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.
BRING ME MY BABY!
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.