Etched Forever: Different

A moment in time. Frozen. Forever. Etched forever in my mind.

Staring at my face in the mirror after my water broke in disbelief that this was happening.

Calling my husband and him telling me I needed to go to the Labor and Delivery immediately.

I was only 33 weeks. I was all alone with my 19 month old daughter. My husband was seven hours away. This couldn’t be, shouldn’t be happening.

Dear Lord – Help me.

Alone in my hospital bed. No one to hold my hand. No one tell me it was going to be okay.

Scared. Yelling at my husband that if he didn’t get here before I delivered, I would never forgive him. Crazy, pregnant hormones.

Relieved. My husband arrived.

Contractions. Very Painful back contractions. I remember the nurse asking me to quiet down.

I just wanted relief so I agreed to the c-section.

Scared and Cold. Naked. Vulnerable. Praying for God’s protection. So cold. So cold. And so very scared.

My husband was behind the curtain with me. I was wanting to hear desperately my son’s first cry, so I would know he was okay.

After only hearing a brief cry the silence in the room was deafening. Why couldn’t I hear him? I yelled at the doctor. IS HE OKAY? Yes. They had taken him through the NICU window.

I would not be the first person to lay eyes on my son. I would not be the first person to touch his skin. I would not be the first voice he would hear. Oh. My heart.

Cold. Shaking. I couldn’t breathe. I just wanted the c-section to be over. I started coughing. I couldn’t stop. And I was so cold. They couldn’t tell me if my son was okay. I just couldn’t breathe. Then, darkness. The anesthesiologist put me out after I agreed.

I should be cheerful. Put on my positive mask. I couldn’t let people know that I was scared for my son. Seeing pictures of my son with his CPAP was tough. But he was beautiful and precious.

The bruised hands. The bruised feet. The bruised head. So many pokes on his tiny body. Good, Lord. Why? I was crushed on the inside. This was all my fault. Why had my body betrayed me? Why had my body caused my son to be into the NICU?

I drank Ryan in every chance I could. His sweet smell. His sweet snuggles. It was never enough and sadly, every night, I had to leave my son in the hands of someone else. It should have been at home with me. Nursing freely and without the eyes of others.

Blood in his stools. Nurse, is this normal? Panic was overcoming me again. This can’t be happening. I don’t think I can endure this.

“This could be devastating.” I will never forgot those words. They are forever etched in my mind. Ryan had an infection in his bowels. Oh, Dear Lord – Please help my son. See the train track in the x-rays of bowels? That is a sign of NEC. I could see the two parallel lines on the X-ray. There was no mistaking them.

Another tube. This time down into his belly. Crying. And more Crying. And then more. Dear Lord – What had I done? Ryan just wanted to eat, but he couldn’t, it was to help him get better. A whole seven days with no eating. Just fluids and medicine. His sweet smell went away. He was lucky though. They caught it early and was able to treat the infection before it became anything really serious. Thankful. Extremely, thankful.

It was during this week my husband had an argument. I don’t remember about what exactly, but I think it had something to do with the amount of time I was spending at the NICU and I had a husband and daughter at home that needed me too. Guilt. More Guilt.

Ryan needs me. I don’t know what it is, but there is something different about him. There is something different about him. He needs me. Those words are forever etched in my mind. To this day, these words I think about often. It’s the whole reason I’m writing this.

There is something different about him. Did I know in my hearts of hearts then that he would be different. Why had I thought that?

I’ve been strongly bonded to Ryan since I was able to hold him. Not more than my beautiful daughter. But it is a different bond and something I haven’t yet been able to explain or put into even vague words. I just knew that he would need me and need me in a different way. A sixth sense? Mother’s instincts? God preparing me for our journey that was ahead? I don’t know but that moment is forever etched in my brain. Staring at him in the NICU. Watching him sleep. Holding his tiny hand and promising him that whatever it is he needed from me, I would give it to him.

These past few weeks, I have been coming to term with my son’s diagnosis of Autism. I’ve been processing it quietly – in the confines of my mind. But over the past few weeks, those words keep echoing in my head. There is something different about him. He needs me. My beautiful son. My laughing son. My rambunctious son. My happy son. He needs me…. but I think I need him more than he needs me. I love you, Ryan Scott Grover.

 

Ryan’s Birth into the world-33 weeks

I orginally wrote this within 24 hours after Ryan’s birth into the world (3/31/10). I did it so soon so I wouldn’t forget a detail and so I could share his birth story with all of our family and friend who were so far away at the time. Reading this now, I see that I made many errors, but hopefully I have corrected most of them!

Day 1 of Being a Mom of Two

Ryan's First Picture after Birth

As many of you know, my water broke prematurely at exactly 33 weeks – on Saturday, March 27th. It was a gross rupture and no real chance of the rupture healing. The doctors were hoping to that I could make it until next saturday to give Ryan the best chance of survival and with the littlest medical inventions neccessary. Early in the morning of Tuesday, March 30, I started having some real contractions. They started around 11 pm the night before, but would come and go throughout the early morning hours. By 6 am, I called the doctor’s back in and told them the contractions were getting stronger and not subsiding. They brought me back down to labor and delivery, where I begged for pain meds (I will have a few choice words for Eve when I get to meet her – lol, it also reminded me how much God must have been displeased with her to make the pain of labor so intense and awful). The pain meds were slowing down the contractions. So, then they would not give me anything but tylenol to help me deal with the pain – the contractions were anywhere from 7 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart – so they were not being very consistant. My doctor said I would either have to go through the contractions until they were sure I was laboring without any pains meds or have a repeat c-section. Knowing that I couldn’t make it in the pain I was in for a few more hours, we opted for the c-section. Shortly after the decision, I was being rolled back to the OR for the c-section. It was must harder for me the second time around maybe because I knew more what to expect as far as the procedure. When they found Ryan and removed him, we could only hear a few cries before he was whisked away through a window into the NICU unit. Jeff didn’t get to really see him either. After Ryan was gone, I struggled with making it through the end of the c-section. I was extremely nervious, shaking, and cold. They finally gave me something that knocked me out and I awoke in the labor and delivery room. For the first few hours they wouldn’t let either one see Ryan, but finally Jeff got to go. When I tried to get out of bed the first time, I was feeling not well. So, I haven’t been able to see him yet, but I’m feeling better and can’t wait to hold and see my little boy for the first time. Kaylen hasn’t been brought to the hospital yet. She will not be able to meet Ryan until he leaves the NICU. I opted for her not to visit me either since I was feeling so ill and in much pain. Luckily, we have daycare watching her during the day, Jeff picked her up and spent the evening with her before taking her over to a dear co-workers house to sleep for the night. I can’t wait until she can meet her little brother! Anyways, the first day of being a mom of two hasn’t felt like being a mom yet. Just trying to pull myself together to be there for my children now! Ryan did struggle with his breathing and was placed on a CPAP to help him breath. There was also some concern of jaudice (as with Kaylen) and he is currently under the bili lights. He is inside a isolet right now, but they are hopeful that later on today, he will be removed from the CPAP, taken into a regular crib (as he can maintain his own temps now), taking off IV feedings and to be feed by tube. We are so very thankful for all tlhe prayers and encouragement. Both Ryan and I made it through this in loving hands of our God and Savior through the help and incessions of your prayers. We look forward to keep on singing God’s praises as he continues to work mircales for us!

Beautiful Kaylen

Tonight, after not being able to send pictures or receive on my cell phone, I finally downloaded all pictures into our computer. These photos go back several years now. This photo in particular struck me and really just threw me back into time. This is the first time that I was able to hold Kaylen. She was born 08/22/08 and this photo was taken on 08/25/08 – three days after her birth. I still remember it as it was yesterday holding her for the first time. As you can see in the picture, my face is very red and very swollen, but some of the redness is from crying at holding my daughter for the very first time. Most of the redness and the swelling was caused by the preeclampsia that I had which caused her premature delivery-being this is three days after delivery-I wonder how I must have looked the day of delivery. The was the other thing that struck me – I didn’t realize just how bad the swelling was until I view this picture on my computer. Now, I realize, it’s no wonder why the doctor delivered me in under a hour of meeting me at the hospital – oddly enough, I always thought it the back in my head that maybe doctor should have waited a few more days before delivering me. I never uploaded these photos and these are the only photos I have meeting my daughter for the first time – I’m so thankful now that I have them to remember such a life changing moment in my life. I remember I was so nervous at meeting Kaylen for the first time. After three days of desperately wanting to meet her and finally be given the okay, I remember feeling like I had to get ready for her. I had to take a shower before I meet her and hold her. I remember being so anxious as Jeff lead me to where to the NICU was and thinking to myself that would it mean I was bad mother if I wasn’t able to pick her out of all the babies in the room – would I somehow just know which baby was mine? I remember clinging onto Jeff’s hand and asking him if he would tell me which baby was ours. For reasons that I don’t know and make me laugh today, he told me no. He believed that I would know which baby was ours. I remember having to scrub in for the first time and being so diligent at the first scrubbing (as other NICU parents can attest as time goes by, you don’t scrub for the full 3-5 minutes each time you have to reenter the NICU) and worrying that if I didn’t scrub enough that somehow I would make her sick. After the scrubbing, I went towards where the babies were and just looked around and, amazingly, I did pick her out from the other four babies in the room with her. And when I sat down and they put her in my arms for the first time, I was overcome with emotions like nothing I had felt before. I remember just looking at my husband for a split second and wondering how had God given us something so wonderful and so amazing and then the flood of tears came. It brings tears to my eyes at this very moment. My love and bond to her was instanteous. I KNEW in that second that I would love her like nothing else and that I would do anything for her. It’s so overwhelming being given such a precious and tiny gift from God – a gift that I knew also meant a lot of responsibility – it is that love and the responsibility that causes such emotions – it somehow just mixes all up into one. To this day, my love for my daughter just grows. I still pray that some how, some way,  no matter what life brings her that she will know and never question without a shadow of doubt just how much I love her – that someday she might know just how much she changed my life and how she helped me to grow into a better version of who I was meant to become – her mother with an undying and unyielding love for her.