*This is another post in an ongoing series. Scroll all the way down or click to part I to get to the beginning.
I confirmed with Kate that I was to go be with the baby now. We kissed. I told her she was doing great and walked to the foot of Kate’s bed where the doctors had placed my daughter’s very small bed.
In front of me was an impossibly small baby girl. To call her a baby is not quite accurate. She looked more like a very, very small, skinny human being. There was no fat on her and she had none of the cuddly attributes that full-term babies have. There were seven doctors and residents attending to her, looking for signs of breathing, mostly. They seemed to poke and prod here and there with their hands and a few tools.
Immediately to my left, Kate was on the operating table, with her incision still wide open. I didn’t stare long, but I felt comfortable looking at the incision and the tissue and organs that were being rearranged so they could settle back into place. I turned my head ninety degrees right and continued to watch the doctors revive my daughter. I saw them prepping a blade to start the intubation when another doctor informed me that was exactly what they were being forced to do. She said this was very common. She was tall, had blond hair, and I remember a minute after my baby girl arrived on her miniature bed, she referred to her as a him. I clarified, “It’s a girl, right?” She looked again, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”
My daughter was successfully intubated a moment later. Her head and neck seemed impossibly flexible for the doctors to place the blade and insert the endotracheal tube. I looked left to Kate again. A nurse walked right in front of me carrying a metal dish with a big red blob in it that had what looked like puncture wounds. It was the deflated, tragic looking placenta that had prematurely detached from the uterine wall, aka placental abruption.
The OR was highly organized chaos to my uninitiated eyes. I took a moment, counting all the people in the room saving my wife and daughter. Eighteen. It was the beginning of a deep, new appreciation for the professionals around me. I was learning in the quickest and most explicit way possible that the quickest way to my heart was to save the two people dearest to me. It was early to have this revelation because I didn’t know if everything was going to turn out fine, but I still felt like I would love and cherish these people for the rest of my life because of their effort here.