Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

            One year ago I was walking into a clients office in San Francisco when I got the call. Your Mom hadn’t been feeling good the past few days and I was convinced she was working too hard and just needed to relax…….I was wrong. I picked up the phone expecting to hear that everything was fine and the appointment had gone great like all the rest but instead I heard something in your Mom’s voice that I rarely hear….fear. She told me that they had done some tests and the Doctor thought she might have a severe form of Toxemia. She then told me that they may have to put her an ambulance and get her over to the hospital for an emergency C-section. This took a little bit to sink in and I stood dumbfounded on the sidewalk off Market Street for a few minutes trying to process what was happening. I started mumbling something about documents that needed to be dropped off for work and was quickly jolted back into reality when I heard the first signs of panic on the other end of the line. I rushed back to my car and took to the streets like a criminal on a high-speed chase. Ignoring most stop signs and red lights I made it onto the bridge in record time.
 I remember thinking to myself that there was no way my little girl was going be born today. The more anxious I got the faster I drove. When I finally looked down and realized I was going 110 miles an hour I thought to myself it probably wouldn’t be the best scenario for me to crash going this fast. I tried to calm myself down by trying to think of what sign she would be if, by chance, she was actually born today. I racked my internal astrological calendar and realized I had no clue what a March 23rd baby would fall under.  I assured myself that this was fine because there was noooooo way we were having a baby today. As I screeched into the parking lot and ran into the building I tried to compose myself before your Mom saw me. I kept repeating to myself “Its gonna be fine we are NOT having the baby today” I figured as long as I kept saying it over and over again I could manifest the most ideal outcome. I went into the room she was supposed to be and she wasn’t there. “We are NOT having this baby today.” I ran down the hall and found somebody that told me she had been moved…..not good. “We are NOT having this baby today” As I made my way into the next building I noticed it was the same building that our friends Nick and Cailin had just had their baby in. This was not a big deal because, “ We were NOT having this baby today.” When I finally found your Mom I couldn’t help but notice she was in a hospital gown, hooked to an IV, and not looking very happy. “ So looks like we’re having a baby today,” she said as the tears began to form in her eyes…….so much for manifestation.
The next few hours were a blur. Your Mom was loaded into an ambulance and taken to John Muir in Walnut Creek. Looks like my little girl and me were going to be born in the same hospital. Your Mom later told me that she was joking around with her ambulance drivers as they listened to Kings of Leon on the radio. I circled the parking lot looking for the marked spaces for frantic father-to-be but had to settle for the last spot on the highest floor. By the time I made it to the room there were already ten people crowded around trying to comfort your Mom. She was doing incredibly well considering the circumstances and was seemingly exceptionally calm. I, on the other hand, was kind of a wreck. The Doctor came in and explained the situation. We could either try to induce labor, which would be painful and most likely unsuccessful, or we could have an emergency C-section as soon as they could prep her. He said he would give us 2 minutes to decide…Awesome. I followed him into the hall and explained that I had read on Google, yes I actually said this, that sometimes Toxemia would regulate with a little bed rest. His exact words, “ Her situation is a little different and I don’t want to freak you out but if we don’t get that baby out today you could lose them both.”   Yeeeeaaaaah thanks for not freaking me out or anything Doc. I walked back into the room trying to hide the greenish tone that my skin had just turned and grabbed a hold of her hand while trying to wipe the mascara off the corner of her eye. After his initial bomb drop the Doc came back in and turned out to be a total rock star. He laid down the facts and made us feel totally comfortable. He assured your Mom that her scar would be minimal and she would be able to wear any skimpy bathing suit she wanted without having to hide a gigantic scar. One minute he’s talking life and death and the next we’re talking about bathing suits…..strange day.
Before I knew it I was in scrubs and being led into the operating room were your mom was laid out in a very Christ like pose on an operating table. She was split in half by a sheet so we didn’t have to see them working. She remained as calm as she had been for the majority of the day when they asked her if he was ready. I remember being so impressed with the way she had handled herself through all this. Even before you were born seeing your Mom deal with this whole situation with such grace made me confident that she was going to be an excellent mother. The procedure was quick and other than the clear bucket being filled with blood right next to me, not as bad as I thought it would be. I tried to tell your Mom a story about a hike we went on to keep her mind off what was happening but she couldn’t remember what I was talking about and I was too distracted by the ever increasing volume of the blood bucket to start a new story, Just as I realized that my techniques of calming her down were failing miserably I heard your voice for the first time… was tiny. I shot up so quickly to see you that I forgot I had been told to wait until they said to come over. As I looked back to share my excitement with your Mom I realized she still had a large hole in her and was not quite ready to jump up and celebrate. I did everything in my power to not pass out as seeing so much of her internal organs wasn’t as pleasant as one may think. After they wiped the goo off you I got to really see you for the first time… were tiny. Tiny arms, tiny legs and the tiniest feet and hands I had ever seen. You were the most beautiful thing in the world. They tried to put a tube down your throat to help you breath but you didn’t think you needed it and immediately pulled it. One of the Doctors laughed and said, “We got a little fighter.” They wrapped you in a blanket and put on a little pink hat that you apparently didn’t care for either and instantly threw it on the ground. At that moment I remember thinking, “this one’s gonna be a handful.” They put you on the scale and the little red numbers said 4.7 pounds, I had eaten bigger burritos. They whisked you away before I got a chance to hold you and started on a number of different tests.  I felt totally helpless watching them poke and prod you. I wanted to push the Nurses and Doctors out of the way and say” That’s my daughter STOP messing with her and give her to ME!” Instead I just stood there with my heart pounding hoping the results of all these tests would be good. I kept checking the faces of the staff trying to determine if everything was going smoothly. Finally one of the nurses told me that everything looked fine so far and I felt a bit of my anxiety dissipate. Just as I began to calm down they took you into another room and told me that I could see you in “ a little bit.” I went back into the operating room and told your Mom what was going on and saw the look of disappointment in her face when she realized she wasn’t going to get to hold you right away. Nothing about this day had gone like we thought it would but not being able to hold you after you were born was by far the hardest thing for your Mom and I.
When we finally got to see you they had you hooked up to a breathing mask along with various other IV tubes and wires. We must have looked very concerned and scared because people kept assuring us that you were doing great and that everything seemed fine…….we were still very scared. Neither of us slept much that night and I must of made five trips into the NICU to stare and talk to you through the little hole in your incubator. They finally let Mom hold you the next day and you looked so small and fragile in her arms. A look came over her face that I had never seen before when she first looked at you and at that moment nothing else mattered except that you were here and you were ours. Happy Birthday little girl and thank you for the great year!