The Idiot’s Guide To Everyday Life

Happy Birthday Jaden!
17.May.06, 14:23 pm
Filed under: My Munchkins, Our Little Nest

I cannot believe today is my son’s 7th birthday. I remember when he was born as though it were yesterday.

I was living in Wurzburg, Germany at the time, and we’d been to a friend’s bbq that day. About 10pm, I felt these odd pains, almost like a kick, but more like him pushing out in every direction at once. I just thought he was cramped and squirmy, but as I kept watching the clock, I noticed they were happening at regular intervals, so I thought I’d better go to the ER.

I was a month early, so I was really scared. I didn’t want something to be going wrong. When we got to the ER at the local American-run hospital, the contractions were so weak they didn’t even register on the monitor, so they gave me a button to push everytime I felt one. A short time later, the dr’s came in and checked the readings, only to point out that everytime I had a contraction, Jaden’s heart rate would drop very sharply. They took me into another room and ran a quick ultrasound, which showed that somehow I’d lost quite a bit of amniotic fluid– NOTE TO MILITARY WIVES: THEY ONLY DO 1 ULTRASOUND FOR PREGNANT WOMEN ON MILITARY INSURANCE UNLESS THEY THINK IT IS MEDICALLY NECESSARY TO DO MORE. SINCE I HAVE EPILEPSY, THEY DID 2 JUST TO BE SAFE, PLUS A FETAL ECHOCARDIOGRAM. THEY DID THIS WHEN I WAS ONLY 4 MONTHS ALONG, SO WITHOUT FOLLOW-UP ULTRASOUNDS THEY DIDN’T CATCH THIS. IF YOU HAVE MILITARY INSURANCE MAKE THEM DO MORE, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO GIVE THEM A REASON.

Long story short, the local American hospital there didn’t have a neo-natal unit. They didn’t even have a newborn nursery. If you had complications and couldn’t care for your baby in your room, they gave you 2 options: 1) take an ambulance 3 hours away to Landstuhl where they HAD a neo-natal unit, or 2) go by ambulance to the local German hospital, where you’re lucky if the Dr-on-call spoke English. They told me, honestly, that they didn’t know if my baby would make it to Landstuhl, so I chose the local hospital, and they called the Schmiedel wagon to come get me. The only phrase the EMT could say in English on the way there was, “Does it hurt you?”. I’m in labor, moron, what do you think?

I get to the German hospital and one of the dr’s there spoke English, so he came in to explain things to me. Thank GOD! He and his colleague, who would actually be doing the delivery, tell me that they want to stop my labor and do an emergency c-section, since there’s no way to know what’s wrong with him, but he’s in obvious distress. I agree, so they prep me and get me ready to go. I must interject at this point that modesty is a rare commodity in many parts of Europe. I was on a rolling “table” with a drape that covered me from the tits up and was wheeled down the hallway to surgery in front of God and everybody, “pudenda to the wind”, and then taken to the OR. I vaguely remember then putting me on the table with the bright lights overhead blazing. Nobody in the room spoke English, and I had to be in there alone because they were knocking me out. I was scared shitless.

I woke up later that night. I was told I had a beautiful little boy who weighed 1930grams, which translates to about 4 lbs. He was so tiny, I couldn’t believe it. He had a head full of dark brown hair, and the most beautiful blue eyes you ever saw. My son was the most adorable baby in the entire NICU. No foolin, he comes from good genes, lol. 😉

He was so tiny and fragile. They kept him in an incubator and wrapped him in a towel for us to hold him. He had tubes to feed him and ivs for his meds. I was so scared just sitting in the rocking chair holding him that something was going to happen and I’d lose my precious little angel.

3 weeks later, and a pound heavier, I was able to take my little one home. He was still tiny, but he was strong, a fighter. He was eating well on his own, and was more alert than he was at first. His hematocrit levels had been super-elevated at birth, and they’d had to take out a bunch of his blood and give him an Albumen Protein transfusion to help thin it out, so his heart wouldn’t have to work overtime to pump it. His heart couldn’t handle the stress, so that’s why he was trying to hard to get out.

He’s still very hard headed (I know this, because at age 4 he wouldn’t listen and ran head-first into a brick wall, cutting his scalp, and requiring a staple to be put in his head). He still thinks he knows everything. He’s still my adorable little boy, and I love when he gets tired and still wants to curl up in my lap or climb into my bed before Dale comes in at night and snuggle with me while he falls asleep. I love it when he comes up and gives me big hugs and kisses and says, “I love you mommy, you’re the prettiest mommy in the whole wide world”.

And you know what…. when he says that…. it makes me feel like I can do anything!


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