God is good.
That's all I can think of.
The outpouring of support from just....everywhere has been incredible.
Both David and I are completely moved by everyone's comments.
Now that the day is coming to a close, I'll try to give a recap. I'll warn that I'm still extremely doped up, and stuff is still fuzzy, so just go with it if I'm talking in circles. But I'm going to try to get it all in, more for me than anyone else. I want a record of it all.
I just reread the post I wrote at 5am. I read it aloud to David who had been sleeping through most of the onset of my symptoms.
After I posted that blog, I closed my eyes to sleep and saw stars. Everything went blurry. That on top of my stomach pain, and the fact that the mild pressure behind my temple had become heavy pressure throughout my head which throbbed when I moved, I knew what was happening.
There was no real point in trying to argue. At that point I knew that it was a matter of what time the baby would be born, not the date.
The OB resident came in to check on me and I told him about the visual cues. To my surprise, he wasn't concerned. My labs hadn't shown much change of note, so it was okay.
But when my nurse came in to do a check, she asked about my head and I was honest. That was when it started. She told the peri resident (at least, I think that's what she is. There are so many doctors, I'm not quite sure anymore) who of course, got Dr. Sunshine.
He came in and asked all the questions.
Stomach ache? Yes.
Visual cues? Yes.
He ordered another set of labs immediately and pretty much said the baby is coming today. I woke David as gently but urgently as I could.
"Honey, I'm sorry. You have to get up. We're having the baby today."
He sat up in time for Dr. Sunshine to come back and hear me ask if we could wait until 2:30. I was crushed when he said no.
He reassured me that the studies don't show us a difference between 45 hours of steroids and 48. It's time to go now. I asked how long it would take and he said an hour. You saw the post after that.
After that was a whirlwind of activity. A plethora of doctors, nurses, lab techs all coming in and out.
We made the big calls to our parents- Get Here Now.
I had just spoken to a friend who was going to bring a camera for us to borrow. I called her back, reaching her husband and said "She has to come now." The notion of our baby being born and we had no pictures was enough to make me crazy. It's funny the things that seem important in a crisis. I was so worried that I'd be knocked out and no one would get the pictures of my baby.
The good part is that because my platelets were never compromised, it turned out that I wasn't knocked out after all. Dr. Sunshine okayed an epi.
My anethesiologist came to talk to me about it. He was awesome. I won't lie and say I liked the epi because I didn't. I don't like not being able to move, and I got sick. My stomach was empty, so I never actually vomited, but I wretched about 6 times just as the surgery began. But we'll get to that in a minute.
My dad arrived. My friend came with the camera. We waited. I got my needle in the back. It wasn't so bad, though definitely strange.
I can't even tell you what I was feeling just then. I can remember asking David to come pray with me, and we did. David mostly looked terrified. My dad and friend looked helpless.
David came to talk about names. He wanted me to have my way. I wanted him to have his.
I think I was on auto pilot. I remember my nurse commenting that my adrenaline must have kicked in because the baby's heart rate kicked up a notch.
They got David his outfit for the O.R. and next thing I knew, we were on our way. As I mentioned, the epi made me sick. I think the battery acid flavored antiacid (yes, I think that's ironic, but seriously.. have you TASTED that crap?) probably had something to do with it. But I'm told it's fairly normal.
Trying to vomit while on your back and can't feel your stomach is very, very odd.
They started working on me. I could feel them touching me, but no pain of course. I got really, really sleepy. David was at my head, talking to me. Telling me everything was going to be okay. It seemed like it took a long time, but it couldn't have.
I heard someone say "okay, he's out.." and before I could process "he" someone said "Oh yeah.. It's a boy!" There were several cries of "It's a boy!?" and I whispered it as well.
David bowed his head and started to sob. My husband. Redneck, stiff upper lip, real-men-don't-cry David. We have a son. David said as much. Then he said he wished his dad were here to see this. He was proud. And still crying.
He tells me now that it hadn't been real until that moment.
My eyes were focused on the team working on the baby. It didn't take long for them to declare he was pinking up. David sobbed some more. I smiled. I kept thinking that I should be crying, too.. but all I felt was unadulterated joy.
Where was the fear? I don't know. It was euphoria. David declared him Robert Michael, and accompanied him to the NICU with his team. They stopped on the way out to let me kiss my newborn baby on the head. I told him that I loved him and he opened one eye as if to ask "Who turned on all the lights?" Then they were gone.
I tried to stay awake as they closed me up.
It seemed like David was back in a flash. "How is he?" He leaned down and whisper that he was good.. and added "They were all laughing and joking as we went down there, so they're obviously relaxed. I think it's really good." More euphoria. David was still spilling tears.
They got me closed up and wheeled off to recovery. I kept thinking that David should be with the baby, not me, but when I tried to express as much everyone assured me he was in the right place. To be honest, I just wanted another update. Had anything changed in the last 5 minutes?
David went to check again and came back and declared all was well. The nurses cleaned me up. David made phone call after phone call after phone call after phone call after phone call after phone call. He was beaming. I was beaming. My cell phone was exploding.
After so many years of infertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, etc etc I thought I couldn't be embarrassed. I was wrong. I actually said out loud at one point "Um. Eww." I told the nurse that I know she sees it every day and probably isn't phased but I was feeling pretty yucky. She chuckled and said "once you've seen one, you've seen them all."
I had to stay in recovery until I could somewhat move my legs. Everyone was talking about getting me down to see the baby after I left recovery, so I was really antsy.
Finally they brought me to my room. Back to L&D, where I'll remain until I'm declared no longer a Pre-E case. No fancy post partum rooms for me.
They wanted to draw more labs to see if I was still declining or not. All I wanted was to see my son.
My son. Woah. I have a son.
My MIL got here. My dad. The friend who had brought the camera and my L&D nurse friend. Chaos. But all happy chaos.
I kept thinking that I should be scared again. But I was happy. I still hadn't cried.
They got me ready to go see him. Wheeling me around in my giant hospital bed was awkward but I was SO grateful. They got me down to the NICU and we found him.
I could barely move. I'm so weak from the magnesium and of course, sore from being cut in two, but I managed to roll myself up and stare at my tiny, tiny son. That was when the tears came. Finally. Sweet tears of joy. I didn't dream it. Yes, I had a baby. Yes, he was okay. Here he was, in front of me. Kicking his tiny little feet.
He had a team of three just sitting watching him. Turned out to be a doctor and 2 respiratory therapists. They were getting ready to take him off the vent. A great sign.
The therapists & doctor talked to me a bit, explaining what was going on. I asked if he had any problems. They hesitantly explained that he's at risk for a LOT of things, but right now, he was perfect. He gets cold when they work on him, but so far, that's it.
I asked what I could do to help him. They said for me to breastfeed. My head spun. I hadn't even thought about it. Everything had happened so quickly that I forgot about it. Suddenly I was desperate to get back to my room to try to pump.
I had a mission.
As they wheeled me back my room, the nurses discussed finding me a pump. It's not normally something they do a lot of in L&D.. that's usually more for post partum, I guess.
But when we got back to my room, before my nurse could even get me all plugged back in, the helping nurse wheeled the pump in.
That was when the real comedy kicked in. No one knew how to use the thing. I was frantic to start and somehow completely overlooked the instructions. The nurses hit buttons.
In the end, the person who seemed to get it the most was actually DAVID. No lie.
I pumped and got nothing. That was the first time I was sad since I'd given birth. What if it doesn't work? I never labored, I hadn't even gotten far enough in my pregnancy to start leaking yet. What if they don't work? The nurses told me that it was normal not to get anything, but all i could think about was the NICU saying how good the colustrom is. I HAVE TO MAKE SOME.
I asked for a lactation consultant. She was down maybe a half an hour later and she reassured me.
A bunch of David's friends arrived. Mostly guys.. loud & proud. They finally went down to the cafeteria for food and I had a moment of quiet. Usually the quiet is when the bad thoughts creep in. I thought for a moment, but they never came. instead I made a couple of calls to spread my euphoria around.
This was the point I started to realize how incredibly stoned I was. They have me on good drugs. Everything is pretty blurry. I'm extremly weak from the mag. But it was all still fine.
I don't think the euphoria is drug induced, though. Just for the record. That's all natural Robert Michael euphoria.
Everyone wants to see the baby. David took everyone down to the NICU one by one. He came back to tell me Robbie had been off the vent for a couple of hours. He announced that he took after his dad because he was on CPAP. (David has sleep apnea and sleeps with a machine each night.)
The visitors trickled out, leaving David and I mostly to bask in joy. Amazing.
We had some quiet and David helped make a chart of when I should pump. He is the poster child for breast feeding support. Suddenly I don't feel nearly so jipped about missing the breast feeding class. My husband turns out to be a natural. Who knew?
The next pumping session left me with one glistening nipple. I was excited. Sure hoped it meant sometimes.
I napped a little. I woke up and wanted pictures.. so I set about downloading a few. Those are what you see below.
It got late and we decided that before the next pumping time, David would go check on Robbie again, then come back and help me pump, then we'd go to bed.
He came back to tell me that Robbie is still off the vent and doing really well. The doctor said that the usual problems with a baby of his size & age include things like blood glucose & blood pressure problems, but so far so good. Very exciting stuff.
We pumped again. And yes, I mean "we" because when we do it, David pulls a chair up to my bed and mans the switches. He looks through the information and talks about the baby. He's part of the team, for sure.
This last time, I actually managed to get some beads of colustrum on my left nipple. Enough to leave a bit of trace in the cones. Even ol' righty seemed to make a teeny drop of milky gold.
In my excitement, I called for my nurse to bring a syringe. The NICU doctor said even a drop is enough.
Apparently my trace on the cone doesn't count as a drop, though. I'm not embarrassed, though. At least, not by much. I'm just so relieved to FINALLY see my body do SOMETHING like it should. i'm going to guess that in the next pumping session or two, i might actually get something worth giving to Robbie. Keep your fingers crossed.
David has now gone to bed. The doctors are lecturing me to sleep, so that's what I'm going to do.
I just wanted to get this all down while it was fresh. The biggest moments in our lives often go by so quickly that we don't get the details and i don't want to let this slip past us.
So for now, all is well. My son is resting quietly in the NICU, breathing mostly on his own.
My labs show that the Pre-E is resolving. My bladder is working double time clearing all of the crap from my body.
Everyone seems to agree that I should be able to go off the magnesium tomorrow around noon. then I can start my vigil at my son's side.
I can't wait.