My miracle

20 Feb

The last time we talked, I had been put under for an emergency c-section. If you missed the first two posts, you can read part one here and part two here.

This is one of the most emotional things I’ve ever written. It is about one of the scariest, and happiest, times of my life. It is about love at first sight and what it means to be a mommy. It is about a very strong little boy who defied the odds. And it is about the day I learned a lot; about love, about strength, about family, and about miracles.

I can tell you many of the things that happened while I was under anesthesia. They aren’t very detailed and are all second-hand bits of information because, well… I was asleep.

Isaiah had moved into the birth canal. To extract him through a c-section, they had to grab his tiny feet and pull him back out.

When they did this, they realized two things about his umbilical cord. It contained one artery instead of two and it was wrapped around his neck a couple of times. If you remember, we had had several ultrasounds, which are supposed to check for these things. Because of the lack of an artery, they couldn’t tell the cord was wrapped. And because the cord was wrapped, they couldn’t tell about the lack of an artery. It created, for lack of a better word, a perfect storm.

He was not breathing when they pulled him out, and I’m told it took some work, and a couple of minutes, for him to do so. The aforementioned anesthesiologist, whom I love so much, stayed to hold my mother’s hand and cheer on my little fighter.

Isaiah also had been stuck, for an unknown length of time, with his chin pushed up against one of my bones. Because of this, the bottom of his jaw was recessed and he lacked the muscles to bring it forward. They weren’t sure he would ever be able to eat, talk, or breathe normally.

After he was born, he was rushed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where a fantastic team of doctors and nurses saved my son’s life. He was hooked up to tubes and lines and needles. He wasn’t even able to really be bathed, so all of that gunk babies are born with dried on his head. He was strapped with a feeding tube, an oxygen tube, an IV, and several leads to monitor everything his little body did. He was laid on his belly, because he would stop breathing on his back. And he was under the supervision of some amazing people.

At some point, I came to. I was lying in a room I didn’t recognize, alone, aside from a nurse I had never seen before. When I woke up there were no friends, no family, and no baby. Immediately I started asking for my son. As the nurse attempted to dance around my questioning (they were waiting for someone familiar to come in before they told me) I grew more and more frantic. By the time someone actually told me what was going on, I had imagined the worse.

Isaiah was in the NICU and he was in bad shape. I vividly remember being exhausted but, somehow, the medicine (or lack of sleep, or hormones, or something) had made me a little crazy and I was convinced that if I fell back to sleep they wouldn’t let me see him. After trying for a few minutes to get me to rest, they gave up and took me in.image

This is what I saw the first time I got to see my child. Looking back now, I should have been scared. And I was, but more than that, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My first thought wasn’t about what all of those tubes meant, or the bruises on his face. I didn’t think, at first, about the formation of his jaw or what that might mean. I didn’t think about anything except that this was the most perfect human being I had ever seen. I was wheeled in next to his little plastic home, in a hospital bed, still unable to sit up. I remember reaching over and touching his tiny body. Whispering that I was his mommy, that I was so happy to meet him, and that I loved him so much.

And then, one of the most beautiful moments of my life. As I ran my finger over his perfect little hands, he grabbed on. The scientific explanation is that it was probably a reflex. Babies grab anything that touches their hands. But I don’t care about the science. It was a connection. It was reassurance. It was the first time, certainly not the last, but it was the first time he was saying, “It’s ok, Mommy. We’re gonna be ok.”

There are so many details of that time I will probably never remember. At one point, someone said to me, “I don’t know how you’re doing it.” My response? “I have to.” That little guy was fighting for his life and I had to give him as much of my strength as I could. I had to give him as many of my prayers as I could. I had to. There was no other option.

The next several days are very much a blur. I remember the first time I held him and the first time I held him without the wires. I remember the first time I fed him and his first bath. I remember the first time I saw him laying on his back and the first time he was able to really breathe on his own. We went from one diagnosis to another. We went from worse news, to bad news, to a miracle. We left the hospital exactly one week after I went in. One week. The week after that, they cleared him of any of the possible lasting medical conditions. My son went from “we don’t know if he’s going to make it” to a happy, healthy baby in a little over a week. And he has flourished ever since.

imageThere are no lasting effects of the trauma he endured to make it into this world. To look at him now, you might have a hard time believing my story. And some days, I am ashamed to say, I forget. But, sometimes, when I stop to think of how big he keeps getting; or I stop by his room, on my way to bed, to watch him sleep; or I just cuddle him on my lap and feel him breathe. Those moments. I thank God that He answers prayers. I thank God that my little guy is healthy. And I thank God that I was lucky enough to get a miracle.

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