Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Blessed

July 23rd, 1976 ... I sat holed up in his room, for several hours, crying. I had been able to see him twice this past week, he had been moved to Special Care which was the final step before he was allowed to go home and he was to have come home today, 34 years ago. How blessed we were, at one point it was thought that he would need a complete blood transfusion as the bilirubin had hit the highest level. They had called one evening and said the transfusion would be done the next morning. The phone call the following morning informed us that during the night the number had reversed and he was at normal, no need for transfusion. God will take care of this. Other then that his time in New York had been spent with growing and gaining weight. Although making leaps and bounds he still was a tiny 4 pounds 6 ounces. At this time usually a baby was not released from the hospital before weighing 5 pounds, but he was doing so well there was no need to hold him any longer. He would come home on Friday the 23rd.

The call the night of the 22nd was with apologies as the circumcision that had been scheduled for that day had to be postponed another day as an emergency had occured at the hospital and staff was not available to do this. They would do so first thing the next morning thereby moving his go home date to Saturday. I remember telling myself "its only one more day, its only one more day" and then I just crumbled. I had never cried during this time, I think it was probably long overdue. In hind sight it wasn't just the fact of one more day, I think it was the whole experience. The long labor, the premature birth, going home without my baby, the waiting and waiting and waiting.

And Saturday did come. July 24, 1976, home at last. Just shy of one month old, almost two months from what had been his due date. The newborn tee's came down below his knees. Pampers were halved and still reached to his underarms. He was to have an ounce of formula every three hours and we were to set the alarm clock. All during the day and all through the night. He required night feedings for about five months, the night hours were almost magical. In the quiet stillness, along with Doris Day and Rock Hudson re-run movies we would feed and rock. I don't think I have ever cherised anything more in my life then those hours. A summer blessing for sure. We had been given the most special gift. God had taken care of this.

Today, at 34 years old, he is a medic. He cares for others and does a mighty fine job of it. Not too long ago he had arrived home with my husband and as he had gotten out of the car heard a voice asking "are you a medic"? He turned and said yes, she said "my baby's not breathing". He said he ran to where another neighbor was holding the limp body of an almost one year old. My husband said he was off like a shot. By the time the ambulance arrived the baby had been revived and was screeching, a most wonderful sound to his parents. He's the neighborhood hero. He didn't make much of this, said, just doing what he's been trained to do. My baby is now taking care of other people's babies. God is taking care. Always.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Remember Summer - part VI

Two days shy of his being three weeks old I walk, for the first time, into Cornell Medical Center. Up the elevator down a hallway, through glass doors where the world changes into pure, pristine white. We scrub and don gowns. There are rooms inside here with walls of glass so you can see in all directions and in all direction are incubators. My husband points out the room to my left as we are walking ... the intensive care section. Each IC room is quite large with a huge lazy susan like table that holds everything medical you can think of. At their fingertips the nurse and doctor have access for any kind of need for their charge.

He had gone there the night he arrived and spent a few days there. As these little ones improve they are moved along. The unit he was in now had a nurse and doctor for every five babies. Quite a move for such a little guy. He was doing very well.

My husband, having been there daily the first week and then several times a week following knew exactly where to go. He led me to his section and let me walk in first. I approached the incubator and then froze. There was this little life in front of me and my heart sunk. There was absolutely no feeling in me. Here I was standing before my baby and I felt nothing, how could this be, what was wrong with me? I turned to look at my husband and saw that he had almost turned white. A nurse had seen us, and I'm sure from the look on our faces, rushed over saying that they had moved him to another section, and took us to him. And then I saw him. In an instant the flood gates opened, the love poured like I have never felt. I still find it amazing how a mother knows her young. I will never forget that moment.

Seeing the look on my face the nurse said "haven't you seen him before?" I shook my head no as I was unable to speak, and she said, "oh, we have to get him right out of there". She grabbed a rocker, opened the incubator, disconnected a few wires and wrapped in a blue blanket he was placed him in my arms.

Have you ever held a baby under four pounds? Have you ever held a feather? I was so conscious of almost no weight. So, so tiny. I took his little hand ... he held onto my finger. His hand against my finger, it couldn't wrap around it like babies do, it only covered one side of my finger. I had made him a hat, I had used an orange as a model ... the hat was too big.

He was now drinking almost an ounce of formula. Initially he was fed by a tube down his nose into his stomach. He was too young and had to be taught to suck, an instinct that had not yet developed. While the formula was being pumped into the tube a pacifier was put in his mouth so that he would associate the pacifier/sucking with eating and his stomach getting filled. He now had graduated to bottle feeding. Ever so slowly he would suck and swallow. It took over an hour to feed him.

He was beautiful, he was amazing. I was speechless, I couldn't even talk. Then we had to go home ... oh no! I had to put him back. I don't think I have ever hurt so much.