Friday, February 5, 2016

24 Years Ago.

Dr. Donna Johnson and T.
Previously I had written a blogpost about spending more time focusing on reaching out to the people who made a difference in my life and let them know, rather than focus on what I considered the pity portion pig swill of my brain. I was recently going through photographs of T when he was first born and I was thinking about my OB/Gyn, Dr. Donna Johnson and what a true life saver, in every sense of the word, she was to me and to T.

It was in the middle of February 1992, 25 weeks pregnant, husband (T-ex) was in the Persian Gulf, I was a young Navy wife alone in San Diego and one afternoon I started having contractions. I thought these were the Braxton Hicks contractions that everyone spoke of so I called my Doctor, he suggested I go to the hospital. I called a friend to take me to Alvarado hospital, but it wasn't any urgency. I took a shower and about a half hour later we left. By the time we got to the hospital my contractions were a little more intense and the nurses just slightly worried.  I was dilating and was quickly hooked up to an awful IV cocktail which would become a semi-permanent attachment to whatever vein would co-operate for many weeks to follow. T-ex was in the Navy and my pregnancy care was through Balboa hospital, but because I was now in preterm labor and at risk I was transferred to the care of Dr. Donna Johnson.

When I met Dr. Johnson I was a mess. I wasn't clear on what was going on, my family lived on another continent and T-ex was in the Persian Gulf. I was a little overwhelmed and I was hooked up to this IV cocktail medication that made me feel awful. Dr. Johnson sat on my bed, held my hand and in her beautiful southern accent let me know what was going on and what the game plan was. She answered all my questions, never once looking at her watch or rushing through the conversation. I asked her to please try and get a hold of the Red Cross to get a message to the ship to let T-ex know. The saga of the Red Cross debacle will be kept for my book, but I have to share that they did ask Dr. Johnson that instead of flying T-ex home would me just speaking to him get the contractions to stop. The Navy flew T-ex back to the States and the men on the ship took up a collection to purchase an airline ticket to get him to San Diego.

My stay in the hospital was so long that the nurses would move me to different rooms for a different view. Dr. Johnson was in contact with me all the time. Late at night Dr. Johnson would come into my room with the ultra sound machine declaring "Let's see how your boy is doing today." I don't know if this was of the norm, but Dr. Johnson did this often and it gave me hope. Every time I heard T's heart beat and saw him moving I knew that however much I despised that IV, having blood drawn so often that my arms were the topic of a few interesting conversations, how much I despised being in that hospital bed, that this little person was worth all of it. There were evenings that Dr. Johnson would just stop in and visit, no matter what day of the week. Those visits kept me sane.

4 lbs, 9 ozs - 18 inches
At 36 weeks, 22 April 1992 I was allowed to go home. No more IV's, horrible meds and blood draws. I was elated and I remember Dr. Johnson saying "We will probably end up inducing you at 40 weeks." We left the hospital at 11:00am. It was wonderful to be home, walking was a little challenging, but it was so great to be up and about.  At 4:00pm I went into labor and it was back to the hospital. After 12 hours of labor at 4:19am, 23 April 1992, T was born - and the Landers earthquake aka Joshua Tree foreshocks began.

I believe that my guardian angels decided that February day in 1992 that if I was going to go through this hell, I was going to need my very own earthly angel to make sure I got through it. Sometimes saying thank you feels so inadequate or just not enough because when I look at T I know that he wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the care, tenacity, compassion, kindness and southern attitude of Dr. Johnson. After all these years I am once again in contact with Dr. Johnson and I am hoping that someday soon T and I will make it to South Carolina so that T can finally meet the Doctor that he has always heard so much about, the Doctor that saved his life.

So tiny.
T's NICU nurse
My miracle boy