Friday, April 23, 2010

Molly's Story

Do you ever have one of those nights when you lay down to sleep, absolutely intending on enjoying every little bit of it, but then all of the sudden your mind starts to wonder? You try to trick yourself into believing this isn't going to happen. Bring it on. I can sleep. After a glass of milk, a trip to the bathroom and countless tosses and turns, you admit defeat. I usually will then stumble out of bed, feeling a bit nauseated, and flip on the useless TV. Tonight, I opted for the laptop.

I get exhaustingly jealous of the sleeping giant next to me in bed. With each one of his deep heavy breathes, I wish it were mine. Sometimes when I hear him rapidly drifting off into that really good feeling of being on the verge of sleep, I'll stir in vain hopes that it'll bring him back, back to where I am. Nobody wants to be in the dark alone. Next time, I'll remind myself not to drink my caffeinated cup of joe after dinner.

Well, now that I'm up, I might as well tell you what's on my mind.

I can't help lately, but to think about where I was last year and what I was doing. Remembering last year is very bitter-sweet. It was the time my little birdy arrived. Our baby. How beautiful it was. Suddenly she was here in my arms. I have a few really haggard pictures, thanks to a throw-away camera, to remind me of that moment, those few seconds of complete relief and bliss. Those pictures are so personal, so private to me. I didn't even put them into Molly's baby book like the rest of her pictures. They are still tucked into the envelope. I hate remembering what happened after the picture taking stopped, after all the smiling and enjoyment turned into ruffled brows and fearful eyes. I fell robbed at times. When the nurses took Molly from my arms, they quickly carted her out the room and promised to return in only a few minutes. Atleast they could have been honest with me. Cowards. Only a few tests, they said and then left me with my own mind all alone for two hours. As my daughter disappeared into the sterilized, white hallway of the hospital, I motioned for my husband to follow, we had after-all discussed what to do if this were to happen.

I didn't even realize the nightmare we were about to enter. I was calm. Anyhow, they said they'd be right back. As the minutes passed the lump in my throat grew bigger and bigger. My phone was ringing off the hook and I knew it was my mom. But, I didn't know what to say. I didn't even know myself what was going on, so I ignored it. I felt embarrassed. I couldn't be excited, therefore I couldn't talk at all. My swollen eyed husband finally entered through the doorway of my room, still the delivery room, forty minutes later. He knew nothing, only that they said  she would have to stay in the nursery for awhile. Why didn't I immedately run to her side? He said she was crying.

I was able to finally see my baby when a grumpy, pathetic nurse desided I could be wheeled into the nursery. She was so purple. She was so mad. I'll never forget the way she looked all helpless and lonely in her little incubator. But, I didn't even pick her up. I didn't even know if they would let me pick her up. So many wires, so many monitors surrounding her and an oxygen mask covering her tiny face. My first reaction was to just touch her, stroke her back. Immediately, they told me babies don't like that and to place my hands here and here. Funny little bit of irony is that Molly loves her back rubbed and at times it was the only way I could calm her.

As I placed my left hand on her tiny head and my right on her little rump, the tears just began to pour. I begged God to help this little thing and told him how sorry I was at whatever I did to do this to her. Behind me I heard a heartless nurse tell my nurse that she better come back because this could take awhile. The funny thing is, I remember that remark, but I can't even remember where my husband was at this time. I remembing feeling like I was imposing or somehow in their way. Eventually a gentle, gray-haired nurse made her way over to us. She picked up Molly and tossed her tiny, screaming body into a tight swaddle and then placed her into my arms. Immediately she stopped crying. Why didn't I pick her up before? The oxygen in her blood immediately rose to a healthy number. For a second I felt like a proud momma again. Then, out of nowhere, she began screaming again, sending her numbers back into a danger zone. I began to panic. Next all I remember her being taken from my arms, again, and my wheel chair being carted away from her. Why didn't I stand up and craddle her? Why did I let them take her, again? She was crying so hard, at times she would stop breathing.

The next few hours are more of a blur for me. I'm sure they consisted of me just watching and praying. Eventually, they told me I had to go to my room to have my vitals checked. I cried the whole way back. I cried when the nurses checked my pulse and when they checked my temperature. Wouldn't you think someone would say something? They just left me. I begged my husband to stay with her as long as her could. Why didn't I go back up there? Was I afraid? After he couldn't take anymore of the pain of watching your baby girl scream and not be able to do anything about it, my husband finally retreated to our room. I really don't remember the time, maybe one o'clock. Our exhausted, swollen eyes forced themselves closed.

Unable to take it any longer, I awoke my husband and asked him to check on our girl. I think it was about four in the morning. As he was walking to the nursery, he saw a baby, our baby, being rushed into the NICU. Frightened, he asked the nurse if that was his daughter and where they were taking her. She explained to him that her oxygen level was deteriorating and was being taken into the neonatal intensive care unit. We knew this could happen. They had told us if she didn't start breathing on her own, she would have to go there.  But, I have to ask the question, when were they going to tell us she was rushed to the NICU? The nurse told my husband that it was the doctors responsibility to inform us and not hers. Oh, of course.

We both admit to have felt relief knowing that she had finally been brought to the nic-unit. Maybe now somebody will actually do something. We waited in our room for a nurse practicioner to finally inform us on our daughters health. He told us in an hour she should be stabilized and that then we could go see her. I really can't explain how I felt then. Now, I'm angry with myself for not being there, for not fighting to be with her. I don't know why I didn't go immediately to the nic-unit and why I waited until morning. For some reason I felt okay, and that she was okay.

Just before we were about to make our way to Molly, our pediatrican came into the room. This was the first time I met Dr. Ginn and he was the first person to tell us our baby was going to survive. Now, all of the sudden I couldn't wait to get to her. I didn't feel any pain practically running to the nic-unit. Then when I finally saw her, turbo mom came into play and I fought for her and I knew she was mine forever. 

We spent three days in the nic-unit. Not long compared to the little fella next to her, but it seemed like eternity to me. I went into fight mode to get through the next few days. My body completely shut off all of it's needs, so that I could completely focus on getting her home. I was never hungry, I never felt pain, and I was never tired.

I have nights, like tonight, when I can become furious. I want to blame the nurses. I want to change the first few hours. Sometimes when I see her I want to tell her how sorry I am that I wasn't there when she first cried and sometimes I become so upset with myself for not acting right away that I cry. I still cry. But, then I remember the rest of the story. I remember the amazing nurses from the nic-unit who called my baby beautiful. I remember the support from our families and friends and how understanding there were in giving me the space I needed. I remember the joy and the feeling of victory when she was finally discharged.

She has taught me so many things in such a short amount of time. She has made the both of us people we never imagined we could be. I hope some day she realizes how much she means to us and I will be forever grateful of her love.

I know I've been avoiding your birthday. For some reason, I feel like if I keep pushing off the party then your're not officially one. But, the 18th came and went and now you are my one year old. There was a time when I couldn't even imagine making it to that date. Now, it's even five days after. Happy Birthday, Molly!

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