You were born at 1:35 on a chilly February night, exactly 24 days before you should've arrived. They told us you were too small for the average 36 weeker and that the fluids that surrounded you in my tummy were too low. I felt guilty for not giving you the safest place to grow, so I agreed that getting you out would be the best way to take care of you... even though I was sad to let them take you from me. I was hoping for a few more days of feeling you squiggle and roll in my tummy.
Daddy and I went home to get our bags and say good-bye to your big brother. We arrived at the hospital at 4:00 Wednesday afternoon and the induction began. You didn't like it! With every contraction that I felt, we watched your little heart rate decelerate (sometimes for minutes at a time) and then struggle to climb back up. The doctors wondered if they should let you come the old-fashioned way or if they should take you out themselves. I was given an epidural for either scenario. Luckily for the two of us, you calmed down (and so did I, thanks for that!) and by 1:15 I knew you were ready. The doctors prepared for your arrival, surprised with how quickly you decided to appear (your brother did the SAME thing to me less than two years ago by the way... I'd like to ask you both why you prefered to let me sit at 3 centimters and then progress to 10 in only 1 hour, but that's for another day). I pushed only once and then there you were.
We knew you would be small. The doctors predicted about 4 1/2 pounds, but we never anticiapted how small you'd be ~ 3lbs 14oz and 17 inches longs. The NICU team was waiting to take you away from me, but I got to hold you for a minute or two. We thought they'd look you over and bring you right back (that's what they told us the plan would be BEFORE you arrived), but we never anticiapted the hellish roller coaster ride that we would be facing for the next few days...
At 4:30 in the morning, they rolled me into the NICU. Your Daddy walked quietly behind. We were so excited to see you again, but not at all prepared for what we were going to hear. No one can ever be prepared for this. We found you in an incubator, all snuggled up and warm. You had a feeding tube already and you were still. There was a neonatologist waiting for us along with a few nurses. I knew this was bad. Something was wrong with my baby. The baby that I planned on being absolutely perfect in every way.
The doctors had some questions that they were determined to figure out... Why were you so small? Why didn't you grow in my tummy the way you were suppose to? Your platelet levels were low (I learned all about platelets rather quickly... they're in your blood and help it to clot). You had petechiae all over your body that looked like little red dots because your blood was escaping from your tiny blood vessels. They had a couple of scenarios to investigate to help answer those questions (1) my placenta had failed... for whatever reason or (2) you contracted a virus while in the womb that stunted your growth. The doctors told us to hope for option one because this could be solved easily ~ the baby was out and now you could grow on your own. Option 2 was terrifying. A virus could result in a large spectrum of outcomes: developmental delays, learning disabilities, gross motor delays, hearing loss, blindness, brain damage that could lead to mental retardation, seizures, and a wheelchair for the rest of your life... you may never walk or talk, see or hear... As they talked to me and I listened, I found myself looking at you thinking only one thing, "no. this isn't happening."
Our talk lasted over an hour. I think I asked questions, but I don't remember. I think I looked at your Daddy a few times. I think I rubbed his arm. His face was white. He stood still. He never said a word. Finally, the nurse wheeled me into our "Family Suite". Your Dad followed silently. It was 5:37am. We were checked in. I laid down on the bed, immediately realizing that here I lay in this dark room with no baby. The nurse left. I looked at your Dad and the tears came. I cried for 3 hours. Sometimes your Dad held me, but sometimes he left the room. What were we going to do? Why was this happening to us? To you? What did I do wrong as your Mommy? Did I fail you?