There we were on Monday at the hospital, no baby, no real idea what was going on. No clue if everything was alright. Talk about nerve racking. Stressful, traumatic, worrisome, tense, hectic, upsetting, painful were just some of the words to describe what was racing through the Rach and I at this time. I don’t remember Monday. Not one bit. I’m not sure what we did. I think I went home to get some things, I don’t know. I think Rach and I cried and questioned why this was happening. I had never had strong religious faith, but now what little faith I had was completely gone, replaced by anger. Anger that a supposed God would allow this to happen. Was I being punished?* Monday went by and I’m sure we probably received a call from the Children’s Hospital, I just cannot remember. It is a painful memory, one that has been blocked.
*To this day, I still feel this way. One of my issues not solved by weight loss. One that I need to confront, but I am just not ready to forgive yet. The thought, still makes me very angry. Something that I hope will start healing by telling this story.
I do know that Tuesday, Rachel was discharged from the hospital and we made the trip over to Children’s Mercy to see Bella. The hospital is very colorful and very welcoming as it should be as it is allegedly one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. It is a very large hospital and we parked on level three of the underground parking garage. The yellow submarine level. I thought it was strange to name a parking level after a Beatles song about drugs, well maybe it’s about drugs, I guess that’s not a proven fact, but still. The hospital is huge and it took what seemed like a lifetime to get through the security station, through the foyer, down a long hall, down another long hall, up the elevator to level three (where the NICU was), and then to check in with the NICU desk, and then to scrub and sanitize our hands, and then finally to enter the actual NICU, easily the saddest place on Earth.
The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) is where babies who are born with complications are kept. A lot of times they are kept in incubators because they are too small and most of the time there are machines hooked up to them with tubes and wires. Just an awful and saddening sight to behold. We finally made it to Bella’s spot on the floor. She looked ok, except for the band aids and the IV that they had inserted into her head. Maybe a little yellow from jaundice, but other than she was aware and looking around and we got to hold her and feed her and everything. Just like everything was ok.
We met with the Hemonc Doctor (Hemonc is short for Hematology-Oncology) and my first question was why oncology, did Bella have cancer? Dr. Neville assured us that no she did not have cancer, but that her blood was not clotting due to a lack in fibrinogen production. Fibrinogen is a protein found in our blood that is one the steps in the clotting process. Bella either 1) was not making it or 2) what she was making was defective. But at this time that was not concern number one. Remember when I told you that the second the Doctor who delivered Bella used a vacuum extraction, that our lives changed forever? When she used the vacuum to get Bella out, she caused trauma to the brain. Normally this would not do damage as the trauma would clot and be fine. But with Bella’s condition with her fibrinogen, the bleed continued and caused severe damage. Bella had brain damage. Any hope that we had disappeared instantly, replaced by even more fear and in my case anger.