The love, prayers and thoughts for our little Luke is very overwhelming. It’s amazing how a tiny little one can gather many people together – how many people have the same loving intentions and pray their hearts out for his safety and recovery.
[FYI - Long Story. I can't sleep and I figured I'd write what I'm feeling and let it out.]
Whenever I’m asked about Luke, I’m always asked about myself. In selfishness, I automatically respond “I’m okay” or “I’m fine.” and proceed with a brief summary of how Luke’s doing because I don’t want the attention on me. He needs it more than I do.
It seems like I hid myself lately from everyone and I’m truly sorry for not responding to anyone. I felt like I needed to find myself.
Going back a few months, I wanted the perfect pregnancy. I didn’t have nausea, vomitting and my baby buldge came quick! I had the baby fever.
I started to obsess with organizing for my little one. For those who know me at this level, I can go overboard. I started researching & planning. His due date was perfect since I’d have the ability to spend time at home with Kailani and our new born son, stress free. I started planning what cute clothes I’d wear to show off my buldge. I started to draft out our financial standpoint to accommodate our new son. I made a binder, I made excel sheets. I made a calendar carefully planning the days I’d take off. I started to dream of a perfect maternity shoot. We had a rough plan for his college route. I even planned the baby after this one! I didn’t exactly have a ‘perfect pregnancy’ with Kailani, and I wanted this one to be as perfect as I can possibly make it.
No matter how prepared I wanted to be, GOD had different plans.
A few weeks before giving birth to Luke, a once perfect pregnancy turned into series of events I didn’t know existed. I started to research about the chances of us having a healthy baby. I joined many discussion boards, followed many blogs & lurked on facebook groups to find solace that everything CAN be okay. That’s one of the reasons I started this website. I know I’m not alone. Hopefully someone can find our story as inspiration and encouragement. It’s not to showcase – but to inform. This is what really happens. Not the miracle stories you see. It’s a long windy road. We also know that everyone wants updated information & don’t want to miss details out.
On 02/20/12 I gave birth to Luke, a 24 week preemie. It’s funny. The only thing I didn’t obsess over was my birthplan & Labor went swift. It was a one push pain free wonder. All I remember was holding Neill & Mom [Maricor's] hands and seeing a blue baby. The moment of silence then a little cry brought some peace in mind. Before I knew it, Luke was whisked to his future short term home, the NICU
I tried to entertain myself while waiting for the OK to see Luke. Family was there in our recovery room. Text and Facebook Posts were read to me and brought tears to my eyes to know how many people cared. Later that evening, Neill pushed me to the NICU. He showed me how to call to get access and showed me the handwashing technique that would soon be muscle memory.
Rolling into the NICU was terrifying. I didn’t know which crib was his. What did all the beeps mean? Why are all the babies beeping? Why were some cribs closed off with curtains? Why are some parents happy? There are so many nurses! So many Machines! I remember the nurse lowering his crib, then Neill lifting up the cover to finally see my baby. Luckily I was in my wheelchair. I knew my knees would have locked and I could have fainted.
There he was, the tiniest baby I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know they made them this tiny. I tried to toughen up myself for the reveal, but no preparation could have helped. It truly was an out of body experience. There’s that little one that kicked me. The one that my body rejected. The one that I made me feel like a bad mom because I couldn’t keep him inside me longer like normal moms do. The one I prayed to have for so long. There he was, my perfect miracle.
I was scared to touch him, I didn’t feel connected to him. That wasn’t exactly the way I pictured seeing my first son. The nurses encouraged me to place my hands inside to let him know I’m there. They told me to talk softly so he doesn’t get too startled, but all I could do was sob. I felt my throat tighten. I had to look away and dig my face into Neill’s chest. He looked so fragile.
Neill was there, tough like he always is. He reached in and started talking to Luke. He grabbed his hand – and Luke wrapped his hand around his fingers. I felt jealous. I wanted to interact with him too, but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was scared! I heard his faint cry and wanted to let him know that I’m there and that I love him, but I was too scared to approach him. Each time I saw him, I cried. I remember thinking – is this how it’s going to be each time I see him?
The next few days were rough. No one told me it would get better – and I’m glad they didn’t. I think the proper word is easier. Everyone reminded us that things easily change with such young ones & to basically toughen up. Everyone at the NICU provided their support and always made sure to let me know that they’re there. Not just as medical staff, but to also become friends.
Since I wasn’t producing enough milk, one of Luke’s Nurses, Sherry [sorry if I spelled it wrong] offered for me to hold Luke. I didn’t expect to hold him until 2-3 weeks later. Neill was outside looking for parking. I wanted to say no, but I swallowed my fear and said yes. I even changed his diaper! Holding him in between my breasts was the most heart warming feeling. It’s kinda like it he was meant to be there. I held him as long as I can. I cried with joy. Neill was so happy for me. I overcame my fear! Things started to become easy. It was easier to hold my composure after spending that time with him. I cried less everytime I saw him. I freaked out less everytime his monitors beeped.
As soon as the honeymoon phase ended, I can now tell what everyone one means about taking it one day, one shift at a time. Things happen too quick. For the better and for the bad. It broke my heart the most was when he had to go on the Ventilator. I knew that it would make it easier for him, but I didn’t realize that I couldn’t hear him cry any longer. His vocal cords are obstructed now. So I can’t hear him cry until he gets better. I play videos of him crying over and over just to remind myself of how he sounds. The Baldomeros come from a musically inclined family and to have the ability to make sound taken away hurts my heart. It’s agonizing seeing his face scrunched up – it looks like he’s crying, but can’t make noise. Walking past a mom yesterday telling her kid to ‘Shut Up and Stop Crying’ offended me in a way I would ever feel. I’d give the world to hear my Lukie cry.
It’s been rough. I’m very thankful for Neill, my anchor. I’m thankful for my family who has been here with me sure to feed my empty stomach and empty seats. I know that they all try to understand what I can possibly be going through.
It was hard to come home empty handed. I’m sure people would think that I’m lucky to not have to stay up at night to tend to a baby. I’m up. I’m pumping every 3 hours, listening to an artificial pump when I could have been holding &nursing him. I lay awake worrying. Hoping that I won’t see a call coming from Kaiser Walnut Creek.
I was offered a room to stay in at the hospital – and here I am now. It’s past 1AM and I’m in tears. It’s only been a week, but it seems much longer than that. So much has happened. So many thank you’s to say. With Luke being so accessible to me, I spend so much time by his bed I forget to eat, I forget to drink, shoot. . I forget to sleep.
First things first. I need to follow everyone’s advice and I need to take care of myself.
So how am I really doing? I really am OKAY. I know things happen for a reason and trust that GOD is leading me the right way. I’m OKAY with letting go and following his lead.