Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Parade

I've never been fond of Easter.

It was on this day in 1986 that my uncle was killed in a car wreck. It was on this day in 1996 when I flipped my car into a ditch with my 11 year old cousin in the seat. We made it out unharmed, but we probably shouldn't have.

So, it wasn't much of a surprise when we got a phone call at 5:00 this morning from the NICU telling us that Cyrus was having seizures. As we lay in bed (the first night that Mindy allowed herself to sleep straight through without pumping milk every 4 hours) with the phone on speaker, we listened as the young resident told us he was back on the ventilator, that he was given phenobarbital, adavan, that he wasn't getting any milk, that he'd be put back on the TPN, that he might have a brain bleed, that he might have an infection, that he might just be too tiny to handle everything that's been happening to him.

We went to visit him around 10:00 this morning. His blood pressure was low, so they gave him a bolus. We learned that the preliminary results of the head ultrasound showed everything was normal. Mindy signed a paper allowing them to do a lumbar puncture, leaving the line for "Father" blank, as we've been doing at the Social Security Office, on his Birth Certificate, on the Medicaid paperwork. I am less than a ghost in his life. And I feel badly for Mindy because she's had to make all of the phone calls as well as sign everything.

It was only a few minutes ago that the NICU called again to tell us his blood pressure is still too low. They've given him dopamine. He's on two or three antibiotics, one that would help Meningitis (if he happened to have it--we can't know yet because that's what the lumbar puncture tells us and they can't too it because of his blood pressure). He is still under two pounds. I can't even begin to imagine what all of those drugs will do to his body.

When we were staring into his isolet this morning I asked the resident, "Like, when do you tell us we're being too extreme?" She smiled at me, confused. "I mean, if he should die and we're not letting him." She assured me that they were very honest in those situations. I begged her to be blunt at all times; it's all I can handle. I can't stand someone dancing around a subject and using too many words.

I want to be mad at someone or something, but as I've written before, we've done this to ourselves. We made the choice to have a baby and we accepted all of those risks. I guess I was more ready for a miscarriage at 10 weeks than this. I never thought of this.

My tears stopped weeks ago. It's Spring. Magnolias and daffodils. I've grilled twice. I bought new clothes. Mindy and I haven't made love in at least two months.

10% of babies in America are born premature. 1% of women have an incompetent cervix. I can't even tell you the percentage of women who have that plus a placental abruption. With those odds, all I can hope is that this luck stays with us, these tiny chances we seem to be hitting.

If it keeps going, the numbers, then Cyrus will make it out alive and well and just as normal as anyone.

If it doesn't: it's still spring. I'm still in love. And it will have been just another long, dark winter.


  1. I think you are more than a ghost in his life. You are his mother. Stupid paperwork be damned. I think you have a wonderful gift of toughness, Christina, and I believe you can share a whole lot of it with your son Cyrus right now. Thinking of you 3 as always.

  2. It seems unfair somehow that such beautiful writing can come out of such pain and uncertainty. But I feel very lucky to read it. I'm wishing you and Mindy strength and peace - what I figure are the best things you can wish for parents. But what do any of us know. Besides this weird rising and falling in our chests. We are thinking about you.