Wednesday, March 28, 2012

January 28th, 2007

Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives strength to his people;

    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

I want to write a disclaimer to my previous post.  I know that it sounds cold and emotionless.  There are two reasons for this.  One, I realized while typing that out that I do not remember a lot of what happened that day.  I think this is a combination of the meds I was on and the lack of experiencing most of what happened.  I was stuck in my bed the entire day and almost all of the information I have about Cullen's birth is second hand.  Secondly, I have so many emotions about that day that it is hard to express them.  I think I ran through every emotion possible, which I believe has also jumbled up what I remember and what seemed important then and what was ACTUALLY important.

I was woken up by a sweet friend calling to pray with me.  What comfort that brought.  To hear someones voice and be prayed with.  I no longer had the words to pray, so to have someone pray for me was quite the relief.

The doctor came in shortly after.  He has been my doctor since I was 5 years old and delivered my first son.  I trust him and was relieved to see him so early in the morning; it was 7 am.  He came to update me on Cullen, he was stable, doing well.  But they still didn't know why he had become lethargic.  They would be doing an MRI this morning.  So, they had decided to keep me at the hospital until after lunch.  There was no point in me going to the NICU because I wouldn't be able to see Cullen anyhow.  As long as I was up walking around, they would let me leave later.

My nurse helped me out of bed, walk around.  MY WORD I had forgotten how much it hurt.  But I pushed through it, knowing that I had to do well to get out of there.  My nurse from the day before came in.  She gave me a huge hug and talked through what had happened after she had left for the day.  My parents showed up shortly after.  I took a shower and ate.

Jason called and told me Cullen had done well with the MRI.  They had a feeding tube in him, but he would be able to give him a bottle soon because he was doing so well.  He also LOVED the night nurse and the day nurses were great too.  He was doing ok.  But I could tell, in his voice, he wasn't.  He doesn't deal well with medical issues.  I couldn't imagine how he was holding up.  He told me that we had a room at the Ronald McDonald house.  It was nice with a comfortable bed and lots of food we could eat.  It was all superficial chit chat.  I don't think either of us wanted to REALLY talk to the other over the phone.  Our emotions were too raw.

The c-section doctor decided that he wasn't going to do rounds until that evening.  That meant that I wasn't going to be able to leave until then.  I was disappointed, but also relieved because walking around was still really hard and painful.  After lunch, my nurse said that she was going to MAKE me take a nap.  No visitors, no calls.  My parents left and I quickly fell asleep.  I woke up to the people in the next room laughing and joking.  I knew that another baby had been born the day before and assumed it was her family.  I don't know why, but listening to them is what made me break.  I lost it.  I cried and cried and cried.  I wanted to call the nurse and tell them to shut those other people up.  But I couldn't, I was crying too hard.  I wanted to call my mom so I wouldn't be alone.  But I couldn't, I was crying too hard.  I wanted one of the nurses to come in and sit with me.  But I couldn't, I was crying too hard.

I am not sure how long I sat alone in that room crying.  The cafeteria called to find out if I was going to order dinner.  I had a very candid discussion with the lady, debating on if I should get food or not since I anticipated leaving soon.  She convinced me to get something.  I hung up and realized how ridiculous my conversation with her had been, she probably thought I was nutty.

My parents came back.  I had calmed down enough to call my mom and ask her to come.

The next hour or two flew by.  Jason called and said that in order to help keep Cullen's body temp up, they were only letting him hold him when it was time to eat, so if I wanted to hold him, I needed to be up there before 9.  The doctor came in and checked me and said I was free to go.  We rushed to get my things packed and get me out of there.  It was excruciating getting into my parent's van, but I got into the seat, held a pillow against my stomach to help with the bumps and turns and we flew to the other hospital.  It was about an hour drive and we wanted to make sure we go there in time to hold Cullen.

We got there in time.  I not only got to hold Cullen, but I also got to give him a bottle.  It was a sweet night.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

January 27th, 2012

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Jason and I got up around 4 am to get ready to go to our little town's hospital.  I straightened my hair, did my makeup, and prayed that everything would go well.  I remember being excited about being able to "look good" for the pictures my brother would be taking after we had Cullen.  

We got to the ER entrance at 5am.  I walked in and the lady at the desk said, "You must be Erin!  Here to have your baby.  Do you want me to wheel you up?"  I laughed, no, I could walk myself up.  I have always thought it silly that the nurses wheel up the mom's who are having C-sections.

Jason and I went up to the 3rd floor.  Our room was #303.  I changed, got hooked up to the monitors, and waited.  And waited.

My parents showed up at 7:30 (ish) with our 5 year old.  He was so excited to get his gift from us and from Cullen.  Although he was very skeptical that Cullen could get him something since he wasn't born yet.

I walked back, got my spinal and waited for Jason.

My C-section was much worse then I would have ever imagined.  It felt like they had to jump on the top of my stomach to get Cullen out.  But once they had him out, he screamed and cried.  Jason said he had a ton of hair, which he did.  He was chubby and beautiful!  His apgar score was a 9 both times.  He peed on the nurse :-)  Everything seemed fine with him.  

With me, not so much.  I am not completely sure I can explain what happened, but I could feel 
they did when they cleaned and sewed me up, but the pain was all in my chest.  I was in so much pain I sounded like a woman giving birth, not one with the baby already born.  I was in such a pitiful state, Jason refused to leave my side and take the baby out.  He stayed with me until they were done and then took Cullen out to meet his big brother.

I am not completely clear on all that happened after that.  I was tucked tightly into my warm blanket cocoon, in the recover room.  The TV was on, and the monitors beeped and I just basked in the warmth and glow of thinking about this new little boy that I couldn't wait to hold.  But he was never brought to me.

Jason came in and said that they were having a hard time waking him up.  His vitals were all good, but they were a little concerned.  Don't worry though, he would be fine.

I finished with recovery and was wheeled into my room.  Still hadn't seen or held Cullen.  Jason would come in sporadically and give me updates, but nothing concrete.

Finally, he came in, tears in his eyes, and told me that there was something wrong with Cullen.  His vitals were good and they had given him an X-ray, but they couldn't figure out what was wrong.  He was limp, unresponsive, and his glucose was low.  They had tried to draw blood and he never cried.  He never even flinched.  The big city neonatal unit had come out and also assessed him.  They decided they were going to take him to their NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to further evaluate him.  And they were leaving now.

Carol, one of the NICU ladies brought him into the room.  It was the first time I had seen him since Jason had held him up to me an eternity hours before.  She brought him over and told me I had about 10 minutes before they had to leave.

It was strange.  Holding him with a room full of people I didn't know standing around.  All my mind kept screaming at me was to not cry in front of them.  It wasn't until a few weeks later I realized that my mind was in defense mode, refusing to allow me to think that that moment might have been the first and last time I ever held my baby.

I held him.  

Cherished him.  
Memorized his chunky cheeks and sweet blue eyes.

Then they took him, strapped him into his little box, and promised me that they would drive slowly and without the siren on.

They shuffled him out and Jerek went running after them.  He wanted to tell his little brother good bye one more time.

Jason and his parents left to be with Cullen.  My parents stayed with me for a little while and then they left.  Carol, the NICU lady called me.  They had gotten to the hospital safely.  Cullen was doing well.  The "sugar drip" seemed to be working and he was becoming more responsive.  

My nurse came in.  She said that the doctor might let me leave in the morning.  I had to be able to get up and walk around, but they would do help me do that in the morning.  Did I need anything.  No.  

I wanted to scream "YES!" I need my husband.  I need my baby.  I need everything to be alright.  I need to wake up and start the day all over.

She came in a little later.  I still hadn't fallen asleep.  She suggested I take a sleeping pill.  I was apprehensive.  I had never taken one before and I wanted to be able to wake up if something happened or if Jason called.  She assured me it would just help me sleep, make me drowsy, but would not knock me out.  I took them and slept.

Baby Cullen

I am sitting here at the computer, holding my sweet Cullen and trying to type with one hand.  Cullen is 7 weeks old today and even though I know typing out his story will be beneficial, not only for me, but hopefully for other families, I am still dreading it.  We have told his story over and over to family, friends, doctors, nurses, and specialists that I am afraid I have become numb to the raw emotions that I want to express.  I want to remember it all and yet I want to forget it and just be thankful for my sweet baby.

I want to start at the beginning.  Even though this is Cullen's story, it is essentially our family's story and it started long before he was ever conceived.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

This verse has become our family's prayer.  3 1/2 years ago, Jason was definitively called to the ministry and started taking classes through our denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Our son, Jerek, was 2 at the time.  He had come much earlier in our marriage then we had anticipated having children and even though it had made life more complicated then we had expected, we loved having him and wouldn't have changed it for the world.  I was finishing up my Early Education degree at the time.  Life was crazy hectic with both of us in school, but we knew we were doing what God was calling us to do.  We also knew, as badly as I wanted another child, it was not the time!  There were times I wanted another baby so badly, I was secretly praying that I would just get pregnant.  But, I didn't and we kept chugging along, finishing school and finally moving out of my in-laws (after 3 1/2 years) and getting a place of our own.

In November of 2010, my hairdresser mentioned that I had lost A LOT of hair, enough that I should probably go see a doctor. I posted about that here.  In December we decided that I should go off birth control because it was probably the culprit.  We then discussed for a couple months about having a baby.  Jason was just about done with school and I had not gotten a job that year, I was only subbing.  We decided to just let something happen if it was going to happen.

On Memorial Day weekend we found out we were pregnant.  I was SO SO SO excited.  The next nine months were fairly easy.  I was more tired then I had been when I was pregnant with Jerek and I also had "morning" sickness from about 11 am until 5 or 6 pm until I was about 18 weeks along.  Everything was going well though.  No problems with my pregnancy and at my ultrasound they said he was "perfect".

The night before my C-section, we went out as a little family of 3 to a Japanese habachi restaurant.  We had so much fun, but a I was a little sad to think that my big boy of almost 5 was going to be a big brother.  Sad that it was our last night as 3.  We dropped him off at Mana and Papa's and went home to try and get some sleep before we had to be at the hospital at 5 am.