One Pound Nine Ounces

Unborn in Distress

Sunday morning 20 February, 2005,  my wife Cathy comments that she hasn’t felt the baby kick. Cathy asks if calling the doctor is warranted; three months remain until the due date. God’s synchronicity and design surrounding the pre-mature birth of our daughter; the determination of a child to have her way, even at birth during the three months at Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia.

The television is off, and Cathy is trying to feel the baby move.  Reluctantly we call the doctor, who decides we should go to the hospital. Blood pressure 220 over 170; we are quickly informed that Cathy is not going anywhere until the baby is born as in a three month stay for Cathy.  We spent the rest of the day together; I doubt we even called anyone.  I go home and sleep.

Just after midnight the phone rings, and my wife tells me hurry to the hospital. The  baby is in distress.  Upon my return I was rushed to the delivery room. There is a big sheet suspended in the air, covering our view of the doctors and nurses, as they began, there is a canter to our left, I only start noticing it as it fills with my wife’s blood. I go pale. The surprise not for us, but the staff, was that we didn’t already know the sex of our baby. Names we had, if a boy Calvin Hobbes Petrowski, and a girl Caroline Ruth Petrowski. My wife will always disagree with me on the boy’s name, remember she was heavy medicated, and she can write her own memoir. The baby is moved to an exam table where babies are graded upon birth, we hear no sound from the baby. The worst way to wake up Caroline is by turning on the light, she will yell and throws a fit, that’s how she entered this world with harsh bright light.  Dr. Ahmed is the head doctor of the NICU- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, my first thought is he’s from the Middle East; 9-11 was very fresh in my mind from four years earlier. I meet and discover the sex of our baby; she is very red and seems to not be happy. Cathy and I announce to the world her name.

New Crib

Caroline’s new home for the next 3 months consists of a Plexiglas crib in the right far corner of the room with a lid on it that controls the temperature and humidity. The crib appears new; she had the nicest crib in the place.  Today when I visit with Caroline, the first place I look is that crib in the corner, knowing that whoever lives there is doing fine. Something I learn while there, on the first day there is unlimited access to Caroline for friends and family. Over the next couple of days that dwindles down to three on a strict list and Cathy and me.  My guess is the doctor and nurses, didn’t know if Caroline would survive. One of the hardest things I witnessed over the three months was a nurse knowing that the baby she was in charge of for the night wouldn’t make it, no words were spoken you could see it in her eyes. Why did my baby do well and her roommate didn’t, I was thankful and felt guilty at the same time. ‎Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once, and He volunteered for it (Sproul Jr R.C.).

Trust, how can you trust anyone if you can’t even trust your own mother?  That’s me back then, unable to trust anyone, wondering what peoples angles were,  a little suspicious of everyone maybe even God. And now I have no control over the events.  I’ve had panic attacks in the past when I felt like this, separated from myself looking down, grabbing whatever was available and holding on tight.  My back against the wall, I had no choice but to trust over the three months with the ups and downs.  The one time I tried to take control, unsuccessfully, was when Caroline was moved to another room and crib. Caroline got a new roommate named Anna Rae and we got to know her parents Stephanie and Cody, who shared in the hurdles. Nowadays, I wonder who God brings people into my life at just the right time? There is always a reason, so I just try and figure it out.

Observations

 Hair twirling, my baby twirls her hair, how is that possible?  She could not see anyone doing it or have been taught. Caroline still twirls her hair when she is very tired.  Caroline had to wear a mask over her nose, and she would reach up with her little hands and take it off.  She was very determined regarding the mask- didn’t want it for a second. Tubes coming out of her, patches connected to monitors. She wanted to have control over something and that mask was it!  Social butterfly, yes she demonstrated that also while in the NICU, turning her head to where the action was. Caroline had to be tough and determined to have survived let alone thrive.  Reason with a six year old, are you kidding me!  As parents we’ve learned that is the best and sometimes only way to get her co-operation.

Caroline’s birth weight is one pound and nine ounces.  We took Caroline home the day after Mother’s day. Caroline’s birthday- President’s Day, now barely forty pounds now full of determination and spunk.  How can something so small have such an impact on us and the people in her circle of friends?  Caroline is quick to make friends, and involve others in activities. I am only a witness of her life and her Daddy, thankful to have a front row seat, pass the popcorn!

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