Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Little Boy Arrives

Despite what I'd heard about induced labours being tough, after three babies now, I can say that Jairus' was the easiest.

They started the induction about 11:30 pm on March 29th. I didn't feel anything start until about an hour later. I was lying in bed, James and Mom were around, trying to nap in chairs and suddenly I felt and heard at the same time, this big 'POP'. I think it was my water, but nothing came gushing out. But then I felt it. The pain...

I was in labour for another 4 hours and really, for my first time, I think I handled it quite well. James was a huge support, breathing and holding my hand through each contraction until I started to feel like things were happening on their own. Only a few minutes of pushing--maybe 10, and Jairus was born.

They laid him on my tummy and he was fairly blue. I was so alarmed and wanted Tamara to take him immediately and get him breathing. She did so and a minute later, we heard him start to cry.

The neonatologist who was on call for his birth came in and started to examine him. I could hear him mentioning things to the nurse who was charting, but some of it I didn't understand. I did hear him say 'cleft palate', however.

Through all the ultrasounds, the cleft palate had not been spotted. It's understandable--the palate is harder to see than a cleft lip. Still, it was a little bit of a shock, as I just hadn't thought about it.

Soon they wrapped him up and Tamara brought him over for me to hold. He was pretty alert for all he'd just been through. At the time, his breathing seemed fine.

I only had him for a few minutes, and then they took him to the Level II nursery. James went with the baby, and mom stayed with me while the midwives finished up. Not long after, James came back very concerned. They had told him some of the other issues they were finding with Jairus and more importantly, he was really having difficulty breathing. They were going to transfer him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

It was a number of hours later until I saw Jairus again. A nurse who came to check on me asked all about the birth and Jairus and whether I'd seen him. I still hadn't slept from being up all night giving birth (this was now around 9-10am) but she insisted I go now, down to the NICU to see him. Important for 'bonding'.

I'll never forget that first visit. As James wheeled me in, I passed by many other sick babies in their isolettes. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn't know which one was my son. Of course I couldn't expect to recognize him at this stage, but I was still embarrassed to have to ask "Which one is he?".

At first he had what looked like a strange soother in his mouth, but it was actually a breathing tube. It went just to the back of his throat and he was quite uncomfortable with it. He was lying on his tummy to help keep his tongue forward and only wearing a diaper. I reached in and touched his soft little shoulder, all dark red like I was when I was born. He flinched and cried and I felt so badly that he'd already come to associate touch with pain. I felt a strange guilt that he had to be born--he was so much happier and safer inside me.

Those first few visits I just sat and cried, and prayed and sang to him. It was one of the lowest times of my life.

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