Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time Flies, Part 2

Note: If you haven't read Part 1, below, you might want to so you can catch up.

Yesterday I left you at the point where The Hubster announced to our family that it was a "baby" and walked out. After chasing him down the hall and asking him again, he gave them the same answer. I think they had to go to the nursery to find out for sure what we'd had.

I was still in the operating room by myself. The doctor told me they were going to give me a little shot so I wouldn't remember what they were doing. Wrong! I remember every second of what they were doing--cleaning me out and stitching me up. For some reason I felt a lot of pain. Why I didn't tell them is beyond me. The shot must have kicked in when all that was done because I remember very little after they were done. I was taken to the recovery room but don't remember that ride at all.

This is skipping ahead a little bit, but a couple of days later my neighbor said, "When you were crying, I just wanted to cry with you." I was very polite until she left and then turned to my mom and said, "She was in the recovery room?" Once that question was answered I said, "I was crying?" My mom told me that I was crying so hard that the nurses came and got her and told her that I needed my momma. I forgot that I cry every time I am given anasthesia.

Although I really don't remember anything about the recovery room, God gave me a clear memory of seeing Karate Kid for the first time. My family was all in the room with me, and The Hubster brought my precious boy to me. I remember that The Hubster kept turning one way and then the other, trying to figure out which way to hand him to me. I impatiently told him, "Just give him to me!" I couldn't wait any longer to hold my baby. I had just finished mopping up all my tears caused by the drugs, but they started again. This time they were tears of wonderment and love. I couldn't believe he had finally arrived. I unwrapped him and counted all his fingers and toes, just like the stereotypical first-time mother. Everyone kept telling me he had a cone head (from his head being jammed under my rib cage), but I never saw it until we got his hospital pictures back. He was absolutely perfect in my eyes.

I was finally taken to my regular room, thankfully a private one. The rest of the day was spent holding Karate Kid and drifting in and out of consciousness. I still had the epidural, and the nurses were also giving me pain killers. I had no idea they were giving them to me. All I knew is that I would fall asleep mid-sentence or holding a cup of ice chips.

The Hubster was taking some college classes then, so he left in the early afternoon to get back for those. Not long after he left there was ashift change. All of the babies had to be taken back to the nursery so that nobody strolled out with a baby that didn't belong to them, escaping in the chaos of nurses coming and going. My mom and I waited and waited for Karate Kid to be brought back to my room. Mom finally walked down to the nursery and found out that Karate Kid was the only one left in there. I called down and asked them to bring him back to me. A nurse brought him in but asked that I try to nurse him. It seems that he was breathing too quickly and they wanted to see if nursing would help regulate his breathing and slow it down some. Karate Kid was too sleepy to even try to latch on, even though I tried repeatedly. The nurse said she needed to take him back to the nursery "for a minute" and that she'd be back. More eternal waiting. Just when I was ready to call back down there, she came in to tell me that they were moving him to the NICU--the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I can't explain the terror that filled me. My baby was in trouble, and I didn't know why. She explained that they were afraid he had an infection that was causing him to breathe too fast, and that they wanted to get some tests run and start him on antibiotics.

I don't know how many hours I cried. My husband was gone, my baby was gone, and because I was still on an IV and had a catheter, I couldn't get out of bed to be with him. The one thing I was grateful for was that they had closed-circuit television cameras in the NICU. The nurses turned the camera on Karate Kid so I could see him on my TV downstairs. Mom stayed with me until they got him all settled in, and then she went to check on him for me. Looking back on it, it was a miracle that they let her in. The rest of the time he was there, no one could go in to see him unless The Hubster or I was with them.

Poor Karate Kid was crying and crying. The nurses finally asked my mom if she thought I would let her rock him. Would I let her? I was so, so glad that she was there to take care of him for me. She rocked and rocked him for the longest time but couldn't calm him down either. She finally looked down at him, told him his mommy was going to be mad at her, and gave him a pacifier. That was what finally calmed him down. It took until he turned 3 to get that thing away from him!

The nurses had to turn the camera off at one point. I was left all alone in my room worrying about what was going on upstairs. Mom eventually came back down and rejoined me. It took her forever, but she finally helped calm me down too. About 9:00 that night, The Hubster walked in the door of my room. I took one look at him and said, "I'm going to cry again." My mom told me, "It's okay to cry," and the floodgates opened. My poor husband had no idea what was going on! He left thinking everything was great and returned to a hysterical wife.

The next morning the nurses told me that Karate Kid was hungry. They were ready for me to come nurse him, but they needed someone to come take my catheter out. I think I waited for 30 minutes for someone to come help me. It felt like 30 days. I was so impatient that I almost took it out myself. All I could think was that my baby was upstairs, probably crying because he was hungry, and no one could bother to come help me!

Karate Kid was put in the NICU on Thursday evening and was released late Saturday morning. It turns out that he didn't have an infection after all. Because he was born by C-section all of the fluid hadn't been squeezed out of his lungs that normally happens during a vaginal birth. Since I was breastfeeding and had already been released, they took him to a pediatric room instead of the nursery. I was able to use the bed while he stayed next to me in a bassinet. They treated me like I was still a patient, getting me drinks and food. They told me that since I fed their patient, they fed me.

I was so relieved that he was out of the NICU, but I was still so worried. He still had an IV in his head and was hooked up to monitors. At one point my mom was holding him while I sat in a chair across the room. His monitor went off showing that he wasn't breathing. Even though I had just had surgery, I flew up out of the chair and rushed across the room. The nurses flew through the door right behind me. It turned out to be a false alarm, something wrong with the equipment. From that moment on, I could hardly take my eyes off of his monitor. I was so scared that he would stop breathing for real. My dad was holding him later and counting his breaths. He told me that the maching was wrong because Karate Kid had taken many more breaths that it showed. That made me feel better, but only slightly.

That night, as I was lying in bed, one of the nurses came in to check on us. She found me staring at the monitor and crying. She, in all her wisdom, said, "Are you watching the numbers on that monitor?" When I confessed that I had been, she turned it around so I couldn't see it. What she didn't realize is that I had figured out that it made a soft little click when the numbers fell below a certain point. I was awake for hours, listening for the click and keeping my eyes glued to Karate Kid's little chest. Whenever it clicked, I began crying hysterically and yelling at The Hubster to check him. Again, it was a machine malfunction every time.

Sunday morning I took a shower and came out to a great surprise. The nurses had come in and disconnected all of the monitors and the IV. He still had the capped off part of his IV in his head, just in case, but for the first time since right after he was born, I could hold my baby without worrying about a monitor lead falling off or getting tangled up in all of the cords. It was heaven. We were so excited that The Hubster took a picture of it before I got out of the bathroom. That is one of my favorite pictures.

Monday morning the doctor told me that Karate Kid was ready to be released. I mistakenly thought we'd get to leave within the hour. We finally made it home at 10:00 that night! Home has never been such a welcome sight.

And that is the story of the trials and tribulations, the terror and the joy, of Karate Kid's birth. It's been 12 years since he was born. Twelve! It seems like just yesterday.

Posted @ 2:56 PM ~ 3 comments

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