I’m not really sure why I’m writing this, but I just needed a place to… share my thoughts. I’m actually not sure if there’s anything to share, but I just need a place to… vent? Maybe vent isn’t the right word either. I’m not trying to be cryptic on you, nor am I speaking in code. I just want to log (I think log fits) what’s been happening with my little family. Please read on, my friends…
Pam (my wife) and I knew we’d won the lottery with our firstborn. Our three-year-old Cecelia is lighthearted, happy, and just easy as it goes. The kid is nothing but smiles. Everything has been so simple, so easy, and so sweet with her that we decided round numero dos was in order.
Pam became pregnant just as easily the second time around and we were overjoyed to be expecting again. I love being a dad. Parenthood can be difficult at times, but absolutely mind-blowing at all times. I’m not making this up – if you lived it and felt it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
During the first trimester Pam was nauseous… a lot. She says it was the same queasy feeling she had with Cece, but she was throwing up a lot more than I remembered. And as days turned into weeks, the way she felt began to change quite a bit. Unfortunately for her, those changes weren’t always positive.
She began with major food aversions, which was strange because she was hungry all the time. I’m not talking just hungry, I mean famished, like she hadn’t had food in days. But through those first few weeks, whenever I asked her how she felt, she generally shrugged it off and said, “I’m okay,” instead of rattling off a list of ailments.
“Are you sure you’re feeling okay? You seem a little pale.”
“I’m good. Just hungry.”
“Do you want a snack?”
“No, no. Thank you. I don’t—”
“My famous grilled cheese?”
“Oh no… This baby doesn’t want it.”
“This baby,” I said, moving towards her on the couch, “Doesn’t seem to want anything.”
She smiled and placed both her hands on her barely-there baby bump. My hands joined hers, protecting the little cluster of us taking shape inside her.
“We’ll have a picky eater this time,” she said. “I think you might want to start practicing your best sales pitch because I don’t see this kid eating anything grilled in the near future.”
We laughed that time because all signs pointed to a healthy pregnancy and an even healthier baby. But as the first trimester came to end, things began to change. She wasn’t even showing yet, but had a lot of swelling and other aches and pains. It was during this time that she was rushed to the ER because they found a cyst on her right ovary.
She was in a lot of pain and I felt useless watching the doctors insert a really long needle in her side to drain out the cyst. I remember holding her hand in both of mine as she quivered. Her entire body was tense, almost in shock. The pink rue from her cheeks was gone and her lips were pale, almost transparent. To give you an idea of the pain, they gave her morphine three different times with escalating volumes, but it was still off the charts. All I could think of was making it stop. I just wanted it to stop.
We ended up spending the rest of the night in the hospital.
The next morning she was no longer in pain, but was extremely exhausted. Her eyes would drift open, register me, but close.
They did a sonogram later that day and it showed no cyst and also a healthy baby.
“The heartbeat is slightly accelerated, but he is doing just fine,” the doctor said.
“He is doing just fine?” I asked.
And that was how we found out we were expecting a boy. I would’ve been happy either way, but man… I think Pam and I shed a few tears that day. I’ll be honest; I didn’t think the baby was going to be okay. But hearing the thump-thump of my son’s heart while the doctor listed all the good things going on with him… I just broke.
The pregnancy progressed ….We (I always say we, but Pam is doing all the work) entered a new phase. When she was twenty weeks along, she began to feel every bit of it. There were a lot of sleepless nights, back pains, and nausea that still lingered. Acid reflux was also a faithful companion and freak sharp shooting pains would often rise up her spine.
The first time it happened Pam was in the kitchen cooking with Cece. The prickly pain rocketed through her spine and down her left leg like a lightning bolt. Pam tried to mask the discomfort as much as she could, but the pain leaked through her façade and Cece was quick to notice.
Pam said Cece asked if she was okay, but since she couldn’t respond, Cece ran to me in living room screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Mommaissaddaddymommahasabooboo. Daddycomecomecomedaddycome!”
It took me a minute to understand what she was saying but I sensed something was wrong with momma. I remember scooping Cece off the floor and running to the kitchen to find Pam leaning over the sink.
I lowered Cece to the floor and went to her; she had her eyes shut and her breath came in shallow gasps. I carefully circled my arms around her, trying not to alarm Cece who was pulling on Pam’s pant leg asking, “Momma you okay, momma?? Momma, you bedder??Momma, Daddy’s hea! Momma???”
I whispered, “Babe, what’s wrong? Should we go to the hospital?”
Pam just shook her head.
She looked at me with tight lips, her pain evident across her face. She gestured with her head towards Cece and I knew she needed me to get Cece away from there. I let go of her, picked Cece up, and began to walk away, but Cece she just cried, “Momma!! Nooooo!! I wan my mommaaaaa!!”
“Mom’s okay Cee. But let’s see if we can—”
“Daddy nooo!! Mommaahh!!!”
“How about we—”
And then Pam couldn’t take it.
“Jim,” she called. “It’s okay, just—”
I lowered Cece to the floor and she ran as fast as her little legs could take her, quickly circling her little arms tightly around Pam’s legs. Pam dropped her hand from the edge of the sink to Cece’s fuzzy head.
Cece looked up with her big blue eyes and said, “Momma I make u alllllll beddeer, kay?”
Cece is all heart.
Pam chuckled, but I could still see the turmoil ripping through her.
“How about we go to the living room?” I offered.
Pam nodded and we slowly made our way down the hall.
“Look Momma,” Cece kept saying, “We almosss dere. Look! Momma, you’re no lookin’. We almosss dere, Momma. Momma, you bedder???”
“Yes, I’m better, baby girl.”
Once we reached the Living room, I helped Pam get comfortable and Cece was there grabbing the couch throw and dragging it across the floor.
“Hea Momma. The blue comfy. ’S the best.”
“Thank you Cece, you’re so sweet.”
“How about we make Momma some tea, huh?” I offered and Cece’s eyes lighted up. She loves making tea, even though she’s not actually doing any of the making herself.
“Yes daddy! That’s a gud idea.”
Pam was okay after that. But that was the day we thought all these symptoms that had become the “norm” weren’t normal at all. We brought it to the doctor’s attention and he ordered an extensive list of tests, reinforcing that it was way too early in the game to be taken lightly.
So, a diagnosis finally came through and it hit us like a flood – abrupt, painful, and cold. Pam was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Her labs showed low platelet count, high protein levels in her urine, and higher-than-normal liver enzymes. (Her blood pressure was also through the roof). The doctors can’t explain why she has it. All they can do is try to prolong the pregnancy as much they can because the only cure for it is delivering the baby.
And that brings us to now… You can probably tell by what you’ve read so far that the smooth edges of our life are not so smooth anymore.
Pam is 25 weeks along. Our son is 14 inches long and weighs about 1 and a half pounds. I’m currently writing this from Pam’s hospital room where she is settled for the night. Cece is with us and is on the bed curled up against mom while Pam reads ‘Goodnight Moon’ to her.
Pam wasn’t feeling too good today and it turned out her blood pressure was acting up again, so she had to be admitted. The doctor is watching her closely because they fear she could go into labor. If that happens, the baby has very little chance of surviving. There was a two hour time frame where the doctor was pretty certain things were progressing and everyone was on high alert. But everything calmed down. They have given her medications, but they won’t do much to prevent her from going into pre-term labor if her body really decides it’s time for that.
They are running more test as we speak and we’re hoping everything checks out okay. Our goal is to deliver the baby at 32 weeks. He would still need to be in the NICU, but his chances of being a normal, healthy baby go up by 97%. If he were to be born today, the survival rate is 25% and if he survives, there’s a 95% chance he’ll have long term disabilities. I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning with this information.
But Pam’s holding strong (I am continually amazed at the resiliency and the strength of her body). She would stand on her head for the remaining months if she had to keep this baby healthy, and for that she gets the Amazing-Mom-Award. But according to the doctor, the next 5-7 weeks are critical for her and the baby. From here on we’ll see just how much this girl can take.
As I listen to my daughter say goodnight to all the apparatus beeping around the room, I think it’s time to end my “talking” here. I hope the next time I decide to write again I have better news. We know the next few months will be the greatest challenge of our lives, but we are in good spirits. Just keep out little family in your thoughts for now.
I own nothing
Author's Chapter Notes:
Don't really know where this came from.
Chapter End Notes:
I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with it. Should I just leave it as a oneshot?