Friday, July 15, 2011

Max Antonio Tavares: 5-5-11

I think a lot of times when it comes to health I take a lot of things for granted. I was never sick growing up except one case of mono in Junior High. Even though I was exhausted, my mom never  let me miss school. I never broke any bones. I never even got seriously injured with all my years playing soccer. Except for the delivery, my pregnancy with Clare was completely normal. Almost too normal because I didn't have any symptoms. This pregnancy was the same. The only issue that came up was that I was hypoglycemic. Not really a big deal, I just needed to eat little snacks throughout the day (and gain tons of weight in the process).

May 5th arrived soon enough and I was so excited. Having your delivery day planned out has its blessings because it's like waiting for Santa Claus when you're little. I couldn't get over the excitement of how our little family of 3 was growing to 4 and the anticipation of what he was going to look like and what he was going to sound like. My c-section was scheduled for 12:00pm and we arrived at the hospital two hours prior. We were put in a room where they started my IV, put me in a cute little hospital gown, and made Edgar suit up for the big delivery. Family stopped by briefly, but we told them we wanted to spend the last moments before the delivery alone as a couple. Edgar and I laughed and joked about all kinds of stuff and I took silly pictures of him in a football stance pretending like he was about to catch a hiked football. Eventually it was time and I walked to the operating room. I made a comment about how scary the OR looked. The anesthesiologist got me all hooked up and within minutes we proceeded. I can remember laying there and hearing my baby boy and just being overwhelmed with happiness. Hearing the child you have been carrying for 9 months make his first sounds must be what it's like to hear angels sing because the emotion is overwhelming. Without even getting a glance at him I was in tears. I could hear Edgar's excitement and I guess he was too excited because I had to remind him that I was still here and I still hadn't seen Max. He brought him over to me and I saw his scrunched up little face and I was in love. The only time I believe in love at first sight is when you have a baby. The nurse called Edgar back for what I thought was to weigh and clean Max off, but later I was told it was because she was concerned with his breathing. Edgar said he was going to go with Max to the nursery while I went to recovery. To me, this is the worst part of having a c-section. You have to go to recovery for and hour and you're isolated from everyone else. I was in and out of sleep and eventually I was wheeled back into my room.

I guess when I got back to the room I figured Max and Edgar would be there. But I was alone. At some point my Mom came in and around 3:00pm I was starting to wonder: Where is Edgar? Where is Max? Edgar finally came by and said that they had to take Max to the NICU because of his breathing, but that everything was going to be fine. What felt like hours past. I still hadn't held my baby. Edgar finally came into the room with the NICU doctor to give me and update of Max's health. He said that Max's breathing was irregular and they wanted to monitor to make sure everything was ok. They left again for the NICU. Someone brought Clare into see me and I pulled her into the bed with me. I was talking to her and snuggling with her when Edgar walked in. If you know Edgar you would know that Edgar is calm and really laid back. He's happy-go-lucky and we're always joking and laughing together. It's weird because we can joke about stuff that shouldn't be funny, but we laugh anyway. When he walked in I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. His face was white. He had tears in his eyes. He had a hard time looking up and he said, "There's something wrong with his heart. They're taking him to Texas Children's." Even writing this today, I have tears in my eyes because I never want to see my husband, my best friend, look like that ever again. After he spoke those words, I lost it. I panicked, I cried out, I lost control in front of my beautiful daughter, my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law, and the lactation nurse in the room. The lactation nurse immediately pulled my head to her head and said, "You have to get it together right now so your daughter doesn't see you this way. Right now!" Harsh, but so true. I took the deepest breath and I pulled it together as much as I could. Clare was worried and I couldn't let her feel what I was feeling. At that point, I calmly explained what little I knew to Clare and I gave her back to my mother-in-law who was going to keep her over night. I also promised myself that this moment was going to be the last time that I felt sorry for myself or let my emotions take control of me during this process. Before Edgar left I said that we need to baptize him before they take him away. At that point, I had know clue how bad the situation was or how long we were going to have with Max. I also said that I wanted to hold him. Edgar said that I would have to come to the NICU if I wanted to hold him.

The nurse brought a wheel chair and I got out of bed (no small task for having a c-section 5 hours prior) and was wheeled down to the NICU. We entered and there was my beautiful baby boy under heat lamps. He really was beautiful. The NICU nurse picked him up and handed him to me. Again I was overwhelmed with emotions. How could something be wrong with him? He looked so normal to me. Full head of Tavares hair. Inquisitive eye brows. Beautiful lips. Little button nose. I let the tears drop off my face and onto his chest. I felt so helpless. How can I fix this? How can I make it right? Where's the magic wand where you can wave it over his little body and make everything ok? I held him for almost thirty minutes and Father Ignatius arrived to baptize Max. It was a powerful moment.

The Texas Children's transport team, Kangaroo Crew, came and it was time for me to say goodbye. It was such a strange moment, and I'm not sure that I knew exactly how to feel. I was wheeled back into my room without my newborn son and my husband. Edgar stayed with Max around the clock for the next 12 days. After two nights in the hospital I was discharged. Those were probably the hardest two nights of my life. My mom stayed overnight in the hospital with me, and friends came to visit throughout the day and at night. If it weren't for them, I'm pretty sure I would have crumbled. 

Saturday came, and I was leaving the hospital. We went straight to Texas Children's to see about Max...

1 comment:

  1. I'm crying reading this. You are so incredible. You all are!