This post was originally written on January 1, 2012.
After birth, our family of three went to our postpartum room – our home for the next two days. Our stay got extended one day for reasons I’ll go into in a bit.
Thanks be to God – Emmett was born healthy with all ten fingers and ten toes. The doctor in the delivery room was quick to clarify that the large red mark on the right side of Em’s face was what they call a port wine stain, and not a bruise resulting from the L & D.
His birth mark was the reason we were asked to stay one extra day at the hospital. Because of the location of Em’s port wine stain (surrounding his eye), there were some concerns that he might also be at risk for correlated conditions – just a couple of them being glaucoma, Sturge-Weber syndrome and future developmental delays.
So though Emmett came into the world on Monday, he was poked and prodded up until Wednesday (the 21st of December) when an opthamologist finally came in to see him about his eye. She clamped his eye open and administered a few tests before leaving us to finally be discharged around 3pm that day.
It was incredibly difficult to see our tiny little son being subjected to so much in his first days of life, though there was no doubt that all the people that were coming in to examine him wanted his best and were there to help him. I wept like a baby – I have never felt such a fierce desire to protect someone, and at the same time felt so helpless to do anything. Mr. M was quick to comfort me, reminding me that our son belongs to God – ultimately, Em’s health and life are in His capable hands, not mine, nor does this precious gift belong to me.
We were discharged that day around 3pm but returned to the ER at midnight that same day because Emmett hadn’t had a wet diaper in 24 hours – after getting an ultrasound, it turned out that he had a minor problem with his kidneys where the urine was backing up. Nothing serious – but something we’re keeping an eye on.
In the days following, I started experiencing some crazy pains that I assumed were normal to postpartum recovery. Aside from the soreness down under, I had an insane headache that was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Any movement would cause pain to go shooting down my spine and end with pressure in my lower back. Walking, chewing, doing pretty much anything besides laying down, would bring an onset of pain. When it became too much to handle, Mr. M called into the Kaiser nurse’s hotline on Monday the 26th. Their immediate recommendation was that I come into the ER straightaway.
So at 3am on the 26th, we made another trip to the ER, except this time for me. The diagnosis was that the anesthesiologist, in his multiple attempts to insert the catheter in for my epidural, had punctured my spinal dura – a thin membrane covering the brain and spinal cord – and as a result, I was leaking some spinal fluid. This was what was causing the massive headaches. As it turns out, the simple solution was just to get bed rest and not be too active so the hole could seal up, but because I didn’t know what was going on, I was trying to be on my feet and go about my days as normal as possible. They also found out that I had gotten a bladder infection – so thankful we were able to catch it at this time so we wouldn’t have to make another trek to Urgent Care.
Armed with some medicinal goods, we left the hospital around 8am.
Phew. We are so thankful and happy to report that since then, recovery for Emmett, mommy and papa (who was the most sleep-deprived of all of us for a while) has been onward and upward. Praise God.
The adventure has just begun – in the coming weeks, we will be hopping to and from the hospital. Em has his regular check-up with the pediatrician, another with radiology for his follow-up ultrasound, and one with his dermatologist next week. In the coming weeks, we’ll also be meeting with his dysmorphologist and opthamologist again – all to make sure that his birth mark is merely cosmetic, and not a deeper lesion that may indicate a more serious problem.
If all of this sounds overwhelming & crazy – it truly is! But I also can’t express enough how much joy we’ve already received from having Em in our home. We’re thankful for his throaty cries, his poopy/peepee diapers, his facial expressions and cute little features – because these all tell us that he’s healthy and growing.
Without further ado, here are some pictures of our little man. =)