Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oliver's Story

Before I begin to talk about where I am now I must first begin by telling the story of how we got here, a.k.a. Oliver's story.

Because it is my blog and there is no one to stop me, I can start at the very beginning, which in this case would be conception. Okay, I won't get into the details but I would like to say that Oliver was very much planned and very much wanted. My husband (Juha) and I had decided that we really, really wanted a new addition to our little family. It was the summer of 2008 and at the time we were both working CRAZY schedules and doing a lot of traveling. We were both on separate business trips but decided to meet up at a Toronto hotel for a little rendezvous to mark the beginning of our "trying for a baby" phase. The next day we were both a bit scared and thought we should perhaps slow it down and wait a bit for life to slow down before we got pregnant again. But that one night was all it took, we were already pregnant an we were THRILLED about it.

When I was pregnant with Oliver I quit my job. At the time I was the Acting Director of a busy communications department within a large organization. It was a very demanding role that required a lot of overtime and way too much travel. AS I mentioned the summer of '08 was a crazy one. Juha and I were passing each other in the night and our beautiful little daughter was getting carted around from one wonderful friend or family member to another. I felt like I was missing out on her early years and that was very upsetting. Juha and I decided that only one of us could continue working 60+ hours a week and I walked away from the business world and jumped head first into the world of a full-time mom.

My pregnancy was perfect. A little morning sickness at the beginning and a little fatigue but was overall a walk in the park. Up until my 30th week, of course.

I was just over 29 weeks when it all started. My beautiful daughter Seija was spending the night with my parents and Juha and I were watching a movie. I wasn't feeling great, but didn't think much of it. I went for one of my many trips to the bathroom which revealed a bit of spotting. It scared the shit out of me. I've heard of spotting in the early days but not 29 weeks in. I laid back down and tried resting but a few minutes later the bleeding was worse and we headed to the hospital. I got dressed quickly but as I put on my jeans it never occurred to me that my life had changed forever.

Within moments of walking into the hospital we were wisked down to labour and delivery. After a series of tests the doctors decided that baby and I were fine and that we could go home the next day, as long as ultrasound was fine. I was going to be on bedrest, which at the time sounded horrible but now in retrospect would have been a cakewalk in comparison. They gave me steroid shots to ensure that if baby was born early, his lungs would be strong enough to survive. The next day we had an ultrasound and they said the baby was perfect - it was also revealed that he was in fact a boy. I remember the elevator ride back down to the floor - so clearly when I told Juha that we were in deed having a son. I remember the look on his face, the tears in his eyes, the tremble in his voice when he repeated, "We're having a son, I'm having a son, a son!"

LAter that afternoon they moved me to the maternity floor in a ward room with three moms and their babies. I was going to stay there under observation until I could see the doctor again. The thought was that I would be discharged soon. Juha left to get some work done and my sister came to visit. While Pam was there I was getting freaked out - I felt like I was bleeding more instead of less. Turned out my water had broke. Within one hour everything had changed again. I was wisked back to labour and delivery and had a team of interns telling me that I would not be going home, that I was in labour and they were going to stop it and then I would be admitted until Oliver was born. The kicker announcement was that the NICU was closed and that I would be flown somewhere else, as soon as possible. Unfortunately Juha was gone for this little speech. My sister called him to come back, he was already parking the truck at that point. He must have been scared, knowing something was wrong but not knowing what. I couldn't stop poor sister didn't know what to say and was probably freaked righ out. But she held my hand, cried with me and reassured me in her calm, comforting and strong manner. I'm very lucky to have her in my life.

SO...the word came in that we would be shipped to Sudbury but then they said that Juha might not be able to come. Which was an awful thought. We had to wait for the air ambulance to get there so that they could tell us if weight restrictions would allow for Juha to come or not. We waited hours and hours before they got to the hospital after one in the morning and told us Juha could come. Thank God. I mean it, thanks to you God. I don't know how I would have survived any of this if it wasn't for my rock - my husband.

I was strapped to a gurney (generous word for plywood covered by a couple of inches of padding) and driven by ambulance to the airport where a small air ambulance waited for us. I was damn scared during all of this. The flight was uncomfortable and I was so exhausted but sleep would not come. I just remember looking out the window wondering how the f*ck we had gotten here. An air ambulance helicpoter waited for us at the Sudbury airport and took us straight to the hospital. By now it was well after 4:30 in the morning. I was wheeled down to a room in L&D where five nurses swooped down at me to monitor and care for me. They set up a bed for Juha who fell asleep within minutes after our 30 hour bad dream. I fell asleep after hearing that labour had stalled and Oliver looked fine.

We spent the next four days in the Sudbury hospital. We had another ultrasound the morning after we arrived and everything looked great. The chaplin visited us and a pediatrician came and talked to us about what we could expect with a premature baby. The goal was to get me to 34 weeks, at which point Oliver would have the best chance of being healthy. But after the doctor left I felt completely confident that even if Oliver was born that day, he would be fine, just little. I felt so good after that, this was just a bump in the road it was not the end. My job was to keep him in as long as possible. I made Juha buy me a notebook and I wrote down every date until the 34 week mark. Each evening I would happily cross off another day and I was THRILLED when I hit 30 weeks a couple of days later. I was making tons of lists of everything that needed to be done at home that we didn't get the chance for before we left. The atmosphere changed - we weren't that worried anymore. I had moments of course, but we were okay. The nurses seemed to share our disposition as the constant monitoring slowed. They started only monitoring twice a day at morning and night.

That's good for now. Stay tuned for part two.

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