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Forget birth: The miracle is sanity


On Sept. 20, Nancy Galicki gave birth to a son, Adam, by Caesarean section at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. When Mrs. Galicki had her daughter, Shannon, by C-section 11 years ago, she spent a week recovering in the hospital. This time, she was sent home in less than 48 hours, making her recovery much more difficult. We tracked her first two weeks.

Sept. 22 -- Adam is 2 days old.

Nancy Galicki gets out of her hospital bed and moves slowly toward the crib where a nurse is ready to show her how to change her newly circumcised son's diaper. Adam's tiny redish head is barely visible over the covers, and Nancy, overwhelmed, sobs.

She and her husband, Steven, are distraught about having to leave the hospital less than 48 hours after the C-section birth of their 9-pound, 11-ounce son. It takes Mrs. Galicki eight to 10 minutes to get to the bathroom -- about 3 feet from her bed -- today. She is in pain, but hasn't lost her sense of humor -- "if he's choking, I'm sure I'm going to get up real quick," she says with a tinge of sarcasm.

Mr. Galicki comforts his crying wife and worries about taking off more time from his home-improvement company to help. "If the least thing happens out of the ordinary," he says, "I wouldn't know what to do." Through her tears, Mrs. Galicki smiles and tries to reassure herself: "I'll be all right, because you do what you have to do."

Sept. 28 -- Adam is 8 days old.

Adam is jaundiced. Since Day 3, the family has driven him 45 minutes each way from its home in Fallston to GBMC for a checkup. On Day 5, the child's pediatrician finds an unusually fast heartbeat and orders him to a cardiologist within the week. "What's normal anymore, they don't know," says Mrs. Galicki. She has been back to the hospital herself to have her sutures taken out. The doctor told her to "calm down," she says.

"After Monday [when the cardiologist is scheduled], I might be able to relax. Now I can't," she says. She says her husband has been great and her family has really helped a lot.

"I feel sorry for women who don't have support. It would be hard if I had to do this by myself. I am making my husband neurotic. We're snapping a little bit. It's only natural -- we're a big bundle of nerves," she says.

Oct. 5 -- Adam is 15 days old.

"Everything is real calm. The baby has a clean bill of health. I am slowly doing better. My body is back to normal, the blues are gone," she says. Mr. Galicki went back to work last week.

"It took longer than it did the first time. The hospital stay hurt the recovery. It would have been a calmer transition. My body wasn't even my body, and I had to make it move. It's hard when you don't have control over your body.

"Yesterday and today, we are starting to have fun. You should be able to enjoy your baby -- not be stressed out. I almost had to go on tranquilizers. I feel bad about asking for help. Now I am clear-headed. The stress is lifted. My mother did what she could do, my husband and my mother. But I could have used my mother in my house 24 hours a day.

"Last night I made dinner. It was the first time we all sat down for dinner. The baby was sleeping."

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