Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Full Circle

When Tate was born, there were many people I wanted him to meet, but the nurses from the 7th floor were way at the top of the list. More than anyone except Kevin, they were a part of my pregnancy. Every day for 62 days they listened to Tate's little heart beat and watched our strip on the monitors, diligently looking for any problem. They watched him kick and saw my belly finally getting big, and as the weeks passed, they grew more and more invested in my son. The night before I was discharged two different nurses teared up saying goodbye because they didn't believe I'd bring Tate back to meet them. I knew they were worrying for no reason and promised we'd be back, and this week I was delighted to be able to follow through on our promise.

Watching those ladies glow as they cuddled with my baby boy has been one of the highlights of Tate's short life. While they fought over who'd gotten to hold him the longest, we chatted, and I realized for the first time that they aren't just being modest when they refuse to admit they had any part in Tate's healthy birth. They genuinely believe that's true. They see the part that I played, which was admittedly the defining role, but they don't see how much impact they had on my ability to do what had to be done. It wasn't just bringing me pills or filling my water jug a million times a day. They took the time to really get to know me and talk through my fears, both about the pregnancy and about eventually being Tate's mom. They didn't have to let me into their lives by sharing their own heartbreaking and difficult pregnancy stories or their own fears about motherhood, but time and time again, that's exactly what they did. Tons of other people played a part in my surviving those two long months, but day in and day out it was those nurses who encouraged me to keep going and convinced me I was even capable of doing it.

I doubt I'll ever be able to convince them of just how big a role they had in Tate's safe arrival, and they'll probably never really grasp just how much we love them... but we'll keep visiting. Tate will know that he's a miracle, and he'll also know that these women were a huge part of making that happen.

Tate and Caryl

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Ten days ago, we met Tate. These days have flown as I’m told they will continue to do. Here we are at the end of the first holiday with him as part of our family. We could have gone to see family an hour or so away, but we ended up staying at home. We sat around holding out little boy. We took a quick trip up to the hospital to visit the nurses who kept A and Tate safe for so long. We had a sad little Thanksgiving dinner prepared by yours truly. Chicken, rather than turkey, some mashed potatoes, green beans, and store bought cherry pie. Tate interrupted the eating with a little bit of screaming, but he calmed quickly after getting to join us at the table. It was a truly great Thanksgiving Day. Our list of things to be thankful for is extra-long this year.
The people that were part of Tate’s safe arrival still stick with me more than anything. There are more than I could list, and I still haven't been able to come close to thanking for their kindness and sacrifice. I won’t forget what our families did. I won’t forget the Sawyer’s taking a part of so many of their days to take care of Mags, and Blake’s willingness to give up his own comfort to bring us the saddest news of the stay. I won’t forget Suzanne’s presence in the hardest times. I won’t forget those nurses. The long hospital days are fading away quickly now that Tate is in our arms, but those days changed me more than I even know yet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The End

Today Tate is one week old. He came early just like everyone thought, but rather than 25 weeks, he hung out until 39 weeks and 5 days. 2 days rather than 15 weeks. No one could have hoped for a better outcome.

Much like the rest of the pregnancy, labor and delivery went nothing like we'd planned. My labor didn't progress normally... it was crazy fast (which isn't all that shocking considering we'd spent months trying to slow it down). Tate did ok until the end, but then he decided we all needed one more good scare. His heart rate dropped for several minutes, and everyone quickly moved into emergency mode. My doctor was called back from her office. The nurses (including one of my favorites from before who had just stopped by to visit on her way home) raced to get everything ready and called in specialists in case Tate continued to have trouble. It became apparent that time was up: Tate was going to be born right away, one way or another. Luckily, he cooperated, and we didn't have to be rushed into an emergency c-section. A little over 4 hours after getting to the hospital, baby Tate was crying in my arms, and two days later he was discharged with me.

Back on August 4th, the sweet nurse who took care of me that first night told me we were going to make it through this part and Tate would come home with me instead of going to the NICU and then all the hard stuff would be worth it. At the time I doubted her. I didn't believe Tate would ever make it to term, and even if he did, I wasn't sure how I'd feel by the time my miserable pregnancy was over... but she was right. Between the constant nausea, extended hospital stay, and complications at the end, pregnancy was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but sitting here trying to type with Tate resting on my chest, I have no doubt it was all worth it. Our son is safe and healthy and absolutely perfect, and unless we tell them, no one will ever know what we went through trying to get him here.

After months of sickness and fear, the hard part is over. Yes, we're now sleep deprived and have less freedom to do whatever we want as we've been warned for months, but our Tate is here. After years of hoping and praying for a child we weren't sure would ever come, we will celebrate this Thanksgiving with our brand new, healthy baby boy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A New View

This morning, we were on the old familiar drive down 75 to Forest Lane. Instead of turning into the Entrance A, we drove all the way around to Entrance D. Instead of it being me by myself, I had A riding/reclining shotgun. She was in a lot of pain. Contractions started early this morning and didn’t let up. After almost 40 weeks of waiting, 9 of which were spent here at the hospital; at 10:25 this morning, November 14, 2011, we met our little boy, Noah Thomas Berkline, better known as Tate. He weighs in at 8 lbs. 1 oz and is 20 ¾ inches long. He has a little bit of blondish hair. He has a cry that will be keeping us up many nights, and a lip quiver that will no doubt make us laugh.
So now, here we are. Another day, another huge change. We are in the room directly above the room Adrian spent 9 long weeks in. The view through the window is just about the same. The pull out couch is just as uncomfortable. Society Bakery is still in the atrium selling cupcakes (of which we have already partaken today). Everything is pretty much the same, except when I look in front of me. Now I see my wife holding the boy we, along with all of you, hoped and prayed would make his entrance into this world just as he did. He made it to full term. According to the pediatrician, he couldn’t be healthier.
We are extremely blessed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Time Flies

In the span of Tate’s life thus far, everything has been a rollercoaster. First off, there was the elation of finding out that he was coming in the first place. We were there at the top of the big first hill of the rest of our lives. From there, the reality what that would mean set in. We had our last hurrah trip to Europe that started in Paris and ended in nausea. The ups and downs of the next few months were slow. Tate’s presence was felt only through the slow acquisition of baby items and that constant nausea. We flew through those months.
Back on the day this blog started, we had worked out way through t to the top of the biggest hill we had ever seen. Back then, it felt like the track was ending, and we’d be flying off the edge. Looking back, we are blessed to be able to say that we stayed on the track. The ride seemed long at the time and had some scary twists and turns, but we made it. We had help and prayers from tons of amazing people. Now it already seems like that was all forever ago.
These past four weeks have been remarkably normal. A was still on bedrest those first two weeks, so that meant she got to be wowed by my incredibly advanced cooking skills, and we found what we could to keep her comfortable. I came home every day to make lunch and fill up the same old insulated mug she used at the hospital. We finally bought a piece of patio furniture to give her a comfy place to sit for some outside time. We relocated the couch for optimal left side tv viewing. We kept a steady supply of Sonic ice around. We bought a slingbox (which we probably should have bought while she was actually in the hospital). All of this was to keep the number of steps as low as humanly possible.
These last two weeks have seen A up and about quite a bit more. She’s getting her legs back under her, which has also been a huge blessing. We still haven’t made it further than 10 miles from the house (a situation that in the past has tended to make me stir crazy), but it’s been nice to get to have these last few weeks of just us. It’s sort of been like old times. Saturday’s spent trying to find the best something in Dallas (This week it was fried chicken, and we just ended up a Babe’s again). A nice weekend nap here and there. More than one trip to get ice cream.
Now it is all just another waiting game. It’s a different kind of patience now. This time it is for our little boy to be here. After months of worrying about him coming too early, now we get to think about what it will be like to finally meet him and to finally hold him. There was a time in the not too distant past when that was scary to me. After these months of worrying about all of the things that could have gone awry, it’s great to be sitting here able to say that I’m ready for the next set of challenges.