5 years ago today, my son surprised me by making his appearance.
The night before I was actually waddling around a research facility in New Jersey until about 10:30pm. I knew I was starting to feel different, but not in a bad way. I couldn’t describe how I was feeling, but I remember telling my husband that the kid wasn’t going to make it to January. My back was killing me as per usual. I had actually been working from home for weeks already, because my boy had been killing my back, pretty much since I started showing and the commute was crippling me.
We had big plans that weekend. We were going to meet with the pediatrician, pack my bag and get the nursery ready.
The next morning, I had a routine OB appointment at 8:30am. I woke up late and was having trouble squeezing my 8 month pregnant body into the washroom to dig clean socks out of the drier. (We still mostly live out of the drier, FYI.) I found 2 socks that were the same, but different colors. Since I was tired of bending over, I figured they would be good enough for the appointment. When I got back home, I would dig around somewhere, to find either the matching black sock or the matching white sock. I hid them behind some boots and figured no one would notice. You could tell I already wasn’t thinking clearly, because I was going to an OB appointment, which typically requires removing one’s shoes among other things.
So that was the first time I was asked about my mis-matched socks. They did the ultrasound and decided the kid wasn’t growing well enough, so they hooked me up to a machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. I called into work with this strap stretched around my belly to tell them I was going to be late. Then the doctor decided I needed to go to the hospital for further monitoring. Worst case, he said we might have to induce the next day, which wouldn’t be a big deal, since the baby was already 34.5 weeks along.
I remember asking “Can I go home and get some breakfast….maybe change my socks?” He was purposely relaxed and said “No, you might have to wait awhile so you should head straight there.”
So we did. As we were waiting for a doctor to see us in the maternity ward, I heard sounds I never wanted to make. I began wishing that I had read that last chapter in the What to Expect book. Finally, they had a room ready for me. We went in and they hooked me up to similar monitors. They asked about my socks too. But it quickly became evident that something was wrong. More nurses poured into the little room and people were rushing around. Apparently, they couldn’t find a heartbeat and my blood pressure was spiking, so they took some blood work. They said he needed to come out NOW, via a C section, because he wouldn’t survive labor. I started to cry and my husband calmly excused himself and went to the bathroom, where I could still hear him throwing up, although I appreciated his efforts to hide his terror. The nurse thought I was crying about the C section. I remember saying “I don’t care about you cutting me open. You just said my son might not survive. That’s why I am crying.”
They told me they couldn’t wait for my blood test results and would have to knock me out totally for the birth and began setting up the OR. My husband looked relieved that he wouldn’t have to watch. But the blood tests came back just in time and I was able to stay awake for his birth.
They strapped me to a table that made me feel like I was being crucified and they pulled my little guy out of me…and put all my organs back in. I remember thinking he took forever to cry, but he eventually did. And his APGAR score was nearly perfect. He was so tiny, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, but also totally perfect. My husband held him up to my head and said “I have Transformers bigger than him.” We then went through our little checklist – he’s healthy and not ugly and something else, I forget. We did a little high 5 about our luck and they whisked me off to a dark room, and took Danny off to the NICU with the sick babies, because he was apparently too small to hang with the normal kids.
I felt so lucky that I had that doctor appointment that morning and I thanked my mom and grandma up in heaven for watching out for my baby.
I wasn’t allowed to move or see him or hold him, because they were terrified I was going to start having seizures, because of my dangerously high blood pressure. I was devastated and the nurse couldn’t understand why. She reminded me that I was okay and so was he. But I missed him terribly. It was the first time I had been away from him in 8 months.
I cried and cried when I first got to hold him about 36 hours later. He was so tiny and perfect and the first baby I ever held. While his small stature made other people nervous, I quite liked it, because it meant he was easy to control with one hand, leaving my other hand completely free to jump in in case of emergencies. We spent days visiting him in the NICU, listening to the neonatologist talk to the other parents about all the horrible things that were wrong with their babies and we counted our blessings each time they came to check on Danny and merely said “And he’s tiny.”
He wasn’t the easiest baby to deal with, but I loved him more than I knew was possible. We had planned for him for years. We thought we were ready, but we had no idea what we were getting into. But I wouldn’t change a thing!
Love you lots little man!