Tripp Oakley, Jan 19, '09
Robert & Marianna Oakley are the proud parents of Tripp, now 2 1/2 years old.
At 28 weeks my very uneventful pregnancy got very dramatic over one quick weekend. Tripp had to be delivered on Jan 19, 2009, 11 ½ weeks before his due date because I had HELLP Syndrome, which is a rare variant of pre-eclampsia. Essentially, as my OB explained it to me, it is the body rejecting pregnancy. That Monday when they had waited as long as they could the doctors decided it was time for a C-section. As they were sitting me up on the table to give me a spinal my liver ruptured and my blood pressure bottomed out. So essentially, I was bleeding out internally. A lot of things happened late that afternoon in the operating room. And my family even in the state they were in could tell how severe things were by how shaken the doctors and nurses were. Dr. Morris, a NICU doctor, was in the operating room when Tripp was born. I have read reports and talked to the nurses and doctors about the shape that Tripp was in when he was born and the only explanation for him being here, or me for that matter, was a miracle from God.
The next few days are blurry for me. I was in and out of consciousness in the SICU at HSV Main. Robert and the rest of our family made trips back and forth to see me and Tripp on visiting hours. The night Tripp was born a very special nurse took Robert to see Tripp for the first time. Tripp was 5 days old before I was well enough to see him. My nurse from SICU at HSV Main wheeled me to the NICU to see him. I will never forget turning that corner and seeing this tiny little baby in this huge plastic machine. It is not the way you envision your first encounter with your baby. I put my hand in there with him and he grabbed my finger and held on like LADY! Where have you been??!!! And that was a turning point for both of us; from there we both got better. It goes against nature to have to look at a nurse and ask permission to touch your baby, but that is the way it is in the NICU. The hard part is at the time the nurses and doctors can do more for your child than you can. That is a hard fact for a momma and daddy to swallow and they handle that with as much love and thoughtfulness as possible.
We had 2 NICU nurses that were incredibly special to us, one on the day shift and one on the night shift. They made scrapbook calendars and charted his daily progress, they answered as many questions or phone calls as we had or made. They are truly special people. Tripp spent 45 days in the NICU. He got to go home with us on March 5, 2009.
I think when an experience like this happens to you it takes stages to realize and process what all happened. Don't get me wrong, when I woke up in an hospital bed with a tube in my mouth and no family around me I knew something was wrong, then the next time I woke up my wrists were restrained and I couldn't move. Or when I could finally sit up and I told the nurse my stomach sure was sore and she said well you do have 65 staples. When I didn’t believe her she made me help her count them down and across my stomach. But a very blunt nurse in the NICU gave me a gift on about the 9th day after Tripp was born. I was still in the hospital but had been moved to Women’s and Children’s and had gone to see Tripp. She looked at me and said, "We just can't believe that you didn't die……" All the other nurses just looked at her like she was crazy for saying such a thing to me, but it was a wonderful timing. And it was God's way of telling me what a gift He had given me. Through that blunt nurse I began to realize what a powerful thing God had done for me and my family through the doctors and nurses at the NICU at Huntsville Hospital. I’ve heard many people say that the NICU isn’t a place you ever think about until you need it. Boy is that right, the NICU at HSV Hospital had hardly ever crossed my mind until January 2009 but it is a special, special place. I get to cherish a little 2 year old boy every day because of them. And we will forever be grateful.
by Marianna Oakley
Tripp, 2 years old