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.