Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's My Mom's Fault. No Wait -- My Dad's.

I got the teary gene.

I was laughing to myself about it today, because my Dad (who was a Lutheran minister and a good preacher) would get choked up during his sermons when a point he was making was especially meaningful to him.

This past MONTH has been like that for me. I've found myself thinking or writing about our daughter Nora's birth, and it just makes me so teary, it's ridiculous.

I get all choked up thinking about that day one year ago -- September 17, 2007, when my life finally changed forever in a good way.

Six weeks after moving to Oregon to be near family, August 12, 2007, and 29 weeks into what should be a 40 week pregnancy, I bled when I went to the bathroom.

NO ONE thinks bleeding that far from your due date is a good thing. After three miscarriages and our loss of Jacob the year before, believe me, it took all I had not to have pure panic in my voice when I said:

"Brian, I have some bleeding. We need to go to the hospital right now."

So off to the community hospital. A twenty minute ride, a cell phone call to some OB on call that weekend, who told me to go to Labor & Delivery. I had the doppler Becky had lent me and I kept listening: Baby's heartbeat was strong and stable and normal.

Thank God.

They kept me in the hospital overnight for observation. We had an ultrasound that showed that my placenta wasn't in the right place, and was probably blocking the way out for the baby.

The next morning, I bled some more. Just enough to hear the words: "We're not equipped to have you here, you need to pick a hospital in Portland to go to."


The only ride I've ever had in an ambulance took me to St. Vincent's in Portland. I never dreamed I would spend the next 5 weeks there.

But I did.

I had intermittent bleeding, just enough to keep me in the hospital. I prayed to get to 32 weeks. Then 33. Then 34.

Nora made it to 34 weeks, 1 day.

The night before she was born, I started bleeding around midnight. Then again around 2, or 4, or 6....I bled several times that night. Increasing in volume.

Some doctor I'd never met before (By now I'd met EVERYONE I thought I could), came in and insisted it wasn't "time"...when every nurse on staff said they'd never seen anyone bleed that much and not deliver.

Around 7 a.m. I passed a clot the size of my fist.

Dr. Martinez decided maybe he wasn't going to be a butt anymore, and we'd have Nora today after all.

Dr. Abel (one of my favorites) heard of a scuffle with one of the patients, and came to my bedside just moments before surgery. He told me "If I'd known it was you, I would have been here a lot sooner."

He invited himself into the surgery.

Family was called. Family assembled. I started crying, realizing the Day had come.

As they wheeled me into the O.R., I started shaking and crying.

I've never been so afraid in my life. After so many losses, so much craziness. Today was the day.

After being burned so many times, I was all but certain something would go wrong at the last minute.

They asked me to hold still as they prepped me for surgery. They had to give me an epidural, and I had to be perfectly still for it.

NEVER in my life have I had to gather myself in order to gain control over my body. I summoned every ounce of strength I had to stop shaking so they could put the needle in.

Within a few seconds, it was done, and they numbed me up so they could start the surgery.

Brian kept looking over the blue wall. He watched as they cut me open, pushed on my tummy, and Nora emerged with a plaintiff cry.

It wasn't loud, but pure music to my ears.

On 9/17/07, at 8:59 a.m., weighing in at 4 lbs., 15 oz., our girl was born.

NOTHING will ever equal the sound of my daughter's first breath and cries.

They showed her to me briefly (literally a second or two), before whisking her off to get her breathing monitored.

Brian left with the baby into the NICU as they sewed me up. He bounced back and forth to show me pictures and check on our girl.

After a couple of hours in recovery, I got my legs back. And it was then I got to meet our girl.

The time since has been like a blur in its perfection. As Brian said last night, he no longer worries about her survival as we did in those first hours, days, weeks and months.

Our girl has been the light of our lives this past year.

And as my friend Gerry said recently when we connected on Facebook: "Isn't parenthood the bomb?"

Amen to that.

There's nothing better.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Happy Birthday to you!

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