We recently returned from our first vacation. During dinner one evening, Sebastien gave Chadd a piece of his mind.
I previously mentioned donating my frozen breastmilk.
I went through the entire process to be screened. The milk bank provides everything: they send a packet with DNA swabs, with vials for a blood draw, with forms for my doctor and Sebastien’s doctor to complete. A lab contacted me and someone came to our house to draw the blood; they then test to ensure that I don’t have any diseases. The lab technician send that in while I send in the saliva swabs and send back the paperwork. Once everything has been checked out, a freezer kit arrives and I have to verify my freezer temperature settings.
After I became an approved donor, Prolacta asked to estimate how much milk I was sending in. Well, it’s hard to know an exact amount since I never wrote down the amounts. But I did count the bags: 180 bags, each containing between 3-8 ounces of milk. So, a lot. And this amount didn’t include the milk that I couldn’t send in: milk that wasn’t after the 90 day incubation period of the Rhogam shot, or any milk from when I was on antibiotics. And doesn’t include any of the tons of milk I simply tossed when we didn’t have the chest freezer yet and so had no room for it, or any of the milk I tossed when I learned about the lipase.
Right before the holidays my two freezer boxes arrived and I packed them full with my milk to send off.
I know some people are totally weirded out by milk donation. And I probably would be as well. But Samuel received Prolacta for a week; countless other babies will now get the same benefit.
I wrote the second part of the story last year, immediately after finishing the first part. But I couldn’t publish it. It was still too fresh, too raw, too traumatic. Hell, it’s still traumatic to read it now. So here it is.
Part 2: Delivery
The curtains up. I close my eyes, just focus on breathing and remaining calm. That’s all I can think about. Can’t think about what’s happening to my body behind the curtain, can’t think about the little boys about to be yanked into the world too soon, can’t think about the struggle they’re going to have. My mind stays blank, my body still, focusing on breathing in and out. It’s all I can do.
I hear them say something about Baby A being out, hear his weight called out: 2lb 1oz. That’s bigger than we thought! Sebastien! My heart is just brimming with love for him, hopeful. I try to get a glimpse of him as he’s taken, but his team has him in the back. Can’t see a thing. But I hear a tiny cry. He cried out! We didn’t expect to hear any cries at all. It’s such a tiny cry, so soft, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. My Sebastien.
It’s not over. I clear my mind again. I know what’s coming, our Scrappy…how’s he going to do, what’s about to happen. I hear them talk about Baby B, see a rush of the second team go by. Can see even less this time. I hear 12 ounces. 12 ounces?! That cant be. He should be 14 ounces. I can’t watch, don’t know what’s happening, try to not think about it. Every once in a while I look over but just see a ton of people crowded around his bed. Alarms sound over and over, Sebastien’s team leaves him, everyone joins the fight for Samuel. More alarms, just breathe just breathe, but I can’t stop the tears. Tears of happiness for Sebastien, tears of uncertainty for Samuel. What’s happening over there? I’m crying, the anesthesiologist wipes away my tears. Scott’s trying to see what’s happening with Samuel — he’s told to go sit down. He joins me, wipes away my tears.
Meanwhile I feel all the tugging on my body as I’m sewn up. God I love drugs, can’t feel a thing.
Samuel’s doctor comes over. She tells us that they already had to rescusciate Samuel three times, that she’s done everything she can do, it’s time to let him go, time to say goodbye. Oh god no, no, no. We’ve come so far. We can’t lose him now. The tears won’t stop. Samuel, please don’t leave. She wraps him in a blanket and brings him over. Scott takes him. He’s so tiny, so tiny. Scott holds him in just one hand, I reach over, cradle his head, kiss him, tell him I love him, tell him to hang on, we’re not ready for goodbyes, please Samuel. The anesthesiologist leans down and whispers to me, “I’m so sorry.”
His chest moves.
Scott and I look at each other, what’s happening? Scott places his finger on his chest. “Sandi, he has a heartbeat.”
Oh Samuel, hang on my sweetheart, hang on. More kisses, more cradling. Our tiny, precious baby, our features in miniature.
Scott calls to one of the nurses — he’s moving, our baby’s chest is moving. “It’s a reflex.” We tell her to ask the doctor; the doctor says it’s a reflex from the drugs they gave him.
We keep talking to him, keep holding on. Samuel is still moving, still trying to breath, his heart is still beating. Scott asks me what I want to do: We can’t let him go, we have to give him a chance. We’ve fought so hard for him, I can’t lose him now. Can’t.
At some point, my doctor comes over, says that he’s sorry about ‘the little guy.’ What is he sorry for? Sam is still alive. Since he’s talking to me, I’m guessing that the perinatal fellow doc is finishing the sewing. I’m not paying attention to him — the focus is on Samuel. Fight Samuel.
Scott takes Samuel back over to the doctor and the team. Please try, please try. Our baby is breathing. He is alive. Do something!
The doctor takes him back. The doctors and nurses surround him, several are shaking their heads as they think the situation is hopeless. Samuel stabilizes. They were able to get an ET tube in him. He’s been stable ever since.
Sebastien’s wheeled out of the room to be taken to the NICU. My first glimpse of Sebastien, I only get to see him wheeled out, see him as he goes by in an incubator. Bye Sebastien, hang in there little buddy. Samuel’s wheeled out, Scott follows.
My stitching finishes, I’m wheeled to a recovery room. Will Scott know where to find me? I don’t even know where I am? He finds me in a little while, he’s been in the NICU with Sebastien. Sebastien’s doing great! So far they only have him on the CPAP at 21% oxygen — basically room air. All I know about Samuel is that he’s stabilized.
And now we begin the next long journey, the days of waiting.