Saturday, July 2, 2011
Memories of Birth, Teale, part five
The waiting was excruciating. I'm sure I was quite loopy as I over respond to anesthesia. This was my first surgery ever and the medicines really knocked me. I hated the feeling but struggled to get words out, thoughts were so foggy that I couldn't even verbalize that I thought I was over medicated. Mark thought I was just in shock, trying to deal with all the emotions we were both feeling. It would take my falling asleep in mid sentence while talking to our pediatrician a couple days after her birth for Mark to finally understand I was over medicated. I share this because the first two days of Teale's life were and still are somewhat blank to me. I know what I was told, I have some memories, but all in all, the drugs I was being given for pain also gave me amnesia. Whether this was the intentions of the hospital and doctors or not, I do not know. I have thought it may have been a purposeful move, as the grief over how the birth had gone may have taken over me and the fear I was going to go into a deep postpartum depression was high. As we waited for the news that the gastroschisis repair surgery was complete, I dosed in and out, dreaming about my baby. Mark and my Mom talked in the room and I quietly listened, too tired and distraught to have conversations. The nurses were in and out, checking on my vitals, when our surgeon came in. Mark remembers his words well, "You have some shitty timing." It was the middle of the night and he would rather have been sleeping. You may be appalled by his words, but bare in mind, he was the father of a close high school friend. He was trying to add some light to a very difficult night, after all he had also advised me while I was pregnant that "these babies do very well." His demeanor had always been gruff, no offense to him or other surgeons out there, but he had the classic "I'm God, cocky attitude." As a teen staying at his house, I had a certain "fear" of him, he was not a warm Dad, but the closeness we were to develop with his caring for my daughter would change all that. His words were precise, deliberate and blunt, a style I preferred and still do in doctors. I hate sugar coating, give it to me straight, so I know what I am dealing with and can move forward. The surgery had gone well, he was able to get everything into her and close her up. She had had all of her intestine and some of her colon out. He also made the look of a belly button for her, a strange concern I had expressed at some point to him. I had wondered what children would think of her seamless, belly buttonless tummy. Now that all seems silly, but at the time I had been thinking about my child fitting in. Teale was resting and would be kept intubated and in a medicine induced coma for at least 24 hours and then we would see how she was. He had also inserted a broviac line through her neck and out her chest so that she could receive medicines more easily. The outlook for the surgery promising, how she would do otherwise was very questionable. We would be playing the wait and see game for several days, as tests were performed and she gained strength. At this point we were allowed to go see her again, I believe I was allowed to get into a wheelchair instead of being taken in my bed. As we scrubbed at the sink, we would scrub at countless times, it all seemed so surreal. It wasn't even Christmas yet, I wasn't supposed to deliver until December 30th, yet she was here, waiting for us to come see her. She looked so vulnerable laying there, more tubes than before, bandages and machines beeping near her. It was like standing in a dream, it was real, but part of me just couldn't process all I was feeling. Touching my baby's tiny hand, tears rolled down my face.