14 March 2011

The Singular One

Boy One turned eighteen on Saturday. I'm not sure how this happened, because I still feel 28. We had some family over for dinner and cake, and everyone was equally stunned at how quickly the time had passed. One is not often the center of attention. He doesn't play sports, or perform in school plays, so I think he enjoyed having a moment in the sun.

On birthdays, I usually recount the guest of honor's birth story. Hands down, One has the most remarkable tale. So, to honor this momentous occasion, I will share some details.

I awoke in the middle of the night, at the beginning of labor. I waited to call the doctor, and headed to the hospital about two hours later. Labor was progressing, but One wasn't responding the way we wanted. Specifically, his  heart rate was dropping during contractions, when it should have been increasing. He was in distress, and it was decided that we would deliver him via cesarean section. (Side note to doctors: don't promise a woman in active labor that the anesthesiologist will arrive at 1:00, if he is not going to be there AT ONE O'CLOCK!)

I got wheeled into the operating room, and the Captain sat next to me. At 2:32 PM, our first boy was born. He sounded great, lots of gutsy crying, so they cleaned him up, and whisked him away. I stayed behind to get stitched, and then went off to the recovery room, where I did my best to scare the nurses with my plummeting blood pressure.

During that time, it became clear that One had issues. He was having episodes of apnea. They could massage him to get him breathing again, but the episodes continued. They thought he was having seizures. They did a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. They were stumped, and the hospital lacked a neonatal intensive care unit. He would have to be transported to a nearby hospital that had the proper doctors and equipment.

I was lying flat in bed, so they wheeled him in, in his isolette, so I could see him. They left me with a Polaroid picture of him, that I taped to the bed rail. My husband had a difficult decision to make. He was concerned for me, because I had just had surgery. He was concerned for the baby, but it was snowing heavily.  If he went with the baby, he might not get back to me. He chose to stay.

It snowed, and snowed, and snowed. And then it snowed some more, up and down the eastern seaboard, just to make it into the record books. The Captain was trapped with me for two days, while we waited for a diagnosis. Finally, he dug the car out of three feet of snow, and went to see One. It had been difficult to get technicians into the hospital to perform tests, so the neonatologists were considering two possible diagnoses.  The first was that One had a massive brain tumor. The second, more remote possibility, was that he had suffered a prenatal myocardial infarction: a stroke, in utero.

After five days in the hospital, I was released, and went to see my baby. He was hooked up to monitors, and drugged to the gills to prevent seizures. But he was stable, and they let me hold him for a long time. A pediatric neurologist had looked at his MRI, and confirmed the stroke diagnosis. It was difficult to hear, and accept. But we looked around the nursery, at all the babies struggling, and we were thankful.

And now, our baby is eighteen. There have been many challenges through the years, and more await us. But I reached up to hug him yesterday, and I was thankful. We are blessed to have him in our lives.


  1. Anonymous14.3.11

    Wow. What an amazing story, and so glad to hear the happy ending. Happy Birthday, One!

  2. Anonymous14.3.11

    Happy Happy to One!!!
    The first kid to reach adulthood is a huge step, the very definition of poignant, sad and meaningful with bone deep joy, all mixed together.
    So glad you both made it through the storms.
    (I love birth stories...)

  3. Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy, One!! But if it is all the same to everyone, I'm going to pretend that it is his 8th. Thinking about baby One being 18-years old, taller than I am and speaking with a deep baritone voice is a little more than I can take at the moment.

    Many, many more!!!

  4. Congratulations! Now do NOT tell that shit to pregnant women. We cry very easily.

  5. @Lora: I actually hesitated, and thought about you before I posted it. Ultimately, the story is about triumph over adversity, and faith over fear. Because, despite everything that happened, we went and had Boys Two through Five. (Sorry I made you cry.)

  6. Megan you just made me cry. I remember the drama and the frustration because of the storm, and being 6 months along myself, I was scared for you, captain, One, and us. Celebratory hugs to you all xoxo

  7. Happy Birthday One!

    I also love birth stories and I wrote Little Man's down for him for his birthday last week. Which is silly, because he turned 1 and, you know, hasn't mastered the English language.

    It is amazing how strong such little ones can be. And it is amazing how strong such little ones make us. Many more happy birthdays to One!

  8. Happy Birthday, One!
    (I normally tell people "Happy [insert name here] Day!", but "Happy One Day" sounds like possibility or a limit instead of an imperative.)

  9. Happy Birthday, One! And many, many more.

    @Lora, If you need an antidote, let me know. I'll email you the story of my third. Easiest, most comfortable birth ever. As I'm sure yours will be. :)

  10. And I cried AGAIN. He is our miracle boy. I told his story to friends, on his birthday, because some things don't leave your memory bank in spite of the aging process. I remember his beautiful little face which has managed to morph into a very handsome young man in a blink of an eye. Happy Birthday One, our first grandson. And may you have many, many, more.

  11. It is most certainly is not 18 years! You must have counted wrong. Because I remember it all too well. I was so far away and so frightened. But we got our beautiful, talented One and there is no way that baby boy is 18. Could you please count again?

  12. Thank you, all, for the kind wishes. He is enjoying telling us all the things he will be doing now that he is an adult. Mostly, they are the opposite of what we want him to do.

  13. Ohhh poor baby born in snowstorm. Yay 18 year old getting ready to do all kinds of Naughty Things! Sounding his Resounding Yawp. He's earned it. ;-)

  14. Anonymous20.3.11

    I love "ONE", I am lucky to know and love him indeed!


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