If you haven’t read Part One of this story, go here to read it and catch up.
We left off with me sitting in the recovery room wondering where my baby was. Why weren’t they bringing him to me??
I asked a few times and got a generalized “oh everything is fine – you’ll see him soon” answer. Finally, a nurse told me he was having some trouble keeping his oxygen up. But she told me not to worry because he was “just getting an extra whiff” of oxygen.
Eventually, I was moved to my room. Without a baby to join me. The hours drudged by.
Around 11 pm, I was told they were doing blood gases. I’m a nurse – so immediately I was on high alert.
This is where it gets a little blurry to me. I know I kept asking for actual numbers of the blood gases, and it kept going downhill. I remember at one point hearing the tech and nurse discuss how they couldn’t get me to quit crying while standing outside my door.
At some point in the middle of the night, I demanded they turn off my epidural. I didn’t want to be numb – I wanted to be able to walk down and at least LOOK at my baby. They did turn it off reluctantly, as they were very worried about my pain levels. I didn’t care about my pain levels. My heart was already breaking and it was hurting much worse than an abdominal incision every could.
I’m not sure I slept that night.
Five pediatricians were in my room around 6 am. I still hadn’t seen my baby. I hadn’t held him. Touched him. Smelled him. The pediatricians were discussing the labs, the events of the night, and what could be going on. There was some division. Four of the pediatricians felt we should ship him out to a larger hospital. One of the pediatricians felt it was just aspiration pneumonia, and nothing they couldn’t treat there. I had a choice – I could have him shipped to a bigger hospital or let him stay there. We chose the bigger hospital.
Within the hour, what we nurses call “the baby buggy” was there. Ready to transport him to a bigger hospital an hour away. An hour away from me. They found out I hadn’t seen him since the OR where I had the C-Section, so they brought him to my room for a few minutes.
He was in an incubator. I was allowed to put my hand in a small porthole and touch him gently. It didn’t last a long time, he was quickly whisked away. An hour away. Away from me.
We agreed my husband was to follow the ambulance and go be with the baby. He needed a parent. In the meantime, I was still totally numb from my epidural. My OB GYN came in and decided I would be transferred to the same hospital my baby was at. It was called a compassionate care transfer. The only problem is that I would come after every emergency run that EMS had. I wasn’t considered emergent.
Time ticked by. It was the slowest day of my life. My mother was still with me – so I wasn’t totally alone.
Then, my husband called. The baby quit breathing, they performed CPR and now he was on a ventilator.
I was so over waiting. I decided I would get up myself, numb legs or not, and find a way to the hospital an hour away. My mom was frantically getting a nurse to keep me in bed. The nurse finally agreed to get me up and showered so I could at least “be ready” to go. I realize now she was buying herself some time, but it worked. My legs were still terribly numb and she had to wheel me to the shower and basically hold me up.
Again, this day is quite blurry – as is many of the days to follow. Eventually, EMS came and got me for my compassionate care transfer. I was wheeled to the NICU and able to see him briefly. I wasn’t allowed to touch him at the time. I could only look. He was on his belly, on the ventilator, with patches over his eyes, muffs over his ears, and lying on a quilted cotton bed. They were trying to simulate still being in the womb.
It was a brief moment, and then I went to my own room on the floor below. My husband had a cot to sleep on, and I made everyone leave. My parents, friends, everyone. I wanted us to just be alone.
Part 3 to come next week.