After Charlotte was born, she was placed immediately on me. The cord clamping, first bath, and eye drops were delayed like we’d wanted, and for a few minutes I just held her and cried – in relief for her, and as memories of Preston, Julian, and Kaden laying in that exact spot on my chest all flooded over me.
They took her over to the warmer to assess her and Sam took pictures while I did the rest of the job. We had been asked by the HHV-6 Foundation to give placental and maternal blood samples to the doctor in Germany, so Sam assisted the doctor in doing that.
After I was taken care of, Charlotte was placed back on me and I nursed her on and off for an hour while dozing and taking pictures of Sam holding her too. We were moved to the postpartum rooms after that, where we met the pediatric nurse who became a favorite for us. I was able to get up and move around without pain so I helped with the first bath and instructed in a few other things we’d wanted.
I don’t remember a lot of that night, except at that point it was probably midnight or later and they turned down the lights and let us sleep for several hours. I wasn’t supposed to sleep with her in the bed, but she was fussing in the bassinet and I was having a lot of trouble getting her out to nurse her from there. So I used some rolled blankets, propped myself up a bit, and fell asleep on and off with her next to me.
The next two days are also a blur. I remember on Thursday I was breastfeeding her while chatting with the head of the nursing department. Sam had gone home to take care of the animals. I looked down and Charlotte was grey. Totally grey and limp. I just stared at her in shock as I held her and flashed back to Kaden in my arms after he passed away. I couldn’t move, couldn’t think.
The woman with me jumped up and pressed the call button, then grabbed Charlotte and patted her. She immediately started breathing and pink flushed into her cheeks. I don’t think I moved, I just sat there in complete shock and then started to cry. The nurses came in and said sometimes it happens, but because of our history they wanted to take her to the nursery.
Once again, I had to make a call to Sam that something was wrong and to come back to the hospital. I could hear the disbelief in his voice as we tried to wrap our heads around something being wrong. Charlotte was hooked to a pulse ox and had chest x-rays done, but everything came back normal. We were sent back to our room and told she probably had an apneatic episode, to watch her carefully the next few days. Friday morning, around 4 am, she was taken for the hearing and pulse ox tests. When the nurse came back in an hour later, I saw her hesitate and my heart just stopped. “She passed her hearing test,” she took a deep breath, “but failed the pulse ox one. We’ll do a follow up in an hour.”
I laid there and cried while Sam tried to tell me it would be ok. We couldn’t go through this again.
An hour later, she failed the second one.
Her stats, optimally above 95%, hovered at 92-94 and they were concerned because of Kaden. An echocardiogram was ordered and the doctors came to take her. I sat in my bed as the sun came up out of the window and sobbed. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of going through this all again, and I kept asking God, “Why oh why? Do you not care about us at all?”
She came back and we waited several (unending) hours for the results. The nurses decided to stay past their shift until we heard back. Finally the doctor came in to tell us that he and another doctor had looked over the results and found nothing at all. Her heart was ok. “Probably just a lazy little breather,” he said smiling at me.
If Sam had agreed to a second husband, I would have married him on the spot. #brotherhusbands
That’s how relieved I was. He was like the bearer of the best news we’d ever heard.
This little girl gave us quite the scare this morning. She failed both congenital heart defect screens (initial and follow up) and was sent to have an echocardiogram. We’ve been waiting to hear results and found out a little while ago everything is ok. Follow up in 2-3 months because of our history with Kaden and cardiomyopathy. We were told her stats were borderline normal, but we’re so glad they made sure. Please, please ask your hospital for a pulse ox check after you have a baby. Now let’s get you home Charlotte. I don’t think *our* poor hearts can take a ton more. A photo posted by Diana Stone (@dianawrote) on
We spent that day getting ready to leave. I’ll tell you – by that time all I wanted was to get out of there. It felt like every moment we had to wait was a chance to find something else wrong. I know the hospital doesn’t just “find” things, but it began to seem like that to my broken, postpartum, sleep deprived mind. I wanted to take her and run away before they could stop us and keep her.
We decided to bring Bella up to the hospital that evening to meet her when Sam came back to get me. Honestly – those moments of anticipation and then when she saw Charlotte are fixed on my heart as some of the best of my life.
And I’ll blog about that soon!