What started out as the single most horrendous experience of my entire being, has turned into an amazing learning experience and one of the most positive situations I can possibly describe.
At a mere 22 weeks, I began having labor pains, and not just Braxton Hicks. These were full on labor contractions. Simultaneously, there were intense marital problems, which caused much fighting, heartbreak, and stress. Two stubborn hearts trying to force the magnets together… it seemed impossible.
Then, the improbable happened, I woke up, alone with 2 kids, with full-on 3-minute apart labor contractions. Stuck in the middle of nowhereville, 3 hours north of Las Vegas, where doctors travel in and out of every other week, so who knew what could happen. I called my mother-in-law. She was the first on my mind. I wasn’t certain I was having real contractions, because the pain was drastically different than with Kaida. I explained it to Becky, and she directed me to immediately hang up and call Todd, who was at work. So I did. I was a little hysterical, in pain, and scared out of my mind. He gets on the phone and I tell him to come home because I think I’m in labor, as I have a contraction while on the phone with him. He instructs me to immediately hang up and call Jeremiah, because he was off work and in town and could come to my aide. When I hung up the phone, the only person I could think of was Tamara. I called her cell. Was holding back hysterics, but she could hear right through my façade, as usual. I told her I hoped to God she wasn’t at work. She said, “What’s wrong??” I told her, “I think I’m in labor.” ‘Click’ was all I heard. 2 minutes later she was busting through my front door. She ran all the way from the Station House where her and hubby were having breakfast, leaving him behind to pay the bill. She instantly ushers me to the truck and John shows up to take care of my monkeys.
I was in pain. I was scared. And I was worried for this little man who wasn’t fully 25 weeks along. Tamara drove me to the hospital. Into the ER we went. I would not let her leave my side. She called everyone important to let them know. They had me upside down and on a Magnesium drip. She stayed. Until the ambulance drove me to the airport, she stayed. Even after Todd arrived, she stayed; held my hand, calmed my fears, made me breathe. She reminded me of her son, Dimitri. He was born too early, and the idiot Doctor made her push him out instead of taking him via c-section. The trauma through the birthing canal caused unnecessary problems. He lived 8 hours. I couldn’t be in the hospital with her, but I was there for her as much as I could be at the time. It was the most difficult experience for 2 19-year-olds to have to endure. I was reminded of this so I refused to give birth to my son in the middle of nowhere with an ER doctor who had to remain on the phone with a specialist in Vegas the entire time I was there! They waited 2 hours for the perinatal team to arrive. Then they wanted me to push him out. I looked at Tamara, could see the stubborn, disobedient look in her eyes. I looked at my husband, fear and desperation in his. So I feigned a push. Nothing happened. The ER Dr. immediately called the Sunrise specialist again. He said to have me push once again, and once again I feigned it. So, the Sunrise specialist, Dr. Miller, said “Put her on the plane with the perinatal team and send her here!”
They put me back on magnesium, back upside down, and strapped me to the gurney. Then some bad news came. Todd could not fly with me and I had to say goodbye to Tamara. He was going to rush home to get some things and fly his ass down to Vegas as quickly as our hot rod would safely allow. I remember Tamara whispering to me, “You make them give you a c-section. DEMAND IT!! I love you.”
And then I was alone with the perinatal team, and our town doc Dr. Scoccia, out to the airport and onto the plane. I had only a few hard contractions on the plane. Scoccia kept telling me to go to a happy place. And I tried.
Finally at Sunrise, and I meet the Doctors who specialized in this department: premature births. Todd shows up finally, and everything seems OK. They put another shot of steroids in me, leave me upside down which caused an excruciating headache, and wanted me to remain this way as long as possible. Around 4 am the following morning, my water broke. There was no stopping this little boy from entering the world now. And now he was exactly 25 weeks.
They were prepping me for c-section, because every time a Dr. came in, that is what I asked about, with Tamara’s words ringing in my head. The doctor said it would absolutely be a c-section unless something goes wrong to prevent it. The amniotic sac was already bulging out, and now the water was broken, so if anything else changed, there would be no c-section. I prayed. It took a few hours to prep us for surgery. I’m hysterical now, unable to calm down; he was way too young to come out, I didn’t want him to come out. They roll me into the operating room, as I keep asking for my husband. The anesthesiologist started the shots in my spine to get me numbed. I’m still a little hysterical, and mentally believe the shots aren’t working. Todd is finally holding one of my tied-down hands. The anesthesiologist is at my other side. I keep telling him the medicine isn’t working. He keeps telling me to calm down, and that it is. Todd keeps telling me to calm down. I keep asking for more numbing agents, as I hear the operating Doctors say they’ve already cut me open and were about to pull the baby out. Now I’m even more hysterical, I didn’t want it to be real; I didn’t want them to actually be taking him out, he wasn’t ready! I start freaking out. I’m crying and begging Todd, for what I’m not sure. He keeps telling me that it’s OK. The anesthesiologist gives me something that knocks me out, and I drifted away. Todd watches as the amazing perinatal team grabs our son, all 1 pound 6 ounces of him. He shoots a couple photos.
I wake up a while later in the recovery room. There was a nurse with me, and I just wanted to know how the baby was. I was really out of it; I wasn’t able to speak clearly. After a while longer they wheel me into my room and I meet up with my hubby again. I just wanted to see the baby and know he was OK. Everyone kept telling me he was just fine, but I wasn’t allowed to see him yet because I was still recouping from surgery. He was upstairs in the NICU, I was downstairs in the Mommy ward. Sixteen hours later I was finally allowed to go see him. Todd had left to go meet his parents, so the nurse wheeled me there. All I could do was cry; he was so tiny, frail, thin. He was hooked up to everything you can or can’t imagine. He was inside an incubator, intubated, IVs everywhere, mask over his face to protect his eyes from the Billy Ruben lights. I wasn’t allowed to hold him. All I could do was stare through the plexi-glass at this tiny little fighter who was born 15 weeks too soon! I was so scared for him.
For 3 months I watched him inside the NICU. At 2 weeks old I was finally able to hold him.
Within the 3 months I was only allowed to hold him a handful of times. Then the day came… he’d met all of his goals: gained weight, was drinking from a bottle, able to maintain his own body temperature, and passed the car seat test. Mommy walked out of that Hospital NICU for the last time, with Draikaiden. He was almost 5 pounds.
He still remains the strongest person I know. He fought harder than anyone I’ve ever met. Brother and Sister welcomed him home with excitement and love. We’ve watched him grow from a 1 pound 6 ounce miracle baby, into the nearly 20 pound monkey he is today.
He’s crawling all over the house, faster than most of us are ready for; he’s pulling himself up onto things to stand; he’s teething like crazy; he’s loud, he happy, and today is ONE YEAR OLD! It seemed like I would never take him home. It seemed like THIS day would never come!
But here we are! Celebrating a first birthday for the strongest person I know!
Happy Birthday Baby Boy!
Mommy Loves you more than you can imagine! To the moon and back!