Adventures in Rachel-land

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

4 weeks

It hasn't even been 4 weeks since we brought you home. And every day seems to be the same cycle of eat, sleep, poop but at the same time, every day you seem to change. You sleep a little bit less, you make a little more eye contact, your legs seem just a little chubbier.
When we first brought you home, and you would get angry, you would put your arms up by your face like a boxer and just shake them. And sometimes, while you were sleeping, or particularly enjoying a meal, you would throw both your arms straight up over your head and wave them back and forth. Those newborn reflexes are already starting to disappear. And somehow I am stuck in this wierd place where i know the changes are good, and inevitable, but it still makes me a little bit sad to watch you grow out of them. And if I am this emotional about your newborn arm reflexes, just imagine how I am going to be when you learn to walk, or graduate from college.
I want to write everything down. I want to remember the way your father obsessively disinfected his hands every time he touched you, until a week went by and he got over it. I want to remember how we took you to the doctor for the first time, and how we spent the first week making sure you were still breathing. I want to remember us figuring out the trick of changing diapers without getting peed on and the one time your father was changing you and managed to let you pee in your own face. I want to remember every moment of cuteness and frustration, but if I spend the next five years writing everything down, I'm afraid I'll miss out on the opportunity to be making more memories. So, I'll do the best I can, and I know the most important things will stick.

We took you to Uncle Darren's for Easter this weekend. And when I needed to pick something up, everyone offered to keep an eye on you while Dad and I went to the store. We almost ran out of the house. But as we drove away, I could almost feel the imaginary string between our hearts stretching out. And I know, that God willing, that string will never break, but will continually stretch and grow, giving you all the independence you need to be a strong, healthy man, but always tethering you to a place of unconditional love.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baby, Oh, Baby

You showed up three weeks late. Well, maybe not technically, but considering that I was so sure you were coming on Valentine's Day and decided to sit on the couch and wait for you, those three weeks really felt like you were dragging your feet. Even after I waited three weeks, you still didn't show any interest in exiting unless we gave you a little nudge.






We checked into the hospital at 7:00 on Thursday, February 28th, 2008. That is 7:00 AM! On the way to the hospital, we stopped at Jack in the Box so your dad could have a delicous breakfast sandwich and I could hungrily watch him eat it. After we found our way to Labor and Delivery, the nurse asked 50 million questions and gave me an IV. It didn't really fill me with confidence when she didn't know how to use the 'num lock' on her computer, but she did seem to know what she was doing when it came to my health care. The doctor came in and broke my water, and encouraged me to walk up and down the hall to encourage you to get the party started without the use of drugs. I was in favor of this plan, as I was relatively sure that drug inspired contractions would be more dramatically painful. Your father helped me get up and situated and we set out to walk the halls to force you out. My mom showed up just then and the three of us walked up and down this empty hallway for half an hour. I was feeling twinges, but nothing compared to what would come later.
After half an hour, we went back to the room so the nurse could check on your heartbeat. She couldn't find it. At the time, I thought she was just having difficulty locating it, but now it seems that maybe that was a sign of things to come. She made me get back in the bed so she could monitor you continuously. My contractions still weren't registering very high, so they put a monitor on your head, one on my uterus, and started to give me some Pitocin to get things going. The pain quickly got worse as we labored through contractions. I was at about 5 centimeters dilated and pretty uncomfortable. Your father was cracking jokes, but was really pretty amazingly supportive. I sent him away occasionally so he could get some air, but he was a real trooper.

As I sit here now, three weeks later, occasionally nudging your bouncy seat with my foot, a lot of the day is a blur. I had an epidural, they kept adjusting the drugs to try to get the contractions just the right strength to get you out. I still thought everything was going somewhat okay. Your heart rate fluctuated a few times, I spiked a fever, and the epidural started to wear off. They gave me drugs for the nausea, pencillin and tylenol for the fever, and put an oxygen mask on me. I still thought everything was going to be okay, if we could just get to the pushing part. They offered to reup the epidural, but I wanted to be able to feel enough to push. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink, but your dad kept feeding me ice and telling me to put my oxygen mask back on.

When we finally started to push, your heartrate dropped in a way that alarmed the doctor. They had me stop and wait for it to come back. Twenty minutes later, we started again. Your heart rate dropped again. They started to tell me we had to do a c-section, but somehow, I just couldn't hear what they were saying. I was holding my ankle, and I kept trying to push. Your dad and the nurse were trying to push my leg down, and I just couldn't let go. I kept telling them to stop pulling on my leg. The doctor said, "we have to go now!" Then suddenly they are pushing me, I could barely see your father as I went out the door. I heard them saying they would come get him. And I was crying and so scared. Someone asked if I had an epidural and the nurse responded that I could feel everything. I was in a surgical room, and it seemed to be full of dozens of people. Someone was adding something to my IV, someone was sticking something to my chest, and the room was just spinning, and I couldn't stop crying. Someone told me to try to calm down. I kept saying, "I know this isn't helping, I'm trying to stop." I was so scared and everyone was moving quickly to get to you. Someone said they had lost your heart rate and we couldn't wait. Then there was a mask on my face and a voice told me to count 5 breaths. I only made it to 2 breaths.

They told me later you were born at 11:11, and because you were in distress they took you to the NICU, gave you some formula because your blood sugar was low. You were 21 inches long and weighed 8 pounds and 7 ounces.

I woke up in recovery, and then dropped off again. The next time I woke up, I asked where I was, and then I kept asking where you were. I wanted to know if you were with your dad or not. When they told me that you were not able to be with him, I was so scared and confused and in so much pain, I just wanted to know that even if you couldn't be with me, that somewhere in that hospital, you were being held by your father. I was so fuzzy that they had to keep telling me the same things over and over. They gave me a button attached to a pump and told me to click every time it hurt. I didn't want to click it to much in case it would knock me out again before I could see you. Then someone came and rolled me down the hall to my room. And your father was there and I remember seeing him and crying, but everything else was a blur. Then a nurse rolled you in on the glass bassinet and she talked about your stats and your health, and I heard her, but I couldn't take it in because there you were, laying in that glass box. And I was still so druggy, and couldn't hold you, but I asked if I could see you, and she picked you up and held you right in my face. And I was so surprised how beautiful you were. I had been waiting months and months, and I had no idea what you would look like, but I was so surprised that you were so gorgeous. Then I dropped off to sleep, and your father told them to take you back to the nursery. I didn't want you to go, but there was no way I could feed you or hold you, and he didn't have it in him either. We needed to sleep and rest, but I hated the thought of you going away. He slept on the couch, but woke up every time I moved and whimpered in pain.



The next day was a blur, they brought you to me, and I held you, but the pain was so much, and the drugs were so much. Someone came to take your vital signs, and your temperature was way to low, so they took you away to put you under the lamps for 4 hours. And I understood, and I knew everything was fine, but between the emotions, the drugs, and the pain, I was sure you were gone. I was so sad and sooo tired. But you came back and I started trying to feed you and it felt like everything was going to be alright.

I sent your father home to get a good nights sleep, and asked the nursery to take you back for a couple of hours. I wanted you back at 2:00 in the morning so I could try and feed you. At 2:15, I climbed out of the bed and shuffled down the hall to find you. I had been seperated enough, and wasn't going to take it. Just going down the hall to get you made me feel like I was going to be able to take care of you.

By Saturday morning, I was out of the bed, taking a shower, trying to get better. Your father came in, carrying flowers and a huge stuffed duck, a much better person for a good nights sleep. Aunt Bethany, Aunt Julie, and Darren and Tammy came to see you. Mimi and Papa came by, Grandma and Grandpa were there. There were lots of people holding you and loving you.

The nurses were so kind and patient. Every single one of them was nice to a fault, it was a gift and a blessing. Not a single one of them laughed at our silly questions and they took care of both of us so well. When the doctor came in on Saturday afternoon, he asked if I wanted to go home and it was all I could do to not climb out of the bed right then.

We left the hospital by eight o'clock on Saturday, I was sitting in the back seat, watching you, hoping you wouldn't suddenly stop breathing. You were home, and now the hard part was over and we had you safe and secure with us.