Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Happiest and Saddest Day of our Lives, Entry # 3

*Please note that newer entries for my personal blog are published in reverse order (newer posts are published at a later date), so that the true story of my family can be told in chronological order. The real date of this post is September 25th, 2011*

I was lead to a hallway area near the surgical room to wait, while my wife was being prepped for surgery. Sitting there, I could feel excitement of welcoming a new family member into our world and at the same time a sense of relief that my wife’s pregnancy and long labor will soon finally be over. After about 15 minutes, the nurse escorted me into the surgical suite. My wife was on the table in her hospital gown. They sat me next to my wife on the right side near her head and allowed me to hold her hand.

I could not see what was happening because they had her mid section covered by a barrier – I’m sure this was to protect the eyes of the average husband. I’ve heard of grown men vomiting all over their wife or even passing out on the floor from watching this type of surgery.

I nearly jumped out of my chair as the terrifying screams of my wife interrupted my muse. A few minutes into the surgery had passed and my wife was screaming as if she was being butchered alive. Her face turned a ghastly white and her body was jolting in pain. Her right hand was squeezing the life out of my hand; the deathly grip was so intense, that I thought the bones in my hands would break. The nurses ran to her side in preparation to hold her down and I tried my best to console her. Apparently the epidural and anesthetic was not working, most likely because the length of her labor had lasted too long and her body was building a resistance to the medicine. So she could feel everything during he caesarian. At this point they could do nothing but press on with the torturous surgery…

A few minutes seemed to last a life time as the cries of agony from my wife filled the room.  Moments later our baby girl was born and the screaming from my wife settled. Our baby girl, Hanna weighed a whopping 9 pounds and 2 ounces and was 23.25 inches tall.  Please keep in mind that my wife is by no means heavy set – at least for now! Prior to her pregnancy, she was 112 lbs. The average baby weight in the United States is usually 6-7 lbs. After I cut the umbillical cord and Hanna was cleaned up, I brought her over to my wife. The touch of her baby seemed to calm my wife down some more and she managed a faint smile.

After they closed up my wife she was carted away and I was brought into a room, while they checked the condition of our baby girl. A feeling of happiness rushed through me as I was holding baby Hanna, I still could not believe I was finally a proud father. When everything finally checked out, they told me I would have to release our baby to the neonatal nursery so that they could continue her care while I visited my wife.  I watched from the nursery window as our daughter laid in her hospital crib. She was the biggest baby in that nursery. Next to her, the other newborn babies seemed like little dwarfs. Seeing that Hanna would be okay, I went to see my wife in her recovery room. My wife, Cisca was laying in the hospital bed with an IV flushing fluid and pain-killers through her sore body. I went over and gave her a kiss on her forehead and gave her an update about our beautiful baby. An hour passed and I asked the nurse when our baby would be able to join us in our room. She said it should be soon. Another hour passed and my mother and sisters met with my wife and I. At this point, I got up and went over to the neonatal nursery to see how our baby was doing. When I got to the nursery window, Hanna was nowhere to be found. I started conversing with some people next to me by the window overlooking the nursery. They were visiting and watching their newborn grandchild. When I asked if they saw a large Asian baby in the crib near the corner, they informed me that not too long ago there were about 4 doctors and a group of nurses hovering over our baby. Moments later they said Hanna was carted away.

Something did not feel right. I quickly tracked down a nurse and asked where my daughter was. They directed me to the neonatal emergency center. I immediately rushed into that department to talk with one of the doctors. One of the specialists explained that our daughter had a problem with her heart.  When, I asked if it was a heart murmur or a hole in the heart, they said no it wasn’t, but that someone would explain everything to my wife and I in a few moments. I tried to squeeze more information out of them, but they just brushed me off, and told me it would be better if I waited for a pediatric cardiologist to go over the information with us.

About another hour passed before a doctor came into our room to talk with my wife and I. Our daughter was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart disease, Hypoplastic Right Ventricle, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia with Pulmonary Atresia. Basically the right side of our daughter’s heart did not develop properly and she was not getting oxygen delivered to her body. They informed us that Hanna would have to be immediately transported to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for her survival and proper care. We were also informed that there were surgeries that could be preformed to prolong the life of our child. They would not be too specific about the surgeries or her long term outcome. We asked if we could at least see our daughter one last time before she was transported away. They said time was of essence, but that they would allow us to see our baby.  Minutes later, Hanna was carted into our room trapped in a clear polycarbonate enclosure with tubes and wires inserted all over her innocent little body. The sight of our beautiful baby in that condition brought an overwhelming sense of helpless despair and heavy sadness in the bleak hospital room. I could not help but think how this might be the last time we saw our precious baby. My mother and sisters broke down into tears. Cisca, my wife, who had just lost a lot of blood from a dreadful caesarian seemed like she was dazed in perhaps the worst nightmare of her life. We were able to put our fingers through a small hole in the enclosure to touch Hanna’s little hands. My wife offered some words of comfort to our baby and told Hanna to be strong. I wanted to show confidence in the survival of our baby and so it took every ounce of energy to hold  back the tears welling up in the back of my eyes as we watched our first and only baby transported away.

* Too be continued *

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