Oh my goodness. I can't believe that Buddy turns 12 today! I'm not old enough to have a 12 year old! Am I??? (Rhetorical question, don't answer that! LOL).
He was born in 1998. I write this same post pretty much every year on his birthday. But, it helps me. Up until he was about 10, I would have major anxiety in January. I think getting it all out is good.
Buddy was due on April 15, 1998.
When I couldn't feel him moving on the morning of January 21, 1998, I sensed that something was "wrong". I ended up calling my OBs office around 1 pm that day and reporting my apprehension. They told me to come on in, even though all the doctors in the practice had left for the day. (It was a Wednesday!).
Everyone I worked with, everyone I knew - including the Evil Twin - thought I was being paranoid. But, I drove myself to the doctor's office. The nurse performed a non stress test and said that the baby was moving, just so slight I couldn't feel it.
The doctor on call was informed and he made the decision to send me to radiology for a biophysical profile. The biophysical profile is an extensive ultrasound that measures a number of things, like movements, heart rate, etc.
On my way to radiology, I used the pay phone to call the Evil Twin and tell him what was going on. By the time he showed up at the hospital, the high risk OB on call was checking me out. He called my regular OB on call. We heard him say, "I'm looking for every reason in the world to not deliver this baby today, but I can't find one."
It was then we knew that Buddy was coming at 28 weeks gestation, a full 3 months before his due date.
He arrived by emergency c-section at around 5:40 in the evening. He weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces and was 15 inches long. I was only able to get a spinal block (not an epidural) and no other meds that might make his situation more perilous.
The high risk doctor suspected his cord was wrapped around his neck, but when they pulled him out, that was not the case. And by "they", I mean three teams of medical professionals - the high risk OB and his staff, my regular OB and his staff and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit neonatologist and his staff. There were roughly 20 people in the room. And, I know this because I was awake the entire time.
The Evil Twin saw the whole ordeal because there was no time to set up a drape in front of my face. He sat on my left and held my hand while the show went on. I remember we talked back and forth during the brief operation. I had a nurse holding my right hand, because they wanted to strap my hands to the table and I wouldn't have that, so they settled with having someone hold both arms down, so I wouldn't contaminate the sterile environment if I put my hands to my abdomen.
I briefly saw him as he was whisked off to the NICU. They said, "It's a boy!" and I said, "I know." They asked his name and we called it out. By the time I was cleaned up and in recovery, it was probably close to 7 pm. Then, I was moved into a regular room.
I still hadn't actually seen Buddy yet. It was after a firm ass reaming by my sister in law and much pleading on my part that I was finally allowed to be wheeled to the NICU in a wheelchair to see him at midnight.
I was able to touch him and the nurse took a polaroid picture so I could keep looking at him.
He was on a ventilator for 9 days, so we were unable to hold him during that time. I did get a chance to change his teeny tiny diaper about 4 or 5 days after he was born:
He spent 6.5 weeks (48 days)in the NICU. We brought him home at 3lbs, 12 ounces and on a heart/apnea monitor, but he was finally HOME!
I had a hard time finding clothes to fit, even the preemie clothes were just too big. I had to special order preemie diapers. I wanted to breast feed him, so I had a hospital grade pump and for almost 5 months, I pumped and fed him by bottle. I was a very busy, very frazzled mom.
On top of all that, he had the heart/apnea monitor, doctor appointments, therapy appointments and probably most importantly appointments with the opththalmologist. (that's a medical eye doctor). He had ROP (retinopathy of prematurity, which can cause blindness if not treated). He had laser surgery on both eyes before he was even due, but after being discharged from the hospital. He has worn glasses since he was 18 months old.
This little, tiny guy has grown into a straight A student who amazes me every day with his knowledge and desire to learn more, whether it's astronomy or building complicated LEGO sets, he takes it all in. He is a great kid!
Happy Birthday, Buddy. I'm glad you were such a fighter!
PS. I keep this poem close to me at all times. I post it every year, so I figure it's a tradition at this point:
By Garrison Keillor
When I first saw you, kid, you were tiny and thin,
And slimy and red and your head was mushed in,
I says to your mother, "He looks kind of sloppy,
And two pounds four ounces ain't big for a crappie."
But something about you, the look in your eyes,
Said you fully intended to grow to full size,
They slapped your backside and you let out a cry,
And I said, "We will keep him, at least we shall try."
Some babies are born in nine months, by the clock,
Some babies are born, and they sit up and talk,
Some babies are born, and no doctor is there.
Some babies are born, on a wing and a prayer.
Poor little fetus, as big as your hand,
Poor little fish thrown up on dry land,
Who came in April, though he had till July,
Too small to live and too precious to die.
They shipped you downstairs to the big Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit's computerized cradle
And attached you to wires and stuck you with tubes
Monitored closely by digital cubes.
And thanks to the latest neonatal therapeusis
And regular basting with greases from gooses
And hot chicken soup intravenously fed
You did not fade away, you grew up instead.
We'll always remember those months that you spent
With tubes in your head in the oxygen tent
And the mask on your face with the wires attached,
Sweet little boy who was only half-hatched.
I'm sure you'll grow up to mature and extend,
To six feet six inches and become a tight end,
But I'll always remember each doctor and nurse in
The NICU who helped make you a person,
The kid who crash landed, who was carried away,
Who survived it, this bundle we bring home today.