30 July 2008

The Story of Bennett's Birth According To Mom, Part 3

It was hours before the doctor came down to tell us how Bennett was doing.

There I sat alone in the Recovery room waiting to hold my newborn.  My sister, mother and son had arrived to keep us company.  But my mind and heart was still in the other room where I had last seen him.  It was very painful.

Brian offered the Psalms to read as a way to encourage me that God is good, even when life feels scary.  I wanted to read scripture.  Scripture always comes alive when you need it most.

Eventually, the NICU doctor came down and explained Bennett had meconium peritonitis (there was NO mention of Cystic Fibrosis at this point).  He expalined he would likely need surgery within the next 24 hours for a perforated colon.

The doctor said they would be life-flighting Bennett down to Scott and White hospital in Temple, Texas.  But he said we could go up see Bennett in the NICU if we wanted.  Bennett would not be coming down to see me.

We went upstairs to the NICU.  I don't remember alot about it but I do remember seeing my baby.  He didn't look like a newborn at all.  He was purplish red.  He was swollen and still.  He had tubes everywhere. The baby I had carried in my womb for 9 months looked like a plastic doll.  I didn't get to touch him.

Another few hours later, I saw him once more.  The life-flight EMTs brought him down to see me.  He was hidden within the NICU isolet strapped to a ambulance bed.  Apparently the helicopter wasn't working.  They were going to take him by ambulance.  He was more irritable now.  I could hear that faint cat-like cry.  I could not touch him to comfort him.  I said goodbye - still not fully aware how serious his situation was.

The OBGYN came in shortly after with my discharge papers.  She explained she wanted me to be with my son during surgery and wanted me to be free to go as I needed.  She also offered me a sleeping pill to take in order to help me sleep through the night if I decided not to leave the hospital until the morning.

Brian and I agreed that unless they called to say they were going to do the surgery that night, we would spend the night in the hospital to get good sleep and wake up early the next morning to leave for Temple.  I was confident that Bennett would not need emergency surgery (still, I was unaware of Bennett's critical condition) so I took the pill with the hopes I could sleep away my first night without my new baby.

It was a rude awakening at 2am when the Pediatric Surgeon called to state Bennett would be going for surgery within two hours.  I was doped up on a sleeping pill and Brian had only an hour of sleep but we decided we needed to go where Bennett was.

My mother and sister kept Oliver.  Brian and I packed our bags for the night and went to the hospital.  We arrived just in time to kiss Bennett goodbye.  He was being taken out of the NICU door to be rolled to surgery as we walked through the NICU doors.

The Pediatric Surgeon had coffee in his hand and seemed to be a bit drowsy himself.  But he sat down with us to go over any questions we might have had before he went into the several-hour surgery.  It was the words, "a bowel malrotation may not be compatible with life" that stuck with me.  This was the first time I really understood the weight of what was going on.

No, I had not lost my baby in the womb.  But no, there was no guarantee that just because Bennett was born that he was going to survive.

Fortunately, Bennett did not have a bowel malrotation.  But he did have a huge hole in his colon that needed to be repaired.

Brian and I slept in a hospital room near the NICU during the surgery.  Brian would answer the phone when the surgeon called for updates.  I slept through the entire thing as the sleeping pill I took knocked me out, for which I am so very thankful.

Click here to read "The Story of Bennett's Birth According To Mom, Part 4."

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