Twelve years ago today, my second son, G, was born.
It started out as a fairly uneventful Sunday morning. We were not attending church at the time so we had slept in and were enjoying a slow greeting to the day. Our oldest, M, was 3½ and very excited about the impending baby who was due to arrive in 10 days or so. We had decided not to find out the sex of this baby. We wanted to be surprised. We never imagined we were in for more than just the surprise of whether it was a boy or a girl.
About mid-morning I realized that my back pain and the intermittent cramps were more than just discomfort and Braxton-Hicks. I soon realized I was in labor with contractions that were six to eight minutes apart. After a few, quick phone calls to family members and scrambling to pack a bag for me and a backpack of toys and snacks to occupy a 3½-year-old, we were ready for the trip to the hospital.
We were feeling pretty confident about the whole birthing thing. After all, we had “been there, done that.” My husband was supportive and calming between catching glimpses of the Falcon’s home opener game that was on the TV in my L&D room. In fact, my doctor was at the game and had to be paged to come to the hospital. Things were progressing well and I was beginning to push. When I started the third big push, suddenly, the doctor yelled at me to stop. Easier said than done, but I tried to comply and by the look on everyone’s face it became apparent that something was terribly wrong.
Suddenly, there were orders being yelled by the doctor and my bed was being broken down and prepared to transport me to emergency surgery. My head was literally spinning as the doctors and nurses ran with my bed down the hallway to where they were about to perform an emergency C-section. My poor husband was pushed to the side and instructed to wait outside while they attended to me and our unborn child. What we had not been told was that G’s heart had stopped – something that they had been tracking via an internal monitor.
My epidural had started to wear off, so when the doctor made the incision to go in after the baby, I felt like a hot poker had been stabbed into my abdomen. I screamed and tried to sit up. Four nurses, one for each limb, immediately put me back on the table, in what could only be described as well orchestrated team work. The last thing I remember was my doctor yelling at the anesthesiologist to “put me out” and that’s when a mask went over my face and I went to sleep.
When I woke up several hours later I had no idea if I had had a boy or girl or if my baby had even survived. I was frantic, but through the fog of leftover anesthesia I was told it was a boy and that he was okay. He was in the NICU, however, with some complications. He was on all sorts of monitors and had wires and tubes going everywhere. He was on a feeding tube, an IV and heart and breathing monitors.
After three days, I was sent home – without my new baby. It was the worst day of my life. I remember being wheeled out of the hospital past all the rooms in the maternity ward where I could hear babies crying in the rooms with their mothers. I wept as I left the hospital with empty arms.
G stayed in the NICU for a week. When they told me he was ready to be released, I was overcome with joy! I couldn’t wait to hold my precious little boy and he had a big brother at home who did not understand why we had left his new, baby brother at the hospital. It was a wonderful homecoming.
In the end, it was an unusually long umbilical cord that had wrapped itself, not once, but twice around my little boy and every time I pushed during delivery it had been squeezing the life out of him. We wondered for months how long G had been without oxygen and if his heart stopping had left any long term effects on his development. We got our final answer when he was about 18 months old. Not only was he talking but he was talking in complete sentences and able to hold a very detailed conversation.
Today G is 12 and in the 6th grade. Because of his birth date, he missed the Sept. 1 deadline back when he started kindergarten, but he enjoys being one of the older members of his class each year. He reads on a college age level and is in all advanced classes. When I asked him the other day how he was doing in school, his response was “Well, mom, I’m pretty much exceeding expectations.”
Yes, G, you are! You are indeed!
And I love you very much. Happy Birthday!