Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Julie and the Magnificient Helicopter Ride

I have always thought riding on a helicopter would be really cool. I envisioned checking out the ant cars below, oohing and ahhing over the sites, and maybe snapping some great pictures of a gorgeous sunset.

Well, I can cross this one off the bucket list. Been there, done that. And it really wasn’t all that cool!

Things happened really quickly when the helicopter crew got there. The flight nurse and medic were very sweet and reassuring. I felt very safe in their hands, and their knowledge was obvious as they skillfully switched over my IVs, drips, and other lines. We were ready to go in just a few minutes, when I was wheeled out to a parade of waving nurses calling, “Good luck!”

We were the talk of the town at CMH! This was more excitement than they usually see in a month!

As we headed out to the landing pad, I saw my nephew right out the door—with Caleb close behind. I immediately burst into tears (I’d kept it together quite well until then!) and Matt scooped him up so that he could give me a hug goodbye. Caleb thought it was quite a thrill for me to go for a ride on the yellow helicopter and didn’t appear worried at all, but Sara got teary-eyed. The flight nurse remarked that even she teared up at all of that emotion!

Loading me on the chopper was quite an adventure in itself. I never really thought about where the patient is put on the helicopter, but it’s actually right up in the cock pit. My feet were next to the pilot. In my situation, this would make for an interesting on-board delivery!

My arm was literally right next to the door (I had to pull it up so that the door would shut!) and there was a shelf right over my head hanging down low. I felt a little bit claustrophobic, which is not normally me. It wasn’t anything for me to panic over, given the situation, so I just took lots of deep breaths! They put a head set on me to block out some of the noise and hooked me up to a variety of machines, and then we were preparing to take off.

The take off was the worst part because even though I knew I was locked in, strapped in, and secure, I felt like I was rolling forward. Once we got to a high enough altitude to be level, I felt better. It wasn’t exactly an enjoyable ride, but I didn’t feel nauseous or anything.

Given the stress of the situation, I was having continual contractions at this point. They never stopped the entire time I was on the helicopter, which increased my nervousness about having the pilot deliver Abigail if she slipped out! I crossed my legs a bit tighter. 

There was a lot of praying going on during that flight. I didn’t know what God had in store for Abigail at that point, but I knew that my life and hers was in His hands. The song “I Have a Maker” was constantly playing in my mind and I even mouthed the words a bit to myself.

Even with all of this going through my already stressed-out brain, do you know what I kept wishing? (Get ready to laugh…)

I wish I had my new camera and could sit up more, because I could get some beautiful views of the skyline! This is incredible!

Next time, for sure.

After about a 20 minute ride to UMD-B, we landed. We had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for another chopper to take off, but the sweet medic sat next to me and held my hand, telling me that no matter what happened, we were in a great place now for Abigail. I seriously did feel much calmer just knowing that her specialists were right inside those doors. If she popped out right here on the chopper, she would be given excellent care in the NICU!

I was rushed inside, where they did in-take again and assessed my situation. I was a bit more dilated, which was even more cause for concern. In my groggy state, I met my wonderful nurse named Tracy. She could sympathize with my situation because she had been on Magnesium Sulfate with two of her three children. I liked her immediately! She was knowledgeable, did a good job with the IV that they had to redo because CMH’s was too small for the amount of fluid going into me, and cared about us as people during this stressful situation. Thanks Tracy!

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