Friday, February 26, 2010

>NICU: Days 2-4

**I know this is a very long post, but I urge you to stick through it. The story at the end of the post is very important to our stay in the NICU.**

Day 2 in the NICU was a little better. Waking up without my babe rooming in with us was not at all how I imagined waking up the first morning after giving birth. Again, part of our hospital tour was our guide boasting how "baby friendly" it is and how most babies never even make it to the nursery unless mom and dad both need a few hours to rest. I could not wait to hear my baby boy breathing next to us, fussing in the night for my breast and quickly satisfied with my soft cooing and sweet touches. Instead, we woke to my nurse and an empty bedside.

B's mom had stayed with our dogs the night before and met us at the hospital early that morning. It broke my heart that Logan's grandparents could not hold him. B and I had yet to hold Logan, but I cannot imagine how that made them feel. My mom could not wait to hold him and the NICU was pretty strict as to when that would happen. After a short visit, B left with his mom to go home and shower, eat breakfast and give me some time to do the same. My nurse helped me in and out of the shower. It is amazing to me how quickly any modesty I ever had, which, if you know me at all, I was quite the modest child and young adult, goes out the door when you have a baby. The nurses kept checking my bleeding and peeing and when I finally had a bowel movement I thought they were going to pop a bottle of champaign.

Showering was very renewing. I cried while I showered and I could tell that they were more happy tears than sad tears. I was beside myself- I'm a mother! My son is here! There was a stool in the shower and I was still very shaky on my feet so I sat down and attempted to sponge my body. I was able to stand long enough to rinse my hair and already I felt like a cleaner, fresher person. Even my perspective on the entire situation was clearer. Logan was in the NICU, but he was going to be okay.

After my shower, I met B in the NICU. We were both fresh and excited to finally hold our son. It had been several hours since he laid on my chest and I wanted to feel his weight in my arms. The moment the nurse lifted Logan into my arms, I began to cry those happy tears again. Logan was sleeping and so peaceful. B and I took turns holding Logan. My parents came by and were not able to hold him, but showered him with kisses and love. I enjoyed some skin to skin and sometime in the afternoon a lactation consultant came and gave me pointers on nursing. Logan was not ready to nurse yet and after a few attempts we discovered I needed a nipple shield. My nips are not inverted, but just not big enough for his little mouth to latch onto. I am still using it but hope to wean him of it in a month or so.

Logan's 10am x-ray was perfect. The air that had been trapped was no longer visible and hope for my boy coming home soon was getting greater! For good measure, they were treating Logan for an infection with antibiotics and that was a 48 hour treatment. Once he was finished with that, we needed to wean him of his nutrient IV. We could not start doing that until the antibiotics was done.

Night two was so much better than our first night. The hospital offers a special dinner for the new parents. B had steak and I had pasta with chicken. It was so good no one would know it was hospital food! B left me that evening to stay at home with the dogs and I made a greater effort to update our friends and family on FB and through email.

The following days in the NICU were about the same. I was discharged and spent two nights in a sleep room to pump and visit Logan through the night. He was moved to the well baby side of the NICU where I was able to go and feed him, change him, and love on him whenever I wanted. The only thing that kept him in there were all his cords. He weaned really well off of his IV and by the time we left he was drinking almost an ounce of my milk with no problem at all. He was 6.8 pounds when we left. The day we left was almost as great as the day he was born. We were taking him home and we could not have been happier.


Our story is special. We had a baby who needed the NICU and now he is home in his swing cooing and smiling at the sound of our voices. His time spent there was priceless. I have several friends whose babies had to spend a lot more time in the NICU and who did not get to hold their babes for several weeks. We are so lucky. Our friends from our childbirth class, were not so lucky and their story and challenges is what gave me more faith our boy would heal, but it broke my heart every day to see a graver update on their little girl.

I'll call her Baby K. Baby K was born one week past her due date 3 days before Logan made his arrival exactly one week past his due date. Her mamma and I had been messaging back and forth on FB for a few weeks, trying to predict when our wee ones would arrive, what it would be like, and that the anticipation was through the roof. On February 5th I saw a little update on FB that Mamma K was finally in labor! I began to pray for her and her little one. Over the next several hours, there were a few more updates, the last one being at 4pm that Mamma K was pushing! I must say, after having a baby, they really did a great job of keeping Fb world update. I sure did not do that good of a job! So when it was nearly 11pm that evening and still no update on Baby K's arrival, I figured they were all just so tired and happy with Baby K to update.

The next morning, there was an update and it was not a good one. Baby K arrived several hours later at the hospital (they had attempted a home birth) and was not breathing to start. She then began to have seizures and was rushed off to Children's Hospital in Denver. There were many concerns of brain damage, but nothing could be assessed so soon so we all waited. A special prayer group was created in her name on FB and in the 3 days prior to Logan's birth, I obsessively prayed for that little baby and her parents to all stay strong and for healing. The outcome seemed really bad, but I did not let that wan my faith in the doctors. Children's in Denver is one of the best Children's hospitals in Denver and once we were in the NICU with Logan, we learned that Dr. P, Logan's neonatologist, fore-fronted the brain cooling treatment that Baby K began the following day. Logan was in perfect hands.

On Monday, the day Logan was born, the cooling treatment had ended and Baby K had no sign of brain activity. Her short little life on this earth was going to be over soon and her parents were just trying to wrap their heads around the devastating news, as well as the over 1000 people who had joined her group on FB in those 4 short days. On day two after my shower and before I went back to the NICU, I checked the update and bawled my eyes out. It was the saddest news I had ever heard and here I was with a sick baby, but a baby who would be coming home with us perfectly healthy. It was not fair. This couple had tried for quite some time to have a baby and so Baby K was a blessing to begin with. Now, she would soon be back in Jesus' arms and it was a feeling unlike anything I had ever felt for Mamma K. We were not close friends, but I loved her so much then. My heart was with her every time I saw my baby boy look into my eyes. I prayed over all of them with Logan. I told him all about Baby K and how precious she was and how they would have been friends had they grown up together.

One week after Baby K was born, she was taken off of life support to save the lives of two other babies. Her perfect little heart went to another baby girl and her kidneys saved a baby as well. Though her brain was not functioning, her organs were able to bless other families and this is the only way I have been able to not get too mad at God. Why would this happen? Well, I believe everything happens for a reason, though we may not understand the reasoning at times, but Baby K had a purpose and it was to save those other babies.

I have written about this story because Baby K was a huge part of me while Logan was in the NICU. Both B and I were heartbroken by the news but we had so much love for her and her family and we poured that into our son. B went to the funeral on the following Monday. He told Baby K to keep and eye out for Logan and we know she will. This has been so hard to write. I have choked back tears several times. It needed to be said. Life is so precious and so valuable, even if only for a short time.

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