So, this is my favorite picture from the day Thomas was born, it still strikes an emotion within me when I see it. It was taken by one of my good friends from work, Susan Martinez. If I never said a word about that day, I feel like this picture expresses exactly how I was feeling.
This was my first attempt to load a picture, so bear with me, I hope to get better at this as I go. I am so excited to tell you about the best day of my life. On Monday, September 27, I had a regularly scheduled appt with the wonderful Dr. Rowe. I had been really worried because Dr. Rowe had scheduled a vacation for the first week in October (how dare him). My due date was not until Nov 1, so I guess he thought this would be okay, but I was already having contractions and he did not want me to contract very much since my first c-section had been through the thickest part of my uterus. I told him I had to have Thomas this week because I was naming my baby Thomas after him and I could not name my son Linda (that is the name of Dr.Rowe's partner). Well, sure enough, I had too much fluid around Thomas, I had lost my mucus plug, and I was starting to dilate. Yahoo, I was being admitted to the wonderful Antepartum Unit where I would be cared for by the most amazing nurses again. I was in the room next to the "bad" room, I didn't even want to look at that door, I wondered if any other mothers had lost their babies in that same room. I focused on my new room and I could not wait to meet my baby face-to-face. I savored every kick, hiccup, punch, heartburn, peeing every hour, even the insulin shots. I loved that I was pregnant. I was only 35 weeks pregnant, but I HAD to have my baby before Dr. Rowe went out of town. I wanted him to be a part of a story with a happy ending too. I wanted him to smile and laugh when he came to see me after this c-section. I had a ton of visitors Monday-Wednesday, but on Wednesday morning my contractions really started picking up and they were hurting now. The nurse called Dr. Rowe and the decision was made to go ahead and schedule a c-section for Thursday morning at 0700. This would be different, anesthesia came by and told me that no matter what I was going to the ICU post surgery simply from my past and I barely had any platelets. My husband and family had been donating platelets since my admission and I would receive infusions of platelets before my surgery this time. I would not have a c-section on the Labor and Delivery floor, instead, I would have it in the real OR so they would be prepared for any situation. I instructed the Anesthesia team that I would not take or receive any medications like Versed that would make me forget even one moment of this day. I would have to be put to sleep because I could not get an epidural with my low platelets. This made me sad and this also made it impossible for Paul to be in the OR with me to see Thomas exit my belly. I had always dreamed of pushing out a baby all natural with no meds, but this was not an option for me. The morning of the c-section, I got up and showered, fixed my hair, put on make-up, and prayed constantly. I wanted to look half decent for my pictures with my baby.
They put me on a stretcher in my sexy gown and wheeled me down to the OR. Paul, my parents, and his parents, and a bunch of family were there waiting. Since I had to go to the OR, Paul couldn't go back to the holding area with me where they prepped me for surgery. I had to take off my glasses at this point, so I couldn't really see everybody too well. The first person to make me cry was the Anesthesiologist who kept telling me how I wouldn't be able to see my baby after the c-section because I would be in the ICU and babies could not come there. WHATEVER! I explained to him that I would see my baby and he shot back and said that I was a nurse and I knew better. I informed him that today, I was not a nurse, I was a MOM. Right after this, Dr. Rowe arrived and I told him about this mean man and he reassured me that I would see Thomas, and I instantly felt a sense of peace. It is rare to find someone these days that you can totally trust, but I trust Dr. Rowe completely. Then, my OR nurse was a friend of mine from Shriners in Galveston and she kept saying how happy she was for me that I was having a baby and it felt good to have a friend there to witness the birth of my son, since I would be knocked out. Then, they started wheeling me to the operating room and suddenly FEAR overtook my body. What if I died, what if I bled to death, what if Thomas died, what if they had to do a hysterectomy, WHAT IF? I had one of those "Come to Jesus" moments with myself. I laid it all out to Him. I had never wanted something so much before and I begged Him to take care of me, and I begged Him to take care of Thomas, and I begged Him to forgive me for not trusting Him like I should have the past 11 months. I had to clear my conscience. I watched everything they did, they cleaned my belly, I was freezing, I was no longer modest, I was talking to them and they were laughing, we prayed, and then the last thing I heard was,"Mrs. Bennett, I am going to press down on your cricoid and intubate you."
I was out, and in what seemed like an instant, I was awake. I need to see my baby, I need to see him. Where is my baby? Hello? Immediately, Paul showed me pictures of MY baby on our camera. I had instructed all my family that Paul could see Thomas right after the c-section, but no one else until I had seen him. I can't explain this really, but it had to do with all the people that got to see Benjamin before me, I wanted Thomas to hear my voice first, see my face first, feel my kiss first, this may sound selfish, but for me, it had to be this way.
I was telling everyone in the recovery room that I was ready to go and see my baby. The same Anesthesiologist said, "If you can stand-up and get in that wheelchair, then you can go see him." I started getting up, this crazy man did not know me. I would have cut a finger or toe off at this point. I ended up with this super nurse that was my advocate. She said, "No, she does not have to do that, I will push her in her stretcher to go and see her baby." And, that is exactly what she did. Her name is Nikki. She fought for me and she will never know how much that meant to me. They disconnected me from all the monitors and took me to the nursery. There he was, the most beautiful sight I had seen. He was breathing all by himself, he was crying, he was moving, he was alive. I held him, I kissed him, I smelled him, I talked to him, I cried to him, I loved him. I didn't ever want to let him go, but eventually I had to be taken to the ICU. Let me tell you what I really wanted to do, I wanted to sprint up the highest mountain in the world and scream from the top of my lungs, "My God is faithful, My God is awesome, My God is Real, My God loves me!!!!" My hope had been restored, my faith renewed, my heart was healing, the song in my heart was playing again. People, there is no way that God is not real, I know He is real, I have felt Him, I have heard Him, I have seen Him. I told every nurse that came into the room about Jesus, I told all the pastors that came to visit me I was ready to preach a sermon about my testimony, I was ready to tell the world about Jesus. I couldn't stop smiling, or crying from joy. This was the best day ever. I kept doing everything they wanted me to do so that I could hurry up and be transferred to a post partum room. That evening, right at shift change, they transferred me. I had been walking around for awhile and had made them discontinue the morphine Dr. Rowe tried to give me. I did not want to be altered at all. I wanted to remember and cherish every second of this glorious day.
Once again, the nurses at this hospital went above and beyond for me. Eventhough I was transferred right at shift change, they made sure to bring Thomas to me immediately, Dr. Rowe told them that I was not to get a roommate, that I was to have a private room for my stay. I am sure this is what he had dreamed for me with the boys, and now, he was giving me the royal treatment. I am so thankful for his kindness. I probably thanked him 2000 times that day. He had prayed for me, he had cared for me, and he loved me. The next few days seemed to fly by. I stayed in the hospital until Sunday. On Saturday, Thomas was circumsized by Dr. Rowe and he never cried. Dr. Rowe told him, "You are tough like your Momma." It is weird that this little comment meant a lot to me, he thought I was tough, but I thought I was weak. Saturday night, Thomas had to stay under the bili lights due to his jaundice. I had to be under the bili lights when I was born too, he was already like me:)
On Sunday, we packed-up all our goodies, loaded the car, this time with a baby. I sat in the back with him and just stared, I couldn't stop. I did make sure he was breathing every single second. We didn't head home, instead we went straight to the cemetery. I know, this is a bit untraditional, but I wanted to let his brothers know that I still loved them, and I wanted Thomas to know about his brothers. Afterall, if you think about it, if they had lived, Thomas would not be here. Crazy thought, huh? After leaving the graveside, we went home to signs in our yard and on our door and family awaiting us. This was so different, everyone knew what to say, everyone was smiling and talking, strange how a baby can heal so many wounds. People were finally looking at me normally again, there was no more sympathy and sadness in their eyes. Now, I was finally able to breathe easy and relax. Thomas was here, he was okay, and I was going to teach him so many things, but mostly I am going to teach him about Jesus and unconditional love. I want him to know what that feels like, the way I do. I have never told anyone else this, but I want you to know something else that my wonderful cousin Karen had said to me when the twins were born. She came to me and with eyes full of tears, she soflty said, "Trina, I will move in with you, I will help you take care of him, we can do this." We knew that if Benjamin had lived, he would have special needs. It felt so good to see her hold Thomas, to know that someone like her would be around Thomas for the rest of his life, I want him to know and spend time with people like her.
Bringing home a baby changed our marriage. We HAD to communicate a lot more now. We had to coordinate so many things.We had to stay on a schedule. We had to work as a team. Before, we could be way more independent, but now, we had a common goal- to raise a child together. I mean, this is a huge responsibility people. This made me also have a lot more respect for my sister. I don't know how she managed to raise Karina by herself. It has to be so hard. I think it is hard and I have Paul. My sister did it all by herself. She is stronger than I ever realized.She is who I lean on, she is usually the first person I call when I need help, when I need to cry, or when I just don't want to have to call the insurance company again. She handled all the yucky stuff for me. She has protected me since I was a little girl.