Christian turned ten on Monday (two digits! One decade!) He celebrated with a bowling party, followed by a sleepover with five of his buds. They were all such well-behaved kids, and I told them that. Nice to know that, away from home, perhaps my kids will say "Yes Ma'am" to someone, even if I have to pull teeth to get them to do it at home. We celebrated as a family Monday night at Kabuto, with the "authentic" Japanese <Czech> chef juggling his cleavers and throwing shrimp into his hat. Guess it's hard to find good Japanese help around here. Even the sushi chef was Korean.
Christian almost wasn't. After I had Quentin I suffered a miscarriage, and as a result of the bloodwork associated with that, found out that I have something called a "Little c antibody", which acts much like the Rh factor. The antibody attacks the fetus' red blood cells, which are then broken down into bilibrubin and excreted into the amniotic fluid. This can cause fetal death. It didn't affect Colin or Quentin, I suppose in much the same way that the Rh factor doesn't affect the first pregnancy. At any rate, presented with such a grim outcome, we thought we were done. That is when we looked at adoption for the first time.
However ... I had an appointment with a perinatologist in Memphis, who seemed very cavalier about this horrible sounding condition. "No problem" he said, "I treat patients with Little c all the time! Go forth and get pregnant!" Okay ... well ... so ... we did!
Beginning at about 22 weeks of pregnancy, Dr. Perinatologist (can't remember his name!) did the first amniocentesis. For those not in the know about such things, this is a procedure where they stick a two foot long needle into your stomach, and into the uterus, and extract a vial of amniotic fluid. And if you think it sounds painful, It Is. Then they send the fluid via FedEx to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to have the bilirubin levels checked out. If they are too high, they will need to perform a blood transfuion for the fetus, through the umbilical cord, again, using the famous two foot long needle. Sound like fun? Lucky for me, my levels were still pretty low after that first procedure.
Two weeks later, we had another one. Again, levels are rising, but still low enough to carry on. Two weeks after that, another one. They slather this brown stuff called betadine all over your (very large) belly and it is like Elmers' Glue and smells like dirty feet. Lovely, eh? I think I had five in all, and by 38 weeks, the levels were pretty high and by that time it was okay to induce labor.
Christian was born not breathing, with almost a negative Apgar. They had to bag him for a very long time. No one would look at us. He had a true knot in his umbilical cord. He had a systemic infection. He had a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. He had no glucose in his system. He had heart arrhythmia. He was a mess. He was in the NICU for a week, albeit the largest baby in there. Most of the other babies were premature, and he was huge by comparison. A home health nurse came to our house for a week after he came home, to give him shots of antibiotics. But in spite of all that, he was a happy, content and perfect baby.
Is there any wonder that I call him my miracle child? Happy Birthday baby!