Monday, January 14, 2008

Birth Day

4 years and one week ago, after 31 weeks of pregnancy that included just over 9 weeks as a hospital inpatient (spanning Thanksgiving, Christmas and the move into a new home), H, B and C were ready to make their way into this world. Despite the odds against it (based on my medical history and the various complications I'd experienced during pregnancy), the boys and I had made it well beyond the expectations of my physicians and H had had enough. He was the lowest of the babies, his brothers stacked (literally) on top of him. For only the second time during my hospitalization, Kelly had insisted on spending the night there with me. I insisted he go home, it was a weeknight and he would have to get up incredibly early to get to work the next day. We (he) had just moved to our new house and there were boxes to go through, things to put away. The "guest bed" in my room was terribly uncomfortable and I thought it made no sense to stay over for no good reason. He stood his ground and stayed. Little did I know...just after 2 AM my water would break. I said Kelly's name - one time - and he jumped straight up awake (and those who know him recognize the oddity of this). He found my nurse and things began to move quickly after that. At 4:31, 4:32, and 4:33 in the morning H, B and C were delivered respectively. H and B made their presence known right away - I was surprised at thankful the urgency of their little tiny cries. C was quieter (a frightening "sound" for a new mother) and all were whisked away immediately to be assessed by their own medical teams. Kelly was able to walk over to see them, to ask questions, to observe. I was still on the OR table unable to see anything going on with my precious little boys. I tried hard to listen and figure out what was going on. I was prepared for this. I'd spent several years working in and around NICUs, I understood what was happening and why. But I was not a part of it in any way. Long before my post operative procedures were completed, the boys had been moved to the NICU. Once certain I was okay, Kelly followed the boys. He reported back to me later that morning about their status. Weighing in at 3# 13 ounces and 17.5 inches long, H was our "big boy", B was not far behind at 3# 11 ounces and 16.75 inches. C, whose intrauterine growth had been restricted through the last 2 weeks of ultrasounds was 2# 15 ounces and 16.75 inches. All had been intubated initially but H and B had quickly progressed to a nasal cannula. C was still intubated. Initial tests showed no signs of cardiac abnormality or brain bleeds (whew). I was abe to visit with them for the first time that night. The helpless feeling of being wheelchair bound while looking at your prematurely born babies through the Plexiglas of an isolette will forever be branded on my heart. I have acutely vivid memories of certain things/events over the next 6 weeks of their hospitalization. Much of it is a blur though. The long, and I mean loooong walk to and between the NICU and nurseries (C remained in NICU while H and B were moved to a less critical nursery on the opposite end of the 3rd floor), stopping every few steps to catch my breath two days after my C-section because I could not wait for someone to arrive with a wheelchair my need to be with my babies was so so great, the thrill of C finally moving into the same nursery (though not yet in an open bed) as his brothers, the terror at receiving a midnight call from his doctors to let us know he was going back to Intensive Care and would likely need a blood transfusion during the night, the cautiously optimistic hope that his move back with his brothers would be tolerated, the heart of gratitude and relief when he (C) finally moved out of his isolette and into an open bed with his brothers after 4 weeks of separation and a roller coaster of medical backslides, nursing my sweet babies, pumping around the clock with the hope that they would receive only my breast milk during this very critical time, the joy and sadness of bringing home two babies (H and B) while leaving one behind, the overwhelming peace at bringing C home and having our whole family together for the very first time. It was so long ago and yet I still experience the full range of emotion as if it has just happened. Particularly when I am looking into the faces of little boys - not babies anymore. This is a bit of a rambly post - I know, they all are really :) Trying to get a handle on what I am feeling now as the mother of 4 year old boys. We are all growing up and there is a strange sensation of time standing still and moving at warp speed simultaneously. So I will consider it a little longer and try to be more cohesive in the next post...check back soon for more Mama Drama

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