How has it been one year already?
Relive with me some more, will you?
It was one year ago that I was walking around the hospital wondering if I would be having a baby 3 weeks early, and ready to go home and wait one more week.
I remember so clearly staring at a poster in the hospital bathroom that day which listed facts about how a baby's lungs were not fully developed until 39 weeks and panicking about the fact that my baby might be born 2 weeks shy of that point.
I had always wanted a day time delivery, so they deemed that I was indeed in labor and admitted me to that hospital room, I was thrilled when the sun was streaming in through the windows and at the prospect of an epidural coming my way-- in the day time!
I remember when he came out, with a full head of hair and the most beautiful baby boy I had ever seen.
But I knew something was wrong when they put him on my chest because he was making a lot of weird gasping noised and they took him away from me to try to get him to breath normally. It felt like an eternity of watching them put the oxygen mask on him while he screamed and I couldn't do a thing to help.
They weren't able to get him breathing normally without the oxygen and let me know he would be going to the NICU. I still cringe and get choked up when I think about those hours after his birth, sitting alone in a hospital bed, unable to move or go see him because of the epidural. I don't think I have ever cried as ugly I did then.
I had taken all of my uneventful deliveries and successful post birth experiences for granted and even though Bernadette's was not ideal, I did have several weeks to mentally prepare for how not ideal it would be and she was absolutely fine. In fact, as soon as I was all stitched up they put her right on my chest and let me try to nurse her.
For this birth I had not given any thought as to what it would be like to not have my baby boy with me in my hospital bed after giving birth. I never thought about being totally helpless to be able to care for my own little one myself. I became really keenly aware in those moments of how these babies of mine are not mine. That I do not deserve them, I have no right to them, and I cannot keep them alive and well on my own, they are simply on lone, a free and undeserved gift from a Father who does the life giving and life preserving.
I remember this well meaning, albeit incredibly frustrating nurse who *forgot* to turn my epidural off for an entire HOUR, which meant I had to wait another additional HOUR to go see Joseph in the NICU. I didn't get to hold him or try to nurse him for well over 3 hours after he was born. When we got to the NICU he was all hooked up to monitors and chords and his tiny baby hands had been all poked with needles to get an IV in them.
I was finally able to nurse him, even with all his breathing chords and his IV, but then I had to put him back in his bed and go back to my hospital bed to sleep while Mike went home to be with the kids.
Now, I usually send my babies to the nursery for stretches when I am in the hospital, and so I have had plenty of post-birth moments of sleeping alone without the baby right next to me, with nurses keeping a close eye on them. But this was different.
He was in en entirely different wing of the hospital and I could not call a nurse to bring him back. They were not going to bring him to me if he needed to nurse. The level of loneliness was knocked up about 1000 notches that night and I think I made it about 3 hours in my hospital bed before I sneaked back to the NICU unit to sit in a chair with Joseph and his machines.
I am so grateful that everything was fine. A bit dramatic, but just fine! I have often thought that I would like a do-over of that birth, but one year into his life and I think I have finally accepted that that was the way he was supposed to be born.
In the end I got what every mother hopes and prays for a perfectly wonderfully, healthy baby. He was and is absolutely perfect.