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Miracle – Part 4

December 4, 2007

Continued from Miracle – Part 3

Finally, on day 3 post-delivery, the numbers started to turn around. My blood pressure headed down. My platelet and red blood cell counts headed up. Folks around me started looking a little happier. The doctor’s mouth seemed a little less pinched and the worry lines in his forehead seemed a little more relaxed.

Just when I thought I was on the way, I spiked a fever. Infection, they said. No idea where. Strong antibiotics got added to the cocktail still flowing through my arm. I was a bruised mess from the hundreds of times they stuck me to take blood, to renew my IV line, to move on to a vein that wasn’t blown. Now I was bruised on the outside AND the inside.

I was tired of laying in that bed. I was tired of not seeing my son. I was tired of feeling miserable. This was NOT what the brochure had promised. My in-laws had headed back home. My husband was working, and my folks were off buying things for the nursery. I was despondent. I alternated between shivering, huddled under as many blankets as I could get, and laying on top of the sheet sweating and burning up.

I knew the nurses by name. I had seen close to twenty expectant mothers come through the door and leave with their sweet little bundles. I wanted to take my own sweet little bundle and go home. However, even though my blood counts were improving, I had an “infection of unknown origin” and I would have to wait to see my son until after the antibiotics had 24 hours to settle.

While I was waiting, the doctor came to talk. I mentioned in a previous post that he was the most wonderful OB on the earth, and he really was. I’m sure he still is, though he’s no longer at that hospital. He was a gentle, kind person. When he stopped by to check in on me, I saw hope and compassion in his eyes.

“I just wanted to talk with you,” he said. “I’m happy to see that things are going better. Your numbers look good. How are you feeling?”

I told him–no holds barred.

He listened… He assured me that I would see my baby the very next day, but he really wanted to talk to me about the future. He paused for a moment. He thought of how to start. He took my hand…

Then he said, “HELLP has a very high recurrence rate. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 33%. And the stats get worse. The maternal mortality rate is as high as 25% and the perinatal mortality rate is in the 60s. More than that, most folks don’t develop HELLP when you did. It’s rare for it to occur that late. Often it happens around 22-26 weeks, which means an extremely premature baby. When someone has had HELLP, we don’t recommend a second pregnancy.”

He stopped and waited for my reaction. A little bit of sadness filled me, but at that very moment, I was thankful to be alive. I was thankful that my little one was alive and doing well. And I honestly couldn’t imagine going through this ordeal again.  Also, because I am an adopted child, I wasn’t sold out on only having biological children. I figured that we could cross that bridge at a later date. For now, I was content with my life and the life of my one child. I didn’t want to think about more.

More than that, I honestly think the process, at that point, had just been so overwhelming, that I really couldn’t deal with any sense of loss or grief. So I didn’t… yet.

By the evening, I was feeling much better. No more shivering, no more teeth chattering, and I could walk. I still had to take the IV pole with me, but I could actually get out of bed. I could shower! It was amazing. I felt like a new person.

The next day I had to wait for the doctor’s ok and it seemed like early afternoon took forever to come. But once he released me to go to the NICU, I got scared. Isn’t that funny? I was in agony waiting to go, but when I could go, I suddenly didn’t know what to do. I made the trek down the hallway, IV pole beside me and very flattering hospital gown threatening to flash everyone I passed.

I arrived at the NICU and scrubbed, the medicinal smell of the antibacterial soap stinging my nostrils. And then, heart pounding, in I went.

There he was–my little guy–on a warming table. He was snuggled up underneath the light, little blue knit cap perched on his head, knees up under his belly, pacifier tucked in his mouth, and arms nestled up under his chin. He looked positively angelic.

littleman2bblog.jpgI watched the rise and fall of his back as he breathed and didn’t want to disturb his slumber. He liked the lamp, I could tell. I reached to touch his back gently, and he stirred. The nurse talked to me about all of the things they had been doing for him, how much he liked the pacifier, how he had not been doing well with regular formula so they had switched him to soy, how his heart rate slowed and his breathing got more regular when they played classical music for him on the little radio beside his isolette.

“Would you like to hold him?” the nurse asked.

littleman2ablog.jpgI really wanted to. But he was so tiny. And he looked so fragile. I was afraid. The nurse must have seen the fear in my eyes because he said to me, in a whisper, “I know they look very fragile, but they’re pretty tough. Remember what they had to go through to enter this world.”

I nodded. The nurse picked him up off of the warming table, cradled him and wrapped him, then ushered me to a rocking chair, and laid him in my arms. With leads coming out of the blanket everywhere, and alarms going off all over the NICU, with my heart racing and swelling at the same time, I finally held my baby boy.

As I sobbed and snuggled and thanked God that we were both still here, he opened his eyes and I introduced myself for the second time.

To be continued…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynda permalink
    December 4, 2007 6:47 am

    My heart breaks for what you went through. But I have a lot of joy in knowing that God took care of you and your precious little one. Thank you for sharing your story. Love you!!

  2. December 4, 2007 9:06 am

    Ohhhh gosh, I am SOBBING!

    What a wonderful recollection. You have an amazing memory my friend.

  3. December 4, 2007 9:45 am

    Oh, he was so tiny…in that picture, he is barely as big as that person’s hands. What a large heart, will, and spirit in such a small body! I’ve enjoyed these posts; thanks.

  4. December 5, 2007 6:24 am

    Now that’s a goodlooking little guy! He’s almost as beautiful as my son was at that age! Yet no child ever compares with one’s own child, at least for me.

    Don’t get me wrong, for I’ve never seen a baby who wasn’t beautiful. Makes you realize that children are truly one of the greatest gifts God entrusts to us. So make sure you give your children infinite hugs and kisses! And never miss an opportunity to tell your children how much you love them. Tell them as often as you can! Nothing will ever have a stronger influence on a child than knowing his parents love and adore him or her.

    Thanks for sharing the pic.

  5. December 14, 2007 5:37 am

    what legacy

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  1. Miracle - Part 5 « In this house, I’m the Mama…

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