There are certain events in a person’s life that change them in some way for the rest of their life. For me this was the birth of my son. My pregnancy was uncomplicated for the most part. Butters measured a little big the entire time but nothing to be alarmed at. I worked out constantly and to W’s dismay still climbed on top of Chinooks and Blackhawk’s until I was about 6 months pregnant. So when I went into labor on my own about a month early I wasn’t worried. We had a plan and I figured I would be like most and have him, spend a couple of days in the hospital then head home with my new little guy.
Well things didn’t go according to plan. Butters was born after a very long labor and quickly whisked away to the NICU after I saw him for a very short time. Luckily W was allowed to carry him there. After this both of us were introduced to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. This was an area that both of us never thought we would ever see. But we did. We found out a couple of days later that he had what they termed “failure to thrive”. In this case it meant that his lungs just weren’t completely ready and he was breathing a little harder than they would like to see. Luckily it wasn’t an infection (like they initially thought) or anything really bad but something he just needed a little help with for until he could adjust. For a week W and I lived 4 hours at a time. We were there for all of his care times during the day and spent as much time as we could with him. We bathed him, got peed on and met many wonderful nurses and doctors in the unit. After only a week they were like an extended family. They were so happy in the day or so before getting to leave making sure that all the appropriate tests were done (car seat check ect.) and forms filled out. The day he was discharged we didn’t even know it until one of the neonatologist asked across the room where he was. He then asked if we were ready to take him home. We were thrilled yet unprepared. W hadn’t even installed the car seat base yet! So while he ran down to do that I stayed with Butters helping get him ready to go home. The nurses were wonderful. We went through the paperwork not as a chore but as friends wishing us well and trying to help with a checklist to make sure everything was taken care of. So we put him in his seat and one of the nurses wheeled him down with us. We were so excited! Once we got home we finally took off the hospital bracelets we had been wearing ever since his birth and put them away in a small memory box. We finally had our boy home after his rocky start and we couldn’t have been happier.
This memory in itself to this day scares me to death of having another one. I’m not scared of the pregnancy itself because for the most part I didn’t have any problems. I’m scared of the ending. While things worked out after the week in the NICU I’m just scared that it will all happen again. I don’t want to ever have my child taken from me minutes after birth to a place where I can’t be with him. I know that in ways my fear is completely irrational; but it’s just me. I know that I did everything right and what happened isn’t my fault but I still blame myself. I still somewhere inside feel like I could have done something to keep Butters, W and your sister from having to go through all of the worry and mess that came with it all.
So I sit here trying not to cry. I get all upset when I even think about it all. I say all this now because tomorrow night is the tree lighting at the hospital. Every year Butter’s gets an ornament where the proceeds go to the Melissa George Neonatal Foundation that helps to donate equipment to the NICU so that other babies get the care they need with out having to be transferred to elsewhere. We do this not only to benefit the others that will need care in the future but to show Butters how far he’s come and how important it is to give back even if it’s in a very small way.