I feel bad posting this right after I write about slugs. But what good is a blog if you can't write something heart wrenching one day and something totally stupid the next?
I was rocking my little ones before their naps today, feeling annoyed and wanting my "me time." But then a thought popped into my head - one of those "whole story in just one moment" type thoughts. And I realized that I take rocking my children much too much for granted.
Children are a gift.
This is my attitude changing thought, as best as I could put it into words:
(You're going to need some tissues.)
This was her third pregnancy. Everything about it was old hat, surprise free. Another boy. “How am I going to handle another boy?” she thought, “Sis is going to be disappointed when she finds out she is going to have another brother.” But still, she knew she’d love this baby, boy or not.
Everything went according to plan. She was scheduled for a repeat c-section. She knew the drill. She liked knowing what to expect. She was also excited for her stay in the hospital; it was going to be relaxing compared to dealing with 3 young ones at home.
“We’re all ready to go,” the Dr said behind his surgical mask, “bring in Dad, and let’s have a baby!”
Her husband sits down next to her. “I’m so excited to not be pregnant anymore,” she tells him.
“I’m excited too,” he says.
The incision was made, and the Dr starts pulling on the baby. “Here’s his head!” he remarks, “Just one more tug.”
The baby is born.
But where is the crying? Why can’t she hear the baby cry? Why is it suddenly so quiet?
“What’s wrong?” she asks her husband. He looks sick.
“What’s wrong?!!” she screams.
Everyone starts rushing around. A nurse gets on the phone with the NICU. Someone starts running with the baby.
She doesn’t know what’s happening, and she’s strapped to an operating table with no feeling beyond her chest. Why won’t someone say something? What’s wrong with the baby? She feels that despite the numbness and the fact that she is half-way through a surgery she could still run after her baby. She needs to see her baby.
The surgery is almost complete when a nurse from the NICU comes in the room. Her husband had rushed out moments before, leaving her frightened and alone on the operating table. The nurse explains that the baby wasn’t breathing. The baby is having seizures. “We don’t think some of the baby’s organs are functioning,” the nurse states.
All she can say is, “I don’t understand. Everything was fine. I don’t understand.”
She can’t see the baby until the spinal block wears off. “It’s just not safe,” they tell her. She doesn’t care. She desperately tries to wiggle her toes. It seems to take hours for them to answer her pleas.
They finally wheel her to the NICU. A group of people are standing around the baby’s bed. Her husband is huddled up on a chair in the corner. The baby has tubes and IV’s and wired monitors covering his poor helpless body.
Then the baby has a seizure. The medical monitors start beeping loudly. She watches her son’s heart rate drop. No one is doing anything. They are just watching. Why isn’t anyone fixing this? Why can’t they stop her son from shaking? She has never been so terrified in her life.
A day and a night of seizures, tests and beeping monitors. They make her go to her room.
“You just had surgery,” they say.
She doesn’t care. As soon as the nurse leaves her room, she wheels herself back to the NICU.
After just 35 hours of life, the Dr’s tell her that her son is about to die.
“His body is giving up,” they say, “It’s too much for someone so small to handle.”
She gets to hold her son for the first time. They take the ventilator out of his mouth, and the IV comes out of his small hand. The monitors keep beeping. They had never really stopped.
He is the most precious baby she has ever held. He seems so much more fragile than her other children had. And yet, he seems strong in his own way.
She holds him with her husband. They both wrap their arms around him to say goodbye.
More minutes pass.
The monitors stop beeping. His heart rate is steady. Steady enough, that is. And his shallow breaths are keeping him alive.
Is it a miracle? Will he live after all? The nurses tell her to put him back on his bed. She doesn’t want to. But if it will help him live, she will do it.
As soon as his mother’s arms are gone the baby stops breathing. His heart is beating faintly. Horrible beeping escapes the monitors.
The nurses are all nodding their heads like they expected this. But she is panicking. She scoops her baby into her arms again and holds him close.
His vitals are stable.
He just wants his mother to hold him. He just wants to say goodbye. He needs to know that she can let him go. He is waiting for her to decide that it’s time.
She holds him. And holds him. She doesn’t know how long it has been. Someone suggests that it’s time she put him down, but she doesn’t listen. More time passes. She holds her precious baby in her arms and cries. She’s not letting go. More people suggest she set him down. Her husband suggests that it is time.
“It has to be done,” they tell her, “You need to say goodbye and let go.”
But she doesn’t let go.
But then again, could you?
And, no, this didn't happen to me. I hope it never does. But there are parts of me in there. There are also parts of my mother-in-law in there. And parts of stories that I've heard. But mostly it's just me realizing how much I love my kids.