Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part II

When my doctor arrived he checked the boy's heart rates right away. He immediately turned to me and Adam and said we were going to get to see what our boys looked like on the outside. Apparently, Adler's heart rate was decelerating and the doctor felt it best to deliver them that day. The next 40 minutes flew by. Family and friends who had gathered were ushered to the waiting room, and I really don't remember seeing too much of Adam. I had form after form shoved in front of me to sign for consent to operate, to this, to that, to God only knows what.

The nurses unhooked me from the IVs and monitors and led me to the bathroom. Here, they proceeded to give me the WORST bikini wax in the history of mankind. Helen Keller could probably have done a nicer job than they, but I guess a sightly bikini line was not really their goal, was it?

I was led down the hallway to the OR where my C-Section would be done. It was all abuzz with nurses prepping, the doctor running to and fro. I was surprised by how ordinary the room looked. Nowhere near as glamorous as the rooms you see on TV or envision in your mind. The fact that 80's music (one of my favs) was playing through the speakers was a bit disarming, but it gave me something to divert my attention.

The nurses guided me to the table and helped me up. I was suddenly aware of how very narrow this table was. All I could think was, "Please don't roll off, please don't roll off". I was given my spinal block and laid down on the table. I could feel nurses moving my legs and positioning them to be strapped to the table, but as the sensation left my legs, it became a very odd thing to go through.

After I was all settled on the table, a very sweet and shy nurse approached me. She asked in a very subdued voice if I wanted to see and hold Boe after the procedure was complete. Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. For just one second, I had fooled myself into believing that this was only a happy day. I'd be meeting my boys, Adler and Cameron. That question forced me back to reality so quickly and with such brutal honesty, I had to ask her to repeat herself.

That's right. I was here, really, because Boe had died. I was not here beacuase Adler and Cameron were meant to be born today, I was here because Boe was gone and to save his brothers they had to be born today. I mustered up what voice I had left and told the nurse in broken sobs that I was not sure, I had not really thought about holding Boe.

Truth be told, I had not thought about it, not one bit. This was not supposed to be happening. I had not made it this far in this pregnancy to have one of my babies not make it, why would I even contamplate such a horrific and tragic outcome?

The next hour or so is on of the most surreal of my life. I remember Adam finally coming in and sitting on a stool right next to me. The doctors began to operate and I heard 2 thready little cries at once. Adler and Cameron had been born at exactly the same moment. Those cries were the most joyous little sounds I had ever heard in my life, but they were not enough. I wanted more, I wanted Boe. The neonatologist held both boys over the draping for me to see; they were perfect. Small little boys, but pink and perfect. Before I knew it, Adam had both of them in his arms, and I thought if only I had one to hold too. Just as soon as it began, Adler and Cameron were whisked away to the NICU.

The doctors began the buiness of delivering Boe and putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. I remember thinking how odd it was that their conversation seemed so light, so normal, given the circumstances. They were discussing Coen Brothers films and the fact that "The Big Lebowski" was one of their favorites. I informed them that "Fargo" is, by far, my favorite.

My doctor ushered Adam over to an area of the OR that I could not see. He showed Adam the placentas and pointed out that Boe had barely been holding on throughout the pregnancy. It was his best guess that Boe had simply not received enough nutrients to survive, but he had held on as long as possible for his brothers' sake.

I was wheeled in to recovery and family was allowed in to say "hi". I remember being so surprised and touched to see my younger sister there. She had just given birth to her her 3rd child 5 weeks earlier and I knew it was hard for her to get childcare.

The same nurse who had asked me about Boe in the OR came in and asked if we wanted to see Boe. My husband and I lowered our heads to hide our tears and nodded, "Yes". Our friends and family got the hint and left us to meet our baby boy; only my mother stayed.

The nurse returned with a tiny little bundle wrapped in a soft blanket. She handed him to me, and I wept silently as I held him. He was perfect; he looked just like his brother Adler. His little mouth hung open as if he was in the most comfortable slumber ever, and I was gratfeul to see how peaceful he looked. I had not known what to expect when I saw him, I had never seen a dead baby before. This may sound silly, and probably only those who have lost a child will relate, but I expected him to be hideous. I expected him to be not fully formed, but there he was, pink, beautiful and still. I unwrapped his swaddle to see all of him, I had such precious little time.

He was all there, teeny little toes, perfect belly button, all accounted for. The nurse had brought some Holy water, so my husband and I said a simple prayer and blessed him. My husband held him, and then my mother; I remember seeing her chin quiver with grief as she held her little grandson lost. That was one of the most difficult moments of my life, because in that moment, I felt such complete failure.

I felt I had let my mother, my husband and my baby down. I had somehow failed 3 of the most important beings in my life. After a few moments, my mother left Adam and I with Boe. The NILMDTS photographer arrived and took some photos of Boe. I treasure them just as dearly as I treasure the feel of Boe in my arms. He smelled so sweet, and even though he only weighed 2 pounds 13 oz at birth, he was heavy in my arms and filled them completely.

After the anesthesia wore off, I was finally able to see Adler and Cameron in the NICU. My boys had been here for 5 hours, and I had yet to even touch them. As I was being taken to my room, we stoppped by the NICU so I could see them. I was only able to touch them through openings in their isolettes, holding would have to wait until tomorrow. The nurses assured me that, all things considered, they were doing great. Cameron, the bigger of the boys, was on oxygen, but they expected he'd be off it soon.

By this time, it was about 9:30 PM, and I was exhausted. I was still coming off the anesthesia and had yet to be put in a room. Once I was finally settled in a room, my husband and I had the difficult task of saying goodbye, as he had to get home to our daughter. Neither of us had seen her since 8:30 that morning when we had left for the doctor's office.

So, Adam headed home, and there I was alone in the hospital room. I got as comfortable as I could, and I cried until I could cry no more. I was convinced that if I could just fall asleep, I'd awake safe at home, in my own bed, Boe still safe and alive in my belly. The Day the Earth Stood Still.


  1. I can imagine the entire day as you described. My heart breaks for you.

    You will always have a friend in me.

  2. I can relate to every single thing you say. I felt like the two extremes cancelled each other out. How do we survive?