Here we are. We are sitting on the eve of Kale turning 2 years old. How did that happen? Ok, yes I know how it happened. I believe it was through a blur of runny noses, dirty diapers, lots of sleeping and eating, and a bunch of laughter along the way. Oh, and don't forget to through in a few near heart attacks for his parents along the way.
I know, eventually, I will be able to find October 20th with nothing more on my mind than Kale turning another year older. But this year, I am once again revisited by the past. I knew, all day on Saturday, what the date was. See, it was the two year anniversary of the obstetrician looking at me and saying "Do not pass go, do not go home, but go straight to the hospital. You don't even get the $200 like you would in the game, and oh yes, don't forget to take your pee jug to them when you go." Then, just for giggles (or maybe just so I would know my reality), he added "when you leave the hospital, you will be a mom." I am pretty sure he meant for my mom to drive me to the hospital. She rode shotgun. I called Ep to tell him the news as I drove. I was pretty much breaking every single "don't" of a someone with severe pre-eclampsia. I am pretty sure someone should have wheeled me up to labor/deliver, but instead I just walked up with my pee jug in hand and told them I was there to be admitted. For a moment, they might have thought I had the wrong floor. Then I said pre-eclampsia and the next thing I know I am in a hospital gown with a fetal monitor attached to me and am getting to see an unexpected third ultrasound of my little guy. When the tech told me his weigth was 4lbs 11oz, but that it could vary up to a pound....I started praying that it was accurrate or that he was bigger than that. Not just for his sake, well ok a lot for his sake, but also because I had gained 45 pounds so I was really hoping that a little more than 4.5 pounds of it belonged to him! (I lost 35 of it during the three weeks after his birth and hte other 10 can't make up its mind about whether to stay or go. I have told it that its free to go!)
I remember the next few days. I remember the visitors and the fact that I didn't leave my hospital room for 56 hours straight. I finally begged the doctor to let me take a pushed wheelchair ride. I really don't think that the two were connected, but I am pretty sure that Ep will never push me anywhere in a wheelchair again, because that night after my wheelchair trip, the real madness began. That was 2 years ago today. It was a Friday. Ep's sister/brother in law brought us dinner from Outback. I was excited to watch some show on tv that night. I was trying to keep Kale cooking for as many days as possible. Then the madness really began.
Let me pause for a moment to say, if you have heard this story before...its ok to stop reading now. But, you might want to keep reading because you might learn a new part of the story...a part that was once forgotten or left out on accident.
By the next morning, I had tried three different heartburn medicines to battle the strange feeling in my chest. They even came and performed an EKG on me. Nothing. The third heartburn medicine made me sick. Thats when I saw the spots they had warned me about. If I saw spots, I had to tell them because a seizure might be eminent. The doctor was called and my 24 hour urine collection was sent off to the lab. The on call doctor, who we had never met because he worked for the partner on call clinic, came in and talked to us. I think he came in twice or maybe once. I just remember the time he came in and dropped the bombshell that "you are having your baby today...and everything is about to start happening fast." He then left but told us that the nurses would be back soon.
I remember looking at Ep....we both started crying or maybe we were both already crying. Its the one time in our ten shared years that we both cried at the same time. When one of us is crying (usually me), then the other one is being too supportive to cry. Not this time. We let the tears run. We were scared. Actually, we were terrified. This was no longer the "hahaha Marcia flunked home bed rest" routine and had just become the reality of we are going to have a baby who will be born six weeks early and he is little and not the 9lb'er we were expecting.
Somewhere, through prayer and tears, we also had a conversation about his name. His chosen name had been a front runner. I remember Ep asking me if we were "going with Kale" and me saying "Yes, I think so." And that my son, is how we finalized your name. I guess God made time stand still to give us those few moments together to make that decision and pray. Because we had barely said Amen and chosen his name when the flurry of nurses arrived.
I was scared about being catheterized. Yes, I know, absurd. I don't remember telling anyone I was afraid of that, but I was. I feared it worse than the idea of them cutting me open. Before I could hardly blink, I was catheterized and being monitored and everything was beeping.
I made a joke to the nurse about having a baby without ever having a contraction. She told me not to worry, that I had a contraction about five minutes ago. Whoa. Really? Yes, really. Oh, thats what that weird tug in my belly was. Her is another part of my conversation with her.
Me: Well, then, what is my blood pressure?
Her: You don't want to know
Me: Really, I do. Is it worse than when we were in the other room?
Me: Well, give me a range
Her: its 200/more than 100.
For those of you who don't know, that is closing in on severe hypertension. It wasn't good.
Then the anesthesiologist arrived. The nurse spouted off about me being lucky because this guy is the best in the hospital. The next time (if ever) I have to get an epidural and the nurse says something like that...I will be getting out of bed and unhooking myself from everything and just take my chances of having my baby in the parking lot thank you very much. The best in the hospital. Ok, well, it took him FIVE freaking tries to get my epidural going. FIVE. That is five times he tried to stick me in a very small place in my spine...nah, not scary at all. Oh, and it wasn't painful either. If you believe those last two sentences, then you need to be committed for a mental evaluation. After the third try, the nurse asked Ep if he was ok. He said yes. After the fourth try, he asked her to support me and he sat down in the floor. It was the first time I had ever seen my "pillar of strength husband who is rock solid in any emergency" get weak in the knees. I don't blame him one bit. He could see the pain on my face and hear it in the pure silence that surrounded me. I wasn't saying anything or making any noises. I think if the roles were reversed, I would have already knocked the doctor out and gave it a try myself. After the fourth try, Ep found his feet and was there to support me again. The doctor told us that if this try didn't work, then he was going to have to just put me under for the c-section. I knew that would mean that I would be out for a while and not have any memory of my baby being born or see him when he was just a few minutes old. I started praying hard. And the fifth try worked.
Next up was the ride to the delivery/operating room. They made Ep go to a special room while they prepped me in the operating room. He swears that he walked down the hall beside my rolling bed to the OR, but I have no memory of him being there. He says the wait in the special room was probably less than 15 minutes but that it felt like hours. I would like to stop right her and say that I don't think I was in the OR for a total of 15 minutes. I was, but it sure didn't seem like it. I wasn't in my right (or left) mind. I am pretty sure my mind had left the building. Next thing I know, Ep is sitting beside my head. I remember nearly crying when I realized they had let my special pillow (angel) come with me to the OR. I have had that pillow since I was 4 or 5 years old and it was made by my Mema. But then I had to move on to trying not to move my arms, which wouldn't stop shaking. I had on an oxygen mask and have no recollection of it being put on my face. I remember moving from my rolling bed to the operating room and then hearing the nurses count together about a zillion times. I STILL have no idea what the heck they were counting. I suppose it was the stuff they would be using during my c-section.
I remember laying there with my arms trembling, my husband telling me he loves me, being numb from my rib cage down and thinking how strangely odd it was that my insides were now laying on my outsides (research a c-section if you have questions) and that within moments our child would be born. I very distinctly remember the anestesiologist telling Ep to stand up and watch his son be born. And I can't think about that without crying. The tears flow now, as I type this. I had battled for that moment. I wanted Ep to be there when our child was born. I had told him it was ok not to look below my chin if he didn't want to, but that I needed him there...and this was all before we knew Kale would arrive in such a whirlwind of medical chaos. Yet, he stood up and watched our son leave my body and start screaming at the world he had just entered. I remember that moment between him standing up and Kale screaming. It lasted 3.73 million years. Ok, really, it was mere seconds, but it felt like eternity to me. I remember the relief that followed. Kale could scream and that meant he was breathing and that was a wonderful thing. Ep went to be with Kale as they started reversing all the fun processes of a c-section on my body. He took pictures of him and brought the pictures back to me. Then a nurse brought Kale to me and I whispered to him. She held him beside my head. I remember how red and angry he looked. Oh, I knew this was my child. We had awakened him out of his womb before he was ready to be awakened. Oh yes, soooo my child. Then Ep and Kale went to the NICU together.
They moved me back to the rolling bed and somewhere along the way they started an IV of magnesium sulfate, which I also refer to as the black hole medicine. Family came and went. Ep showed me more pictures of Kale until the nurse said to draw the shades, no tv, and no looking at pictures because any of those things could cause me to have a siezure. Turns out I was still in danger. Then she must have upped my dose because I don't remember much of the next 24 hours. At one point, I even inserted my brother into a memory of something that never even happened. My brother couldn't come see us because he was sick. He wasn't even there. Yeah, black hole medicine. I do remember getting mad at my parents because they had seen and touched my baby...and it wasn't that I didn't want them to do that...I was just upset that they were getting to do that and I wasn't. We could sit here and blame that on the medicine...but it was what it was....pure jealousy on my part. I am surprised that the nurse didn't notice the fact that I probably turned green with my envy.
At 6pm, they had a staff change and a new nurse was assigned to me. I was still in the labor section of the hospital because apparently you don't get to go to the postpartum area until you are no longer such a big risk. She entered the room and said "Hello Mrs Fletcher, my name is Queena and I am your nurse tonight. Have you seen your baby yet?" I told her briefly in the OR for a few seconds. She informed me that if I did well, that either I would be going to see Kale or he would be coming to see me. I was on board with that idea! I was asking for food that I wasn't supposed to have until 12 more hours, but she gave me a popsicle. She told me if I did well with that, then maybe we could move on to real food. It was one of those break the two pieces apart kind of popsicles. She gave me one piece and told me to go slow. It was gone in about 5 seconds. She laughed and told me to slow down and gave me the other half. I really tried to go slow. When I kept that down, I got to place a dinner order. Yea for Chik-fil-A! At that point, all I cared about was getting to see Kale. She could have asked me to stand on my head and walk on my hands down the hall and I would have tried to do it. Seems just being alert and coherent and able to keep my food down was enough though. I got to go see Kale.
The rest is his story. I suppose there is no real ending to my part and beginning of his...but the rest will come tomorrow.