September 15, 2016: My Two More Sons

So today our family grew, and then grew again some more!

I haven’t really written much about it since Sara went into the hospital blorgteen weeks ago – life has been a little, *ahem*, hectic since I’ve been juggling work and kid duty and nightly commutes to visit the wife in her temporary home at the hospital. Well, things all changed again when the day before yesterday she called me up before our regularly scheduled commute to tell me that she’d started bleeding…

It was one of those things that could be everything or could be nothing, and thus it was incredibly frightening, so they did lots of monitoring and testing overnight and by the next day the doctors had decided that it was about time to get the babies out before things got any worse.

For those of you playing along at home, this put her just shy of 30 weeks pregnant.

If anything, at least we were actually able to schedule this delivery because with Christopher her water broke at about 1am unexpectedly and she delivered about 11 hours later. This time we had a day or so’s notice, which was nice because it gave us time to give her a second round of steroids to help bolster the babies’ lungs, not to mention giving us time to mentally prepare for what was about to take place (amid all of the worrying, mind you), me a chance to hand things off for work, and time for Sara’s mom and sister to travel down to help … which so far as been a godsend!

And so arriving at today, the surgery ended up being … challenging, to say the least.

I was supposed to go back for the c-section after they got Sara happily sedated, however that never entirely happened because all sorts of issued surfaced trying to insert her spinal. If it wasn’t scary enough waiting alone in the dad chair right outside of the OR dressed up and ready for action, it was far more terrifying to hear Sara’s account afterwards because apparently the drugs drifted too far up her spine and she couldn’t move anything, and then couldn’t speak to tell them when she started having problems breathing, too. 😯

In hindsight, I guess it makes sense why they won’t bring the spouse back until after the spinal is set because worried as I was about passing out if I accidentally saw my wife’s guts split open there behind the sheet, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had to watch her struggling to breathe there on the table as the doctors got ready to shove a breathing tube down her throat.

When she retold the story after the drugs finally wore off, Sara told us that it was by far the scariest thing she’s ever experienced, and given her nursing background and all of the freakish stuff that she’s seen, I’d believe it.


So back to the delivery, luckily the boys were delivered ok – the neonatal team was pretty spot-on with this, to the point where they had cited that they wanted to get from the womb to the NICU in 5 minutes – and they probably hit it because when the first incubator came through the OR doors, they gave me about 10 seconds to peek in on my newborn son before they whisked him away and told me to wait to come up with the second carrier, which followed about a minute later…

When we all got up to the NICU itself, I was lucky enough to be able to watch in the room for a good 10-15 minutes as they took various samples and set them up on all of the monitors, with me mostly watching in a haze from the corner until the doctor finally asked me to step outside so that they could put tubes in more obtrusive places that any parent would find difficult to watch.

I think I sat in a chair alone outside of their room for another 30 minutes while people randomly came in and out and I strained to see what was happening through a reflection in the mirror on the wall. I told myself that as long as I continued to hear casual banter inside, things had to be relatively stable … which turned out to be a safe assessment because when the doctor finally paused to explain everything to me, they were looking about as good as they could given the circumstance…

And I’ve got to say, that’s something actually pretty important to me because the doctor in the NICU – who was actually the same attending physician when Christopher was here 2.5 years ago, mind you – was very careful with his words to say that the babies weren’t ok or stable. They were doing ok for being in the NICU, but they were still in the NICU and as such it’s important for us to remember that they’re still sick babies, and that just like her delivery that got triggered fairly suddenly, things could slip for the babies just the same.

I guess maybe I just appreciate the straight, factual honesty because while everyone else around us is saying encouraging thoughts like, “Everything is going to be ok…” and “They’ll be fine…”, the reality of the situation is that they are in neonatal intensive care and we need to be very attentive to their care in order for them both to grow healthy enough to come home.

Granted, overall this has been a lot easier the second time around, I think for a number of reasons…

  • Everything from the birth to the NICU to even eventually bringing the babies home isn’t new to us anymore.
  • I’ve got much better control of my anxiety than I did a few years ago.
  • I’ve also got a much better support system for when I don’t have control of my anxiety that I didn’t have a few years ago.

So fast-forward to the end of one of the longest days I’ve had in a while … everything is ok, for now.

We’ve got two very little boys who are resting quietly in the NICU, and Sara is recovering well from her brush with breathlessness.

More tomorrow. 😉

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