A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 4 May 7, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:20 am
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When I came out of anesthesia, I didn’t know if Max was alive, and I was alone.  I vaguely remember waking up and a nurse coming to talk to me, but I blocked her out.  All I wanted was for Ronnie to come in and tell me what was going on.

They told us they were going to have to send Max to Mission, a larger nearby hospital equipped with a neonatal ICU.  They let me see him before they took him away.

I’ll never forget looking at my baby in the incubator they rolled in to my room.  It was so painful to see such a small baby writhing and contorting, discolored, as he struggled for breath.  It was so unnatural.  And he was hooked up to so many medical contraptions that I didn’t understand.  I couldn’t even touch him.  I looked at him in my post-anesthesia state, and then they rolled him away.  My baby.

They put me on another ambulance so I could recover in the same hospital as Max.

Those were the loneliest moments of my life.  I was in a half-conscious state, physically and emotionally exhausted from the day’s events.  Max was who knew where doing who knew what.  Ronnie was following the ambulance.  And Kendra was with family.  I just wanted the four of us to be together like we were supposed to be.

It turns out, Max had ingested and inhaled meconium during delivery.  It gave him pneumonia and an overall treacherous start to his fragile little life.  He was in the NICU for ten days before we finally got to take our precious baby home.

The important thing is that Max was in every single way a perfectly happy, healthy, strong baby when we finally got to bring him home.  But, it was a long, hard process to adjust to having him home.

I feel bad even admitting this, but at first I was absolutely scared.  I would put him in his bassinet and just stare at him.  I was afraid that somehow I would hurt him or he would stop breathing or I would do something wrong.  It was a gradual process for me to recover from the emotional trauma of his birth, and I think it was complicated by the fact that I couldn’t hold him for the first precious few days of his life.

But we made it!  Max is our little buddy, and I thank God for letting us have him.

See what I mean about him being a lot of trouble from day one? And I absolutely wouldn’t trade him or any of his trouble for anything in this world!



Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 3 April 30, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:45 am
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On May 7, ten days after my due date, we had to report to the hospital at 4 am.  We got up early and snapped a few photos.  It was an exciting morning, especially for me – anyone who has gone past term on a pregnancy can attest that those extra days feel like weeks.

We had full expectations that this delivery would be a repeat of the last one.  Having Kendra was easy, actually an enjoyable experience.  The only difference this time was that we were doing it without medical insurance, but we had already prepaid for everything, so we felt good about that, too.

Contractions on Pitocin are intense.  I went several hours before asking for an epidural.  I can remember the pain being so extreme that I literally fell asleep between contractions, only to be awoken by the next one.  Ronnie sat by my bedside, his expression revealing how much  he wished he could make me stop hurting.

After the better part of the day had passed, I knew very suddenly that something was wrong.  I could feel myself bleeding, which shouldn’t have been possible for me to feel with the epidural.  Ronnie called the doctor and I told her.  She tried to brush off my worries, but checked to humor me.  She went from nonchalant to intense in a matter of seconds.

The next few minutes were a complete blur.

I remember bits and pieces – secure an O.R., an elevator ride, more bleeding, no one talking to me, the confusion on Ronnie’s face, contractions.

In contrast, the first moments in the operating room are vivid in my memory.

They wouldn’t let Ronnie come in while they prepped me for surgery, and I’ve never felt so alone in my life.  I was scared and confused.  I was on a table in the middle of a stark white room with my arms outstretched and strapped down.  It was a bustle of people intent on the task at hand – and none of their jobs was to comfort me or explain anything to me.  I was vulnerable and terrified.  All I could do was repeat over and over and over in a trembling voice “I want my husband, I need my husband, please, my husband.”  I strained to make eye contact with anyone who passed by.  Those were eternal minutes.

When they finally let Ronnie back in to stand by my side, I calmed down.  I told my doctor I could feel my contractions, so I got another epidural while we waited for the head doctor of the practice to come assist in surgery.  They had also paged a pediatrician to be on hand.

The actual Cesarean was fast.  Ronnie maintained eye contact with me through the whole thing.

And then came that magic moment, the moment I had longed to hear since that first doctor had told me I never would – the moment my son cried.  All of the anxiety of the entire pregnancy and the intensity and confusion of the last hour melted away instantaneously when I heard that beautiful cry.  What relief!

And then…nothing.

I watched in terror as my doctor handed my son to the pediatrician.  After that first cry, he abruptly stopped.  He was purple.  I laid on that table and considered the biggest decision of my life – did I want to hold him if he was dead?

I started hyperventilating.  This is where everything becomes a blur again in my mind.  I was heaving.  My doctor was yelling, “I can’t operate – calm her down!!”  Ronnie was trying to calm me.  I was straining to see my son.  Was he alive?  Still hyperventilating.  My doctor ordering someone to calm me down.  I begged not to be knocked out.  “I promise I’ll calm down!  Please don’t knock me out!”

And that’s the last thing I remember because they sedated me.


Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 2 April 22, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 2:23 pm
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Ronnie met me right away at the nearest computer so we could Google together exactly what “blighted ovum” even meant.  I remember reading together and deciding that we wouldn’t tell anyone what was going on until something actually happened.

Those weeks were full of prayers: “God, if you will let me have this baby, I promise to do my best to raise him to love and serve You.  I will be the mom You want me to be.  You can have him.  Just please, please protect this baby.  Please let me meet him.”

I was a middle school teacher then, and I couldn’t make it through a class without excusing myself to use the restroom.  I didn’t have to go, but the doctor’s words haunted me continuously.  I was so stressed about when I would miscarry, that I kept having the sensation I was bleeding.  My students must have thought I was crazy.  Sometimes I went two or three times during a single class period.

Finally, after about six weeks of nothing happening, Ronnie convinced me to go to my gynecologist’s office for a second opinion, or at least for a little more information on the time frame we could expect for the miscarriage that hadn’t yet happened.  He went with me this time.  After six weeks of being burdened by such a heavy secret, I was a nervous wreck.

My doctor took me in for another ultrasound as Ronnie held my hand.  We were prepared for the worst and afraid to hope for anything more.

The doctor showed us our baby on the monitor, and I’ll never forget what she said – “I don’t know what that doctor was looking at, but your baby looks perfect.”

What relief!

We put our baby-planning mode into full gear, announcing the pregnancy to everyone except the few family members we had told of the previous doctor’s prognosis.  We could finally rejoice in the anticipation of meeting Kendra’s new little brother or sister!

I was teaching in a small private school that did not offer benefits, and Ronnie was self-employed at this time, so I was making due without medical insurance.  We met with the  manager of the doctor’s office and arranged payment plans to pay for the  visits and delivery.  My delivery with Kendra was so easy and quick, and we were sure this one would be the same.

We ended up paying quite a bit more than the $3500 we were quoted because my gallbladder and this baby didn’t get along, so I had some tests done to rule out gallstones.  Though I didn’t have stones, the entire duration of my pregnancy was a cycle of eating followed by intense pain in my side.

My due date came and went.

The doctor set a date to induce me ten days after my due date.

I spent those ten days trying everything I could to go into labor.  Ronnie and I took his Toyota on the bumpiest road he could find.  I walked miles a day.  I ate anything anyone told me would cause labor.  I even drank castor oil.

Ten days later, I was exhausted (at least I had a purged digestive tract!), and rode to the hospital with Ronnie for what I thought would be a straightforward induction and delivery of my second child.

Boy, was I wrong.