Moments after being born, both boys were taken by a team of Neonatologists and NICU nurses. Neither Trae or I got to see but a glipse of either boy before they were being worked on in their individual isolette. Both boys were given a drug called Serfactin to help strengthen their lungs before they were intubated and taken down to NICU in a hurry.
Since I was still going through post delivery procedures with my L&D team, I instructed Trae to go with the boys and to not leave their sides. I knew I had family on their way to me, and I didn't want the boys to die alone, if they couldn't survive before I got to them. It was a completely helpless feeling lying there waiting on my family, my husband gone with our sons born too early, my good friend Heather by my side in shock with me... it was if my whole world had stopped. All the noises of the emergency in my room: the clanging of steel medical utensils, the squeeking of rubber-soled shoes running on the floor, the emergency bells ringing in my L&D unit noting all medical personnel of my emergent-situation, the beeping of monitors and the shrieks I had let out while experiencing the worst pain of my life.... it had all stopped... and what laid ahead of me was simply too much for me to grasp.
Heather, being a mother herself, stepped into a role probably only she could have performed so well. She was responsible for communicating all my updates to friends and family since neither Trae or I was capable of speaking to more people than we had to. She continued this role for over a week.. something I will always be grateful for.
My brother, Paul showed up first, then my parents arrived from San Antonio. I don't remember saying much, or even crying until my Mom showed up.. I simply remember feeling.....nothing.
Mom had been rushing. I could tell she had been running or walking very fast when she grabbed me and hugged me with force. All the feelings I was waiting to have since yelling at Trae to stay with the babies washed over me. My Mom and Dad were here holding me, saying nothing and letting me be their child in pain. I sit here, almost 4 months later and I remember the feeling so vividly that I was feeling in this moment: The overwhelming emotion of trauma/missing information/sadness was one that literally took my breath away. My airway was constricted and I was gasping for air through long sobs, as my mom and dad stood next to me rubbing my back and feet.
I calmed down as Trae came into the room, but my body started thinking of a hundred questions as I saw my sweet husband, who normally has a grin from ear to ear, approaching me with a pale face full of worry and shock. His sister, Carrie had just gotten here from Robinson, TX in time for Trae to tell us all what he knew about the boys status. Trae told us he had run with the doctors down to NICU and he had to step out for the doctors to finish intebating the boys, since no procedures could be done with parents watching. They asked him to come back to the room since shift change was coming and we would be called to rejoin the boys after. Shift change happened twice a day. 90 minutes in the morning, 2 hours in the evening, and during this time- no parents can be in the NICU. Trae was able to see what the boys looked like, a bit and he took a picture of each baby in their isolette for me to see. He only was told that Tristan was doing well on the ventilator, but Dr. Breed, our Neonatologist warned us that Sawyer was not accepting the medication properly and therefore not receiving the oxygen properly. He was not expecting Sawyer to live long, unless something changed. The information was unbelievable. Truly, we didn't believe it and couldn't believe it. We were just getting used to the idea of being parents, the idea of losing one of them without seeing him was an idea we simply wouldn't let our mind linger on.
We started piecing together the story for my parents, Carrie and Trae's parents via phone, who were stuck in another state, trying to arrange immediate travel home. During this time, L&D moved me down to my post partum room, with our family in tow. We met our nurses and was given post partum care instructions. After going through the "check in" I immediately asked to be taken to NICU to see my boys. The nurses were very concerned about my well being and urged me to rest, but I insisted, my only compramise was I agreed to stay in my wheel chair. Dr. Breed informed us that Sawyer passed a mucus plug in his lung and was now breathing properly on the ventilator, at that point. We stayed with the boys and asked a lot of questions regarding what all the scary beeps coming from the machines hooked up to the boys were, and what the plans were for that night's care. The NICU nurses were so patient, answering every question we asked, even though many we were asking twice. They walked us through acceptable things to do, to bond with the babies- despite not being able to touch them.
The boys were tiny, but perfect. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I only knew what size they were supposed to be, according to our sonograms- but they were so much more. Our tiny sons were perfect little boys with 10 fingers and 10 toes, all long like Mom & Dad. They squirmed around and furrowed their brows, as the nurses adjusted them to make them comfortable, proving their normal baby tendencies. Their skin was red and so thin you could see thier tiny blood vessles under their skin and each heart beat, distinctly. We opened up one of the small doors on the isolette and spoke to our boys, as soon as we were told we could, and given instruction on how to do so, safely. Trae and I told each boy how much we loved them and how beautiful they were, through our tears. We asked them to fight with all their might so we could take them home with us where we promised to show them how much we all loved them. We only shut thier little isolette doors after we had sung our special songs to them "you are my sunshine" and the song that goes: "I love you Sawyer/Tristan, oh yes I do... I love you Sawyer/Tristan, my love is true... when you're not with me, Mom's blue.... oh Sawyer/Tristan, Mom & Dad loves you."
We were instructed to return to our room so I could rest and we updated our families. After our families left, Trae and I returned to our room and attempted to rest for a few hours between the healthy newborn cries coming through our neighbor's hospital walls. We were so scared and heartbroken about what had happened and what was to come for our sweet sons.
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