I want you to think about one of the most difficult things that has ever happened to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small thing, whatever was particularly difficult for you. Now in one word describe that experience. The word that best describes my experience on September 26th, 2018 is…
Honestly, I don’t think anyone could really prepare for what happened after the birth of my daughter, but you’d think one would have some sort understanding about what was happening. We thought we did but we didn’t have a clue. Looking back we were so naive. Not necessarily naive about being parents (that we knew was going to be hard), but naive about what happens next with a high risk pregnancy. We just kinda thought we’d get extra care and follow all the protocols and then poof! healthy baby. Unfortunately, we don’t actually live in Disneyland so we don’t have a genie to grant us wishes or a fairy godmother to bibbidi bobbidi boo things to the way we want want them. Sometimes life sucks and all you can do is roll with the punches.
On September 26th, 2018 in that operating room crammed with people my beautiful baby girl was born. She had dark hair and cried when they took her out. I remember laughing a little bit to myself because she had a cone head from trying so hard to come out during the induction. But then there was nothing. I wasn’t sure if they were doing something to her and that’s why she stopped crying or what. My husband tried to get a picture of her for me but there were so many people around her tiny crib it was hard to get a picture of anything more than the back of someones head. After what felt like 30 minutes (it was probably only 2 or 3 minutes), one of the NICU doctors (who I later found out was due on the same day as my original due date, November 3rd) brought her over to us. She explained that Audrey looked great but that she was having a hard time remembering to breathe so she needed to head to the NICU immediately. I remember wanting to touch her and asking for a kiss but too scared to do it. I was scared those extra 30 seconds spent with me and my husband would delay her treatment and hurt her more in the long run. We didn’t say anything, just stared at her in shock and amazement. Then off she went.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and that’s the damn truth! Our naivety also made us pretty sure of ourselves. We thought for sure we’d see her in a couple hours and we could hug her and kiss her all we wanted. That ended up not being true. At the time we didn’t realize we wouldn’t see Audrey for another three hours. For me those three hours went by quickly. I was so doped up on whatever they gave me I slept right through them. As for my husband, he wasn’t so lucky. We’ve actually never really talked about how he was feeling during those three hours but if I could imagine the feelings he was having they would probably sound a little something like this. He was probably updating the family and fielding phone calls and text messages as long as he could. He was probably anxiously awaiting any news from the NICU. He was probably worried that it took me so long to wake up and wondering if that was normal. His head was probably spinning trying to make sense of everything that just happened in the last six hours.
Then the thought we’d both tried not to think about, “What if Audrey doesn’t make it? How do I tell Rachel? How do I tell our families? What do I say? Can I even bring myself to do this?”
If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to reach out and touch Audrey, I would have insisted on giving her a kiss before she went to the NICU, and I would have asked for someone to take a family picture of us. Because knowing what I know now, that could have been our one and only opportunity to do that. Audrey’s condition could have deteriorated quickly and she could have been gone before I woke up from surgery. It’s realities like this that we didn’t prepare for. We didn’t know that could have been our first and last time ever seeing our daughter alive and no one could have anticipated that. So, a word of advice from some random wannabe blogger, hold their hand, kiss their cheek, give them a hug, and take the picture. Don’t be afraid to make your memories. That might be all you have left of that person someday.