Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hospital hell, part one

Hudson, I don't even know how to describe how scary, shitty, and miserable things have been for the last twenty-four hours or so, especially knowing that things are likely to kind of, sort of, stay this way for a while. You made it through surgery with flying colors; everything went "super" (according to your surgeon) and you came back to the PICU with great stats. Then, not so much. To quote your cardiologist, your pulmonary thoracic system is "twitchy." Pretty much any stimulus can throw you into what he called a "spell," which sounds like more or less full-on cardiac distress. You've had a few more of these incidents, which your (also amazing, in addition to the others I've mentioned) nurse, Jane, assures me have gotten less awful as we've moved forward in time. Still, anything that a doctor has to be present for so that it is "less life-threatening" than it would be otherwise...good shit.

I just can't wrap my head around the idea of your life being threatened by anything. You seemed so normal and strong when you first came out. Even yesterday morning, there you were wriggling around, making little squeaky noises, death-gripping our fingers, whining when you pooted ("Dolphin farts," as your Dad playfully and accurately titled them)...totally regular new baby stuff. Today, they have you sedated so that you can't even move and accidentally startle yourself. There's a certain irony to the fact that our number one goal is not stimulating you in any way. Your Dad and I are so chill and quiet (for the most part) that we were actually kind of excited to have a kid who needs a more relaxed lifestyle. This is a fairly drastic extreme, granted, but I guess it's good to know that our virtually silent evenings will be a good match for what you can handle.

The surrealism of this situation is making it somehow easier to stomach. Not having ever had you at home, only having held you for minutes of your life, and really only seeing you for some minutes every day, are all making it nearly impossible to internalize the fact that we even HAVE a baby. I have to look at pictures of you when we're not in your room to kind of remind myself that this is real (not that massively sore boobs, healing stitches, and some still-shrinking belly flab aren't reminders enough), and even when I've got a few fingers touching some part of you that isn't covered with tubes and IVs...it's so hard to convince myself not only that you're a real person, but that you're a real part of your Dad and me. This makes me feel, frankly, awful when I register "oh yeah, right, I'm a Mom now...maybe I should be with my baby more," but it's also making it possible for me to ever sleep or leave your room. I'm capable of listening to doctors describe what is happening to your body without completely flipping out every time. I've even managed not to bawl my eyes out too many times a day (really, it's only been a few times so far), which has even me pretty impressed.

As of right now - just over five days from your birth, and roughly thirty-six hours after your surgery - you're doing a better job tolerating stimulus. They were able to suction out your throat (which was previously the worst thing throwing your whole little system into crisis, despite being completely necessary due to your breathing tube) once this afternoon without incident, and while little changes still distinctly upset you, they aren't completely messing you up. I'm tempted to take pictures of how utterly horrible you look now just so we can look at them together and you can say "holy shit, Mom," but I'm terrified that those will end up burned in my memory the way I'm trying to burn in the images of you pre-surgery, all pink and comfier. We'll see. I think I will the first day you don't look entirely like hell, but for now your Dad and I are just plopped in the cafeteria, blogging and poking around on the internet, and ducking over to watch you in little spurts. I hope the good vibes are soaking in as much as we're pouring them out.

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