Monday, June 5, 2006

The Birth

Within minutes, my wife was wheeled off and I was given a set of scrubs to put on. While in the bathroom putting them off, my wife was wheeled off and I grabbed my camera, sitting right by the bananas, and rushed down the hall to find her. I nervously sat outside the operating room in my scrubs crying and waiting for them to let me in. Every time the door opened, I could see the back of the doctors working over her on the operating table. All I wanted was for this whole thing to be over with. I wanted my wife’s pain to be gone. I wanted to see my daughter.

The nurse finally came and quickly ushered me to a chair right by my wife’s head. She was now numb from the chest down and was actually smiling and laughing. The doctors started cutting immediately and the tugging and pulling shook my wife’s body but her smile never registered anything but happiness. I thought they were pulling an alligator from her but finally, a head popped out and I verified that it was indeed the hair of a baby and not that of a bear. Another pull and the torso and one arm appeared. One last heave and the baby was free at 6:44 p.m. on June 1rst. The business end was pointed towards me and I promptly informed my wife that we had a beautiful baby girl as the baby began to howl in protest.

The next few minutes I tell you pieced together from recall and what the doctors told me the next morning. They took Little Abbey to the table and she stopped breathing. I saw them suck out her lungs and then bag her for a few minutes before she started breathing and howling again in protest. At the time I thought everything was normal but I later learned that the bagging part was most definitely not. The doctors were working on my wife, the pediatrician on Little Abbey and the nurses largely blocking my view. I focused on comforting my wife and trying to mop up the tears that were leaking all over my mask making it hard for me to breath. Of the three of us, only my wife was breathing easily.

With the Little Abbey resuscitated and stable, the wrapper her up like a burrito and let me hold her for a few precious seconds while my wife looked her over and then took her to the nursery. One of the hardest things I have ever done happened next. I left my wife to get stitched up and at the request of the doctors, went with Little Abbey to the nursery where she was tagged, along with me, and put in an intensive car unit. She was poked and prodded as the hooked her up to all kind of monitors, got an IV started and soon after I left to go see my wife, oxygen. The whole while, Little Abbey screamed in protest and the sound was the most beautiful thing on earth. I was now starting to grasp that things were a little more serious than what everyone let onto but I had to put my faith in the hands of the dozens working on both my wife and the baby. I got booted from the nursery and walked back to the room to let the families know that Little Abbey was now out.

My wife made it to the recovery room where I quickly slipped in to see her and reassure her everything was okay but in her drugged up state, I don’t think she comprehended much. I alternated looking in on her, the baby and manning the phone to try to reach her mother who was not home at the time. My wife was wheeled to another room where she would spend the rest of her stay and I joined her once again. She was in a lot of pain after having just been gutted and with the drugs fell right off to sleep. I stayed up finally getting everyone notified that needed to know and meeting with the pediatrician who finally let me know some of what had happened. I still wouldn’t find out that the baby had stopped breathing until the next morning.

The baby was initially thought to be five weeks premature but that was later revised to three and a half weeks meaning the June 28th due date was most likely the correct one. Because of this, Little Abbey wasn’t absorbing as much oxygen as she should so her head was in a plastic helmet to make sure she had plenty. The 19 hours of labor had given my wife a fever that had been passed onto child. The risk of an infection was very real and thus the doctor has put her immediately on antibiotics. She was stable but things could go for better or worse as this point and only time would tell.

Finally at 11 pm, I drifted off into an exhausted but troubled sleep next to my wife. Tomorrow would be a new day

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