Thursday, March 17, 2005

T-Bird (Part III)

*Scroll down for Parts I and II* I was very much surprised at T-Bird’s "resilience." She’s not a weak person by any means, but working your way through a trauma such as the loss of child is trying on the most solid of psychologies. I talked to Bob a few times to find out if she was fibbing to me about how she was doing. I talked to her mom too. No, she was doing good, compared to what could be going on. Nate and I drove to Michigan in March, 1998, as a surprise to celebrate her birthday. She was very heavy. The heaviest I had yet to see her. Being five foot nothin’ doesn’t get you far. When she was diagnosed bi-polar, she was placed on lithium, which caused horrible weight gain, not to mention the other side effects. It was good to see her though, even if the time was super short. I believe we may have visited two or three times until Christmas of that same year and she had lost a little weight. During Christmas she told me that she had gone off the pill. I didn’t say anything and neither did she, but two things hung over us that evening. The first was Tori, the second was that it had taken T-Bird almost three years to get pregnant with her. (T-Bird hadn’t used birth control in five years, but she was with Bob three years prior to conceiving Tori.) No sooner had they returned to Michigan than they had to turn around and come back due to a death in the family. While here, she stopped by my place. She didn’t look so good. She said she had been throwing up. *Eyebrows raised* She said, "No, I took a piss test. It was negative." Uh huh. So was her first, second, and third ones with Tori. Schorrrrrrrr... uh huh. Right. Next baby... due October 9. T-Bird had it rough. She went to a specialist who recommended a cerclage. Cerclage you ask? A great big staple for the cervix... to keep it shut. He believed premature dilation of the cervix caused the tear, leakage, etc. I raised my eyebrows. I believed that as much as I believed the moon is made of cheese. Yes, he’s a specialist. Yes, he goes to fancy schmancy seminars. I got something on him though... I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I was there. He’s looking at medical records from individuals who were in a stressful situation. The Nanner knows. Trust me. M’kay? Tori got here with T-Bird dilating to a whopping 5-6 cm. T-Bird and I kept in very close contact, to the point when I would answer the phone it was a race to see who blurted out, "What’s wrong?" vs. "Nothing’s wrong!" first. She made it through the cerclage. Then developed gestational diabetes. Then high blood pressure. She couldn’t eat sugar, pasta, or potatoes. Had to give herself shots. Wasn’t allowed to climb her steps more than once a day. No driving and... no sex. That’s right. With the cerclage being a foreign body it is more susceptible to infection... so no sex. No getting hot and bothered even. We all breathed a little easier as she eased past the 25 week mark. I went to Michigan for the baby shower and then it was just a matter of waiting. T-Bird called me the first week of September. The baby was head down and doing fine. Her blood pressure though was another story. She was starting to swell and develop pre-eclampsia. They removed the cerclage. The doctor was putting her in the hospital for a non-stress test, ultrasound, and amniocentesis. She had always told me she wanted me there when she had Tori and now, her son, J3. I told her I would make plans and for her to call me following the amnio. She called the next day around 10 o’clock. The amnio was good, J3's lungs were developed and it was time to induce labor. I left West Virginia by 6:00 p.m. and should have been to the hospital no later than 1:00 a.m. That is until they let T-Bird have the phone while I was trying to find the hospital. She turned me around within a mile of the hospital and sent me into downtown Detroit. Downtown. Detroit. At. 1:00 a.m. Every time I would try to make my way out of center city I would be on the wrong road and almost went to Canada a half dozen times. Finally, finally... I made it back onto the right road (by ignoring the directions of the people at the hospital) and by the time I got there, it was 2:00 a.m. I met her mom in the hallway and she had the "worried Mom"look. She waved me into the room. T-Bird was not doing well at all. They had oxygen on her, more wires and cords than a motherboard, and I watched as her eyes slid open, hazy. Her stomach was trembling as she contracted but she was hardly on this planet. I left the room and faced down her mom. I knew something was wrong and why weren’t they doing a C-section? KCZ (T-Bird’s mom) said they were just waiting for the doctor, he was on his way to do an assessment. Damn doctor. Assessment my ass. She was stuck and had been stuck at 5-6 cm. (thank you VERY much). Now her blood pressure was spiking into stroke range. The doctor came down the hallway, disappeared into her room, came out, and proclaimed, "We need to do a C-section." Duh. KCZ’s friend punched me in the arm, hard, and hissed, "Somebody was just waiting on you to get here." I went back into T-Bird’s room and she was much more coherent. I took a hold of her hand and she pulled me close to her, pulled her mask off and said, "I’m scared Nanna." Tears seeped out of the corners of her eyes and I reassured her that she had made it this far and comparatively, J3 was doing much better than her. He had just started showing signs of distress when they took her in for the C-section. We all collapsed in the waiting room. I pulled my knees up under my chin and fell asleep. I woke up when the door to the waiting room opened. It was Bob. We had a healthy baby boy and one very ill Mommy. J3 lay red and squalling like the whole world was his enemy. Music to our ears. T-Bird was still hazy from the anesthesia but her blood pressure had now bottomed out and she was put in intensive care. It was 7:00 a.m. before Bob and I staggered back to his and T-Bird’s apartment. I collapsed on the couch and he stretched out on the floor. By 11:00 we were back up and on our way to breakfast. (Nanner must have breakfast... Bob knows this.) T-Bird was not doing well at all. She had even yet to hold J3. To have gone through so much, now she wasn’t even capable of holding him. Her mom and I took turns sitting beside of her bed with J3 propped up in her arms for short periods of time. She was running a fever. Somewhat coherent. She knew she had the baby. She knew he was okay. She knew this because we repeated it every time she woke up and asked. By the next morning her fever had broken and with the assistance of us and the nurses, she was able to hold and start to care for J3. I left that Sunday and told her I would return the following month. Little did I know, little did any of us suspect... the shit storm to come.
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