By Rebecca Godlove

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, Rhett Fletcher Godlove followed in his big brother’s footsteps and gave our family quite a scare the day he came into the world!

Emotionally and physically, I was about as prepared as I could be. My scheduled c-section was to be on May 15th — exactly two years after we closed on our current home. A good date, I thought. My husband and I arranged for childcare for Ronen and I packed my bags, smirking to myself. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and since we’d already gone through a traumatic birth experience, this was going to be a breeze. In fact, miraculously, this pregnancy was textbook-perfect. Appropriate weight-gain, no bleeding issues, no high blood pressure… the only fluke was a slightly elevated one-hour glucose test, but the three-hour version was perfect. Even my OB, during one of our final visits, smiled and said, “Could THIS be it? The perfect pregnancy? I hope so!”

On the evening of Saturday, May 6th, we got a call from that very gentleman. He’d been reviewing my records and felt strongly that we should move up the date of the surgery. He wanted to avoid potential issues with my previous incision (I had needed the less-common “classical” uterine incision for Ronen’s delivery). Could we do Monday, May 8th, he wondered? My husband and I exchanged a shocked-excited-nervous glance, then immediately called and texted the crucial change-of-plans to our families. Suddenly, we were going to be a family of four in less than 36 hours!

Both my OB and I would be considered “religious” people by most, so I don’t say that it was a “lucky” turn of events, but instead, something a little more divinely inspired. You see, although my blood pressure had been perfect up until then, the morning of the surgery, I was discovered to, once again, have pre-eclampsia. I don’t want to imagine what might have happened if it wasn’t caught that morning. As it was, even though the surgical team was well-prepared for the delivery, our little boy was found to be breech (again, I don’t know why my boys like that), and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Three times.

After several tense seconds without a cry, my husband, who could see more than I could, whispered, “It’s okay, he’s okay, they got him breathing,” and a I heard a kitten-like whimper, then that first precious, angry newborn squall. I barely got to touch him before he was raced to the NICU.

It’s a good thing I didn’t even consider a birth plan this time, because that would have been thrown out the window anyway.

Because of the medication treating my blood pressure, I was restricted to my bed for 24 hours. My husband could visit the NICU, but I could not. He took pictures for me, but what a terrible, lonely day that was. Updates came, little by little: there had been fluid in his lungs, which was cleared within hours. Then there was a concern for hypoglycemia. Then jaundice. When I was finally allowed out of bed, I trudged back and forth between my room and the NICU, trying to get to know my new little man as well as get enough rest to actually care for him. Between the nurse visits, attempting to pump and breastfeed, and the fogginess caused by my medication, that week was anything but restful. I just wanted to have my little boy in the room with me, and to know he was all right.

Two of the NICU nurses surprised me on Thursday. As I was heading out the door for a regular visit with Rhett, they were wheeling his bassinette down the hall. He was finally going to stay with me — which also meant he was well enough for the team to consider discharging him. I burst into happy tears and thanked them. On Friday, May 12th — two days before Mother’s Day — we brought our precious baby home, completing the family we’d prayed for.

 

It has been a challenge adjusting to having two kids in the house. Fortunately, my husband was able to take unpaid leave from work to help, mostly with our older son, while I tried to remember how to navigate the waters of new mom-dom. My husband’s help was, I feel, what kept the baby blues at bay. There had been a concern of possible PPD with our first, and we had taken steps to manage it before it took hold. I am happy to report that Ronen is utterly smitten with his new brother and insists on snuggling with him and “petting” him often. (Please remember, folks, we DO have three cats and that’s how a three-year-old learns to express his affection). Yes, sibling rivalry is bound to rear its head in the future, but for now I’m just enjoying watching the innocent love a toddler can bestow upon a newborn.

It’s magic.

 

*** Rebecca has decided to take some time away from Pediatric Alliance — Chartiers/McMurray. We here wish her and her young family all the best. You can read her other essays on The PediaBlog here.