Caleb is six months old today! It's amazing how fast time has flown, and how lucky we really are to be here today. I can hardly believe it. And so, this seems the perfect time to tell about how that day went down for us.
Six months ago, today, I went to church with my mom and sister who were in town because it was the weekend of my baby shower (I was seven months pregnant). As we were leaving, I got the sensation that I was peeing myself on the church steps. By the time I got home, I knew the large amount of fluid that I was sitting in in my car wasn't pee. I called the midwife on call, and she sent me to the hospital. Since I was 32 weeks, there wouldn't have been anything she could have done for me. On our way to the hospital, contractions started, and were immediately 3 minutes apart, lasting 30-45 seconds. I fully expected that we were going to be checked in, given drugs to stop labor and mature his lungs, and then we would have an early baby within 24-48 hours. I was partially right. When we arrived at the hospital, RB dropped me off at the door and I headed up to L&D. I was walking a bit slowly, but the contractions weren't so bad that I needed a wheelchair or anything. When I got to the intake desk, I mentioned that I was 32 weeks and my water had broken. The nurse started to gather paperwork for me to fill out. And then I mentioned that I was having contractions 3 minutes apart, and suddenly I was pointed to a room to be checked out.
The first check of my cervix occurred shortly thereafter -- about 2 hours after the first signs of my water breaking. I was already 7cm dilated. At this point, I kinda freaked. I knew they couldn't stop labor beyond a couple of centimeters of dilation, and I knew that a 32-weekers lungs aren't ready for the outside world, and that steroids usually need at least 24 hours to work well. I knew I didn't have 24 hours. I don't think that it helped that all the personnel started freaking and bustling a lot more, too. Within 30 minutes, I had given them as much history as I could between contractions (I wasn't supposed to deliver at this hospital, so they didn't have any paperwork on me), signed lots of stuff, and the OB on call was in the room starting to say things like, "We are about to have a baby!" and "We need a lot more people in here right now!" Ten minutes later, I was pushing. Three pushes, and we had a baby! He did cry, but it was pretty wimpy. His apgar scores were low (5 and 7), but they let me see and hold him for about two minutes before they whisked him off to the NICU.
And so, Caleb joined us on the outside on July 22, 2012, at 1:30 in the afternoon, just 3 hours after I left church that morning thinking I peed myself. My mom, my sister, and RB's mom were all still in town from the shower having been the day before. They didn't get to see him that day, though, so they all went home. RB and I got to see him in the NICU for the first time about 5:30 in the evening. He wasn't as little as I expected (turns out gestational diabetes is good for something!), at 4 pounds 6 ounces, but he had so much attached to his little head there was no way to know what he looked like. The only thing I knew was that he was pink and breathing. The rest, I figured, we'd get to eventually. Here is Caleb the first time we visited him in the NICU:
Now, he's a happy, (mostly, ignoring the aforementioned cough) healthy 6-month-old (4 months old, adjusted), whose favorite things include being held by mommy, being held by daddy, being held by a random stranger, eating his hands, and sticking out his tongue.
So happy you're here, little man!
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
5 weeks ago