When you look through a kaleidoscope, the clearest point is always the center. The edges are blurred. Twisting the kaleidoscope never makes the edges clear; it only makes the image in the center blur until it changes. When I think about Isaac's birth and short life, I feel as if I'm squinting through a kaleidoscope. I so desperately want every detail to be clear, but the more I twist the scope, the less it helps. For CJay and me it seems essential to recall the finer points. We don't want to forget, but there's so much we can't remember. It happened so fast. That's why I'm writing everything down now. I'm afraid my memory will fail and I won't remember how funny it was, even with all the tension, to hear Isaac kicking the fetal monitor. It was so loud that we jumped every time. Even the nurse jumped. I just don't want to forget those details.
The nurse walked me to the OR while CJay went to scrub. I looked up at the clock in the OR right before I got the spinal block. It was 1:24 a.m. As soon I was flat on the table, I focused in on what the doctors were saying. The baby's heart rate was dropping fast. It seemed like hours before CJay came in the room. The nurse was making him walk slowly - I could hear her talking to him - but I wanted to scream at CJay to run. There was urgency in the entire room and he should be running. When he finally sat down, he said my mom was there. Just in time. I felt better just knowing she was out there.
The doctor broke my water not long after CJay sat down. I had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid), a common complication with babies who have genetic problems. It sounded like gallons of water hit the floor. I could only see CJay's eyes but they were huge, and it made me laugh.
Isaac was born at 1:31 a.m. He wasn't breathing, but at some point, he let out two cries and they were good, strong cries. CJay and I both teared up. We really were prepared for the worst and those little cries were so sweet. CJay had to watch while the neonatologist and nurses worked on Isaac. He didn't react, which had to be difficult, and he tried to keep me focused on him. CJay told me later that they were performing CPR and it was so odd to watch them work on such a tiny person.
Eventually, the neonatologist bent down beside us. "It looks like there's a genetic problem. His neck is short and broad, and he has elfin ears." A nurse popped around and held up this tiny little thing. I remember thinking that he couldn't be mine, could he? After the neonatologist walked away, CJay and I just looked at each other. I don't remember much after that. CJay left at some point and told me he would go tell my mom what the doctor said.
I remember being rolled back into my room. CJay and my mom walked in as the nurse was getting me settled. It was good to see my mom. I got to tell her the name we had chosen - Isaac Liam. Isaac for the laughter he would bring and because of the faith that God required from the first Isaac's parents - Abraham and Sarah, and Liam because it was short for William (CJay's dad's name) and meant "strong-willed warrior."
*I thought I could write this story in two parts. Obviously not.
CJay, Isaac, Bill, and Connie