Monday, September 1, 2008

one month ago, today....

i can't even believe it's september 1st.
my absence can be attributed to many reasons, but i think overall, i just was too overwhelmed this month to really blog. like...really really blog.

obviously, i could have filled pages and pages with the details pertaining to weird colored poo, and breastfeeding (holy book i'll write about that...), sleepless nights, altered relationships, etc etc etc...

but it just all paled in comparison to the little human being that stares back at me each day.
well.
stares
back at me is all relative, but i think he's starting to stare back at me....or in my direction. or something.

i know many of you have no clue how isaac's birthday went down.
and since this IS the day he turns ONE MONTH -- why not relive a little of the dramz.

as you all know, i was admitted to the hospital on the wednesday before the friday c-section. they had no clue IF i would be delivering and WHEN or HOW.
they just kept me tied to my monitors just in case...and after weighing in with the cluster of hospital physicans -- they by consensus decided to take isaac via c-section.

you can obviously read my previous post to understand how i felt about that.
SIDENOTE: i cannot tell you how many personal emails i received about my previous post. apparently i'm not alone in my heartbreak, nor am i crazy. and many of you out there - who i don't even KNOW - made me feel more human in my emotions and truly comforted me when i needed it. thank you for reading this crazy blog and thank you even more for responding in such a personal manner and just for reaching out to simply say that you hear me. and care. gosh, that goes REALLY far during months like this last one!

end sidenote.

so since my baby shower was going to be on saturday, august 2nd....my inlaws were in the air, when the decision was made to deliver me early. by the time my mother in law landed, a stranger from my church was standing on the curb to pick her up and notify her of the change of plans. can you imagine how strange THAT must have been?! on top of that, chad's dad had to buy a full-fare flight with 1 hour notice, to make it in time for the c-section. it was just craziness on all fronts.

by friday morning, i had a NICU specialist come and detail how they will attend the surgery and take over isaac's care once he's been delivered. they were the NICEST doctors, those NICU folks. chad went over to the NICU to take some pictures so i could see where isaac would be sent and the parents showed up to sit and visit with me before my noon delivery.

between 8-10AM, i was in my room all alone. i broke down. cried my eyes out. prayed. cried some more. and just waited for the day to progress.

around 1030AM, they came in to give me my spinal block. now, mind you -- MY SPINAL BLOCK was originally all along, the thing i FEARED THE MOST when i'd think of delivering my baby. i was TERRIFIED of my epidural. but i always comforted myself by saying, "hey...at least i'll be in SO MUCH PAIN that i'll be excited to see the epidural team arrive."

er.
uhm.
not so much.
the anesthesiologist rolled her cart in, while i was chewing down on ice chips, chatting with people. no pain. no desperation. PURE FEAR. and yea...it was not cool. chad sat in a chair facing me, as my legs hung over the side of the bed. and he squeezed my HAND SO HARD and held his breath SO OBVIOUSLY as he watched them take the mother needle out and shove it in my spine....that he almost passed out. he gasped. i could feel blood trickling down my back. it seemed like it took forever. granted, they didn't numb me up right then...since my surgery was still an hour out....

so i got to lay back down and forget about the needle in my back ....too bad i didn't know what was to come.

people from church called to pray with me...
all 4 parents stood around my bed and prayed over me.
my friends kept coming by with necessary supplies like...diaper bags....breast pumps...etc.

and then the doctors arrived to roll me into the operating room.
i could feel my chest get tight.
my palms just broke out in a cold sweat as i typed those words.
it was just flat out terrifying.
please let my baby be ok....please let my baby be ok...please let my baby be ok....

that was all i could think in my brain, as they rolled me down the operating room, as i forced smiles and waves to family....

things took a MAJOR turn at that point.
i entered the operating room on this rolling table sorta thing.
i remember the walls being mint green tile.
i remember the lights as bright as the sun, glaring down at me.
i remember the nurses abruptly stripping my gown off of me, so that i'd be laying there naked as they soaked my body in that iodine stuff.
i remember alot of people buzzing around.
i remember my husband not being one of them, as he waited in the hallway.
probably 6 nurses.
3 anesthesiologists.
4 doctors from the NICU.
1 OBGYN walks in to get the show on the road.

i remember the anesthesiologists pinching my legs and asking if i could feel it.
YES.
i could FEEL IT.
"well, thats ok....you are allowed to feel things, it just shouldn't feel like pain..."
omg...i lost it.
i couldn't catch my breath.
i started shaking....
i could feel them pull my knees apart to shove a catheter into me.
i could hear people talking, but not be able to really listen.
where is chad...where is chad...where is chad....

the anesthesiologists kept telling me to take a deep breath....breathe allison....breathe allison...
and at one point, the head anesthesiologist looks over my head and asks, "do you want to remember your baby's birth? if so -- YOU NEED TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH...or i'll have to knock you out so we can start this surgery..."

apparently my blood oxygen level was dropping b/c i was hyperventilating....
i.
was.
terrified.

i was convinced i'd feel the first slice into my stomach.
i could feel them draping my legs and chest with sheets....
i could feel them rubbing my lower abdomen to feel where the baby's head was...
i could hear the doctor ask for the laser...
and i could smell my flesh as it was burning, giving way to the cauterizing tools, as they dug deeper to find my uterus.

i shook uncontrollably.
i'm not sure if it was the medication or my uncontrollable nerves.
chad had to basically hold my arm down b/c as i continued to reach for his hand, i shook so much.

twenty minutes later....
they're still digging. pulling. stretching. moving things.
i hear medical lingo...times being called out...."please hold this over here...pass me this....i need this suctioned....."

and then i heard a baby crying.....
it took me by such shock that i caught my breath and started bawling all at the same time.....
my baby...crying.
he was alive.
he was alive....
his lungs were at least minimally ok....his heart was beating....he was responsive....
omg...he was alive.

you know...i think it was even more shocking because you don't have any warning when it's going to happen. i think in a vaginal delivery, you see the baby get pushed out...you see the doctor hold him up....you watch him take that first breath and you expect to hear a scream.

i was staring at a white ceiling.
i had no clue where in the process we were.
i had a sheet blocking my vision. (thank God)
i had been waiting (er....sobbing) for 20 minutes wondering what was next....

and out of NOWHERE....a cry.
i used to roll my eyes when people would get ALL dramatic about hearing their baby's first cry...."best sound in the world...." "i fell in love that moment..." "i couldn't have asked for anything else..."

it's all true.
it's all more than true.
i was blown away by my own reaction. i almost scared myself with how emotional i became over it.

they left him inside of me, except for his head, for quite some time. they suctioned out his nose, his mouth....etc....while holding off on pulling him out completely.

when they finally did, they held him over the curtain so that we could catch a glimpse and they whisked him over to the NICU corner of the room, while they dried him off, weighed him, cut the cord (chad was never even offered that option, it was too "serious"...), and the cry started to fade away. apparently, he could cry, but it took too much effort from his immature little lungs to keep up the crying at that pace...and he wore out. so did his breathing. they shoved a bunch of tubes everywhere you can imagine, and tried to keep his stats up.

we were given 30 seconds to snap a few pictures, and he was gone before i could even say goodbye.

it takes them another 30 minutes to wrap up the surgery.
i was in agony.
my chest was burning PERFUSELY from something they injected into my abdomen and i have no idea why, but it was SO hard to breathe. i remember the doctor giving the ok to the nurses to knock me out at that point -- and they agreed to -- and it didn't work.

my adrenaline was beyond succumbing to some knock-out drugs.
i was in pain.
i was terrified for my baby.
i was just so so so upset.

they roll me into some post-op recovery room.
nobody is allowed in there but chad.
i'm told i have to stay here for 2 hours while they check my stats, change over my epidural, watch my blood flow (yeah, fun times) and determine if i have a fever, etc.

all while the rest of the world gets to go check on the baby....
my baby....who i only got to see for mere seconds.

after a few hours of lock down in recovery, they roll me into my post-partum room.
it's a nice room...much smaller than labor and delivery...and my friends and family around trickling in and out and it's all just...so...blurry at that point.

i note to the nurse that i'm starting to feel some pain in my lower left abdomen.
she responds with "that's normal....some level of discomfort is normal....but your epidural is still in, and you should just press on that button, to administer more pain meds...."

i start pressing like crazy.
maybe i'm just a baby? maybe i can't handle pain?
gosh...it's really starting to hurt.

but i was more driven to go see isaac.
i begged them to roll my bed to the NICU so i could look at him again.
they reluctantly agreed.

i remember being in the elevator...and the pain is escalating LIKE CRAZY in my abdomen.
why is it hurting SO BAD.
we arrive in the NICU.
my brain is on fire with pain.
we arrive in isaac's room.
i can't sit up. the pain is SEARING and slicing through my stomach....i can't see him....i'm trying....but the agony.....

i burst into tears, but can't really breathe b/c it involves moving my abdominal muscles....and the nurse realizes we have a serious problem.

without even so much as a glance in isaac's direction, my window of opportunity to see him passes me by.
they run my bed to the elevator and start paging anesthesiology. paging doctors. paging nurses. paging anybody who can come check on my epidural which is OBVIOUSLY failing me.

i think i pass out for a second from the pain.
b/c i don't remember going back to my hospital room.
i DISTINCTLY remember gasping for air and staring at the ceiling as i screamed out in pain, though. and watching chad pray in silence while grasping my hand....and watching nurses scramble for AN HOUR while we all waited for the head anesthesiologist.

FINALLY...somebody runs in....and realizes....my pain pump that was directly attached to my epidural is JAMMED. so everytime i had pressed it for pain relief -- it administered NOTHING. essentially, i had had my stomach ripped open, a baby pulled out, and 2 hours later, my system had ZERO pain medications flowing through it. i felt as though my guts where being sliced out of my body OVER and OVER again with each breath that i would take....

i think i wished to die...it was so horrendous.
they shoved the BIGGEST NEEDLE of something into my epidural line...and then another MASSIVE dose of something into my IV line....and stared at me, counting the seconds until i could communicate any relief.

it took 10 minutes for me to have the ability to focus on who was talking to me. to be able to take a breath. to be able to release my white knuckle grip on the sides of my hospital bed....

for me to realize, i still had not seen my baby again....

by this time it was early evening.
he was born at noon.
i floated between sheer exhaustion and utter devastation.
fortunately, my room was JAMMED with out of town friends and family and it was SO great to be able to celebrate with them. and they would bring me digital pictures of isaac, b/c chad was giving NICU tours all the while...

again....that part of the day is a blur.....
i remember eating pizza.
i remember them checking my bleeding.
i remember my epidural wasn't placed that perfectly b/c i could feel EVERYTHING above my belly button.

i remember the room spinning b/c i was so tired.
but once all the guests left and it was roughly 11pm....i begged them to roll my bed to the NICU so i could see my son....again....yet for the first time....

nobody was happy to oblige but since they knew i'd bring up the "broken epidural line" story, how could they tell me no.

i was given 5 minutes in his room.
2 nurses stared at me waiting for the go-ahead to roll me back down to my room.
breathing down my neck.
waiting for me to "get my fill" of my son, on his first day outside my body.
i stared at him through the plastic isolette.
i choked back tears....that huge lump in my throat....as i investigated the tubes and the wires and the needles.
he slept.
i couldn't really reach him from my bed, aligned next to his.

he couldn't have felt further away from me, had they flown him to china.
he went from being a part of my body.....to being dependant upon cold and clinical medical technology.
i felt so uneeded.
so unecessary.
so irrelevant, at that point.
he didn't even feel like he was mine anymore.....
i couldn't touch him.
hold him.
feed him.
comfort him.

nothing.
it is hard to articulate or really explain.
it's just not how you imagine your baby's birthday to be.
but that's basically how the story goes.

i remember what it was like to see his name, written in ink, above his head.
i remember what it felt like to announce to the family, what is "top secret" name was...to hear myself say it....almost like slow motion....
i remember that through the tears, i bossed chad around the operating room to take pictures at every second he could....even when i knew they'd be painful to look at ...even when i knew they weren't doing nice things to our baby....i wanted to remember every minute forever....
i remember the immense relief of knowing he was going to be ok...knowing the unknown surrounding this pregnancy was over....the comfort of being under the watchful eye of doctors....
i remember watching my friends file into my room after seeing isaac for the first time, reporting how gorgeous he was and how certain features of his, looked like mine.....

and though it wasn't on his birthday -- i'll never forget how, on the following day -- i climbed into a wheelchair and was taken down to the NICU and had isaac placed in my arms for th first time. he was so small....he was so covered in tubes....

...but he was mine.

i grew particularly fond of his 1am feeding.....
i would stroll my wheelchair down to his room, and give him his 1am feeding, and he'd be awake (of course he was, that was when he'd go bananas in my stomach!), and the lights would be off, outside of the glow of the monitors, and we'd be alone. he felt most like he belonged to me, during those hours. i'd stay in there until around 3am....just being with him...holding him....he'd be so wide-eyed and peaceful. unlike his sleepy self during the rest of the daylight hours.....

God is so good to us.
if it were mine to re-write, the story would be so altered.
so many things would be changed.
so many things done differently.
so many moments reversed.

but it's not mine.
and isaac's not mine.
and the story not's mine.

and therefore, i spend each moment i have, here at home, trying to redeem those lost moments on his birthday.
i rock him a few extra minutes after he falls asleep -- just because i can.
i try to keep him awake a few extra minutes in the afternoons -- just because i want to see the color of his eyes, one more time today....
i let him sleep in his swing all night -- just because i want him to be comfortable. he spent his first days so uncomfortable, that ....it's worth it to us both to just give him his way today.

and i recognize that -- once again -- i have no control over my life and all that transpires in it.

and you know what?
i already forgot what it feels like to be pregnant.
and the pain of the surgery is a distant memory....
and the notions i held on to, get lost is the hustle of today's grind....

and God has a way of reminding us all that we have so much to be thankful for, which is exactly what washes over me each time i look at isaac.

who cares how he got here.
who cares how it didn't go the way i wanted.
who cares how upset it left me....

he's my wildest dream come true...he made me a mother...and all the rest is just left by the side of the road...

happy one month, isaac!!

7 comments:

Hope said...

Wow...I had to stop at when you heard him cry. I couldn't read through the tears. What a story, what a gift. How precious are the memories...even the not so fun ones. Every second led you to this place, this moment when you hold him, smell him, kiss him...love him. My heart is so full for all of you - continuing to pray for you.

meet joelle said...

YAY! write that story down. keep it for isaac. keep it for you. you won't believe how many times you'll go back to it, and how it will mean different things to you each time you read it. much much love to you. and to isaac :)

Glenna Marshall said...

you had me in tears, Al!! thank for putting all of that into words so we can get a tiny glimpse of what is was like.

loved the last pics of Isaac that you sent out. he is just a doll. just wait until he starts smiling. you will be a hopeless puddle of melting heart.

Katie (baby4ztarx3) said...

how beautiful. Happy one month!

Hope said...

Ooo 8 more days and you will have a baby! I just saw your ticker thing a ma bob and thought hey...she has her bundle of joy.

Praying and thinking of you!

Hope

Misty said...

Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with us. It may not have been what we all dream of as a birth story but the end result is what is most important and that turned out just PERFECT!!! Congratulations! I can't wait to see some more pictures of him!

JimandApril said...

how beautifully written! I am so sorry you had to go through that pain but so happy that you have Isaac! Will you ever post pics online for us to see? If not, I understand...he just sounds so adorable! Take care! Love, April(Godstimingisalwaysbest from xanga)