5/16/11

SweetPea's Birth Story ... Part 2

Start with Part 1 HERE

Her first apgar score was a 7, but her crying got softer and weaker.  The cord had been wrapped around her neck 3 times, but things had gone so quickly and calmly, that I didn't know that until later.  Her second apgar score was a 3.

The room quietly went into action.  Several people (the NICU team) gently took my baby over to the warmer, and started working with her.  I couldn't see much - there were so many people in my room.  My doctor worked on me, and my nurse kept reassuring me.  

After a couple more minutes, more people came into my room, one with a crash cart.  I didn't notice much - it was all too sureal.  I was thankfully unaware that the "code blue" alarm that had been called through the hospital loudspeaker was in regards to my baby, who wasn't breathing or responding.  Outside my room was a flurry of chaos, but inside our delivery room, it was calm and peaceful, everyone working together quietly to keep my baby alive and me blissfully calm (and my blood pressure from going up even more, had I known what was going on).  Looking back, I could be upset that I was kept in the dark about how dire the situation was, but I am so grateful for the calm peacefulness that was in that delivery room.  I kept looking over at the warmer to see my baby, but she was blocked by people, and my nurse and doctor kept my attention on them, and kept me calm and distracted, talking softly to me about how well I'd done.  

The crash cart came in about the same time that the NICU team decided to take my baby back to the NICU.  I didn't realize that the cart was there for my baby, I simply assumed that it was a precaution due to my baby's slightly early arrival, and assumed the same thing about the baby being taken to the NICU.  I told my husband "Go - stay with the baby!" and he left the room with the majority of the other people.  The doctor finished up, and left me with just the nurse and her aide to prep me for recovery.  

After a little while, someone came in and whispered to the nurse.  She left for a moment, then came back - "Your baby needs a little extra help, so they've decided to transfer her to another hospital.  We're going to try and speed up this recovery process for you, so you can go see her for a few minutes before the transport team arrives."  I began to panic, but just as quickly as that panic set in, it began to fade.  I just felt peace and calm.  God was helping me, sending me peace, letting me stay calm through a chaotic and anxious time.  

The epidural wore off after a little time, and once the nurse was convinced that I was doing well, she helped me into a wheelchair, and wheeled me and my IV stand to the elevators.  We went down to the nursery, and through a door into the very small Level 2 nursery, where my baby was laying in an open warmer, with a doctor, a respiratory specialist and 2 nurses surrounding her.  She had been intubated, and was hooked up to the respirator.  The doctor was talking about the umbilical lines that he was going to put in.  My husband came to my side, and slipped his hand into mine.  "She's going to be okay.  They are going to transfer her, since this hospital doesn't keep babies that are on the vent.  Look at how pink she is now!"  

A nurse came up to me, and introduced herself as my new nurse in recovery.  She handed me water and painkillers, and asked if I needed anything.  She told me to not over-do it, but I could stay with my baby until the transport team arrived.  I was relieved that I could stay with my little one for a while longer.

While the doctor and nurse were putting in the umbilical lines, the Life Flight transport team arrived.  There was the helicopter pilot, a security officer, and two flight nurses - one was a woman who specialized in pediatric nursing, and one was a man who specialized in neonatal nursing.  The man went over to the doctor, and started charting information, but the woman came over to me.  "You must be the mom," She said.  She introduced herself, and asked what our baby's name was.  Her eyes were very kind and calm, and I felt the calmness rubbing off on me as she joked about our baby's first helicopter ride - "I never rode in a helicopter until I was an adult - imagine the bragging your little girl can do when she gets to kindergarten!  And just so she can prove it, I brought you this!"  She handed me a tiny tee-shirt with a picture of a helicopter labeled "Life Flight", and I laughed.  I already trusted this woman to protect my baby and get her to the other hospital safely.  

The doctor got the baby stable, and finished the umbilical lines, then moved aside for the transport team to do their job.  They had brought in a full-sized gurney with them - filled with all sorts of equipment, all surrounding a small incubator.   The transport team moved slowly and purposefully, trading out wires and tubes to get my baby hooked up to the life flight system.  Then they gently moved her over to the incubator.  The two nurses on the team were as different as night and day.  The woman fussed to get everything just right, while the man was all business, getting charting info and talking in medical terms with the doctor.  The man kept asking about the baby, "So, then how did "he" react?  What's his blood gas levels?  How were his lung xrays".  Every time the man called the baby "he" or "him", the woman would lean over and say "Her", "She", "Her", "She", then roll her eyes.  She would interject into the conversation every few sentances - "This baby is a girl!"  Finally, she looked exasperated: "Some one find me a bow!!!"  One of the nursery nurses came in with a bow, and the life flight nurse quickly put it on the baby ... "There, now you have NO excuse to call her a "Him"!" she said to the man.  She looked back at me and smiled, "I would have gone crazy on the flight correcting him every 2 seconds!"  It was a silly little thing - so unimportant in the grand scheme of saving my baby's life - save her life, and I don't care if you call her a him ... but it meant a lot to me, seeing this woman I didn't know, care about my baby, and care about every detail about my baby, even down to making others get the gender correct.  

It seemed like both an eternity, and a split second before the transport team had everything ready to go.  The life flight nurse made everyone wait while she wheeled me up to the incubator, so I could give my baby a kiss, and my husband could take a picture.  Then they left, with my husband trailing behind so he could meet the helicopter up at the other hospital.  I sat for a second.  The room seemed empty.  The doctor sat at a table, talking with a nurse about a procedure ... they were going on with their day.  I sat, feeling helpless in a wheelchair, uncomfortable and in pain from childbirth.  A nurse walked by, and stopped, asking if I needed help back to my room.  I nodded, not wanting to speak - tears threatening to explode out of my eyes.  She found my nurse, who helped me into my room.  As I was settling into the bed, I heard helecoptor blades going, and the nurse went to the window - the life flight chopper was taking off, with my new, helpless baby inside, going to a hospital I'd never even heard of - which wasn't far away, but it may as well have been on the other side of the world at that moment, because ANYWHERE but with me was too far away. The nurse left me to rest, and I closed my eyes and just let the tears fall.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I am so glad it's over and everything has turned out so well now!