Category Archives: delivery
After receiving my scrubs, I went into the nearest bathroom to change. It’s hard to change clothes when you’re insanely nervous, and I swear I almost fell over a few times. The scrub pants went on, but the top they gave me was way too small…it was like Fat Guy in a Little Coat. So I stepped out and asked for a bigger size, which seemed to bother the nurse, but whatever. This one fit much better. I got to sit with my wife for a few minutes while the nurses called the high-risk team and the cardiac team. Then I was told the time had arrived and that Bekah would be wheeled away. I walked with a nurse down another hallway: she opened a closet and told me to put my belongings in there, then she guided me to a chair and said sit and wait til I come get you. So I sat and tried to relax…yeah right. I think I must’ve been sitting there for 20 minutes, maybe more, and the longer I sat, the more nervous I got. Thoughts started to jump into my head like: what will Nolan’s birth be like? I’ve heard about some HLHS babies looking blue when they’re born, will he be blue? Will he be breathing? Will he be ok? Will I ever get the chance to hold him or will I have to wait til after surgery? And the more I thought on these things, the more of a wreck I became. I prayed silently, then prayed again…then again. Finally the nurse came to get me, and on wobbly legs I walked into the operating room for the C-Section, which had already begun. And oh God, I did not want to look! Luckily I was spared a view of it all by the bajillions of people in that tiny room!
There was the surgery team, nurses, anethesia, a NICU team, a cardiac team, a respiratory team, and on and on. They pulled up a seat right by Bekah’s head, which allowed me not to see what was going on. I thought she was asleep, but then she turned her head to look at me. I told her I loved her and that she was going great. Meanwhile the doctors are all casual like “So, did you go to the Christmas party last week?” It was hilariously surreal. Every now and then my wife would wince from the pressure they’d be putting on her and I must’ve asked a hundred times if she was in pain. She was not, but my nervousness didn’t help things. I knew Nolan would be the first one delivered and as they continued to work, I just kept trying to prepare myself. FInally at 5am on the nose, I heard the doctor call out “Delivery!” and the nurse called the time and out came a baby. And that’s when I think I stopped breathing, just holding my breath to see how this was going to go….please God let it be ok. Nolan came out the typical weird purple like most babies do, and he immediately turned a nice pink and cried his little head off. He was SO tiny: about 4 pounds 11 ounces. The nurses ran their quick little tests and no one seemed to be freaking out so I let out my held breath. A nurse asked if I wanted to come say hello, and I walked over on jelly legs. Even up close he was still so small…but he was crying and looked so….normal, except that his little chest was heaving up and down pretty hard, almost like it was sucking in. I pointed at it wordlessly and the nurse said it was ok, no worries. So I leaned down and I said “Hey Nolan, it’s Dad…you made it, and I love you.”
An eternity went by before the doctor called out “Delivery!” with a time of 5:02. Wait, only 2 minutes went by? I swear to this day it felt like 45 minutes or so. Out came Grant at just under 6 pounds and he was pretty pissed to be out of his comfort zone, and he let us all hear it. I went to say hello to my cranky-pants son and I told him how much I loved him too. I went back to Bekah who was asking how they looked and I said “They’re beautiful.” and she asked specifically for Nolan and I said “He looks great, I’m amazed.” Then an awesome, unexpected thing happened: one of the nurses walked up and said “Would you like to hold Nolan?” I didn’t think we’d get to hold him…we heard so many stories about heart babies being whisked right to NICU or to surgery, and we didn’t know what to expect. But I quickly said yes. The nurse swaddled him up and said I could hold him just for a moment so he doesn’t get too cold, then she handed him to me. He was SO small…especially compared to the 8 pound 12 ounce behemoth that was Hudson. I smiled and told him I loved him, then turned to Bekah and said “Look buddy, it’s Mommy!” The next moment is one that gets me every time and is one that I’ll never ever forget. My wife was still on the operating table getting closed up, so she could only really move her head, so I held little Nolan up to her, so she could nuzzle up against his cheek. In that moment, everything was right in the world, everything was love.
Next we got to hold Grant, who was still a little cranky, but calmed down once he got to me. We were lucky enough to love on him some more, which was awesome. And I know he responded when he heard Bekah’s voice. Once I gave Grant back, the only thing left to do was sit and wait…and watch. I would walk up and talk to them…sometimes I would observe. Then it got a little weird: one of the nurses put a little oxygen mask on Grant. I was like “Um, the other one’s the heart baby” and she said, “Oh that one’s fine, this one’s just having a little trouble getting some of the gunk out of his lungs, so we’re helping him out a little. Nothing to be scared of.” So then the little NICU incubator box thing came in and the team prepared to put Nolan in there and take him away. I said my goodbye to him, for now, and was very sad to see him go. Then another box came in for Grant…they were going to take him down to continue to assist with his breathing, but again they said, no major concerns.
The doctors finished up with Bekah and we were wheeled into post-op, where we waited for a long while before going up to a room. It was weird, though: two babies born and none were with us. So I tried to keep the mood light by telling Bekah how terrified I was in that room and how much I tried to avoid looking at the procedure. We had just been through a whirlwind and I was exhausted, I couldn’t imagine how my wife felt. Now we were just on countdown until we could see our babies again:
With two babies taking up space in her tiny body, Bekah was going through lots of discomfort, particularly at this stage in the pregnancy. Sleeping was tough and sometimes the only place for her to get comfortable was on the couch. So on the night of December 9th, 2012, I went to bed and was pretty much out like a light. I vaguely remember at one point during the night, Bekah came upstairs to bed. I was pretty much hogging the whole bed, so she got me to move over. I draped my arm over her and went right back to sleep. At 2:30am on December 10th I was awoken by my wife saying “Oh my God…MY WATER JUST BROKE!” And I FLEW out of bed. We already had a bag packed, so I had to make my best attempt to look non-homeless and then roll out. Meanwhile water was just EVERYWHERE…it just kept coming, it reminded me of the same scene from the Coneheads movie (yeah I went there). My mom came over to stay with Hudson and off we went.
Now CMC Main is about 30-40 minutes from our home, depending on the time of day and traffic. At 3am, though, it was a breeze…and I was hauling. I’m glad it was dark out, because my knuckles were probably bone-white from holding the steering wheel so hard. On the way there we were trying to figure out how things were going to proceed. I remember being told that there was now valet parking for expectant moms, but you KNOW there wasn’t gonna be no valet sitting out there at 3am. The good thing, though, is that we’d been through this before at the same hospital. The difference was Bekah’s water didn’t break, they did that at the hospital, so this craziness was new for us. I pulled up to the hospital, ran in, and frantically told the sleepy-looking guy at the front desk that my wife’s water broke. He snapped into action, grabbed a wheelchair, and went to get my wife out of the van while the half-asleep security guard made my visitor badge. I ran back to the van so I can park it, grabbed our bag, and ran back to the hospital….my wife wasn’t there. She was already upstairs…somewhere. With Hudson, they took us both up together…but with Bekah being Niagara Falls, this was different. I asked the sleepy security guard what floor they were on…after some deep thought, he finally got it right and off I went. Problem was, no one told me where to go once I actually got off the elevator. ARGH! So I walked to the nurse’s station and told them my wife was just brought up. The nurse said, “Oh she’s probably in triage: just go down this hall, through the double-doors, take 3 lefts and a right, then halfway down you’ll see a door with a keypad on it…just knock.” I was like WHAT?! This is the hospital, not the Legend of Zelda, I’d get lost with all those turns and whatnot.
Luckily, though, I found the door….so I knocked. And knocked again. A nurse poked her head out the door, Wizard of Oz-style, and asked if I was the dad. I said duh, and she told me to wait out in the hallway. So the only logical thing to do at 3:30am in a hospital is aimlessly pace in the hallway. Oh, and text my best friend, who luckily lives in California, so the time-of-text wasn’t too brutal. I figured they were probably getting some monitors set up so they can keep an eye on things until the main show was ready to begin. That sounded like a good plan, right? After like 20 minutes, the door opened and the nurse let me in and my wife was in a small triage area and they were monitoring things. Yay, I was right! That is, until the nurse gave me some scrubs and said “Here Dad, put these on.” And I was like “OH CRAP, this is happening now!”
TO BE CONTINUED…(dun dun dunnnnnnnnn)