Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Next Few Weeks

New Update (August 8, 3:30 pm)

New Update (August 7, 11 pm)

New Update Below (August 7, 12 am):

Updates Below:

A lot has happened since I last blogged. There has been work, New Jersey CLE, etc. But most importantly a once-far off event has now become imminent.

Tomorrow night at about 7 pm, I will be accompanying Shifra to Columbia Medical Center, where her labor will be induced, although her actual due date is on Tisha Ba'av (August 10th). Her doctors want to induce since our baby has a heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) and so would like specific individuals of their cardiac team to be present at the birth. Without getting into too much detail, our baby's heart is not working properly and the defect will require surgery to correct it. Although the surgery's success rate is over 90%, open heart surgery on a newborn infant always carries with it the attendant risks of any surgery. So despite our optimism, the next week will be a very trying time.

Our baby will likely spend the next two weeks or more in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Columbia is the top hospital in New York for pediatric cardiology, and everyone I have spoken to speaks highly of the care at the NICU, but of course it's hard to not be worried. Thankfully we had the opportunity to tour the NICU, so we're as emotionally prepared as possible. But it must be different when the baby is one's own baby, so frankly I have no idea what it will be like.

We would like to keep everyone posted on our own and our baby's progress, and updating on this blog seems like a good opportunity. We'll do our best to write updates as they occur, and keep everyone as informed as possible.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers at this time.

August 5, 10:56 PM: Shifra gave birth to a six pound, ten ounce baby boy at approximately 3:20 PM. The labor went as well as one could imagine, and the baby was born vaginally (C Sections are common for mothers with babies with TGA). The baby was whisked away from us before we could even get a good look, but we later found out that the baby was doing as well as expected given his condition. The doctors performed a balloon procedure to help circulate oxygenated blood throughout his bloodstream, which was successful.

We were able to see the baby a little later in the day, and the experience was tough. It's one thing to see newborn babies hooked up to all types of machines, but it is entirely different when it is one's own baby in the NICU. It was a little emotional, but we got through it. Right now, we're both extremely tired, but excited to see the baby tomorrow.

August 7, 12 AM: To start, I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes in the comments and elsewhere. Know that Shifra and I read and appreciate every comment. To white shirt/working guy, I owe you a phone call. Also, Shifra is doing very well. She's obviously sore, but she's walking around well, and will be discharged later today. I'm really proud of her for how she's handled everything.

Today was a much more calm day. The baby was moved from the transitional nursery into the NICU. The NICU is a fantastic place by all accounts and the nurses and doctors there seem really on top of things.

It was a lot easier emotionally to see the baby. He's still all wired up, but we're finding it easier to see the baby and not the wires. The NICU is less crowded than the transitional nursery and we are permitted to stay there as long as we like. 24/7 access to the baby, as they call it.

The baby is doing pretty well, and the surgery is scheduled for Friday. Those few hours while the surgery takes place are going to be very difficult, and I'm dreading the moment when the doctor comes out to tell us how everything went. While the success rate is very high and the surgeon is very good, a bad outcome will be devastating.

But to relay good news, the baby is fairly active for an infant on morphine. He moves around a lot, and reacts pretty strongly to discomfort (he was startled over and over by cold instruments). He opened his eyes when I spoke to him, so perhaps he recognizes my voice (they say newborn babies do that). Much of the family came by to see him and Shifra (and maybe even me too), which was nice. I'm going to work tomorrow, so I'll see him again tomorrow night. Please daven for Tinok ben Shifra Yocheved and Shifra Yocheved bas Chaim Shlomo.

August 7, 11 pm: We found out today that the baby is going to have surgery tomorrow at 730 am. Everything looks fine and his condition is stable enough for the surgery. The earlier they do the surgery, the better for the baby's recovery. We also found out that, G-d willing, he'll be ready to go home by the end of next week or the beginning of the subsequent week. That's less than two weeks in the hospital for open heart surgery! Plus, our surgeon has a 97.9% success rate, so we're really, really hopeful. Of course, it's really nerve wracking, but I'm optimistic and a lot of people are davening for him, so hopefully things should go well.

Btw, going to work was a really, really bad idea. I knew my boss lacked people skills, but I never knew he didn't have basic human emotions.

I work for a solo practitioner and am the only attorney or paralegal in the office, so I understand my boss relies on me and the workload tends to pile up. I completely get that. That's why I came into work today even though I have the vacation days in the bank and my wife really needed my help. It's also why after my boss had an incident and offered to let me and the rest of his staff go home for the day with pay, I offered to stick around and do work. I feel responsible for my work and realize he'll have to do whatever I can't finish.

But frankly if the job market was a little better, today would have been my last day. Here's how the conversation went today:

Me (walking into his office to see him for the first time since I had the baby): how's everything?
Boss: Wow you look like you need coffee.
Me: I'll be ok.
Boss: So what's the story?
Me: Story with what? My wife?
Boss: Ok this is what you have to do today.....

To be fair I did call him yesterday and he did say congratulations. Here comes the good part though:

Boss: You'll do this assignment today and tomorrow.
me: Actually the baby's surgery is tomorrow.
Boss: (loud sigh). So you want to take off right?
Me: Well, yea....
Boss: Don't surprise me like that.
Me: Surprise you? I just found about the surgery date last night.
Boss: How come you didn't tell me that Defendants' counsel in Case X filed an opposition to our motion?
Me: Uh, I didn't know about it since I haven't been here this week.
Boss: (annoyance that I didn't know about it, since I guess I was should have checking the ECF while my wife was pushing even though the ECF sends notifications to his email, not mine).

Whatever. I've told him at least three times about the surgery, including this week when I informed him that I couldn't be sure I'd come in this week after Monday. Honestly, I don't recall being this upset at someone in a long, long time. I've tried to look at this from all angles, but I can't see one that would justify this type of behavior. So I left work early, realizing that if I didn't have a chance to see my baby today and he, G-d forbid, didn't survive tomorrow, I would never forgive myself for missing this time with him to help someone whose reaction to being informed that my baby is having life threatening surgery was "why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"

Oh, and what did he tell me on the way out? "Ok you can go, but next week you really have to make an effort."

So seriously, if anyone knows of any openings for a soon-to-be admitted attorney and can get me in, I'd really appreciate it.

August 8, 3:30 pm: So it turns out the surgery didn't end up happening today. It's been rescheduled for Monday morning, either the first slot or the second. We'll post as soon as we find out. I'm not in the mood to get yelled at, so I haven't called my boss yet. I think he has a wedding tonight, so I'll call the office at around 7 to leave him a message.

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