Parts of it are forever etched into my mind, others got lost in those moments that my heart stopped beating and there was no oxygen to my brain. There are bits and pieces of a lot of things like that. That day, I wish I could remember every detail.
I remember that R slept more than I thought any man with a wife in labor should. I remember that after so many false alarms and so many shots to prevent it, I was so happy to FINALLY be having my baby. I remember thinking that I didn't know what I was going to do with two daughters. (But in turned out they were very wrong and I had a son instead.)
I don't remember the drive there. I don't remember the sound of his cries, or the smell of his hair after they'd bathed him. I don't remember they was it felt to put him to my breast that first time.
It had gone all wrong anyway. This wasn't how it was meant to be. I labored so long, after 11 weeks of going into preterm labor and it being stopped to finally allow labor to progress at 37 weeks it stalled and I needed pitocin. I remember that pain. My first child I'd had with no medication or intervention so I had planned to do it again. Plans change. I remember the pain, the gut wrenching, vomit inducing, horrifying pain that was nothing compared to what I had felt before and what had given me the courage to try this again. I should have known something wasn't quite right then. They gave me stadol, and it did nothing. I got an epidural, but it only took on half of my body thanks to my crooked spine. There was no relief during the 40 hours of labor that was a roller coaster of hell. In retrospect, that's probably why my brain chose to forget so much of that day.
When it finally came time to push, it took forever. My daughter slid out in 3 easy pushes. My first son, well, he had other plans. Two hours of pushing and his heart rate started to dip and I was told if I didn't push him out on my own they would take him with forceps so I pushed with every fiber of my being and out came a little blonde head of hair.
All the doctor said was "Uh oh, we've got a cleft" and instead of placing my hard earned baby on my stomach as was my birth plan, they didn't even give R the chance to cut the cord, they whisked him away. I'm sure he cried, but I don't for my life remember it. His apgar was 9/9, so he must have. My doctor said very little, and I layed there and just cried. I don't remember delivering the placenta, I don't remember being sewn back up from the episiotomy, I just remember the staff was very quiet as they cleaned us up and called for pediatrics. Not a nicu team, and at the time I understood that was good, but I couldn't grasp why they needed to call the doctor.
Then they handed me my son. I peeked into the little bundle and he had the most amazingly clear blue eyes. His eyes bore straight into my soul from the moment our eyes met. I didn't even glance down until minutes later because I was so mesmerized by his eyes! He had a head FULL of curls, light blonde, fluffy, curls. But as I looked down I could see he was not an average baby. I know I didn't try to nurse him right away because I didn't understand. I had never seen a cleft that was not repaired so I didn't comprehend what I was looking at. You see, his was pretty severe. Bilateral stage 4 cleft lip and palate to be exact. We'd had no prenatal diagnosis, although we should have, it would have been easy to see on an ultrasound. My doctor was just, well, a shitty doctor.
I had a few issues with some of the nursing staff and we ended up going through many varieties of feeding supplies to find a way for him to eat, but in the first five days of his life, he lost almost a pound. Way more than he should have, but I ended up being able to nurse him a little until we got him to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. When we got him down there, we learned how to feed him easily and I pumped my milk for him for as long as I could.
Fast forward to now....He's seventeen today. Boy oh boy is he a big one too! He's damn near 6 foot tall and still has those gorgeous eyes. He's an amazing young man and I love him more than I ever would have dreamed possible. He's taught me more about myself than I would have thought and he teaches me more every single day. I am blessed to have a kid as cool and helpful as he is....even if he does stink!!
Until next time....