Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Days (for Shannon)

Obviously I stopped blogging awhile ago. I never did finish Lucy's story. I had a good friend today say that she never knew what happened, and didn't feel like she could ask. I would never been offended if someone asked about it, even if they were just an acquaintance, let alone one of a handful of people from high school I still  keep in touch with. That means a lot, I am not good at keeping in touch with people, even with things like social media helping me out.
So here's the rest of the story, just for you Shannon, and anyone else who might have felt like they couldn't ask. What I can still remember 2 years later, to the day.

During the night she pulled the oxygen mask off, the nurses aka godsends, didn't even notice till one of them went in there to check on her. She was breathing on room air all by herself, just like that. She's been amazing us ever since. We went down in the morning and they had to move the IV from her hands to her head. While I knew they did that to newborns, it is never something you want to see in your own child. It just feels wrong to have a needle sticking out of your day old child's head. And by wrong, I mean, makes you want to cry, and vomit all over the place. I would have done anything to take her place. She was just so helpless, or so it seemed. Obviously, her body was doing what it was supposed to since she was breathing so well all of a sudden.
We were finally able to hold her for the first time, 16 long hours after birth. It was like a sigh of relief to be able to hold my baby in my arms. I dreamed of this moment since the second pink line showed on the pregnancy test. This is not how I imagined it going, all tangled up in cords, but it was amazing nonetheless.
The nurses told me that I could try to feed her. I had to pump up till then, and they were storing it for later. I was eager to feed her, as any mom with a brand new baby, and a brand new, painful cup size will understand. She had trouble staying awake to eat. We tried SNS which is a syringe with a tiny tube that you try to pump into the babies mouth at the same time to entice them to keep trying till there's letdown. After that and having at least 2 different nurses groping me to show me different things to try, we decided to just bag it for the time being. She hadn't eaten anything yet, but she was still too sick, and didn't have an appetite or energy to eat yet. We had to leave her again so she could get some good sleep and get better, and so we could eat. We came back after breakfast, and met up with her doctor again, he said she was doing amazingly well. She was a little fighter. However, she was still sick, and had to get over her infection, and be able to eat before she could go home. They also decided to put the cannula breathing tube in, because her blood oxygen levels kept dropping when she would sleep, which is basically all newborns do. Since the doctor was poking and prodding her to check on her, we had to leave to let her sleep again, after stealing some more snuggles, to make up for lost time.
We got a little sleep, I mean.... watched the required hospital "you just had a baby, and are very hormonal, so here watch this video that will scare the shizz out of you" videos. We went back to the NICU a little later, and tried feeding again. After another nurse got to second base with me, she declared I was too full and needed a shield to be successful. No crap, lady! Please eat baby! I'm dying here, I am going to explode milk everywhere, and no one wants that... unless it will make the pain go away, then yes, yes I do. We tried for an hour, using SNS, which is a lot easier with a shield. She still didn't want to eat. We left, and got some lunch, and let her sleep.
We went back to try to feed her again, this time she was finally hungry, and ate about half an ounce. VICTORY!! We had our ups and downs with being able to get her to stay awake to eat the rest of the day, but she was eating a little, with the help of SNS, and that was great.
The next day I was released from the hospital, and freed of my annoying IV I had been toting around from floor to floor to get to the NICU and back. I had to finish all my antibiotics before they would unhook, me and discharge me. The hospital will let you stay there for $15 a day if you need, so we did that. They made us switch rooms over to the side that was unoccupied so the nurses could keep all the patients next to each other, and didn't bother us. This was a horrible idea they had. 1st off, we were now at least 3 times farther from the elevator, not many other real patients needed to use that as often as we did, and it is not easy for a lady who just pushed out a watermelon to walk that far that often, especially when the massive swelling in my feet wouldn't go down because I didn't have a chance to put them up for more than an hour at a time.
And 2ndly, in the hike to the NICU we now had to walk passed the nursery with all the healthy babies that the parents just didn't want in their rooms with them. I wanted more than anything for my baby to be in my room with me. While I do understand why a parent would choose to use the nursery, I hated those parents at that time. They had no idea what it was like.
Throughout the week we were given false hope over and over again of when Lucy would be discharged. Having a baby in the NICU is the most exhausting thing I've ever experienced, and we were just ready to be home.
4 days after delivery there was a big spring snow storm. This put a ton of other women into labor, 21, to be exact. I didn't know the weather could do that. Apparently it has something to do with the change in pressure in the air or something. At least that's what we were told.
On the 5th day we were told we could no longer stay in the Mother and Baby floor because they needed the space. They said there was another room we could say in in the surgical unit. We were shown our room, and immediately turned it down. There was one hospital bed, and a chair. That was it. There was no way we could both stay there. They decided we could stay on the labor and delivery floor, since all the women had now birthed their babies there was room there.We stayed there, and it was and awful night. Aaron's sofa bed wouldn't stay together, and no one mentioned that the labor and delivery beds are made of some type of rubber for easy cleaning, not for comfort.You don't notice this when you're in labor, because it's not possible to be comfortable anyway.
The next day we decided we would just go home, with or without Lucy. She had a car seat test that day to see if she could go home. She failed it, even with the cannula to help. We would have to try again tomorrow. They weren't going to discharge her yet anyway. One of the hardest things I've done is to leave the hospital empty handed. This was just SO wrong. My heart was inside still, beating outside of my chest. No mother should ever have to do this, and I felt horrible for all mother's who left without their child for worse reasons than us. How completely awful that moment is. As if it's not bad enough, we has this CNA helping us, who kept reminding me how hard it was. Thanks lady, I didn't know. Please tell me more about how you understand my pain and emptiness.
Lucy took the car seat test again the next day, and failed it again, and again. They assured us that this wouldn't keep her from going home, we just wouldn't be able to go on any unnecessary car rides with her once were home. She also had to stay on oxygen when we were home, and keep a blood oxygen monitor on her foot so we know if she's improving or not.
Finally, after they longest week of my life, yes, even longer than the never ending last week of pregnancy, they discharged her, and we got to go home, as a family. Whole at last.
We got to introduce Lucy to our family over the next week. In the NICU she was only allowed 6 visitors the entire time, so after Aaron's parents, and my dad, we didn't want to pick and choose siblings she could meet since that would not be fair.
Her blood oxygen monitor, while comforting, made for some long nights. It would go off all the time with this loud beeping that make you think the house is going to burn down. It was too sensitive, and didn't give her a chance to get her oxygen up on her own before freaking out. It was nice to not have to worry about SIDS, or anything that first week though. Having something monitor her was sort of nice.... at times.
She had to stay on oxygen until her 2 week appointment, then she was set free, and we had ourselves a cordless baby, fit for the 21st century ;)
She's now the smartest, sweetest, cutest 2 year-old you'll ever meet. Though, I may be just a little biased.