I spent two hours in the NICU. When I went back to Labor and Delivery, a nurse stopped me in the hall just outside of Bex’s delivery room. She had a very confused look on her face, and I could see her trying to figure out why I was back here.
“Didn’t anyone tell you?” She asked. “Your wife was moved to the O.R.”
I felt like saying, “Oh gee, no they forgot to mention that trivial detail while they were saving my son’s life. Thanks for the update. By the way, did you catch the score on the Dodger’s game?”
Call me crazy, but that seems like the kind of information you share with someone, especially the husband. You see, here is where I run into the phone booth as the Great Buffoon shed my Clark Kent disguise. I emerge as the split personalities of The Husband and IncrediDad.
But even that’s a facade. When I hear the Doctor’s update, I’m still as helpless as I was before. She slumped down in a chair across from me and said she had never seen anything like it before. That’s reassuring Doc. Where’d you do your residency? She explained that although the delivery went perfectly, the placenta took forty minutes to come out. Even then, it needed the doctor’s “gentle coaxing”. So gentle in fact, it pulled enough to “invert” Bex’s uterus. Let’s not blame the Doc though. The placenta was attached to her uterus. This was going to happen no matter what we did. With nowhere for the contractions to go, the blood just kept streaming out of her.
She said the plan was to give Bex a blood transfusion and then go in there and “punch” the uterus back into place. That’s one hell of a medical term, huh? Punch it into place. Is that official terminology? She told me to wait where I was and the surgeon would update me as soon as possible.
As she was leaving, she took a look around the room. Blood was still pooled on top of the bed. Some of that had fallen on the floor and was smeared around. There was a pile of towels discarded in a corner. They had been white at one time. Most likely they would remain permanently red. Then she said to me,
“Wow, this place is a mess.”
Housekeeping wasn’t at the top of my priorities tonight. So sorry Doc. I’ll get right on it. But I didn’t.
I took a seat on the couch that just hours ago I had been napping on. It was that very same couch where I was writing when the nurse wanted us sleeping. Hours earlier, I remarked about how calm the night was. I guess I should have knocked on wood.
Like I said, I wanted to be IncrediDad and Husband with a capital H. The adrenaline was surging through my veins. But what good would it do to storm into the O.R. with my chest puffed out? I didn’t have the tools or the know how to save her. The truth was that Bex was in the hands of the best people possible.
But alone in that room, faced with the the carnage, I resigned myself to waiting. It was all I could do. I am not a patient man, as you already know, but that night I forced myself to be.
Two grueling hours later, the surgeon came in and told me that the operation was a success. He had to “punch” her uterus back into shape but there was no damage. He highly recommended that we mention this episode to our physician the next time she gets pregnant. Ha! Like that will be anytime soon. Give it a year or five, maybe ten.
Bex and I had talked about having a large family but that was before. That was before the blood, before the NICU, before I almost lost them both. At that time, I was certain I could never put any of us through that ever again.
Then the surgeon told me that she was in recovery and offered to take me in to see her. Nah doc, I wanna grab a burger and see if the Dodgers made it to game seven. They did. But that’s not the point. The point is they saved her.
Luke was gonna be ok. Bex was gonna be ok. That meant I was gonna be ok. Finally, I could remember to breathe. And I suddenly realized how hungry I was. When the anesthesia wore off, I asked Bex to make me a sandwich. Funny thing, she said wasn’t feeling up to it. Actually, that’s not what she said. It was really a few moans that she strung together. But if I know my wife, I could safely translate that as, “Mustard or pickles, dear?” Atta girl, Bex.
All joking aside, this is where I sing the praises of the nurses and doctors at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Anaheim. If it wasn’t for them, there would be no wife or kid to write a book about. Their diligent teams worked together seamlessly and in tandem to help a newborn breathe, stop a mom’s hemorrhage, and ease a man’s worry. Thank you for all that you do, seems a little sterile. So, I want to say, Thank you for saving my family and thank you for supporting this blog. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to paying our hospital bills.