In celebration of National Adoption Day on November 15, I thought that I would give y'all a quick run of how we became parents. Yes, tissues are required. We'll start with baby number 1. That would be Bailey.
Hubs and I tried for almost a year to get pregnant. We were so thrilled the day the extra pink line came up on the stick that we could almost not stand it. Then my husband, in very George from Seinfeld fashion announced, "MY BOYS CAN SWIM!" It was a great, great day! For some reason, I remember the day. September 26, 2002. It almost seemed unreal.
Throughout the whole pregnancy, everything went fine. I gained only what I was supposed to. Other than a GIANT craving for pizza, all was well. I only had a few incidents of morning sickness-- maybe two-- so I counted myself extra lucky. I was pregnant and thrilled to be so. The only one thing that was of pain was my back. From about 2 1/2 months, it felt as if someone had lodged an axe into my back. If I laid down on the floor, it took quite some time for me to get back up. I didn't complain. The only three who knew were my husband, mom and midwife. Apparently, everything was tipped backwards causing the pain. It was fine. I figured that it would be gone soon enough.
I started having some heart palpitations, but knew that I would be going to the midwife in a week. I had been running all over work, so I attributed the overstress to the heart palpitations. I had also started swelling a little. My sister swelled horribly at 5 months, so I figured that I was just following suit. It also didn't help that I realized that the Spaghetti O's that I had been craving were just way full of sodium.
On January 24, 2003, we went out to dinner with my in-law's. The next day, my mother-in-law was going to Chicago to visit my sister-in-law and that happened to be Hub's birthday. We moved it up a day. No big deal. I had a pork chop and cole slaw. All was well. That is, until later that night. I ended up vomiting from about midnight or so until 1 PM the next afternoon. Hubs had me call the midwife. She had me go to the hospital to be monitored and be put on an IV. We figured that I had food poisoning. We figured wrong.
Upon arriving at the hospital, my blood pressure was about 155/100. They weren't so pleased. They got me in, had me pee in a cup and put me on an IV. I did bring up to the one resident that I had my legs crossed 15 minutes previous and that I still had a giant dent in my leg. "Oh, that would be from what is growing in your uterus." Okay.
Then the nurse came in. She checked my blood pressure again. 180/110. It was confirmed that I was going nowhere. In fact, not only was I going nowhere, but I had to be shuttled upstairs for re-evaluation by my doctor. I had been seeing the midwife, but at that point she handed me over to the OB of the practice. The little hospital that I was at was too small to deal with the magnitude of my illness. They had to pass me on. They wouldn't even let my husband drive me. They called an ambulance.
I was pre-eclamptic.
When I arrived, a not so gentle resident checked me out. I absolutely thought that she was trying to remove my spine through my more delicate region. I asked that I not be seen by her ever again.
They moved me to a room. They confirmed that I had pre-eclampsia. The plan was for me to remain in the hospital for a month. I was only at 22 weeks at that time, so they were hoping to administer steroids to build up the baby's lungs and deliver in 26 weeks. The plan was to sit. But, I was getting worse.
The first night was the only night that Hubs went home. I remember calling my mom at 4 AM. I knew that she wouldn't be sleeping. We talked and I was telling her how scared I was. The next morning the nurse had come in to take my weight. I had gained six pounds in water weight overnight. When they came to take my temperature, I had to cheat and take breaths. I wasn't getting enough air. I took my socks off because I was afraid that the circulation would be cut off to my feet.
They moved me to another room. Other than it being a private room, I can't figure out why they moved me. This proved to be a good thing, though.
My pastor came to visit. I don't know why we were talking about it, but we got onto the discussion of when he and Mrs. H- lost their first baby. He left and the nurse came in to check baby's heart rate and all that.
She tried again.
Then they came in with an ultrasound. Nothing.
Then they wheeled me downstairs to the high risk doctor who confirmed that our baby had passed away. There is nothing more horrible than to hear that your baby died. Awful. But, I knew. I don't know how I knew but I did.
This was January 27, 2003.
The decision was made for me to be wheeled to labor and delivery. I was too high risk for a c-section and had to do it on my own. They gave me several different drugs to get things rolling. This was Monday at about 5 PM.
Tuesday came and my friend refers to it as the worse day. That was the day that my husband broke. My mom said that he was rolled up into a ball on the couch rocking back and forth just crying. Not only had his baby died, but there was a strong chance that I would, too.
The decision was made to give me a central line. My blood pressure was far too high (well beyond the 180/110) and I was heading towards heart damage. They did not have the time to give me anything to numb the area. They had to go in. It felt like they were driving a roofing nail through my neck. I was in and out much of the time, only remembering certain things and having had other things filled in by friends. I do remember the central line, though. My mom was with me as they put it in. (And accidentally doused me in Iodine even though I was listed as allergic.) My friends were outside and said all they could hear was me screaming.
It was finally on Wednesday morning at 1:06 AM, January 29, 2003 that our baby was born. A tiny little thing. 14.6 ounces. 11 inches long. No cry. No wiggle. No big fanfare. It was quiet. I hoped that they would be wrong. I hoped for a cry, but nothing. I remember asking what the baby was, as we didn't find out in advance. It was the little girl that we hoped for. (Though I would have laid money down to say it was a boy.) Bailey Madeline. She was our vacation baby. Her middle name was from the island in Wisconsin that we camped on. Having given birth to Bailey was supposed to be my cure. It was supposed to make me better.
I continued to stay in labor and delivery for another day and a half. They had me on magnesium which goofed with my vision horribly. I couldn't see. Apparently, my intense vomiting had broken the blood vessels in my eyes. No one had bothered to tell me that. I felt like a train had run through the back of my head. They ended up moving me to what I termed as the "old ladies hysterectomy ward." My doctor was kind enough not to insist on my being placed on a ward with babies. She asked and I said no thank you.
We noticed one thing as we moved. There was a leaf. A leaf on our door that moved with us from door to door. It turns out that it was a leaf for Bailey. It was to tell the hospital staff that there had been a loss. Even if they didn't read a chart, they would know. Hopefully, it would keep them from saying ignorant things. For the most part, it worked. There were still dumb people who said even dumber things.
After 8 1/2 days in the hospital, I was released to go home. My blood pressure was still out of whack. I had been thinning down from my massive 30 pound gain of water weight. It would take time.
Hubs took off a few weeks to stay home with me. My mother cooked for me. My mom and dad took care of all the memorial service arrangements. My mother-in-law came weekly to clean my house. Quietly, I heard her cry as she went. Like the rest of us, she just didn't know what to do with herself.
While in the hospital, Hubs and I had talked. We had talked again of our decision to adopt. We had decided to adopt long ago. In fact, we had talked about it in the early days of our relationship. We knew that we had been told that pregnancy was not suggested. I had a couple of blood clotting disorders that would most definitely rear their ugly heads again.
We just wanted to be a family. We wanted a little one with us. So, with the help of friends, we started our road to becoming a family.
With this, I will continue on our journey tomorrow.