Two weeks ago today at 5:22 p.m. I had a son, Patrick Charles. I had a plan, a schedule, I knew how things would go - but somehow God forgot to follow my lead. I was supposed to have Patrick on Friday 12/08 but after my amnio I started having contractions and they decided it would be best to perform a C section since the baby was laying transverse (sideways) in the womb. His lungs were not quite mature but they assured me he'd just need a little oxygen and he'd be fine. So at 4:15 they wheeled me into the OR and within ten minutes they were cutting me open. Patrick was a bit stubborn, he was big and didn't come out easily but after a bit of 'tugging' they pulled him into this world. I heard him cry and my heart most certainly skipped a beat. As quickly as they took him from my belly, the whisked him away to check him out. I could hear the doctors talking, something seemed wrong but no one spoke to me or my husband. Finally one of the doctors went to the Neonatal doctor and said, "mom is getting worried, can you fill her in?" Finally the Neo doc came over and told me Patrick needed oxygen and that based on his first assessment the baby was premature at 34 weeks. Then he left. I laid there stunned because I knew I was 38 weeks and 5 ultrasounds confirmed this. Patrick was 8 lbs. 8 oz., how could a premie weigh that much? They let me see him for all of 20 seconds before they took him away to the NICU. As I lay there trying to burn the image of my son into my memory from 20 seconds I actually got to see his face, I felt helpless. What happened after that is somewhat a blur because most of my moments were spent longing to hold my son, a son that had been taken away from me in an instant.
It took 5 hours for a doctor to give me an update, Patrick was on a breathing tube. He was breathing on his own but he needed some extra help inflating his lungs. Finally at 10:30 p.m. I demanded my nurse take me to see my son. Everyone had seen him except me. My husband took some video but can you imagine how much that hurts carrying a baby for so long and when he finally arrives you have to see his first moments of life on a camera? My reluctant nurse wheeled me into the nursery where I caught the first real glimpse of my sweet baby boy. He was the one that looked helpless as he lay there with tubes up his nose. I cried for him, for the first harsh moments this world had to offer him, for the mother he knew he had yet couldn't touch. I cried for him and I cried for me.
Every day after Patrick got better but not fast enough for him to go home with me when I left the hospital. As my husband wheeled me through the exit doors of the hospital tears streamed down my face. I was broken. I entered that hospital 4 days earlier with a child inside of me and now I was leaving the same place, with a hole where a child once was. I've been broken before but never in my life have I felt the pain, the loss, the anger...that I did at that moment. I was angry at God because I couldn't understand how he felt justified in keeping my child from me. I know that I should have considered myself lucky because Patrick would be better soon and many children lay in that NICU with much less hope of survival. But I was selfish, I wanted my child with me, in my arms, in my home, within my reach.
When Patrick was born he cried so hard that his little lungs sprung a leak. Air got trapped between the cavity and his lung so when he breathed his little lung could expand all the way. With the oxygen and flow they gave him it forced the air out so his lungs could expand like they were supposed to. There are not lasting effects, he's healthy now. Nine days after Patrick was born he got to come home. As I walked through the door of my house with Patrick in my arms, I became whole again.
Life can break you. Love can make you whole.
I'll try to write as often as I can but if I miss you before Christmas...Have a wonderful holiday.
In my life I have done many things. Some have scared the hell out of me, some have filled me with regret, some have changed me, and some have caused me to remain the same. Some were premeditated, some were on impulse, some I remember, some I still try to forget. Some things took courage, some were because I was a coward, some taught me lessons while others struck me dumb. Some things that I have done can never be taken back even though I've tried many many times. Some things I wish I could do over - but differently, some things I hope I never have to do again.
Friday I am going to have a baby.
When I look back on my life I realize that there are few moments that I remember being scared. I'm sure they exist but I've either blocked them from my memory or they have become so insignificant that they've blended into the woodwork of my life. When I had my first child I was petrified, not of the pain of childbirth but of the reality that followed. When you have a child you bring this tiny human being into the world that depends on you for everything. There were so many times I could barely depend on myself and the thought of someone else needing me for everything was the scariest thing I'd ever imagined. And then they laid her in my arms I was not afraid any longer. It's amazing how fear can disappear with one breath of your child's scent. How you can look into eyes that reflect your own and see only goodness and hope. Children are the chances we thought we never deserved.
On Friday I'm going to bring another life into this world. Am I scared? Yes. Not of the pain that comes from someone cutting your stomach open rather the pain of knowing that someday you will surely let this little being down. I've never been so afraid of failing. But I know that when I see his face or feel his skin on mine, fear will dissipate. Of course I'll fail but many more times I will succeed at teaching my sweet babies how to be compassionate and truthful and hopeful and loving. I'll teach them how to only be afraid of the chances they throw away, not the ones they take.
Once I thought my heart could never have enough room to love someone else, and then I met Alice. Once I thought loving one child took everything I had inside of me and then I felt Patrick's tiny hands brush the inside of my heart and suddenly I had more room then I ever dreamed of.
In my life I have done many things. Some change you and some remind you of who you were always capable of being.