Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Baby Story: Jennifer

Jennifer and Carla - April 28, 2007 I'm pretty sure I've told this story before, but I'm going to tell it again anyway. I get to do that because it's my blog. :-)

Twenty one years ago tonight, my best friend Marlyne (mentioned in the movie meme) had her baby girl Jamie. I was near my due date as well, and in an odd turn of events my due date with Jennifer, was on Marlyne's birthday - May 12. Being that we'd been best friends since we were 12 years old, we thought that was just extremely cool. The next night after Caryn was tucked into bed, I called Marlyne at the hospital to see how she was doing. During our conversation, I was sure I had a labor pain. I didn't say anything at first, but then I was 99% sure I had a second one. I told her I'd better get off the phone because I thought I might be in labor, and we joked a little bit about my baby wanting to be born right away to play with her little girl.

What wasn't so funny, was that I had placenta previa, and early labor was not a good sign. I'd been diagnosed with this at 7 months when I was rushed to the hospital in early labor with frighteningly heavy bleeding. I'd been ordered to bed rest twice, and we already knew I was probably going to have to have a c-section before the actual due date, if things didn't improve (and they were not likely to improve).

So for about 10 minutes I jotted down every "odd" pain I had, no matter how mild. Sure enough, they were contractions and within just a few minutes we had Caryn in her car seat, me in sweats and off to the hospital we went, after a quick call to the doctor. "Get her there NOW" was what he said, and that he'd meet us there.

The next few hours were quite a blur for me. I was admitted, examined and hooked up to all the routine IV tubes & baby monitors. They began an IV drip to slow down my contractions and that seemed to work. The doctor arrived and examined me again and said "yep, you'll be staying this time, and we're going to do an emergency c-section first thing in the morning". I cried. I think I cried mainly because I was scared, but I think I also cried because it wasn't time yet, I wasn't ready - but I was also anxious to meet my baby girl and hopeful that she was okay. It was very emotional news for me.

At some point, Ben and Marlyne met up in the hallway when she was on her way to the nursery to put her newborn daughter back to bed, and she was shocked to see him. She said "Carla is NOT here! Is she?" He assured her I was, and that the baby was coming tomorrow.

The surgery was just as much of a blur to me as the night before, and to this day I wish it wouldn't have been such a drug induced experience. I only remember vague slices of conversations, feelings and sensations during that entire day. I do clearly remember someone saying "here she is, and she's perfect". Then I was handed the most perfect, amazingly beautiful little baby. I cried as I kissed her little face, and then I was out. That was April 30, 1986.

For the next 3 days, I was in and out of a morphine induced nap, while the nurses took care of Little Miss Perfect, and family members came and went and took care of Caryn while Ben was at work. No one told me just how much pain I'd be in, and to this day, the post-surgical pain from that operation outdoes any other kind of pain I've felt. I couldn't walk, couldn't even hardly take a breath without it hurting.

It wasn't until 4 days later when I was released and took my baby home, that I really felt like I connected with her for the first time (because of the drugs in the hospital - I don't tolerate pain well, but I tolerate perscription pain medication even less, as it knocks me completely out).

I was 21, and that was 21 years ago. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, too.

Happy birthday to my beautiful girl!