Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy half birthday J.J. Dubin!!!

Six months ago today, I had yet another doctor's appointment...

With just a few weeks left in my pregnancy, my blood pressure had shot out of control and as a result, I had to go to the doctor 2-3 times a week to get my BP checked, various blood tests to make sure my organs weren't imploding, and watch J.J. on a fetal monitor and/or an ultrasound to make sure he wasn't in any danger.

To make things interesting, even though my "due date" was nearing (I think my actual date should have been three or four weeks later), my body was in no way preparing for delivery. No dropping, no effacement, no dilation. Heck, I didn't look anywhere near 9 months pregnant.

I had barely slept the night before and was not only tired that morning, but achy and stiff and bloated and generally miserable. It was all I could do to get out of bed, get showered, and make myself a smoothie before we had to leave.

Joe was on day two of recovering from running the 1/2 marathon. He was physically exhausted, sore, and had to work from 4:00 until 8:00 that morning. The ibuprofen he was popping every 4 hours wasn't really enough to make his aches go away, and he was so tired, he fell asleep while we were at my appointment.

The doctor had hooked me up to a fetal monitor, and left us for a few minutes. All either of us could think of was heading home and taking a nice nap as soon as the appointment was over. Although my hospital bag had been packed for weeks (after our first afternoon in triage), we hadn't brought it with us this time. I was tired of lugging it back home after every appointment.

After several minutes of monitoring, my doctor came in to check on me. "Hmm... not much movement. Let me get you a coke."

I didn't think too much of that - I figured the baby was sharing my sluggishness and was looking as forward to that nap as I was. Five minutes later, our plans changed.

The doctor came back in the room, checked out the monitor and immediately sent us across the hall for an ultrasound. The coke I had consumed should have magnified the fetal activity, causing peaks of excitement. Instead, there were sharp drops. She calmly explained that the little one might be lying on the cord "or something", and she just wanted to check things out.

I woke up my husband and we trekked across the hall to the lab. The ultrasound started out as usual, with the technician pointing out the amniotic fluid (the level was lower than the last check, but no where near critical) several of the baby's organs, and explained to us how the baby was positioned. We got to the shot of his little face staring out at us from the monitor, seemingly saying hello, when things got tense.

"When was your last ultrasound?"

"About a week and a half ago, why?"

"Did they give you a weight estimate?"

"Between 6 and 7 pounds - WHY?"

The panic in her voice was undeniable "Because I can't get the measurements to get anywhere near 6 pounds and... and... Why don't you get dressed and head back to your doctor's office? I'm going to get this report typed up and sent over right away."

Now we were awake - and scared... "What's wrong?"

She tried to recover, "I'm just worried about the amniotic fluid level... Your doctor will discuss it with you in a minute."

We returned to the doctor's office and were told to wait at the nurse's station. Seems all the examination rooms were filled and she had to talk to us NOW. My nurse walked by on her way to another patient and asked, "So, are you ready to go have that baby?"

Uhh... No. Not really.

Minutes later, we found out that it didn't matter if we were ready or not. The ultrasound showed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and was tight enough to be causing problems. That cute little face saying "hello" had actually been crying out for help.

The next two hours were a blur. Us rushing to the hospital, my husband running home to take care of Lillie Biscuit and grab the hospital bag while two nurses prepped me for surgery. He made it back to the hospital with just enough time to put on a surgical gown and mask and follow me into the OR. The nurses worked quickly to get me hooked up to monitors, confirm my epidural was working, and prep my abdomen for the incision. My doctor walked in, went to work, and within 15 minutes, J.J. was getting checked out (8/9 on his APGAR) as someone else was stitching me up. Joe wasn't sure whether he should see to J.J. or stay by my side. I sent him to look after J.J., since I didn't have that option.

I was taken to recovery, where I spent most of the next hour by myself, desperately missing my baby, while everyone else stood by the window at the nursery down the hall, watching him get cleaned up.

I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced it realizes how difficult that first separation from your baby is. I mean, I had spent (almost) 9 months with him. Talking to him, singing to him (poor guy) envisioning what he would look like, wondering if he was a girl or a boy. Getting kicked by him. Feeling him flip around inside of me. Feeling his little hiccups every evening for the last month I was pregnant.

And now, not only did they cut me open and yank him out of me (trust me on this one - the epidural did its job, but I could feel them pulling), but he's down the hall, around the corner, and in the nursery, where EVERYONE else but me can see him. I have to say what I experienced was separation anxiety, magnified by the morphine.


I still feel that way. Whenever I'm not with him. Whenever I'm racing to pick him up at the babysitter's or to get home to him & his daddy. Whenever he's been riding in the back seat of my car and all I can see of him is that tiny reflection from the back seat baby mirror in my rear view mirror. Whenever someone else is holding him, it's all I can do not to reach out and take him back. All day at work, I gaze at his pictures on my desk and on my computer and on my tablet. I still wake up in the middle of the night and stand by his crib just watching him sleep. Just looking at how beautiful he is. Just hoping that every day he feels happy and safe and he understands how much joy he has brought into our lives.

It's hard to believe it has already been six months. And soon, I'll be saying I can't believe it's been six years, or wondering where the time went as I watch him graduate high school. But I do know, it's been the best six months of my life.


CHEZ BEZ said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

We had some drama right before Joshua was born as well and my heart rate increased while reading about yours. I'm so glad all went well.


Christina said...

Happy Half Birthday to JJ! What a sweetheart.

I think you should print this blog entry out along with other memorable ones as keepsakes for JJ when he's older and will appreciate them ALOT!

I had a days notice when I had a c-section to deliver my own Joey,so my husband and I decided that he would STAY with the baby for my own fear of babies being switched (eyes rolling) in the nursery. I also struggled with having my arms strapped down and not being able to hold him after being sliced open like a turkey on Thanksgiving day.

jag said...

Oh, my! They strap your arms down? That sound terrible!

A lovely story, Linda. Not that the fear and urgency is lovely, but the way you write it. Happy half birthday to JJ!

Sista Smiff said...

The first night after my first baby was born, we thought he should go to the nursery so I could sleep. Forget that. I couldn't sleep at all that first night. I was young and a little intimidated by the hospital people and in the middle of the night, I wanted my baby. I could hear the baby crying next door. The lady came in to take my blood (why they do that at 4 a.m. I do not know) and I mentioned, nervously, I wish I could have my baby with me. I'll never forget that lady saying "You call them and tell them to bring you yo' baby...'Dats yo baby!" I rang them to bring him and my husband rolled over and said "Go to sleep!" to me (He's senstitive, aint he?) and I said, crying kinda like Mary Tyler Mooreish "But I want him!"

Ahhh...that baby is almost 15, is about 6'1, 190 lbs and shaves. I sometimes wish I could put him on my lap....but he'd crush me. Enjoy that little feller while he's little.

Nicole said...

yay for babies, no matter how they arrive! this one might be a bit dramatic, based on his choice of entrance to the world.