It was about 2:45 in the morning of August 30 1996 when the silence of the night was broken by the ringing of the phone. The voice on the other end of the line had only a few words to say, “their taking me upstairs now it’s time”. I hurried to find socks, shoes, car keys and a cup of coffee for the trip to Sacramento. I had made this trip many times before but it was never more important that I get there as fast as I could.
With speeds sometimes approaching 80 mph I arrived 5 minutes to late to be there for the birth, but all was healthy and doing well Rachel had been taken to the intensive care nursery where the doctors and nurses were ready to respond to any of her needs as is customary for premature babies, only Rachel didn’t need their help she was fine.
It all started on the 5th of August when Mom woke up saying that the baby was on the way, something Dad had anticipated except for the fact that it was happening three months to soon.
Arriving at the hospital and being rush upstairs to delivery the doctors started right to work taking ultra sounds and blood and monitoring the mom and baby for and additional signs of stress.
As soon as the test came back the results were clear it wasn’t the baby causing all of this, it was Moms appendix and the baby was just trying to get away from all that infection.
It was now 7:00 a.m. and Mom was on her way into surgery with a Surgeon and her Baby doctor to do everything they could to save their lives. But it was marginal at best for the baby as the infection had been working on her for a couple of days.
Surgery ended and the first reports were that they had managed to stop contractions and remove the appendix and were giving antibiotics that were safe for the baby but not the most effective for mom. Two days later things were much worse mom now had an I-V in four places one cut directly into the heart which was being monitored by a cardiac I.C.U. nurse round the clock. And every day my heart broke a little more. But thankfully time passed and so did the fear that trying to save this baby was going to cost me my wife.
And ten days later we went home to what we thought was going to be a normal pregnancy and delivery. It starts all over again only this time the contraction are accompanied with a leak of amniotic fluid, not a good thing . So once again we find ourselves at the hospital trying to stop this delivery because the baby isn’t strong enough to survive in our home town hospital, she needs to be in Sacramento were they can care for babies weighing 3 pounds or less. With contraction under control an ambulance was called to transport Mom to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento. I was to follow behind the ambulance and was to arrive at the same time. Half way there the red lights and siren went on and the ambulance sped away, out of sight and I was not able to keep up, It was the longest trip I had every taken in my life, but not my last trip to Sacramento.
And the worries started all over again lasting another 21 days. Once the baby had arrived we had to learn all about being around preemie- babies scrubbing up like a doctor before surgery and gowning up, all this to protect your baby and all the other babies from any kind of infection. To see all these babies, some as small as 1 pound 3 ounces with isolets and I.V.s, machines breathing for them resting on the edge of life is overwhelming.
Then to see your baby doing so well beating all the odds you get a feeling of great relief. But next to your joy is another struggling to live and a proud mother and father sharing in what ever time they can with their little one, waiting for the day they might be able to take their baby home. Having arrived to late for the delivery of Rachel I missed out on the one thing every man hopes to experience, that first breath the first cry and the first time she meets the world. Oh well there wouldn’t have been enough room in there for all us and a stork. This was the moment I had waited all these long weeks for, fought for, hoped for. Looking down on this little bundle( 3 Pounds 8 ounces) not much bigger than your hands put together you become instantly aware of just how fragile life really is. Rachel had arrived, screaming hello to the world saying I’m here, I made it, and I want everyone to know it. And there is no doubt in my mind that the angels watched over us through all of this, holding on to all the pieces keeping it from flying all apart and one special angel stayed behind we call her Rachel.
Starting out at 3 1/2 pounds Rachel has grown to be a whopping 8 + pounds.in just 3 months, that almost sounds like a weight problem, but one that we are happy see. She has been progressing like any full term baby, learning all about her world, and going to town means Mom is going to put a silly hat and clown outfit on her, and everywhere she goes people point and stare, we hope it not because of what she’s wearing. We tell her its because she is so tiny and pretty. Everyone wants to know the whole story and as proud parents we gladly oblige. And with all the prayers and concern from friends and family, and all the hard work of doctors and nurses, everything worked out just like its supposed to, the first time you have a baby. Just look for yourself.