Thursday, April 13, 2006

JOOB - the story so far (Part Two)

My son lay upon his mother dead and lifeless. I have to say that the quiet academic part of me that had dominated throughout the labour and birth was looking down at him with interest and fascination. The sort of cold detachment that you get when every emotion has switched off leaving only scientific interest behind. The lover, father and artist had been replaced by the hacker/scientist.

Within moments the umbilical was cut and Glenn, who had returned just as everything got interesting, picked him up and carried him across the room to the waiting pediatrician, Yure. They placed him in a special cradle that is heated and has all the necessary equipment all in one unit. We'd been told during our tour of the hospital that there is always a pediatrician at the birth and that the array of machines that they use will ALWAYS be turned on and readied no matter how uncomplicated the birth or how healthy the newborn. I watched as Yure and Glenn did their thing and rescusitated my son. What surprised me was that they did it with a vacuum cleaner and a long thin tube that they inserted up his nose and into his lungs.

As I mentioned previously, JOOB had pooed (called meconium or mec) in the womb and subsequently that had gotten into his lungs and stomach. It sounds awful, but apparently the meconium is sterile and only becomes a problem if it is there for a long time because it causes an irritation and the possibility of infection. We're talking days here, so JOOB was okay if they could get him unstunned.

TP at this stage was delivering the placenta. I was surprised at how quickly the afterbirth was 'born'. That was quick. I didn't expect it to happen that soon, I said to the doctor assisting. I'm glad you think so, TP snapped back thinking I meant the whole birth. That was the harshest response she made during the entire process and that was quickly settled once I explained myself. Essentially, however, TP was still in la-la land and still wasn't taking any notice of what was happening across the room.

I saw Yure draw the tube out of JOOB and then give him a quick snort of oxygen. Up until now JOOB was mostly lifeless although I could have sworn that I had seen him move a little. Just not enough. The O2 however did the job. A short grizzle followed by twitching. My boy was alive.

The grizzle generated a reponse of its own in TP. She looked across and really saw her baby for the first time.

I was then called across to be with him. JOOB was squirming and trying to wake. I placed my index finger in his left hand and he immediately gripped it. Strongly. I knew then he would make it. Yure interrupted my moment of bonding by getting me to cut the cord again.

I'd been fairly ambivalent when it had been explained to us during the antenatal classes that the father cuts the cord. I suppose to some that it has meaning but to me it doesn't. That doesn't mean that I would have avoided doing it, but it just seemed unnecessary and too ritualistic. Now that JOOB's cord had already been cut it seemed even more so. In the end I did it for Yure, because he seemed to 'need' me to cut it. Just for the record, they're tough to cut through even with the razor sharp scissors that hospitals use.

By this time Glenn and Yure had prepared the cradle to move down to the Special Care Nursery. My boy wasn't out of the woods yet. Or so we all thought.

Special Care is down one floor from the Birthing Suites. The journey - with the cradle - took about two minutes. By the time we reached the nursery my son was wide awake and bright eyed. He was also highly curious of everything. I suppose I would be too if I was seeing everything for the first time. Even blurrily.

After a check JOOB was declared fit and healthy. Then we waited while he received his shots that unfortunately for him were preceded by a taste of glucose. I hope as a result he will associate sugar with discomfort and avoid lollies and other sweets. Probably not. He was then washed, dressed and double checked by the head pediatrician and given the all clear. Then came the time to put new tags on him - his own instead of his mother's. It was like watching the midwives prepare for a full-scale nuclear missile launch. They checked and double-checked the information, made sure another midwife confirmed it and then made sure I did too. It was great to see that level of care and professionalism.

Once that happened we had to wait for the midwife to have enough time to take us back up to TP. They're exceedingly busy in there and most of the tiny patients are in serious need. This gave me plenty of time to bond with my son. We discussed football and cricket and talked about what style of martial art he was interested in pursuing. We chatted about art and music and science and politics. Just the usual things a father and son chat about. Then, once the midwife was free we headed back up.

TP was just emerging from the shower when we got back to the Birth Suite. There were tears when she first held him but that is only natural. He, however, was looking back up at her and I gathered he was wondering what all the fuss was about. I explained it all later. He understands now.

I have to say that our entire experience with KEMH was an absolute pleasure. Everything from the antenatal classes to the labour team to the after birth care - which is still ongoing and will continue at least until he reaches primary school. HOW GOOD IS THAT? The world has another concert pianist or nobel laureate or axe-wielding psychopath and it's all thanks to them. Without their help we wouldn't have known what to do and JOOB (and possibly TP) certainly would never have survived. Thanks.


teddlesruss said...

wow, what a ride! congrats to you both, big hello to the bundle, have u got him a pic and author id on onedogsaid yet?

skribe said...

Thanks. LOL. Yes, we were considering it =).

Beerli said...

That was an incredibly emotional read. Thank you for that. I am so glad your son is okay. You have a wonderful way with words.