Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12...The COOLEST Birthdate EVER!!

Happy 10th Birthday to our favorite little {big} guy!!!
Happy Birthday Caleb!!!

In honor of having such a cool birthday, I thought I'd share Caleb's birth story. It's truly miraculous, and every single day I'm so thankful that his precious life was spared. We almost lost him, but we didn't know that until I was being prepped for an emergency C-section on my actual due date: 12/12/02.

It was a cold Thursday, I was ginormously pregnant and uncomfortable, but I also remember feeling so joyful and content. I didn't think I was going to like having a baby so close to Christmas, but I found the opposite to be true- I loved it! There is such magic everywhere in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and I was really, really happy about having this sweet little baby boy. My third sweet baby boy, in 3 1/2 years!

I'm sure I'd been taking it easy with Ethan and Jonah that day. I wish I'd had a blog back then so I could know exactly what we were doing (and don't even get me started on the sadness that was pre-digital age!), but I imagine we were working on Christmas crafts, playing with bubbles in the kitchen sink, reading stories, and snuggling together under play forts. We did that a lot when they were little, and I'm so glad!

By late afternoon, I realized that I hadn't felt little No Name (we couldn't decide on his name to save our life!) moving around much all day. I tried to think back on when I'd last felt him wriggling around, and I just couldn't remember any movement. I drank some OJ, perhaps had some chocolate too, waiting for some movement. Nothing. I wasn't panicked, but I did call my doctor, figuring it was nothing. I was extremely surprised when he told me to get to the hospital as soon as I could to get checked out.

I called my Mom, of course, and waited for Bill to get home. Cell phones? Um, what were those? We just waited. Bill drove us to the hospital at 7 pm and I was immediately hooked up to monitors and machines. I still was not panicked or nervous, mostly excited about hearing his sweet heartbeat again. Bill says he noticed some looks being exchanged between triage nurses, but I didn't. I went on in detail about what I wanted from our favorite Chinese place when "we get outta here" since we probably wouldn't be out on a date for a little while after #3 entered our already-busy lives.

Then my doctor came into the room to review the data, and within minutes, several other people flooded in and began handing me consent forms to sign, prepping me with a catheter- ugh- and explaining that we were heading to the OR stat. For real, they said stat. I loved that part! Can you say denial? I must have been in such shock nothing was really registering.

I remember feeling really weird and kind of out of body as they wheeled me down the hallway. I did not like that gurney ride one bit! I'm told, with snickering I might add, that I asked twice if John Carter would be meeting us there. What?! It was the age of ER, folks, and I loved me some Dr. Carter. Yeah, well, he wasn't there. Imagine that! (It must have been then the narcs!)

When we went inside the operating room, I was stunned by how many masked faces I saw in there. A team of neonatal nurses in one corner, an operating crew near my doctor, and countless others whose purpose remains unknown to me to this day. But they were all in there, ready to fly into action to...

That's when the panic set it. Right then, after seeing so many people in that room, waiting for us. It was crazy scary, and at this point, nobody could tell us what exactly was going on with Baby Boy, mainly why they needed to get him out now.

The room was really really quiet. Too quiet. The doctor pulled Caleb out at exactly 9 pm and it was still silent. No crying, nothing. I remember being so scared, wondering what was happening, and if he was going to be all right. Between the shock and confusion- and the quickness of everything- the next details are fuzzy. All I know is that I could not hold my brand new baby boy, and I watched as they whisked him away to the corner. I know I cried a lot over the next hour, waiting to hear what had gone wrong.

I was begging the nurse who was assisting me to let me hold my baby, but she gently told me that it just wasn't possible at that moment. It was a horrible feeling.  She was so kind and brought me back 2 Polaroid pictures of him in the NICU to hold onto while we waited. I treasured those pictures more than I could express, but I ached to hold his baby-soft little body. It was right after this they came to tell us that our baby weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces (our smallest by a long shot!) and measured 23 1/2 inches long. Wait...WHAT?!? Yup. 23 1/2 inches of pure sweetness inside my belly! (Throughout the next 2 days, every.single.nurse measured him "to be sure." They couldn't believe it!)

Within two hours, the doctor came back and told us that our new baby boy had been taken off oxygen, which was good news, but they did not know the extent of the possible damage; and my precious little baby needed a blood transfusion. (He ended up needing two.) Caleb had been steadily bleeding out through the placenta and his vitals were not improving quickly enough. He also had terrible jaundice. The doctors had been considering air-lifting him to Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon since his birth, but decided he was stable enough to try the transfusion first.

Our parents took turns coming to the hospital and staying with Jonah and Ethan at our house. My Mom and Dad arrived around 11:15 pm and got to peek in on him. My mother said she was shocked to see him hooked up to all kinds of different machines- it was a difficult sight to take in, though I still had not seen him since 9 pm when he was born. Mom persuaded someone to take me to see him, and I'm so sad I don't remember any of it, but she loves to tell me this story...

Baby Boy was still, yellow and pale, covered in patches and bandages, wires and tubes, laying in the little bassinet. His eyes were closed and he was quiet, until the very moment when they wheeled me over to him on my gurney. I began talking to him and my Mom says he craned his little neck to turn his head in the direction of my voice the instant he heard me, and he opened his mouth and eyes and kicked his legs up. She says "he came alive" at that moment. I just love that.

While we'd been waiting in our room, I remember watching something on HGTV about decorating for the holidays, and then my beloved ER was on, ha. We still hadn't decided on his name. It would either be Aaron Caleb or Caleb Andrew- I think I just needed some time with him to decide, but we hadn't gotten any yet.

Finally, after a long, listless night, I was able to hold my new baby the next day. It was probably the closest thing to heaven on earth at that moment. I'd promised myself that I would cherish every single little thing with this surprise baby of mine, and I can honestly say that I did. I savored the minutes with his soft skin against mine. I brushed my cheeks against his newborn head again and again, now aware of how quickly that perfect softness vanishes. 

The nurses were spoon and dropper feeding him, and I was surprised that they wouldn't let me try to feed him. I can't pump to save my life and I was terrified that I'd dry up before even getting the chance to nurse him. It was three long (and painful) days before I'd be able to hold him and feed him, and of course he ate like a champ. That was a huge relief!

Somewhere in there, we settled on a name. Caleb Andrew just fit, and he looked like a Caleb. I love his name!

During one of our early skin to skin times, in which I always got kind of dumped in a corner of the NICU room behind a curtain, I overheard several nurses chatting. They must not have known I was there because they were going on and on about "the baby who bled out and needed transfusions," how rare that was, and this and that. It wasn't until one nurse later told me that they all agreed that if I hadn't come to the hospital that night, Caleb would have been gone by the next morning. Our doctor added that if I'd been induced like I had been with Ethan, he probably wouldn't have survived the delivery. He also told us that with my history of abdominal ectopic pregnancies, and the trauma Caleb underwent being born, I would be wise to not conceive more children. It was a lot to take in.

By the fourth day I was sooo ready to go home, but I still couldn't get out of bed without excruciating pain. It was then discovered that I am allergic to the steri-tape that was used to close my incision, and the skin was all raw. My OB/GYN was ticked that no one had checked the incision before, and she put me on antibiotics right away. That helped so much, and I was feeling a lot better by nighttime. So thankful for good doctors and medicine!!  
Caleb and I were finally released on the sixth day. I couldn't WAIT to get home! I missed Ethan and Jonah so much!

Now our family jokes about the infamous Chinese dinner that never happened, ha! It's a central part to Caleb's story.  Funny, that is exactly where the birthday boy wants to go tonight.  :)

So, that's the story. We have been so blessed to be Caleb's parents! He is one of the smartest, funniest, kindest, and generous kids I have ever known! 


Caleb at 3 days old- his teeny little face was so perfect!

 Jonah and Ethan (l to r) reading stories to Baby Caleb in the kitchen

Caleb has always been one of those super neat eaters...

Caleb and I have always had a special bond...

 Today I surprised Caleb with balloons in his classroom - he had just come back from gym....can you tell?
He handed out the lollipops we made to his classmates and teachers, and then asked if he could give the leftover ones to other teachers and staff. That speaks volumes of his giving heart! We just love him so much!

Happy Birthday Caleb!!

1 comment:

Kim said...

So glad he is now healthy and happy.

I had to have an emergency c/s with my oldest, almost 4 years ago.

New follower from Weekend Walk.

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