Monday, December 14, 2009
When the OR went eerily silent, I panicked. After all, there were eighteen people (nineteen now that the baby was born!) in that room. It had been noisy as all get-out. Suddenly, the only person making any noise at all was the very tiniest... our newborn.
"What's happening? What's wrong?" I asked, turning from my husband to the anesthesiologist and back again, "Why isn't anyone saying anything???"
My husband just shook his head.
The anesthesiologist leaned down and said in my ear, "It's because she's crying; 24-weekers never cry."
But cry she did... all the way down the hallway where they took her to stabilize her before making the trek to the adjoining children's hospital.*
I smiled as I heard that cry then and clung to my husband's hand. Suddenly I looked up at him...
"We don't know if we had a boy or girl!"
"Nope," he replied and gave me a little half-smile. Mostly we were both just so incredibly grateful that our child had made it through the birth!
The anesthesiologist heard this conversation and asked the OB's. They had no idea what gender the baby was-- their focus had been solely on a safe delivery and transfer of the child over to the neonatal team. The fellow called down the hall, "Can we get the gender for the parents?"
I heard a woman's voice echo back...
"It's a girl!"
And that's when we knew. We had a little girl. A precious tiny daughter who had such a fight ahead of her.
When you have a baby, you feel a rush of endorphins that flood your body with a kind of super-hero feeling. There is a kind of victory and triumph and sense of achievement that- for me, at least- goes along with giving birth that is unmatched by any other accomplishment. Every woman is different, of course, but- for me- I still had that feeling. Those early hours were ones of joy and wonder and celebration. I was never ignorant about the peril of her situation... it just wasn't at the forefront. And, for that, I am wonderfully thankful...
A few moments later, when our baby girl was stabilized, they invited my husband to accompany them on the transport over to the children's hospital. The doctors continued their work on putting me back together.
As they stitched and repaired, the head OB asked me...
"So... do you have a name for her?"
to be cont...
*Foot-note: I was extremely blessed to give birth in a city hospital connected to the children's hospital. It took mere minutes, by foot, to get my daughter to the NICU. The hospital has since further improved this by establishing a high-risk OB wing right in the children's hospital. The less travel the better for these teeny-tiny babies!