Ok, I left off where we had just heard Reese’s first baby sounds. The story continues below. I will write this from my point of view first, and then from David’s his is a bit different than mine.
In the days leading up to Reese’s birth I had known that the only thing that I would be looking for in the delivery room, or operating room in our situation is a loud cry. I figured that would be the only way we would know that he was ok, the only way that we would know that his lungs were mature enough for him to survive outside of the womb. We did not hear those cries. The dr. said look up here he is! David could see, but I could not, the stupid screen was too high up. So I watched David’s face as he looked at his son for the first time. David snapped some pictures. I did not really care about seeing him, that is not what I had been waiting for. I wanted to hear that cry. That first strong breath of air. I held my breath waiting, but all that came were little mewing sounds. David jumped up and ran over to the warmer. The OR I was in, is very very frustrating in it’s set up. All I could see was the anesthesiologist and his work station. The baby warming station is at the end of the room, on the other side. I lay there holding my breath waiting, waiting, waiting, that cry never came. The dr. then walked up holding the baby swaddled in a white blanket. I knew something was up, since this was supposed to be daddy’s first moment with the new baby. Why was the dr. holding him?
Then I saw his little face. Perfect. But the problem was it looked like it was carved out of marble. Purple and white marble. The only words I could get out was “Why is he purple???!” Why is he not moving?” “Is he even breathing??” The pediatrician then said “KISS HIM!” and held him up to my face. I will never forget that moment. He held that little perfect creature’s face up to mine and the first thing that struck me was how absolutely warm he was. Like the warmest most perfect thing. The second thing was how soft he was. A perfect little soft warm creature that belonged to me. Then he was gone. Just like that.
From across the room I heard David say “I am going with Reese.”
I must have started crying at some point, the spinal dr. was wiping my tears, telling me it was going to be ok. That taking the baby to the nursery was normal. I knew he was just saying stuff to make me feel better, as I knew that the normal policy is to allow the family some time together. And we had all heard the deafening silence of the pathetic little whimpers that had come from Reese.
It took them a while to stitch me up. Dr. B congratulated me on my new responsibility, Dr. Diekman left as he was only there to help get that baby out I guess. And the spinal dr. went though the post op care with me. He said that I could not stand up or even sit up more than degrees for hours. That I should request pain medication as soon as I could move my toes and not wait for the pain to show up. He said that there would be no lasting affects. At this point dr. B put his head over the sheet and said that they had just put my womb back in. I yelled “WHAT??” I could feel the stitches going in and out. There was no pain though. Spinal dr. leaned over and told me the next drug is not going to be pleasant but it is supposed to help my uterus contract, I needed this because of the meds I was on before that were supposed to stop the uterus from contracting. The moment this drug entered my system my head started to pound, my heart rate had gone up to 120 when I saw that purple baby, and it had stayed up. Now I could feel every beat pulsing through my head. It was strange. Then it was over. They were pulling the screens down, and putting their things away. Notice that no one had mentioned anything to me about Reese. The nurse started to pull my hospital gown off when the dr. yelled at her to wait since the OR door was open. They closed the door and then pulled the gown off. I noticed that the gown was soaked through in blood. My blood. It is strange to explain the emotions I felt. It was like I was numb. Like everything around me went quiet. I was still waiting for that cry. Waiting to hold my baby in the OR, and nuzzle his neck, I was waiting for that new family picture. You know the one with the proud dad, the exhausted mom and the brand new squished baby. They pulled me over onto my bed, off of the operating table. I looked back at the table and saw my body print in blood. I guess I never knew how much blood one loses during a c-section. They wrapped me in hot blankets since I had begun to shake and shiver. Then they wheeled me into the hallway. I sat in that stupid hallway for an hour. The nurses were talking about the dr’s and who they liked, and then they all left. I lay there alone, I lay there staring at my heart rate monitor willing my heart rate to go down. After the hour I was wheeled to my room. Reese was born at 5:41 I was wheeled to my room right after 7:15. Keep in mind no one had mentioned anything to me about a baby, or where he was or whether he was even alive. As I was being wheeled down the corridor we went by the nursery, I looked back and saw David standing next to an incubator. He caught my eye and gave a thumb’s up. Finally some news!
In my room I was given a sponge bath, sexy right! And then they hooked up some pain medication. I still could not move my feet. David came in the room saying that Reese was under observation, he was not breathing correctly and they were giving him 30 minutes before putting him on a machine. I made David go back to the nursery, then Marye came in. When I saw her my emotions finally broke and a sound came from me that I did not recognize, then the tears came. Marye stayed for an hour and then had to leave. Over the next few hours David would come in for a couple minutes at a time with some updates and pictures from the NICU. Reese did not start breathing correctly on his own so he had to be put on the CPAPP machine.
We had a list of people that we were going to call and text to share the good news with, but with things going the way they had that had gone out the window. We turned on cell phones and I had 26 missed calls from my parents. We called them back and got yelled at for taking so long to call them back. I understand how scary it was for them. Then we skyped David’s family. They were all smiles and Congratulations we also got some congrats tgext messages, it was a strange moment for me. I could not understand celebration and congratulations when Reese was in the NICU, I was still waiting to hear him cry. After that David had to leave. I slept fitfully until 1am. I woke up in pain and then waited until 6 am for the nurses to come around and do their rounds. In those five hours I sang some worship songs softly and thought about that brief moment when I had felt his warm fuzzy little nose. I will be forever in debt to that dr. for making me kiss Reese. It was only when the nurses came in for my morning sponge bath that I broke down completely. I cried so hard I could not breath. It had been over 8 hours since the last update. David showed up soon after that, I sent to check on Reese immediately. He came back with news that Reese was still on the CPAPP, but he was doing well. For the next 4 hours David would run between my room and the NICU to check up on Reese. At 10 am I decided that I felt well enough to go see my son. There was no way I was going to wait until 6 pm that night before seeing him again. I also had an awesome nurse who helped me into a wheelchair. So I went with the I.V meds in a wheelchair. In the NICU you have to scrub really well first and then put on a mask. I walked in an saw my little guy laying in an isolette. I walked over and touched his skin. So soft and perfect. First thing I noticed was that he was off of the CPAPP, in the morning hours, since David had last seen him they had taken him off of the machine. He still had an oxygen cannula and a feeding tube, but he was there, pink and breathing! The nurse came up, gave me a chair and then handed me my son. I was finally holding him, 17 hours after they cut him out of me. He was soft and warm and so perfect. Looking back now I am thankful that I never had to see him on that CPAPP machine. To this day he still has red marks under his nose where that machine was. I could only be up for a while before I had to go back to bed, but we returned at lunch time, and he had been moved out of the NICU into the high care nursery.
The NICU only had 3 babies at a time, and the High care only had 5 at a time. We met a lady who had had her baby in October, and she had been in high care ever since, but was set to go home within the next week! Around 5 pm, we went back so I could try to breastfeed Reese. We were sitting in the High care nursing room when I heard a sound like someone hitting a piece of wood really hard. I looked up at David and he peeked out the door. The October baby had aspirated on her milk and was not breathing! The nurses started to go crazy. They were screaming and running around. The head nurse was crying and yelling at the top of her voice: ” CALL THE DR. CALL DR CALL DR!! NOT THIS CHILD GOD, OH GOD NOT THIS CHILD!” BREATH” CALL THE DR” GIVE ME A TUBE” BIGGER TUBE!!” BIGGER TUBE” slap slap slap!!! This went on for a while. We thought that baby had died. I sat there stunned holding on to Reese with everything in side of me. We were praying out loud for God to save this baby. Then she coughed. The baby coughed and then cried. The head nurse had given the baby, a 1.8kg baby mouth to mouth and saved her life. This was one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced. After that I could not imagine leaving Reese there. But we had to. It was so difficult. We returned a few hours later and we were told that after they give him a bath they are going to test his vitals and if they stay stable he would be released to us.
The cry I had been waiting for finally came when they gave him a bath. He screamed and turned bright red! He HATED it, but when they nurse was done she put him in my arms and he calmed down immediately. He rocked his vitals test and was released to us. So just over 24 hours after his birth we got to take him to our room. His feeding tube was taken out after the bath, and since then he has latched really well, and he loves to be breast fed. He is doing great at home. We have had to take him back to the hospital for jaundice we were in for 3 days, but his lungs are doing great! We do still jump up if he makes a weird sound to make sure that he is still breathing, and the scariest thing for me is burping him after he eats. I think that experience in the NICU will be with me for a while.
If you made it this far you are a champion and you should go eat a cookie. Thank you so much for all the hours of prayers and hundreds of messages that we received. We are so in love with this little miracle, and every time he cries now I thank God for the strong pair of lungs that he has. We have been blessed far above our wildest dreams and hopes. From the start of this baby’s life, he has been a testimony to the wonders that God can do. We had less than one percent chance of conceiving when we did conceive him. And at 7 whole weeks early he spent such a small amount of time in the NICU and was sent home with us at the end of my regular hospital stay. God is so good, and must have a great plan for this little guy.
According to David it was after I questioned why Reese was so purple that they took him to the table and the dr. started to use some kind of oxygen bag on him. After that they rushed him to the nursery and put an oxygen cannula on him. David said that Reese was making a grunting sound with each exhale, and his chest was contracting sharply with each breath. This showed the DR. that his lungs were not opening fully with each breath. He was given 60 minutes on the cannula, to see if he would begin to breath properly, before being moved over to the CPAPP in the NICU. The dr. said that he expected Reese to be on it for 48 hours.