I actually wrote three or four entries trying to describe Alexandra's entrance, but they always just came out sounding forced and rushed.
I figure this next time might be the charm. :-)
Alexandra was born no issues. Once again, the only gross part about the c-section was when my blood pressure dropped; it literally feels like you are going to start puking your guts out but you are so weak that all you can manage is a sputtering faint cough. It is such an odd thing to meet your new baby. This time Sutter apparently had changed their policies so even c-section babies were given to the mom's right away. They took her out and rather unceremoniously put her on my chest, all blood and gore. I think I may have looked shocked and taken aback. She scored nine's on her APGARS and was by far our smallest baby at 7 lbs, 10 oz. I remember being disappointed for a minute because she wasn't a 9 lb baby which meant I had actually eaten those two extra pounds; it wasn't just baby. I remember thinking it was taking them forever to sew me up because my arm was getting tired holding onto her. She was a pretty quiet little bug when she was born. We got wheeled to our room and I really spent most of the rest of the time alone. Chris had to help shuttle Lia and Davy about so I hung out in the room with her (she didn't have a name at that point) and I think Em and Kate came to hang out for a bit. I remember Em and I talking about how her feet were really blue and I asked twice but both times the nurses said that was normal.
It was around 4pm that Chris, the kids and Linda dropped by. Lia was on her way to ballet class and I told her she could hold Alexandra when she got back. Davy got to hold Alex for a few minutes. The nurse came into do her vitals and said that she looked like she might be some difficulty breathing. I remember the nurse being very cautious not to overstate anything. She came in with a blood oxygen thing that she put on her finger, than on her toe. She said she wanted to take her back to the nursery to be monitored. I was nervous, but I figured what could be wrong? Alex was a healthy weight, great APGARS, full term.
The rest of it is a blur really. I remember them telling me they were calling on the on call pediatrician. The pediatrician came in once to introduce herself and then left. The next time she came in, she pulled up a chair, clasped her hands and leaned forward. It was one of those gestures that you know that they are trying to prepare you for something. She told us that Alex wasn't getting better and we were going to have to move her to Dominican. I think that was the moment that I felt like something could be wrong. She told us that some of the nurses thought she might have been having seizures of some sort. I remember feeling sick. And starting to cry. It took the ambulance a while to get there- Chris spent that entire afternoon, evening sitting with me and comforting me and then checking in on Alex. AMR finally got her ready to go around 10pm. She was in this huge HUGE incubator type thing. I could barely see her. I remember feeling useless and terrible since I couldn't even get up and stand next to the incubator or touch her hand.
The next days are a blur. I remember Chris telling me her lung had collapsed. Somewhere in the middle of this I was moved to the surgical ward of the surg/maternity center which was a god send. I remember sitting in that room by myself, unable to move because of the incision pain, and staring up at the little card they give you of her footprint (right after she was born) and hearing a baby in the next room over cry. It was awful. When they moved me, I was crying because they had taken Alex away. As I was wheeled into the surgery ward, a nurse (who I'm sure was so well meaning) called out, "Where's your baby?" At that moment I wanted to stab her.
But what was amazing and wonderful was my nurse. Monet was one of my L&D nurses with both Lia and Davy and I shot her wedding. She was SO wonderful that whole night.
Anyhow, the next morning I remember they began talking of moving her to Lucile Packard. That utterly freaked me out and devastated me. That day is a blur. Chris company sent us chocolate covered fruit I remember (weird what sticks out...) and I remember I had to sign papers with her legal name. Chris and I were pretty sure she was Alexandra but I remember thinking how odd it was that he wasn't there as I signed her name and her middle name. I hoped I had spelled it the way he wanted. Alexandra Katherine Lock. I remember telling the kids we were going to all sleep at the hospital that night. But then we got word that Alex was leaving for LPCH that evening. If I wanted to see her before she left, I had to go to Dominican then. We got signed out for a day pass and we went over to Dominican. I remember hating EVERYONE then. The social worker who tried to give us some information. The nurses. The Doctors. The person who thought I was going in to deliver and who cheerfully told me in the parking lot, "Smile, your baby will be out soon!" Talk about kicking someone when they're down... :-)
Anyhow, she was intubated at that point. It was also at this point that I realized she had never opened her eyes for me. I had never seen her eyes. For some reason that was a stab in the heart that I could barely get through.
We went back to Sutter after she left. I don't remember if I stayed in the hospital again that night or if we were discharged that night. Either way, I was discharged early. That night we got home and I remember sobbing into Chris' chest in bed that night. It was that disgusting gross crying. The sort where it feels like someone is stomping on your chest and tearing out your throat. It was the worse feeling ever. We had her crib ready. Her clothes. The diapers. Her soft blankets. Her little booties. Ugh. Just remembering that awful feeling makes my throat hurt right now.
And then the days run together. Alex ended up getting a fever after she got to LPCH and I remember being so thankful that the Dr's at Dominican had the forethought to send her to LPCH since she was very very sick. Chris is the only one I think who really understood or will ever understand how sick she really was. He saw her when she was at her very very sickest. He was incredible. He drove every morning to see her, and then back for a nap and lunch, and then he would take me over in the afternoon. He did that for almost ten days. I am still a little in shock about how he managed to get through it all. He was the pillar of strength. He kept my head above water, kept the kids feeling like there was some sense of normalacy and he was there for Alex every second he could.
Visiting her was hard. She was under bilirubin lights and intubated. She was on morphine for pain and sedation medicines to keep her calm. She had these things over her eyes to keep them closed from the bilirubin light. It was just so surreal. I remember when she FINALLY started getting better it was amazing. Gut wrenching in a good way. When they finally removed her tube, I was able to hold her. She was a week old. I remember Chris handing her to me and feeling like tears were coming out of everywhere. I was so happy. I was able to nurse her a few days after and then she improved rapidly. She was transferred back to Dominican where she was for a little under two days and then she was released.
The whole experience was incredible. Both in how awful it was, and how good things came of it. People stepped up to help. They brought food. Watched the kids.
So yeah, that's it. :-)