Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thirty-four Years Ago Today

Singin' Swingin' Danielle

Our first tiny bundle of joy was born exactly thirty-four-years ago today at this exact hour. She was two days early and came very quickly on our doctor's birthday. I went to the hospital at 5:00 pm and Dr. Hammond thought he'd have plenty of time for a birthday dinner with his family. By 8 o'clock I was ready to deliver.

The nurses took me into the delivery room and paged the doctor. This was, of course, before cell phones. Bill was not allowed into delivery until the doctor arrived. Very soon I was ready to push, but the nurses wouldn't let me. "Breathe, Breathe," they kept saying. They had located Dr. Hammond at a restaurant and he was on his way. One nurse kept lifting up the blinds and looking into the parking lot for the doc. Finally with the baby crowning and no anesthesia, it hurt so bad, I had to scream. "Please deliver this baby!" I kept screaming. Bill says the whole hospital heard me. Dr. Hammond rushed into the delivery room still scrubbing his hands. Bill was right behind him. The doc made a quick snip and Danielle popped out into his hands! She wailed immediately. She was so very anxious to come to earth.

When my baby was cleaned, swaddled and handed to me, she looked me right into my eyes as if she could read my mind, as if she already knew me!

Danielle weighted 7 pounds four ounces and was twenty inches long. She was pink and perfect, with a ton of auburn hair. I was so relieved to have her here safely.

The next day Danielle was starting to turn yellow. After all the blood testing, I was told she had ABO Incompatibility. I had no idea what that was. I have O positive blood, Bill has A positive and Danielle got Bill's blood. It has nothing to do with the Rh factor.

Danielle's high bilirubin count resulted from her liver's inability to metabolize and rid her body of my O blood. Danielle was put into a special iso-lette with ultraviolet lights and she wore tiny little eye protectors. I couldn't hold her or feed her. My new mom emotions kicked in and I bawled and bawled. Twenty-four hours after her birth, her bilirubin count had climbed to 27.4. One of the technicians improperly told me a count that high could lead to brain damage and mental retardation. I bawled and bawled.

A pediatrician came to my room and told me Danielle's blood would have to be "transferred". He explained the procedure. They would put two tubes into her umbilical cord, then in through the belly button. One tube would draw all her blood out, the other tube would replace her blood with blood identicial to mine (but it couldn't be my blood). Again, the bawling.

The procedure was a success and her bilirubin count started to drop gradually. The following day I was supposed to go home, but Danielle wasn't ready until the bilirubin went below 14. Bill came to get me and we both bawled all the way home. When we got to our apartment, my milk came in -- with no baby to nurse! Tearfully, I had Bill take me back to the hospital where I told the nurses I needed to hold my baby and nurse her, now. While we were there, another bilirubin test was done. It came back with the number 14.4. I bawled again. The doctor came in to see how Danielle was doing. He saw my anguish and decided my baby could go home with me.

She came home with a Florida tan and sun-streaked hair. Everyone thought she was gorgeous. Gratefully there was no brain damage. In fact, she's very gifted.

It was a happy ending to three days of ups and downs, highs and lows. . . . a foreshadowing of the years to come. She is and will always be my beloved first born. . . one of the greatest gifts of my life. Happy Birthday, Danielle.


Marty said...

Your braids are so cute and hippy-ish in the photo! It sounds like motherhood started with a bang for you! Good story.

MissKris said...

Hi, Sheri! I'm so glad you stopped by to visit and left a comment so I could come 'find' you! Welcome to the Blogosphere, too! My two 'babies' will both be in their 30s come this September and it seems like just yesterday I was welcoming them into the world. I have one little grandson who'll be 2 next month...I baby sit him full time so I'm a stay-at-home Grandma. My second grandson is due next month and I'll be taking care of HIM, too, once my d-i-l goes back to work. Life is full but at this menopausal stage in life I'm too tired at the end of the day to suffer from insomnia, thank goodness. Hope you'll stop by again!