Hello Gentle Readers
Thank you for sticking with me ~ and for reading my son's story. It is his legacy to spread hope~ and my task as his mommy is to help.
If you haven't yet had the chance~ please read parts 1-18 first......it just makes more sense that way.
This is part 19: The NICU Rollercoaster:
27 April 2008
Back on the post-partum side to the familiar room in which I had lived for over 3 weeks now. Visitors came. In a way it was the same as when William was born~ people came~ but there was no baby to ohhhh and ahhhhh over.
But as was promised 4 long weeks ago in the teeny, tiny hospital room in the world renowned hospital~ and as had been everything with this pregnancy~~ *this time* was different. Because there WAS a baby. Yes she was teeny tiny, yes my husband is the only one who saw her for the first 36 hours, yes she was fighting for her very life........BUT SHE WAS HERE AND SHE WAS ALIVE! (take THAT doctor fuckface!)
I was very sad that they would not let me go over and see her: pshawww that I'm not stable enough. Retrospectively, the NICU nurses had enough to do~ what with all of those fragile babies to care for~~ makes sense they couldn't be taking care of the parents~ myself included. So I waited (not so patiently) and I visited with TONS of people who came in to see me. And I shared the picture of the teeny tiny baby girl and the HUGE diaper. Try as I might~ I could not manage to stay awake for long periods ~ I felt like a rag doll~ all of my limbs were heavy~ hard to lift. And so intermittently between visitors~ and sometimes when they were there~ very fitfully~ I slept.
Late that evening~ with all of my visitors gone~ with little more than the familiar sounds of the hospital to keep me company~ I began to really come out of the anesthesia and heavy blood loss fog~~ and I was desperate to see my daughter. I had a very kind nurse that evening and she helped me into a wheelchair and took me to the NICU. It was a supreme effort to stand long enough to scrub up before going in......... and then there I was~ in the darkened and surprisingly quiet calm of the NICU. Monitors beeped, ventilators wooshed, nurses floated around adjusting monitors, ventilators and babies........but it was quiet and calm...and that stilled my nerves.
Now if you don't know let me tell you~ if you or your child are hospitalized: the closer you or your child are to the nurses; the sicker you ARE. And so the kind L&D nurse wheeled me over to a place practically IN the nurses station and said for the NICU to call over when I was ready to go back to my room.
From the seated position in the wheelchair I really could not see very much~ so I stood........and I was *almost* overwhelmed to the point of fainting when first I saw my teeny tiny princess girl. She was SO very SMALL. I mean I *knew* that~ but DAMN! 1# 6.8 oz and 11.75 inches long~ shorter than the length of a ruler~ that is SMALL my friends.
She had a head full of black hair, her eyes were still fused closed, her skin still practically transparent and she was connected to a mind boggling number of tubes, IVs and catheters.
But there she was~ and I was all at once in complete *awe* of this miracle and in complete *love* with my wee tiny princess. It was surreal to stand there peeking into the incubator at this tiny baby that modern medicine had helped us create and hope had helped us keep. Her condition was so critical that I was not even allowed to *touch* the huge incubator in which she was.......so fragile was she that she could not handle ANY external stimulation. It would be days before I was even able to touch her teeny, tiny body.
I cried, I cried a LOT.
One of the NICU nurses came over and gently explained what all of the tubes and catheters were connected to. She explained how to read the monitor and not to panic when it alarms. She reiterated that my daughter was in critical condition but stable at the moment. She gave me a few more pictures that they had taken.
I prayed. I prayed a LOT.
The same prayer I had been whispering for weeks now: please let my daughter live and please let her be healthy.
Standing there, shaking~ in the surprisingly quiet calm of the NICU~ I was struck by how far we had come~ 4 long weeks~ with not a single drop of amniotic fluid...........being told there was *no* hope~~ and yet here we were.
In my mommy heart I KNEW that we were still at the very beginning of this rollercoaster ride. We had spent 4 long weeks clickity clacking up that first huge hill. A mere 36 hours ago we had paused briefly at the top~~ and when it was decided that I could hold out no longer~ that she HAD to be delivered via emergency C-Section~ we plummeted hard and fast down that first hill. And that first plunge had very nearly killed us both.......and yet here we were..........both of us......ALIVE.
I remember feeling so very, very tired. Gods I was so tired. I felt as though I had not slept in weeks. In the coming weeks and months I would learn that there is tired~~ and there is barely awake I can't believe I am even surviving much less functioning TIRED. And I would come to know that when your child is in the NICU you push so far past the barely awake I can't believe I am even surviving much less functioning TIRED~~ and STILL you carry on and live to fight another day.
And in that quiet calm of the NICU I could feel baby William with me. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was THERE........I *knew* because I had carried him to this place in my heart and in my soul. And I could feel him there. Watching over us. Protecting his sister and I. Giving us the strength to *fight* and to survive.
There would be other hills to climb soon enough. But for that night I allowed myself to celebrate just how far we had come. I allowed myself to revel in the fact that we had overcome all odds.....that despite my water breaking 4 weeks and 36 hours ago~ despite the fact that she had lived in utero for 4 weeks without a single measurable drop of amniotic fluid~ despite being born into the world at 24 weeks, 3days~ despite the fact that we had BOTH very nearly died in surgery~ WE WERE ALIVE.
And so it was in this mindset that I returned to my room.......and I allowed myself to sleep~ I mean REALLY sleep~ the sleep of the dead......the sleep of one who had not really slept in weeks~~~ I knew my baby girl was alive and safe~~ I knew I had done my very best to ensure her survival~~ and for that night I allowed myself to sleep ~~~ in PEACE.