A year ago today I got up around 5:00 am. They started inducing me around 5:30. My doctor broke my water mid morning and I got an epidural (make that two epidurals) when the contractions became stronger. (Unfortunately the first epidural only worked on one side of my body). I didn't feel good...but it wasn't the worst pain I'd ever been in. I'll have to attribute that pain to a kidney stone. All day long I was calm but uncomfortable. I was given magnesium via iv, and as the nurses assured me, it made me feel like I had the flu. And all day long I waited. I didn't really watch tv or talk. I didn't ask for those back rubs that husbands are supposed to give wives when they're in labor. I didn't really want to be touched. I just waited. The doctor thought there would be a baby come late afternoon, but still there was no Graham. The nurses increased the pitocin but my contractions were irregular. One nurse told me, "these are the strangest contractions I've ever seen." I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with that information, but I knew things weren't going as I had hoped. When the evening came, my doctor mentioned a c-section. He said he was willing to wait, but he thought I was going to have a c-section. So Jeff and I decided to wait a hour more. When the doctor returned, I had progressed only slightly and my contractions had decreased in intensity. So a c-section it was. I always thought c-sections were quick, but it seemed to take forever. I kept asking why Graham wasn't crying and the doctor assured me that the magnesium they had given me made him sluggish. The nurse brought Graham to me for a quick kiss and then left the room. My nurses took me out of the OR and to my room for the night. Jeff came back and gave me the news. They were admitting Graham to the NICU. "The NICU?" I couldn't believe it. I thought after making it to 36 weeks he would be safe from the NICU. The neonatologist said that only about 10% of the 36 week babies have to go to the NICU. Percentages obviously weren't working in our favor. I didn't get to hold Graham the day he was born, but my nurse put up pictures of him on my bed so I could look at him throughout the night. The neonatalogist visited the room and informed us that Graham was having some difficulty breathing and that he probably had a massive headache. (She said a lot more, but I was completely out of it and fighting to keep my eyes open!)Graham had been stuck, and the only way he was coming out was via c-section. I can't imagine how bad his head must have been hurting! If you've seen pictures of his enormous cone head, you'd understand. It was all a little surreal. I had a baby, but I didn't feel like I had a baby. The NICU had my baby. Was I really a mom?
I often hear people say that the day their children were born were the happiest days of their lives. Sadly, I can't say that this day a year ago was the happiest day of my life. A full day of labor and no baby to hold? No thank you. But then I think again. Being a mom is one of the happiest parts of my life and that day made me a mom. In retrospect it may have been the happiest day of my life.
Well, Jeff Graham and I just returned from the hospital. As soon as we walked into the building I remembered the smell. We passed the NICU and made our way to Labor and Delivery. We handed cupcakes to the nurses who were so kind and helpful during my long stay. I was so glad that the two nurses who helped deliver Graham were working tonight. I was afraid they had forgotten me, but of course they hadn't. We thanked them for all that they did, and I got a little emotional as we left the building. A year ago Graham came into the world right there in that hosptial. And that's the end of this Graham story. Only one more Graham story to go.
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