I had the worst Halloween of my life in 2010. My daughter was 5 days old and in the NICU born 6 1/2 weeks early. This was in St. Louis, where we had just moved 4 weeks earlier, and we were living with my retired parents because our house had not sold. Everyone was surprised when my water broke on October 26, since my due date was not until December 10. I had her by c-section at Missouri Baptist Hospital, where she stayed in the NICU, but was doing okay until. . .Halloween morning, when they realized she just wasn’t digesting food properly. This was after my husband had decided to dress up like Captain Riker from Star Trek Next Generation to visit the NICU. So, while I tell his story, please don’t forget Captain Riker was with me all the way.
On that Halloween morning, they ushered us over to a corner of the MO-Bap NICU because it’s just two big rooms where you have no privacy with your baby or your doctor and started quietly telling us that KB would have to be moved to the NICU at Children’s Hospital where they have better equipment and can take better care of her. FREAKING OUT is what I immediately started doing, and then it only got worse when they said she would be transported by a transport team in an ambulance that we would just have to follow. Did I mention I was freaking out? I started crying from the moment I heard Children’s Hospital–see if you are from St. Louis and reading this post you will know why! There’s a stigma–it’s a great hospital, don’t get me wrong. . . but it’s where the SICK kids go, the really SICK kids. And now my 5-day-old baby girl that I didn’t have until I was 39 was going to there.
If you’ve ever had a baby in the NICU, you know that while you are worrying about all of these literally life and death situations, you also have to worry about pumping every three hours if you are planning to breastfeed your baby. Your baby may not be able to nurse for weeks because she/he can’t really suck yet, and so to keep your milk production up, you must pump. Luckily, NICUs provide rooms with great pumps for you to do this, and so in the middle of hearing this news about Children’s Hospital, I had to get myself together and pump.
Since my mom was retired, she was there with us the whole way, and so she went into the room with me. We were sitting there, tears streaming down my cheeks, and the suction cups were on my breasts pumping away while I was saying crazy things like, “If she dies, I will never survive this. I will never survive this.” And so on. WE can laugh at this now because this is how KB looked at her third birthday and Halloween this year:
But at the time, it was far from funny, and I wrote something on Facebook or my blog that day like: This is the worst Halloween of my life. And some kind soul–if it was you, please come forward–said, “Just wait until next year, when you will be having the best Halloween of your life with your one-year old.” And she was right. Here’s KB at one-year-old:
I decided to write about this today because it’s been on my mind with Halloween just last Thursday and KB’s birthday earlier that week. I have a friend who is just about to have her first child at age 40, and I am so thrilled for her. She’s gone 40 weeks, and I just know she’s going to have a wonderful experience. I actually wouldn’t trade my experience for the world, and will share part of the whole gruesome story in a couple weeks–especially the humorous part about my husband as Captain Riker.
This is the month where we really start to think of the things in our life we are thankful for. And although I write about it on here a lot and joke and complain, I am glad for my advanced maternal age and for being a part of the Sandwich Generation. My life is more blessed because of both. Until next time, what are you thankful for this week? Ever have a great Halloween? A terrible one?