Hey DrewFan! Did you really think I would forget about you? I know we were busy yesterday, it being your birthday and America's birthday and all. So this is a day late... but we went to the movies, played Wii, saw the fireworks, you know just the typical thing for your birthday.
Ahh, Drew, what to say about Drew? In some ways he is so the middle child. He's been on me for months about this post. Quietly and not so quietly asking, 'Are you going to one of those for me on your blog? Are you going to take my picture?' Like there was any doubt in my mind I wouldn't do this for him. Oh kiddo, do you know how much you are loved?
Sometimes birth stories can tell you a lot about a person. The can cement who you are and your place in the family. Andrew's was a strange one in the fact it went from oh-so normal to not-so great in a matter of hours. Not that Drew isn't great but you'll see.
When I found out I was pregnant, Rich was ecstatic. This was his first kid. He was 32 and had been waiting a long time to have a kid. I was happy but I had already been there done that. Rich was so happy he had enough joy for the both of us. I went to the ob/gyn and everything was great. My doctor loved my hips. He said something along the lines of 'You've got great hips. This birth is going to be easy.' Dr. R and I set up a birth plan, I had already had Katie without any drugs so they wouldn't be needed unless I really wanted them and he figured out my due date of July 8th and reassured me that he would be there for the birth, he wasn't going on vacation or anything.
Everything went swimmingly. It was a happy time. Rich and I were getting settled into our apartment, Katie was two years old and seemingly had no ill effects on her mom and dad separating. People kept telling me that I was going to have the baby on the Fourth of July, which I definitely poo-pooed. That wasn't going to happen until I went into labor on July 3rd. I'm sure lots of money was wagered and won behind my back.
I get to the hospital, labor is fine going great, until the nurse can't get a hold of Dr. R. Okay, that's fine, I've done this once, no big deal... until Dr. Evil shows up. God, do I ever still hate this woman. First, the nurse comes in with all the stuff for an enema, I was really polite and said nope. 'But the doctor expects all her patients to have one' she says.
'I'm really not her patient' is what I said, still real pleasantly. Seriously, I get cranky on my blog but after years of customer service I know it doesn't pay off to be rude. This whole conversation was pleasant but came at a price later on.
So, Dr. Evil breaks my water and in an hour they give the clear to push but right before that the doctor is in there looking around and pulls out a big needle out of that secret and wonderful place. I wondered where I had been hiding that. I didn't know I could store a needle there.
'What's that for?' I ask, trying to be calm. That needle looked to be 12 inches long.
'You need a saddle block.'
All I hear is something about you need this for the pain, all my patients get this, I've already done one side, now I need to do the other. Blah, blah, blah. The one thought I distinctly remember having before pushing was I have two sides! Two sides of what?!
Drew comes along (6 lbs. 14 oz, 21 inches long) but they take him away. They tell me he's fine just a little cold and they are going to warm him up. Alright, Katie was a little cold also. I'm figuring my womb is just so warm and toasty that my kids hate this cold new world they came into.
I want to move and I can't move my legs. I start crying and quietly freak out to my husband thinking I'm paralyzed for life. The nurse comes in and calms me down and tells me this is from the saddle block and lets me know very clearly in that nurses way that she's very angry at the doctor, for what I'm not sure. I fall asleep, in that stressed out, really tired but can't sleep way. I remember the nurses moving me and telling me Drew was fine just a little cold and they would bring him in for me to feed him in a while. They do, Drew won't eat and the nurses take him away again. Now looking back, this is where I know something is wrong. They always give the baby to you and kind of give you the 'here you go, he's all yours' routine. A couple hours later a nurse comes in and tells Rich and I they are going to put Drew into the NICU. 'He's cold, he doesn't want to get warm, doesn't want to eat, he's lethargic 'Okay. But what's a matter with him?' we ask. The nurse says she's really not sure but to think of it like he has a cold. 'He's sick.' What an odd thing to say. I get moved to my own room because that's what they do to moms who have babies in the NICU. After the twentieth nurse comes in my room to check in on me, I jokingly ask them,'Am I on suicide watch? Because I'm fine, just tired and would like to see Andrew.'
'When babies are put into the NICU, we have to watch the mom's very carefully.'
Ugh, now I'm on suicide watch but they did let me see Drew, right away.
The NICU is an odd place. Tight quarters, with signs that say something along the lines of please respect the privacy of others. But how can you? Not even inches away from Drew, there were other babies surrounding him with tubes running everywhere. The beeps and flashing from the monitors are a whole other language, one that you don't fully understand but get the meaning of, quickly. Andrew was wired from head to toe. It was funny in some ways to see this new born looking like a cross between Six Million dollar man and The Terminator. He looked so high tech, you didn't know where you could touch him at without setting him off. My kid was fully loaded with all the new bells and whistles. Rich knew two of the NICU nurses from high school, so it made the transition of going to from the birthing ward to this ward much easier. No one, from the doctors to the nurses, really said much about Drew. My ob/gyn and Dr. Evil got into a heated argument in front of me and I received an apology from Dr. Evil about my treatment and the saddle block. Something bad went down between those two, I'm pretty sure doctors don't have it out in front of alert and conscience patients. It was like General Hospital or Grey's Anatomy. Rich and I were pretty sure that the saddle block given five minutes before Drew was born was the reason why he was in the NICU. We couldn't get any information, we kept getting, 'he's sick, he's cold, he's lethargic, he doesn't want to eat.' I was discharged and that's when it hit me. I was going home but with no baby. That right there is a horrible feeling, not as bad as someone dying, but the sense of loss is big. Looking at an empty crib, while your baby is in the hospital, is a heartbreaking sight. We went to the hospital all the time. Feeding, holding, rocking, listening to him cry. I remember the first day he cried, the nurses were so happy because they told me that the crying meant he was feeling better. Sick babies don't cry. From then on, my favorite sound has been little babies crying because I know they are healthy. Unhappy, maybe, but healthy. Drew was discharged a few days after that. He spend in total about two weeks in the NICU without any explanation and by that time we were just happy to have him home.
Drew is the one Rich and worry I about. He's perfectly fine, healthy, taller than me, and eats like a horse but he's the one that keeps me up at night.
Drew, when dad says 'it's the drugs' to you when you've done something not so bright. This story is what he means.
Happy Birthday, Andrew! Mom and Dad love you very much.