ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO
One of our many many trips to the hospital......
Those scary images are replaying in my head every minute of every day from the time I get into the shower in the morning until I crawl into bed at night - oh and sometimes during the night. I have a feeling the horrible visions are only going to get worse before it gets better as we approach Maddox’s first birthday.
This could be the second hardest post for me to display, but here it is...
Last year, Scott and I made the decision that the first weekend in December was going to be our last trip before the baby was born. We didn’t want to chance being stuck in bad weather or being away from the hospital should something happen. Never in a million years did we think that a minor car accident would fire off our perfectly set row of dominoes. Yes we had everything planned and in perfect order...So we thought.
On this day one year ago, Scott and I were driving home from Midland after celebrating our family Christmas. I was 33 weeks along.
Today, as I am writing, we are driving home from Midland after celebrating our family Christmas.
As we got into the car this morning December 5, 2010 my eyes filled with big crocodile tears - for so many reasons. I will try to share them with you one by one.
Never in a million years did Scott or I envision that today we would be driving home with a baby that can’t say mama or crawl 5 feet to get to her favorite toys. We had thought we would have a baby that was close to walking, drinking from a sippy cup, pulling ornaments off the tree, and saying words like mama, baba, bye bye, etc... Yes this holiday season will be the toughest of them all as we play the ‘what should have been’ game.
I believe though, that after this year, things will be easier. Instead of comparing Maddox to what should have been, next year we will be comparing Maddox to Maddox.
As the tears were pouring down my face, Scott gives me another pep talk. He is incredible.
I remind Scott that we absolutely must to stay in the left lane when driving through Standish. The right lane, that is a bad lane, that is where our story begins.
On your marks, get set, go.....Whether we were ready or not, we went.
And my story unfolds like this. 365 days ago we were driving home from Christmas, I was wearing my favorite Victoria’s Secret sweatshirt, the one with the pink labradors on it. Scott asks me if we want breakfast in Standish or AuGres. I tell him, “Keep driving, we will eat in AuGres.”
Darn it, if we would have stopped in Standish we would have never been at the wrong place at the wrong time and met the WHITE BLAZER. The white blazer that abruptly turned in front of us causing our car accident, one year ago.
Scott listened to my request today as we were driving and stayed in the left lane. My lungs tightened as I stared at the empty Ace Hardware parking lot that we pulled into while waiting for the police to show up. I remembered how nice the people were there, offering me a warm place to sit. I even wrote them a thank you card afterwards. Once the police report was filed, we continued on our way home. Baby M kept moving around and just couldn’t get settled. I thought maybe the accident startled her.
We were instructed to go to the hospital when we arrived home so we quickly unloaded the car and drove into town for what we thought was going to be a one hour assessment. They put me in a gown, placed me in bed, and strapped the monitor on. Scott turned on his Lions game and I took a nap. I was dreaming of our beautiful baby when the nurse woke me up and said, “Can you feel those? You are having con-tract-ions!”
Ohhhhh, so it is not the baby trying to settle down? Those are what contractions feel like.
Next I knew doctors were coming in, blood tests were being run, checks were being made, and injections were being administered. Injections that made me so jittery I could hardly talk or hold a glass of water. I remember calling my boss, telling her I would not be in to work on Monday but everything will be ok and I would be in first thing on Tuesday morning.
That night after the jitters wore off, I ate a double hamburger meal from McDonalds (Hey, I was pregnant). The baby must have liked this because the contractions calmed down. In fact, calmed down so much that I was discharged in the morning.
I got home and monitored my contractions. I was supposed to call if they came back and yes they did come back, every few minutes. By 4:00 we were back at the hospital in the Radiology department getting my first of SEVERAL ultrasounds to come in the next few weeks. It turns out my cervix was thinning and I was admitted again. After further assessment, the doctors determined that there could be a possible placental abruption (which was later confirmed at birth...Maddox and I were both extremely lucky).
A placental abruption and decelerations in the baby’s heart rate was a recipe for one very long week at the hospital.
My friends came to the rescue during the hospital stay, bringing me meals that I will never forgot. I will try not to bore you with the details but these are sweet memories. During my stay, I had the most delicious sack lunch with those tiny cute wrapped cheeses, soup, salad with mushrooms, bread with peanut butter, tons of snackies from Niemans, a gigantic plate of fruit which I also devoured the day I delivered (and have a few photos of proof).
Something weird happened today, December 6th, 2010. A friend of mine didn’t know the story about the delicious peanut butter bread I ate a year ago and brought this same loaf to me today. As Alanis would shout out, “Isn’t it Ironic?”
During my week in the hospital, I was in the midst of teaching my online masters level OT students and had to give them their final exam via a live chat - in between contractions. I brought a whole new meaning to being a dedicated college professor. Oh, and one more fine detail. That week, my computer crashed and I had to borrow a mac from a gracious stranger. Things were not looking up for me.
I did meet many amazing nurses as my days turned into nights and my nights turned to days, they all seemed to run together. I discovered the hospital is a little like Las Vegas, nobody ever sleeps. I met one amazing nurse, we clicked, and I remember staying up until 2 AM talking one night. You will never in a million, trillion, gazillion years guess what topic we were intrigued with talking about.
How amazing kids with Down Syndrome are.....
One more tidbit of information..This same nurse took care of Maddox in the NICU the night she was born. Sometime during the middle of that night I got the go ahead that I could hold baby M. It was at that moment that I gave Maddox her full name and I remember how delicately the wall was changed from baby M to Maddox Lucille.
Want to know where her middle name came from? Of course there is a story there too.
It was during this week in the hospital that we had our first big snow storm of the season. I was trapped inside, staring at the roof of the hospital while the world was busy scraping windshields and shoveling driveways. Scott would work all day, go home and let the dogs out, drive back into town and sit by my bedside for a few hours, then drive back home. Each night he would carefully select a new outfit for the day, wash clothes, bring my favorite things. There was a new level of commitment that we made to each other that week.
It is tradition that we snuggle in bed and watch, “A Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” Only that night, there was one spot in bed so Scott scooted his blue plastic hospital chair next to my hospital bed and he held my hand, the hand that hosted several hospital bracelets. Just as the show was about to start, the baby started kicking and moving around making a whirring sound on the monitor. We both smiled and said, “Wow, I guess she wants to watch too.” By the end of this show, we had decided that the baby’s middle name would be Lucille after Lucy in the Peanuts Gang. We knew we had the most preciously selected middle name.
Tonight, December 7th, 2010 as the same three people settle in to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas, I am not sure that we are any more at peace than we were 365 days ago. I can tell you this. We will be holding hands in a fluffy warm king sized bad, joined by two labradors, a cat, and baby M asleep by our side.
During the hospital stay, my friends came out and unpacked all the baby boxes, washed the bassinet bedding, hung all of the babies clothes and made sure everything spotless just in case this perfect bundle of joy was to arrive early. My bundle did arrive early, was perfect, but just not in the ways I envisioned.
When discharged home from my car accident a year ago, I was sent home with strict precautions, no lifting, minimal activity, no driving. I was now at the mercy of others for basic needs, something I was not accustomed to. Friends would pick me up and take me home from work. Scott would place the step stool by the shower so I could get in and out safely. I made a ramp to help the dogs get onto the bed so they could cuddle with me when Scott was out shoveling snow. Every step I took was in slow motion, careful not to jostle the baby or we would both be at risk for something terrible.
Throughout the next three weeks, I spent many hours before work, after work, and during lunch at the hospital and clinic having blood work drawn, fetal monitoring, and ultrasounds. Ultrasounds, a million ultrasounds and not one showed the slightest sign of what the future was about to bring.
DId you know:
The genetic testing that was completed was sent to the wrong hospital.
The 20 week ultrasound showed no nuchal thickening, no abnormalities.
WE MAY HAVE NEVER MET HER.
70 to 80 percent of miscarriages are due to chromosomal defects in the embryo.
80 percent of babies conceived with Down Syndrome are miscarried.
WE SHOULD HAVE LOST HER.
Baby M stayed put for 6 weeks during contractions and heart decelerations with two tears in her placenta.
WE DIDN’T LOSE HER.
Maddox Lucille, you were bound and determined to come into this world whether I had a say or not.
You have plans that I don’t know about and I promise this year I will try to be a more patient mommy. I love you Maddie Lou.
Damn it Jamie ....you always make me cry. I love you all and I must say that the events in your life have also changed mine....for the better.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010 - 07:57 PM
I so appreciate your transparency! Only God knows the big picture and it makes me think of Jeremiah 29:11-13. He provides a hope and a future and a plan of which we know very little about....love you!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 - 12:46 PM
I love you J, and Maddie and Scott too. It is amazing to read what you wrote and it only feels like yesterday when you called me about the accident in Standish. Now, we are so blessed to have Maddie and I love her soooo much! I miss you and can't wait to see you. Thank you for being so amazing to me!:))
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 - 01:14 PM
What can I say... I love you....
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2010 - 09:47 PM