Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5:15 A.M. –  Chris and I were transported to the operating room. At this point, I was still convulsing due to the past 15.5 hours of physical distress. They quickly hooked me up and strapped me down to the operating table in preparation for emergency surgery. Over the next few minutes, the doctor numbed my stomach and asked if I could feel his touch along my stomach. It didn’t take long before I had no feeling left, and then the C-section was underway.

5:39 A.M. – As I became more aware of what was unfolding, I heard the most comforting and beautiful sounds in the world: my newborn’s helpless, first cry while the doctor and the entire nursing staff sang “Happy Birthday.” RyanAll I could do was weep for joy that both of us survived after all we had endured. I was overwhelmed with love for him when I first heard his cry.

For the entire nine months, I had a difficult time becoming emotionally attached to him out of fear of losing another baby. When Bryan had a stroke, all feelings I possessed about the pregnancy were diminished out of fear, overwhelming sadness, and guilt. Also, I was scared that I would never experience the true love a mother has for her child, but the second I heard his beautiful cry, I was hooked. My love for him consumed me. As I lay there sobbing, I was overcome with complete joy and love for this beautiful life.

A few moments later, Chris carried our newborn son over to me for the first time. I will never forget what happened next. He was the only person who existed in that moment. All the world around me silenced and faded away. There he was, my beautiful little miracle, Ryan Scott Peek – 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and 19.75 inches long. The most beautiful blue eyes stared back at me. I finally had my moment. I just kept repeating to him “I am your mama” and “I love you.”

Shortly afterward, we were wheeled to the recovery room. Those moments I will cherish forever. Before the grandparents were brought back to meet Ryan, it was finally my turn to hold my little miracle. I have no words to express how special it was to hold him in my arms and stare into his beautiful, blue eyes. It was as if, when we looked into each others eyes, he knew how much I loved him and recognized that I was his mama who took care of him all those months. It was as if he knew that I was going to protect him and be there for him for the rest of his life. Those initial moments with him are ones I will forever treasure.

Likewise, I will never forget Ryan’s first moments with his grandparents. Ryan was first introduced to his Papa and Grandpa and then to his Mimi and Grandmother. I saw the sheer joy on their faces the second their eyes met, and as they cradled him and spoke to him. I was overcome with tears of joy at the sight of my mom and dad holding their very first grandchild. As I peered into their eyes, I recognized the love they had for this beautiful life I had given them. Seeing his Mimi and Papa hold their second grandchild was no different.

A few hours later, I was wheeled to my new home for the following five days, as I recovered from my C-section. I was blessed with the best nurses anyone could ask for. Their kindness and gentle spirits truly helped push me through those five, rough days. Even though the nurses were working a job, they showed nothing but love and compassion for both Ryan and me the entire time. I felt like I was their only patient, as the nurses treated me like a friend, made time for me, and cared for me instead of simply rushing in and out.

Of course there were the unpleasant parts of the stay, including being woken up every few hours of the day and night in order for the nurses to obtain my vital signs and medicines.  I was also trying to nurse Ryan, which took a toll on my body and emotions. I was not able to produce any milk, which in turn starved him. Ryan ended up losing weight, and we were forced to switch him to formula. This absolutely crushed me.

In addition, it was torture every time they took Ryan out of the room for a bath or any other procedure. I missed him deeply and just wanted to cradle him and never let him go.

Yet, in the midst of the joy of a new life, my heart and mind were filled with fear, as my brother remained in dire condition.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sadly, my dad headed back to Tennessee to be at Bryan’s bedside. That day was a particularly hard day for me, knowing that Dad faced such difficult days ahead and that he had to leave Ryan after two short days. I wanted him to be able to spend more time with Ryan, as well as to share stories and guide him in all of the aspects life he would need to know about. It was an emotional good-bye, but I knew it needed to be done.

Friday February 21, 2014  

Finally, the moment had come for us to head home after five excruciatingly long days. As the time drew closer for our discharge, the slower the clock seemed to tick. We had every nurse, doctor, resident, and lactation nurse come into my room that morning, one right after another. It felt like the eternal morning.

Eventually, transport wheeled me out of the hospital with Ryan in my arms. The family paparazzi were waiting at the front of the hospital, as Chris and his dad snapped away, capturing the special moment in numerous photos.

As we arrived home, I was elated to show Ryan his house, the place where he would live, grow up for the next few years, and have many of his “firsts” take place. We had a great afternoon just being home with Ryan and sharing those moments with most of his grandparents all together.

Yet, just a few hours later, my life changed forever with the phone call I had dreaded and prayed would never come to fruition.

To Be Continued…