Friday, May 8, 2009

Jacob Lee enters this world

Twelve hours and one tornado warning later, Jacob Lee Karlin made his debut in this crazy world. He was born at 8:42 p.m. April 10. He weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 19.5 inches long. We, more so Erin, were relieved he didn't come out an 8 1/2-pound baby like the doctors were predicting.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. for Erin to be induced. The nurse gave her the pitosin to start the contractions, but she had to go the first two hours med-free because the anaesthesiologist was busy with a C-section. Those were the longest two hours of the entire labor. Another four passed until Erin finally reached four centimeters, which put her in active labor. It was about that same time that the hospital PA system announced code yellow. A tornado warning had been issued for pretty much all of Middle Tennessee, which included us. Several nurses came running into our room, hands full with blankets. They closed the blinds, covered the windows and moved Erin's bed to the center of the room. We thought, what would happen if Erin suddenly was ready to have the baby and we were still under the warning? Luckily we didn't have to worry about that. The tornado never hit Clarksville, but it did cause a lot of destruction 90 miles south of us in Murfreesboro, killing a woman and her infant.

Once Erin reached active labor, the time seemed to fly by. In about the same amount of time it took reach four centimeters, Erin went through the remaining six when her doctor decided to start the delivery process.

That last hour or so was one I will never forget. I always thought I would be categorized as one of those new dads who passed out at the sight of his child's birth, but I wasn't. I had never felt closer to Erin than I had at that moment. It developed an unspoken bond that I guess only other dads who watched their wives give birth would understand.

At 8:42 p.m. little Jacob had finally breathed his first breath. That initial intake, though, turned out to be one helluva deep gulp. Within minutes after his arrival, he began to make a horrific grunting sound and was immediately rushed to the NICU. He had formed what's called anemathorax, which means, in my best medical understanding, that he had a pocket of air trapped between his right lung and his chest wall. The doctors had to stick a needle in his side and suck out an 30 milliliters of air. He was placed on 100 percent oxygen and had to stay in the NICU. We couldn't see him that night because the nurses didn't want him to be overstimulated.

Having to take in the news that your newborn son is sick after a physically and emotionally exhausting day in Labor and Delivery was one of the toughest things I had experienced in my life. But Erin and I hung close to each other and tried to stay tough for our little guy. But our breaking point came around midnight when the doctor gave us an update. Although he told us the hole in his lung did not appear to be growing and he will most likely be OK, both of us began to ball as the grim thought sank deeper that there still was a chance he might not make it. But the Gateway nursing staff was great and as y'all know Jacob turned out perfect. Everyone told us NICU babies make for tougher kids later in life and so far that has been nothing short of the truth. By the next day, he was off the oxygen and breathing completely on his own.

Three weeks later, Jacob cried, well, like a little baby, at his bris. It was as if the issue with his lung never happened. As parents, it's our job to worry about our child. But he's not showing any signs of discomfort, so why should we.

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