Monday, October 3, 2011

My Little Novel, About My Little Boy

We are not schooling this week. I decided to take a break. This week is just too busy! I have family moving in next door and that alone would have been enough excitement for me to cancel school last year. On Wednesday my 7yo will become an 8yo!!!! Thursday our homeschool group is having a yard sale. Friday we have co-op as usual. Saturday I am hosting a Mother daughter tea party for the girls and daughters at church. Finally, Sunday I have to sing a solo which always makes me nervous, stressed, and kinda want to die. AHHH!!!! 

Today I don't really have anything to do. I really should be baking a cake though... maybe later. I have been wanting to tell the story of my 7yo's birth though and well, now seems like the best time.... Grab the tissues... Or maybe I am the only one who will need them. 

Chapter one.... Yes, I need chapters. It's a long story. 

In summer 2003, I was finishing up my last semester of college in Jacksonville, Florida. My hubby, who was active duty in the Navy at the time, had received orders to Newport, Rhode Island back in April and had been living there since we conceived our baby. It was hard being so far apart. When I went to doctors appointments, I always called him right afterward to tell him how things went. The first time I hear the heartbeat I called him and left it as a message on his cell phone. He told me he listened to it from time to time when he needed a boost. I had a sonogram at 16 weeks and found out we were having a boy. We named him right away. I videotaped the sonogram and sent a copy to hubby along with some still prints. We were both excited and in love with our new baby.

It was August 2003. I was done with school. I was ready to go to RI. Hubby had picked out a house for us. I was excited. I had grown up in Newport, so it was like coming home. Since I was moving away, my friends and family threw me a baby shower. I got everything I would need for the baby, from bottles and diapers, to crib and changing table. It was fun and exciting. My hubby picked me up and we loaded a truck full of things for our new life in RI. It was pretty obvious that the baby had more stuff than either of us. 

I was so excited when we got to RI, that I had hubby build the crib right away. I was having a ball decorating the house, especially the baby's room even though, I was only 19 weeks pregnant. 

When I was 20 weeks, I met my midwife. She was really nice and gave us another ultrasound in her office. It was pretty obvious that we were having a boy. He was proud of his boy parts. It was a lot of fun to see him wiggle and squirm in his comfy womb. My belly had just started to pop. I really did not even need to wear maternity clothes yet. I did anyway though because it made me feel more like a mommy. 

I believe it was a Sunday morning. My husband worked with a reserve unit and it was drill weekend. Just before he left for work, I went to the bathroom and felt a gush of fluid. I thought it was just some new embarrassing pregnancy symptom. I did not want to tell him about it. I went and laid back down. When I got up again to tell him goodbye, I got another gush. I will never forget, I could not use the upstairs bathroom and I leaked all the way downstairs to the other bathroom. I sat there in the bathroom trying to understand what was happening. I waitied until hubby left for work and then I got out my pregnancy book, What to Expect When You're Expecting. I can't remember how I found it but somewhere in that book it said PROM- premature rupture of membranes. It said that if you think your water may have broke before 38 weeks to call your doctor. 

I called the hospital I think. They told me to get to the maternity ward right away! Honestly, the doctor on call scared me. I had no idea it was so serious. I called my hubby and through sobs I managed to tell him to come home now, there was something wrong with the baby, we had to go to the hospital. He says he never drove so fast in his life. If you know my hubby.. I have no idea how he made it back to pick me up in one piece. 

When I got to the maternity ward they hooked me up to the fetal monitor and left me there for an hour. I had to see the OB that worked with my midwife. Apparently he was having breakfast and in no hurry to see me. I remember at one point I had to pee really bad. I asked a nurse and she let me go into the bathroom but as soon as I sat down she came running in there picked me up and put me back on the bed. She said she didn't realize I was in premature labor. She informed me that I could deliver the baby in the toilet!!! Well, I didn't realize I was in premature labor either!!!!  Wasn't labor supposed to hurt? I remember my hubby looked excited and smiled at me, "This could be the day." I frowned back. "The baby can't survive this early." I was only 21 weeks pregnant! It may sound strange but I thought of the nursery at home, full of adorable baby things. The thought of going home without my baby was devastating! 

When the OB finally came in, he said to me real smartly, "We have a lottery going on how many women pee themselves and think their water broke." I told him, "I hope I did pee myself." It is sad when you actually are wishing that! He started a sonogram over my belly and his smug face changed fast. I will never in my life forget how the mood in the room changed. He shouted out for a PROM kit! They swabbed me and got a positive. My water had broke. They gave me a catheter because there was no way the OB was going to let me get up to pee now. 

Everything else was a blur. I recall at some point the OB told us something along the lines of, "You are having what we call 'a late miscarriage'. I expect you to go into labor in the next 48 hours. I can't do anything to stop the labor and we can't resuscitate a baby born before 23 weeks. We can let you hold him until he dies though" My heart shattered, not broke, SHATTERED!!!!! I could still feel my son moving inside me! How could we be talking about his death! I felt like I had failed at my first job as a mother. I couldn't even keep my baby safe in my womb. I thought, "If we lose this baby, how will my marriage ever survive? Why would anyone want to be with someone who can't have a healthy baby." All I could do was pray... 

I was in a state of shock. I was terrified of losing my son but I also felt comforted. It is a difficult thing to explain. When I prayed, the answer came so quickly and so clearly, I knew my baby would be okay. I know that I was, without a doubt, completely wrapped in my Father's arms during that first painful day. 

My husband called our families while they admitted me into a room. 

I don't really remember seeing the OB again. I know I was put on STRICT bed rest. That meant I could not sit up, stand up, nothing. I had to lay flat on my back. The nurse started me on IV antibiotics, ampicillin and gentamicin to prevent an infection. 

Every time a new nurse would come in, they made my husband leave and they would ask me if he beat me.... They would say things like, "This is a safe place," "You can tell me." I guess they just wanted to find a reason why my water would break out of no where. 

At some point my mom came in the room with my Nana. I don't remember it taking very long for them to get there but I know it had to be a long time. My Nana lives in Daytona and my Mom lived in Jacksonville. The OB had told my Mom that she needed to get here fast because I was losing the baby. She got there fast! Even if she had jumped on a plane as soon as she heard, it is 2 hours from Daytona to Jacksonville another hour to the airport, and a 4-6 hour flight to Providence, Rhode Island. Then an hour drive from Providence to Newport! Either I was completely out of it, or they hit a worm hole. Somehow they got there fast.

My mom told me for many years that she had dreamed that I would have 2 boys. It seemed, God promised this to her. When she got on the plane to RI, she sat down and prayed for me and my son. As the plane lifted into the air, a book slid under the seat in front of her and hit her foot. It was Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson. She knew then, that her prayers were answered. 

When my mom walked into the room that evening, she walked right back out. The belly I had when I left Florida, was gone. I was lying flat on my back and you could not tell I was pregnant at all. She had to cry in the hallway before she came in. I was so glad to see her though. There is something about having your mommy there, that makes it seem like everything will be okay. 

I did not know this until later but my OB had ordered that a picture of a maple leaf with a drop of water in it be hung from my door knob. It meant, "This mother has lost her baby, enter the room solemnly." My Mom overheard one of the nurses reaming him out. She took the leaf off the door and told him, "THAT BABY STILL HAS A HEARTBEAT!"

And he certainly did. I remember being scared every time that they put on the fetal monitor. I was afraid they would not find his heartbeat and make me deliver him. They kept checking me every shift change. He was still alive and I was not going into labor. 

I woke up one morning, my mom had been on the cot in my room. There was a giant digital clock on the wall. She looked at it and said, "It has been 48 hours and you have not gone into labor!!!" We celebrated. I felt like I could breath again! My OB came in and told us that if I could make it to 23 weeks without going into labor, he would send me to Providence Women and Infants Hospital. They have one of the best NICUs in the country! They would admit me there and they could do whatever needed to be done to save my baby when I delivered him.

Of course, it would be out of character for him to have only brought good news. He reminded me that I was still at risk of delivering early. He listed off a bunch of statistics. He told us about all the things that could go wrong. He told us the chances that my son would be blind, deaf, paralyzed, brain damaged, etc.. He asked me if I had considered my son's quality of life. My mom told him, "I don't doubt my God." I will give him credit though, he never asked me to abort my son. I have learned since, that many OBs would have asked me to. 

I spent a week on the maternity floor until it was too full of women in labor. So they moved me downstairs to the pediatric floor. That was great. The bed was so much more comfortable. I was one of only 2 patients so I got a lot of attention. Also, the room was cheery and there was an extra bed for my mom or hubby to sleep in.  I still could not sit up. That made eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom an event. I mostly had to be fed because I could not even see over the hospital tray. Going to the bathroom was humiliating. I had to use a bed pan. I had to have someone to help obviously. The nurses were all great. They took care of me without complaint.

When I reached 23 weeks my mom made rice crispie treats for the hospital staff! We sang "A Very Merry Unbirthday" to my belly! There were smiles all around. We had finally reached viability! The OB came down to my room and stood at the foot of my bed. He said, "You made it." My Mom said to him, "She had a lot of people praying for her, Southern baptists, Methodists," "Presbyterians and Catholics" I added. My OB looked up from my chart and said, "And I am Episcopalian." God is good!

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