My Mom, Grandma and I at my shower. Too bad (good thing?) you can’t see how grotesquely swollen my bottom half was…
My baby shower was the next weekend. My mom wanted to do it before we got too close to the end, for fear that I may end up on bed rest between the contractions, extra fluid, etc., etc., etc. Surely, 8 weeks early, since we knew she wasn't allowed to come early at all, would be ample.
We had so much fun! So many of our family and friends were able to be there; it was really, really nice to celebrate our soon-to-be bundle of joy.
Mom and Dad left the next morning to drop off a sewing machine that Mom was selling to someone in Wyoming. Then they were heading up to South Dakota to pick up a new sewing machine that she bought from someone up there. Again, surely 8 weeks early would give them plenty of time, in case I needed her later on.
Monday morning (remember I told you that Mom and Luke were alternating doctors appointments? This would have been Mom's turn, had she been in town) brought two doctor's appointments. First was the OB; I told him that I couldn't feel her, again, over the weekend. Her heart rate was fine again, but he decided that we should start twice-weekly non-stress tests, on top of weekly appointments with him, and bi-weekly with the Peri. Whoa. So, we decided that, after our visit with the Peri, we'd walk next door for another NST. We took the elevator up to the Peri's office (at least they were in the same building, and right next to the hospital) and told the same story to her. We had our ultrasound (which was just a fluid check; no growth was being monitored this week, but they did do basic fetal checks and everything was just fine), and she agreed that the NSTs were a good thing to do.
Piper was asleep still that morning, and after the horrific experience we had trying to wake her up the time before, I thought that maybe we should go across the street and get something other than instant sugar. I decided against it since Luke had to get back to work. I had thought, too, about sending him to work, and having my grandparents pick me up, in case it took hours again. We got to the triage department for the Labor and Delivery floor; they were busy sending someone upstairs, someone else was having contractions... It took us about 5 minutes to get in and attached to a machine, which really wasn't a big deal. The nurse was getting me hooked up, but kept finding my heartbeat instead of the baby's. No biggie. So we rolled around trying to catch her. No such luck. All of a sudden, she took my wrist, muttered that it was the baby's heart rate that she had, threw the back of the stretcher down, pushed some button on the wall, yelled something out in the hallway, and we ran through the halls. Her heart rate was in the 60's at that point. All I really remember is being on a stretcher, in the elevator, and getting put in the OR. Luke says that we were in another room before the OR; I don't remember that, at all. They asked how much I weighed for the anesthesia. I remember someone saying that the baby's heart rate was down to the 30s.
The nurse downstairs had told me that, if we got up there and she recovered, we wouldn't do anything right then. I kept that thought the whole time, that maybe this was some kind of mistake.
And that's it. All I remember until several hours after she was born. The general anesthesia that they gave me hit me hard. And since I wasn't admitted to the hospital like normal people are, I wasn't allowed to have any narcotics until the paperwork was filed. So I got some kind of every-fifteen-minute injectable junk that really didn't do anything. At all. And it kept making me really, really foggy. Luke said that he had to tell me about 30 times that everything was okay. And that she had hair (apparently I really cared about that part). I'm pretty sure that the lady I was sharing the recovery room with (who had a 10 1/2 pound kid, by the way) thought I must have been crazy.
3 pounds, 6 ounces, ad 15 1/2 inches long.
I couldn't believe that we had a three pound baby. And I was so worried about her impending surgery. They took me through the NICU on a stretcher so that I could see her for a few minutes before they took me to my room. The walk there isn't very far, but it felt like an eternity. It seemed so foreign that the baby, who had been in me for so long, was instantly gone. With no warning. No preparation. I wanted to see the little girl who had grown so much, but not nearly enough. I had to see her to know that it was all real.
I was so sore, I couldn't move my feet. But she apparently gave me instant superhuman power (maybe this is the crazy-mom-super-power that allows people to lift cars off their kids???), because I had to roll over on my side and lift us as much as possible to get a look. And touch her hands. And take in her itty-bittiness.
She had tubes all over her tiny little body. Her nurse was explaining everything to me, and what they were all for, but I really didn't care. IV's in her bellybutton, thermometer probes, intubation tubes, a neobar in her mouth that held the tube to drain her stomach... But she was everything we could hope for. She was so cute. She even had chubby cheeks, despite the fact that she only weighed a little over 3 pounds. I'm still not sure how that happens.
Later I found out that her apgar was ZERO by the time she was born; Luke said that they didn't let him in the OR until they had her heart beating again. As soon as they did, though, he was able to see her. She was still gray, really gray, as he watched the pink slowly return. I'm glad I didn't see it. I'm glad I didn't hear it. In a lot of ways, I'm glad I wasn't "present" for the whole thing. I'm glad that, by the time I came to, we knew she was okay. I'm also glad that Luke could focus on her, and not worry about me for those few hours. He called his dad to have him try to get a hold of my family, so that he could focus on Piper, too.
Remember me saying that Mom and Dad weren't in town? Jerry, Luke's dad, got a hold of my grandparents, who were trying to get a hold of Mom and Dad. Unfortunately for them, the road between North Dakota and Wyoming is NOT the place to find cell reception. I think that Grandma was finally able to talk to Mom early that evening. They were going to spend the night in Casper; instead they drove in a panic back to Denver.
One of the biggest regrets I do have is that I wasn't able to be there when the rest of the family got to meet her. I almost felt as like a superfluous third party in it all-- I wanted to see people's faces when they saw her. I wanted to see my parent's when they saw their first grandbaby. I wanted to be the one to tell everyone that we had our baby.
But she made it. And that's what really matters.