Ruby's Birth Story: Part Three

[Part One]
[Part Two]

I think I just closed my eyes. And I’m still not sure if I was given some sort of a relaxer or sedative, or if it was hormones or what, but I was out of it.

In a way, it felt like total surrender. Everything around me was just happening and I laid there. I don’t think I prayed or cried out to God. I was just still. I remember feeling a little fearful, but I wasn’t actively processing. I just accepted everything as fact...

“I don’t hear the monitor anymore. I’m being unhooked from everything. I’m being wheeled about of my hospital room. We’re leaving Thomas behind and my bed is still moving. Wow, it’s bright and cold in here.”

I don’t remember Thomas joining me, sitting next to my head in the operating room. Did I fall asleep? I remember at one point feeling more alert and awake, and I heard sniffling. The cry was near to me, and I soon opened my eyes to find the source: my husband. Thomas was shaking but rigid, tears falling down his cheeks.

Me, totally unaware of the events in that room, thought “how sweet, he’s overwhelmed with joy because he’s about to become a dad.” I do remember finding his face and saying aloud, “babe, it’s going to be okay.”

Then I was “out” again. I don’t remember sensations or sounds or anything until I remember waking up again, moving my head to search and find Thomas, and I did. He was standing to my left, speaking with a man in scrubs. That man, I’d later learn, was a neonatal doctor, and his hand was resting on a baby’s head, stroking gently.

It was probably at that moment that I had the realization, “something is not right. Why isn’t she crying? Is she even moving? I can’t tell.” I heard him say the words, “transfer to North Austin.”

Bam, I was out again. I don’t remember Thomas and the baby leaving the operating room or me being wheeled out. The next moment of clarity was being back in the room where it all began, seeking any face to provide me with an update, and finding only sadness in my people there.

Thomas was the first at my side, holding my left hand, stroking my arm. I think he simply said, “Hi, babe,” and continued crying.  Looking back, that’s the first time I remember crying myself, sensing I’d been robbed of the beautiful experience so many women have giving birth, not knowing anything about where my baby was, what she looked like, or if she was still alive. Wow, I hadn’t thought of that yet until writing it down now… I guess I assumed she was? No one was giving me any details.

Someone else approached at my right: my doctor. She was crying, which sealed the deal for me that something had gone horribly wrong, that this was certainly not a normal post-c-section discussion. I remember her saying over and over, “I’m so sorry. I know this is not the birth experience you’d hoped for.”

My dad and mom walked over to the bed after that. Sensing that no one really knew what to do or say, Dad looked at my doctor and said, “Can I pray for you and for us?” Still crying, she nodded, and he ushered us into a time of asking God to intervene. He asked for healing, for a miracle, so that’s when I knew our Ruby was still fighting.

My legs were starting to gain feeling back. I was shivering and jittery. Again, hazy details. Thomas, I think, floated back and forth from my room to the NICU there at the Round Rock hospital. I couldn’t, in that moment, comprehend the gravity of her situation, but at some point, it was communicated to me that she would be transferred by helicopter to a better-equipped NICU (more on that in another post – Round Rock has a perfectly wonderful NICU, but it didn't have the treatment Ruby needed).

I remember hearing the helicopter overhead. It was maybe 20-30 minutes later that my baby, my Ruby Grace, was wheeled into my hospital room in an isolette. The flight crew and security team entered with her, serious and kind but all-business. Thomas stood with my parents, signing a clipboard with dozens of forms, giving consent for our daughter to be transported.

I remember feeling joy in my heart. I remember feeling happy to see her with my own eyes, and I knew she was my baby… but it wasn’t clicking, the weight of how sick she was and how meaningful this moment was of meeting her for the first time. I’m not sure if that’s the peace of God, or just flat out not comprehending. I don’t remember what was going through my head, but it was probably something like, “Wow, she’s beautiful. Gosh, who does she look like? Sleep all you can, baby. Mama needs you to get better so we can go home.” If you look at photos of me from that interaction, I look peaceful, not very emotional, and like I said, I don’t think I knew how bad things were. I was able to stick my hand inside her isolette to stroke her arm and have her hold my finger. I picked up my phone to take as many photos as I could to tide me over until we were reunited.


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