The times that we rushed to labor & delivery laughing at the doctors for their mistakes & caution. Nothing is wrong here. It can't be. That's not the plan. I make healthy babies. Well, I only made one other but look at her she's perfect. And his Daddy...he's never done this before so this has to go well. No screw ups okay?
And so I had my baby boy. All 39 weeks of him. All 10 fingers and 10 toes. All jet black curly hair. All long & puffy. I had my baby boy while my midwife waited for the pediatric doctor. I had my baby boy while my sister sat high on the heating vent. While my new hubby & his mother fought over how to hold my legs. I think I know how to hold my wife leg. I had my baby boy in a crowded room with so many people. And I pushed & screamed & I was relieved & I snapped his first picture myself & my hubby cried.
And I was relieved & wanted to fix my hair. I walked myself to the bathroom to find my post labor cuteness and fainted right there on the floor. Something's not right.
Thank God for the nurse who knocked on the door, who let herself in, who got me off the floor, who helped my hubby help me back to the bed. Who made me stay put.
He was born February 27, 2006. 2:05 pm. It was a Monday. He was 7lbs, 14oz. 21 1/2 inches long. The rest of my family held a vigil down the hall.
And then the doctor came in & asked if we picked out a name. We did, us proud parents. Well his sister did...over lunch...when we got to the J's. JOSHUA. We agreed, we ordered appetizers.
That's a great name the doctor said. Do you mind if I pray with you? And so we prayed and we didn't know why. We didn't understand his lungs & why they ingested his first poop. I made a funny. My son is on his shyt...welcome to the family.
We didn't understand. We couldn't. We're all here. Our family is down the hall. When can they see him?
It would be six hours before they let us near him. After I was settled in my hospital room. After so many tubes down his throat. And stomach pumps. And ventilation. And tears. After the start of way too many tears. They said they needed to clean him up. Clean him up?
And the doctor said, that Joshua, he's a feisty one. He bit one of the nurses. And I knew he would be okay. My son who was just rushed away from me was biting with no teeth. He's fine everyone. No need to be alarmed folks. When can we take him home?
And my hubby wheeled me in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and there was this little man we made. On display. Under a warmer. With things beeping on him. All we could see was beautiful.
And this became my mantra.
When my bestie used her credentials to enter Hopkin's NICU. When he opened his one eye. He'll be fine when he comes home.
When he was moved off the resuscitator & then the ventilator & was drinking my pumped milk through a nasal feeding tube. He'll be fine when comes home.
When I held him in front of a group of interns & half listened while they discussed him & made us invisible. This is Joshua, he has Meconium Aspiration Syndrome. He'll be transfered Mt. Washington for several more weeks while he weans off of... When I almost dropped him from the shock of finding out this way. When I screamed the loudest whisper to the nurse. When she pulled him from me as I sank in the rocking chair. When I ran to the nearest bathroom stall crying to my mother. He'll be fine when he comes home!!
But he wouldn't come home. Not for 9 more weeks. Not after he weaned off of the meds that kept him in an medically induced coma as he healed inside out. Not after he could breathe on his own. Not after he gained 2 more pounds. He's not quite ready yet the doctors said. He didn't want to eat on his own. There. He didn't want to be on their schedule. And so I fought.
I fought for permission to take MY son outside. For 10 minutes. Then I begged the nurse who called all the babies Doodles to keep him outside longer as long as I brought him back. She helped me get permission and Doodles & I made the most of our outside time. But I couldn't stop there.
|The 1st time I ever took my son outside.|
I fought to let his minor sister in the hospital to meet her brother at 3wks old.
|The 1st time Lyric met her brother. Mt Washington Pediatric Hospital.|
And I fought to take him off of the prescriptions that made him vomit. And I fought to take the feeding tube out of his nose. And I fought to take him off a schedule. Over family meetings with doctors and social workers. And as much as I made sense there was nothing I could say to these idiots with letters behind their names.
And I suffered. And my hubby spent every non-working minute in the hospital. And my family wasn't complete. And no one slept well. And no one checked Lyric's homework.
And fighting no longer worked.
So I changed course & played along. We need CPR classes. Fine! He needs a swallow study. Fine! He needs to pass a car seat test to ensure his little heart rate doesn't dangerously escalate. Fine! We need in home nursing care. Sign us up! And medical equipment. Bring it on! And his prescription co-pay was $180. Fine, here's hubby's bank card.
And the killer. "Nothing we've done has helped Joshua to feed properly without vomiting and that's causing him not to gain the appropriate amount of weight. We think the next best recourse is to have a feeding tube inserted in his stomach." WELL, YOU TRY EATING WITH A TUBE GOING UP YOUR NOSE & DOWN YOUR THROAT WITH A BELLY FULL OF HARSH CHEMICALS & TELL ME IF YOU CAN KEEP YOUR FOOD DOWN!! OH, & DO THAT ISH EVERY 3 HRS ON SCHEDULE!!! HE'S NEVER EVEN FELT HUNGRY BEFORE. WE HAVE TO LET HIM FEEL HUNGRY THEN HE'LL EAT.
This made sense to me. But I've said all this before. Screamed all this before. Googled for every scrap of anything that would help me convince these people that I know better than them. Little me without a PhD. And so I walked the halls with the other little babies. Some who were finally breaking out at 10 months old, some who would never leave and called this place home. This place that smelled like Lysol disinfectant, rubber gloves, and sadness.
My son wasn't like these other itty bitties or the big kids.. They needed to be here. My son did not.
And so my resistance turned into acceptance. And I decided I would let my 3 month old son undergo the most ridiculous surgery in the history of ridiculous surgeries. And I rode inside the ambulance back to Hopkins because God forbid I take him myself and the ambulance company really needed that $70. And I dressed him in the tiniest hospital gown and shook more doctor hands and forced them to make promises they could only pray to keep. And I wrote "G-tube" with a red washable Crayola marker on his belly so they wouldn't remove a kidney in error. And I waited as he came out on the other end with all 10 fingers and 10 toes & 1 foreign object.
I was soothed every time Joshua cried during the 24 hours he had to abstain from food. My son was hungry. He never felt hunger before. And he was angry.
|Mad & Hungry Josh.|
He came home 6 days later to our crowded basement apartment with no sun. But we didn't care we had our son. And my mother's crab cakes.
The next day I threw out all the medicine we were forced to buy. And I let Dat Dood sleep. I let him sleep for every time a nurse woke him for a diaper change or to check his vitals. He slept for every minute he lost being force fed & weighed.
|His very long necessary slumber.|
When he woke up I gave him a bottle. And he gulped it down like his life just started. It was the most beautiful thing I had every seen. And I called everyone I knew & told them about this magical boy who ate like little new boys do.
I never used his feeding tube but the surgery had to heal before we could have it removed another 3 months later. When the nurses did visit they commended my efforts and his progress and canceled future visits. I left a long I was right & you were all wrong message on the voice mails of a few doctors at Mt. Washington & canceled my follow appt. F*ck do they know??
Then we took Dat Dood to the ocean. And he rode the ferris wheel. Yes my Dood at 3 months old rode the ferris wheel.
|High atop the ferris wheel. Ocean City, MD|
And so today, one day after his 5th birthday I celebrate my feisty Dood. I celebrate this little man who came out swinging and has been swinging every since. I celebrate this Dood who taught me in a matter of days what persistence and patience means.
Mommy Loves You Dood! Happy Birthday!!
Mommy Loves You Dood! Happy Birthday!!
|Happy Birthday Dood!!|