When I am 31 weeks pregnant I go to the doctor in her fabulous new office. The nurse takes my blood pressure and says almost to herself "that's a little high." She reassures me that its not too high, but she wants to check my chart to see if its high "for me." Unfortunately she explains a few minutes later, because of the recent move she can't find my chart, but really its not that high so I should be fine until the next appointment. So the following Monday I go to work. I work in a non-profit organization with a whole flock of well meaning "mother hens." They drill me on my last appointment, they cluck their tongues at my lost chart, we move on. Tuesday, I can't bend my fingers very well because they are particularily swollen, Melissa my boss says she is worried about how swollen my face is looking, I think to myself "gee thanks." By Friday Shane has jumped on the worry wagon, and encourages me to call my doctor. I do, they encourage me to come in for a quick check. At the office they check my blood pressure. The nurse looks worried and sends me to "L&D" I innocently ask what's L&D she explains and I head down to labor and delivery "for monitoring."

In the hospital they hook me up to the monitors and start an IV line, all the while I am thinking, this will take an hour or so and then I will go home. HELLO! this baby is not due for another two months! I call Shane he is washing his truck. He comes right over, when he sees me all hooked up he turns into worried Shane. The doctor comes in and tells me to get comfortable I might be here awhile. We call our parents and invited them to jump on the worry wagon that apparently I am driving, they readily do so. My doctor is so on top of things (please forgive her for the lost chart it could've happened to anyone) she immediately has me injected with steriods (that hurt like crazy) and explains that the baby's lungs will get the maximum benifit from the steriods if they are able to work for 48 hours. Shane and I realize that the goal to keep the baby in for two more months is no longer attainable, and we start praying for just two more days. They move out of L&D to the women's center down the hall. On Sunday the neighbors come and give me a priesthood blessing. In that blessing I am blessed specifically that things will be fine, I wrap those words in a little receiving blanket of faith and tuck them in my heart for safe keeping. Sunday night I convince Shane to go home and sleep in his own bed, he does. We feel so glad that we have made it the neccessary 48 hours. At about two in the morning I wake up with a pounding headache. I am given Tylenol to no avail. The nurse takes my blood pressure, and announces that I have just won a trip back to labor and delivery. I meet my doctor there. She injects a medicine into my IV line my blod pressure starts to drop immediately. She sits down on my bed like a girl friend at a slumber party and says, "lets talk." She explains carefully that my blood pressure will continue to rise dangerously high until I have this baby, she fears that the baby will not fair well if my pressure contiues to rise. She says to me bluntly it's time to have this baby. I say o.k. and try to be strong, but start to cry, my body's shortcoming makes me feel like such a failure as a mother. She reassures me that the best thing I could do for my baby is have had those steriods for 48 hours, and this I have done. I feel a little better and know that even though I don't want it this way, and I am frightened this is the path that is laid out before me and therefore is the only one I can take. It will do me no good to sorrow over paths that are no longer open to me. (Looking back at this time I am particularily amazed at the reserves of strength that are hidden deep in the human soul. Laying there in utter pain and having the unknown loom before me, I did not fall apart, I just said o.k. and went forward. I know now that this is the survival mode that I have heard people talk about. The one that says to you we will cry about the specail delivery experience that you didn't get have later, we will be sad about the baby shower you were suppose to go to another time if ever. It doesn't matter that you haven't finished the crochetted edge around the receiving blanket, or that this babe doesn't have a special "coming home" outfit. Those things are already gone, and they don't matter. What matters is getting this baby here alive and well, and if you can stay the same that would be good too.) I ask the nurse to call Shane and a few minutes later he shows up. We are nervous but Shane is feeling like me, we must go forward. We agree on the name that we thought we had two more months to fight about. They wheel me into the OR, the anesthesiologist is someone in my ward as he applies the epidural I am flooded with relief of the pain I have been feeling. I am so relieved I forget to feel embarrassed about my pregnant naked body that is surrounded by a roomful of strangers, my husband, and the ward member (I do however remember to feel embarrassed several times after this event when I see him in the hall at church). I feel nothing, I concentrate on trying to wiggle my toes (which I can no longer feel). Shane stays near me and pats my head and arms. I feel alot of pressure on my stomach, Shane grabs my arm "I can see him! I can see him!" and then "he's almost out!" And then he is out, I hold my breath and say a silent prayer that he will cry,

please let him cry.

And then he does, like a little cat. THey hold him up so I can see him, he is small and purple. They pass him through the window into the NICU. He is gone so fast. They keep working on me, I remember my doctor expalining to the other doctor there about the stitches, like I was a crostitch design. They wheel me into recovery. Shane shows me pictures of Mason on the digital camera. I still can't move, but I also can't stop shaking. They get me ready to go back to my room. I remind the nurse that they had promised me I could see my baby before I go back. They call the NICU, no I can't come now. They take me back to my room, I ask the nurse there when I can see my baby she pats my arm and starts saying how I need to take care of myself first, I start to cry, realizing that I won't be seeing my baby today, the nurses around my bed cry with me. I am still on the mag this horrible medicine that makes me feel like I have the flu. Tuesday morning I call the nurse and beg her take me off the mag, she finally does. I ask her if I can see my baby, and she says I have to wait until my doctor comes. My mother in law comes to visit, I can barely stay awake while she is there, but Shane does all the visiting. When she leaves, SHane walks her out, I know she wants to see the baby, but I want to beg Shane not to take her in to see my baby, not because I don't want her to see him, but because selfishly I cannot bare the thought of anyone else seeing him, and loving him before I get to. Without me saying anything Shane understands, and doesn't take her to the NICU. My mom calls me she has a terrible cold and cannot come to visit, because she might make me or the baby sick, she cries when I tell I haven't seen my baby yet. My doctor finally comes and gives the go ahead for me to go to the NICU. Shane and I go together to see our little man. He is so small, I am afraid to even touch him at first, Shane tells me all about him and all the wires and tubes. I am amazed at how quickly Shane has made the transition to dad, and I love him for it. We cannot hold him, but Shane shows me how to change his diaper. I make a joke about how he said he wouldn't change diapers, Shane says with sincerity "I would do anything for him."

The next day little man is stronger, I get to hold him for the first time. He is so tiny I'm afraid I'll break him, with how much I love him. He looks so tired.

The next morning the doctor decides to put him back on the ventilator. It is miserable to see him struggling so much to breathe. He's on the vent for a day, and then taken off again. He does better this time. A day later we come into the NICU and the nurse is putting clothes on him. This is a very big deal it means that little man gets to move from an open bed to an enclosed one. It means that he is getting stronger. He still is not breathing fully on his own, and has a number of other issues to deal with, but this is progress, Shane and I feel so proud. A few days after that we get to give Little Man a bath. This is the first time since he has been born that we get to really care for him. It is a very special time for us.

Little man continues to grow and progress, slowly, but all the same there is progress almost everyday. He learns to breathe on his own, he starts to drink from a bottle, he continues to gain weight, and finally 32 days after he was born he gets to come home. We have no idea what we have ahead of us, but I am so proud of my little family for getting this far.

I had no idea, what having a preemie would be like. I learned that "mommy guilt" is a force to be reckoned with and you can feel it even over something you have no control over like Preeclampsia. I learned that it truly is the smallest things that take up the most room in you heart. I learned that I have so many loving people in my life that I can count on, and I also learned that there are also alot of people in my life that just want the gossip, and those two are not to be confused. I learned to stand up for myself, and that I have to stand up for my baby, because (if dad's not around) no one else will (so no miss nurse you may not play your loud, obnoxious counrty music in the same place where my hyper sensitive preemie is trying to live). I learned sensitivity. And I learned that I am a stronger that I thought I was. And most importantly I learned that no matter how big or small, strong or sick that they come, babies are gifts from God, and I am grateful for mine everyday of my life.


Morning Glory said...

What a beautiful and touching story this is. You held me captive all the way through it and when I saw the pictures of that beautiful baby, well....they stole my heart! Thank you for posting such a precious story.

Lee-ann said...

Your beautiful baby is such a darling & what a wonderful story but I found my heart was racing to get to the "going home" bit to know all was well.

God has some big adventures for this little man I am sure and as a nanni to eight of gods little gifts I am so pleased you told us this story about your darling son.

Your blog is wonderful I will be back to see much more.

surcie said...

What a story, Nic. May you be blessed.

Trisha said...

Beautiful, beautiful story. I stayed with it from start to finish, something rare for me and long entries. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

ShelahBooksIt said...

He is a beauty and I love this post! I'm so glad that he's doing well now.

EmLouisa said...

Crying here. Both of us are, Greg and I. I am amazed at how similar our stories are. I have the same scrapbook pages. Different, but the same. It's just amazing.

Thanks for sharing your story. We are going to have to get together sometime and chat when I'm in your neck of the woods.

Love you!

Nettie said...

I am weeping. What a beautiful, harrowing, scary, wonderful birthing experience! Thank you so much for sharing it. And thank God that you are both here and healthy!

Snigger Fam said...

You made me cry. You are my preeclampsia sister! And both with our first babies, and boys, too. Mine was 34 weeks, and he had 1 week of a steroid shot, so he had a bigger head start. I felt so lucky that he did so well in the NICU and went home in just 10 days. I totally know what you mean when you say you went into survival mode. I did for a year -- on the anniversary of me going in for observation (1 week before birth), I almost lost it. I checked my blood pressure and cried when it was normal.

Here's to healthy preemies. The Lord really does watch out for us.