Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Oh where you lay your head tonight, we'll roll away alone, and close on down"

Quick updates while I have a moment. My c-section went well, though I can say it was not my favorite experience. They whisked Charlotte off to another room, but I could hear her cries through the door and how that made my heart sing; to know she was alive and breathing. During my surgery they brought her in for a moment so I could see her. She was perfection in my eyes. So cute with chubby cheeks and a head FULL of hair!!! They finished my surgery around 11:30am, and then I headed to recovery.

I couldn’t wait to get feeling back to my legs, so I could start the process of getting up to get to my girl. They got me to a postpartum room, and I finally got to see her again around 4:30 pm. It was wonderful. However, my day got much harder from there. We found out she would not have surgery till the following morning around 10am, and that she would be in the NICU at Children’s; not UAB where I was. This was quite a blow, because I had planned for her to be in the NICU here at UAB. It is not only just a floor away, but extremely nice with private rooms and 22 hour access. Ben informed me that Children’s NICU was a large room and the visitation hours were much more limited. This was extremely hard to find out the night before Charlotte was to have surgery.

After hearing the news, I started to get upset. This set off a very painful set of events. I’d been having sharp pains in my neck for awhile, but when I started to cry they continued to my right rib cage and made breathing a struggle. Much later with oxygen, several nurses, Ben, and my parents with me things began to calm down. My Father thought I probably had some blood in the area that was making it spasm and the neck pain was referred pain. My parents left so that I could try to get some rest. Sleep didn’t really come and around 3am I began to shake horribly (much like I did during my surgery). I tried to breath calmly knowing if I didn’t it would exacerbate my lung issues. My stats went a bit haywire so they took me off my liquid IV and did a chest x-ray. When they took me off IV I felt much better soon after. Things seemed to be getting under control. But at around 5am they did a CAT scan which sent me my chest back into spasm mode.

All this was very hard, because I knew I needed sleep in order to recover quickly so that my doctors would give me a pass to see Charlotte. That morning my parents came, and once I was feeling better my mom headed to Children’s with Ben while my Dad stayed with me so that I could sleep. I got some much needed rest (thank you Dad, you are the best…my hero) but the day stilled dragged on as we waited on the result of Charlotte’s surgery. Ben finally called me to tell me that all went well. I lost it. It was partly from relief, but mostly the fact that I still couldn’t see her and view with my own eyes that she was OK. It seemed that everyone else was getting to see her and hear her prognosis from the doctors but me. I had carried her for nine months with no separation, and now she seemed a million miles away. And on top of it all I couldn’t cry or my chest would spasm. Fortunately, my dad was there to let me cry however I could and pat me, tell me “no it isn’t fair”, but remind me I would get to see her in a few hours. Once again Dad, you are my hero. I don’t know what I would have done with out you during this process.

Finally I was able to make it to Children’s around 6pm. I not only got to see her but to have her in my lap. She has to stay on her stomach for quite awhile so I had the Boppy pillow around me with her laid across it. Those hours meant the world to me. It seems like these past few days have been both the hardest and best of my life. I can’t get over how beautiful she is. I know by medical standards she has complications, but in her mommy’s eyes there could be nothing more prefect. She is so sweet. She hardly fussed at all while I held her, and she much preferred her face in my hand rather than on the pillow. I wish I could better express the love in my heart for her but I guess all you parents out there know the feeling. It’s a love that you can never fully comprehend or express, but one that makes you better understand the Father’s love for His children.

“Oh my soul rejoice!”

*I wrote the above early yesterday morning but have been unable to post. I wanted to share a few more things.

Right now it is Thursday morning and I am packing up so that I can head to Children’s’ as soon as I am discharged. The visitation hours in the morning are from 9am to 2pm. Unfortunately, I will probably not be able to leave the hospital till around 12pm if I am lucky. This means I miss most of visitation which is killer to me. Every time I have gone to Children’s I’ve had to get a pass from the doctor which takes a VERY long time, so we haven’t gotten to be with her for a full visitation yet.

However, the moments I have had have been wonderful. Last night’s visitation was especially great, because Ben was able to have her in his lap (on the pillow of course). And, seeing her with her daddy meant so much to me. She was so tiny and content under his gaze. I also read her some poetry that I love. My mom swears she recognizes my voice because her eye brows move around when I talk to her. She also seems to like my touch which of course makes me insanely happy. I didn’t want to leave last night (even though I was already close to an hour over my pass limit) because as we were leaving she became so alert. This seems to happen before she eats and then sleep quickly follows after she has food in her tummy. I get so excited when we make eye contact. I know I don’t get to be with her as much as the normal mother and child, so I desperately want her to know me; to know that her father and I are the ones who love her the very most. It’s probably irrational but I worry that she’ll start to think one of the nurses is mom. I told my mom yesterday that it will be awhile before I’ll be able to let others hold her for extended periods of time because I am going to want to make up for all the time I’ve missed.

I’m feeling better now. Those first few days were very hard and I still get extremely worn out but I’m trying to take care of myself and eat solid meals. I know the most important thing I can do for Charlotte is give her milk, so I’m trying to make that happen. We are keeping our fingers crossed that I can begin feeding her Friday, but there are no definite answers yet. Thanks again for all the sweet comments and most especially all the prayers. We are still looking at another possible surgery tomorrow for the shunt, so we’d love if y’all would continue to pray for Charlotte.


Dana said...

I can't even imagine all that you are going through. It is heartbreaking and encouraging to hear all at the same time. You & Ben are absolutely allowed to hog her - don't feel obligated to give others a turn!! They will understand if they have any clue what this has been like for you! Praying that you'll be able to get more rest, that feeding begins soon and that another surgery isn't needed! Love all 3 of you!

Meghan said...

Oh, Esther, tears are in my eyes!! I hate that this has been so difficult and wish I could make it easier. But I'm so glad she's here! SHE'S HERE!! What a precious little blessing she is. Of COURSE she's perfect!! =)

And you absolutely DO have the right to hog your baby. Listen, the little baby you carried for 9 months will prefer you to every other human on this planet, and no way will she think a nurse is her mommy. You will be with her most of the day from now on, and she'll be so relieved to hear your voice all the time. I'm positive she knows it by heart, and it's her favorite sound, with Ben's voice being a close second. =)

It's still so surreal and so awesome to think that you're actually a mom! I love it. And I love all three of you! So glad your sweet parents are there to love on y'all.

We'll keep the prayers coming. Love you lots and lots!

Kristen said...

Hey girl,

Keep hanging in there - you're doing great. And REALLY try not to worry about her losing the memory of who you are. She was with you for nine and a half months, listening to your voice all day every day. She knows her mama, rest assured of that!!!

When Ella was born, she had some medical problems that made her have to have 24-hour medical treatment, and THEN I got a nasty virus when she was 5 days old, so I couldn't even hold her for several days. I worried about her not remembering me (ask my mom - I told her that I was afraid of that!!) but as soon as I was able to hold her again, she perked up and knew exactly who I was. I will pray that the Lord will show you clearly that she is bonding with you, even in this time when you are separated during part of the day.

Soon these difficult hours will seem like a dream, and you will have your little angel in your arms any time you want! Enjoy the rest, because before you know it, you'll be on 24-hour call!!


Anonymous said...

rest up mama and may milking come easily to you as so little has. may you all be together soon!
tiffany for mark and tal too

LB said...

praying, praying, praying, Esther. Thanks for the the update!! Wow, what a few days you have had. I agree with all of the other commenters, Charlotte for sure knows that YOU are mom. Your smell, your voice, are home to her!! I am praying for strength, peace, healing, rest, wisdom, and specifically for nursing and no surgery!!!

Elizabeth said...

Oh Esther, she is so precious!!!! I wasn't going to comment, so I went to facebook and saw your 3 new pictures. She is so adorable and I passed the laptop to Charlie to look at her. I had to come back here and tell you, she's perfect.

We continue to pray.

I agree, C-Sections are not the best experience, but they get the babies safely here - so - if that's what it takes. I groaned over all that you experienced on that first night and morning. Bless you, bless you.

You and Ben are troopers and we continue to pray for everything. Always checking facebook to get any updates. Everyone at church is always asking and inquiring. She is definitely bathed in prayer.

Much love, Elizabeth

Emily said...

I'm so proud of you. You have endured so much, but you have displayed such an incredible faith through it all. It brings tears to my eyes to read about your precious little girl. She is so blessed to have so many people who already love her so much, especially you!
I'm so happy to hear that you will get to see more of her in the coming days. I'm still praying for you, Ben, and the littlest one! :)
Love you so much!

Henry said...

Hey my "little sister" who is now a mother. First off, don't we have the most awesome parents in the world?? They bend over backwards to help us in times of need. I think now that we are entering parenthood, we have big shoes to fill. I will continue to pray for Charlotte's health and recovery as well as rest and peace for you and Ben. As I told Ben earlier today, I think from the time you guys found out about Charlotte's issues to now, we probably have had over 10,000 people praying (and I'm not exaggerating).

Dana and I can't wait to see your family, but we will wait patiently until you are ready. Besides, once Lia gets here, you know we're going to spending WAAY too much time together! Love you guys so much!

Susan B. said...

Hi Esther, Ben, and Baby Charlotte!

How precious you are! Baby Charlotte is BEAUTIFUL in every way! I can't wait to see her. I have her picture on my computer background at home AND at work. She is sooo sweet!

Love to you all!
Susan Barber

Vicky said...

I'm wiping my eyes and agreeing with all of the other commenters. Know that we love you and are praying for you and your sweet little family!

JodieandDrew said...

I am so in awe of you. What an AMAZING, loving, Godly woman you are for Charlotte. She is so blessed.

I'm so sorry to hear of all the complications. I can't begin to imagine how hard it has been, but God is preparing you and Charlotte both for some amazing bonding time in the next couple of months.

Our prayer is that you and Ben get whatever rest you can and cherish those precious moments with Charlotte.

We can't wait to meet her :)

Jodie and Drew

joy said...

there are no words for all that is in a mother's heart...thus."...Mary treasured all these things in here heart.." you will continue those times until you leave this earth as you relish the joy of being her mother.
I am so glad for you..God has gifted you, prepared you, trained you sovereignly in His grace for every moment that is ahead!
Rom 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
ALL things Esther..all that you need.