Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Life of a NICU Mother

It's never fun having your baby in the NICU.And I didn't even have it that bad, my kid wasn't fighting for his life and we weren't in there as long as many. But it was very hard for me and I hope I will never have to do it again.
Peter was born Thursday early afternoon and everything looked great, he had low blood sugar but I guess that's pretty normal for bigger babies, so they checked every few hours to monitor it and they really wanted him to nurse. I got him to nurse three times before he went to the NICU. The last time I fed him was early Friday morning and I noticed he was very warm and red, but I figured it was because he had three blankets on him! They wrapped him up so much because of his low blood sugar so I figured that was why he was so warm, so quickly I unwrapped him. I also noticed he kept spitting up junk, that wasn't breast milk and I told the nurse Thursday about it but she said she thought she got all the junk out of him, and I thought it was weird that I couldn't get him to burp. Well after I fed him Friday morning I had Dustin hold him for a bit and change his diaper. Dustin later said he noticed his breathing seemed a little fast but he thought it was normal. After he changed him a nurse asked if we wanted him in the nursery, I was thinking no because I rather have my babies with me but Dustin said "sure" and for some reason I didn't say anything and let her take him.
Not too long she came back and told me his breathing was very shallow so they hooked him up with some air to help him and that he should be fine, then she came again and said that it still wasn't looking good and that they put him in the NICU and to expect him to be there for a day. Then 7, Friday morning the pediatrician came and showed us Peter's X rays and told us his lungs didn't look good and they didn't know why, and his breathing was still looking bad. It's the worst as a parent to hear your child isn't doing well. She took us to the NICU and it was easy to spot him because he was the biggest baby in there by far. It was so hard to see him hooked up with machines and just laying there and I couldn't hold him. It was so heart-breaking. They weren't sure why his lungs were looking bad so they started on anti-biotics in case he has picked up a cold or the flu. After seeing him we left the NICU to let him sleep and rest, he didn't seem like he wanted to be touched.
We went back to my room and I just started sobbing, I really don't do well when my kids are hurt in any way, and I hate anything medical so I was an emotional wreck and Dustin just held me. I had many concerns, I was wondering what happened to Peter and if he will always have health problems? Did this mean I wasn't going to breast feed him since we were going to be apart? Will he and I be close since I wasn't going to be able to be with him that much in the NICU? Would he remember I was his mom?And many more, it was very hard.
Later that day the lactation specialist came in, she was very sweet and let me cry on her shoulder for a good half hour, and told me that I will still be able to breast-feed Peter, and she got me a breast pump right away and gave me information to rent one at home. And she gave me the schedule for pumping and not too stress about how much I pump but to keep doing it. So I started pumping right away.
At the NICO you can see your baby anytime but they have certain "touch" times when they change the diapers and take their temperatures and that is when you can do that and touch them. So every three hours I would be there to  help, then when he fell back asleep I would take the blanket he was wrapped in with me because it would have his smell and it would help me with my milk supply, those were my favorite I would sleep with it because it would smell like Peter. Then I would pump for 40 minutes.
I decided to stay one more night at the hospital because I had a hard time leaving him that night and I didn't want to miss a touch time. My mother-in-law came that night with the boys so I could see them, it was very hard to tell them that Peter wasn't coming home because he was sick and that Dustin and I were staying another night. I did really good not crying till they were leaving, and then some tears were coming down. And I think it effected Thomas seeing me cry that he started crying when they were leaving which is very out of character for him, but I think he had a better idea what was going on and seeing me cry made him sad so I decided to keep a strong face for my kids after that.
Also that night my father in law and Dustin gave Peter and I a Priesthood blessing. With Peter it said he would heal and that he will be home soon and that he would be strong, and that he would be a comfort to me. Then in my blessing it said the Lord knew this pregnancy was hard on my body and that my spirit and my body was very tired and that I will have strength to get through this through the atonement, and that even though Peter and I aren't close physically that we will still be close as mother and son. And that this was the Lord's plan and everything will happen in his time, and that He was watching over our little family. Those blessings were such a comfort to me and answered all of my questions and concerns and after that I was more calm and I had the strength that I needed to continue. I honestly don't think I would have made it through that week without my Savior being there by my side, I knew that the Lord was watching over us. I'm so grateful for this Gospel!
Saturday morning they did another X-ray and his lungs looked worse, I was really sad, but Dustin was such a great comfort and told me it's the darkest right before Dawn. So they decided to check if his heart was ok, and because of the blessings the night before I had a strong impression there wasn't anything wrong with his heart but I let them do the tests and they saw nothing wrong with his heart!
I continued to be with Peter every touch time but went home that night. It was really hard, it was Oliver's birthday and this wasn't how I imagined his birthday was going to be like, and it was hard leaving the hospital with no baby in my arms and people congratulating you as you leave with your baby. I came home with dinner ready thanks to my mother in law. My mother in law helped A LOT the week Peter was in the NICO. She made meals and cleaned while watching the kids.
It was weird coming home though with no baby. That I did a lot of cleaning myself to keep myself busy that week. It was also really hard leaving Thomas and Oliver a lot to go to the NICU. Thank goodness we live on the same street as the hospital and it was only a 3 minute drive. But I tried not to miss a touch time, if I didn't make it I had Dustin go. Touch times were every three hours and if Peter was awake I would stay the whole time he was awake, then once he fell asleep I would go home to my boys if they were home, but then I would also have to pump for 40 minutes when I got home, so I wasn't around that much. I tried to be with my boys when I was home and spent time with them. But it was hard knowing poor Peter was by himself in the hospital, it seriously broke my heart.
Sunday morning came, and his X-rays looked  a lot better and I could tell he was feeling a lot better. He kept pulling off his breathing tubes and you could tell he was done being there. He loved when I held him and he would get excited when Dustin and I would be there that he would try to stay up as long as he could. That was very comforting and hard at the same time, I loved that he recognized me and we had that mother-child connection but it was hard to leave him knowing he would be sad when we were gone, both Dustin and I were very sad to come home that night. 
Monday he continued to improve and they were giving him more food. They would feed him every three hours but I guess he would start crying before that time that nurse started feeding them a half hour early. I guess he gave the nurses a rough time, between being hungry earlier (all my kids eat every 2 hours for the first 6 months)and he would pull of all the wires, and he would cry a lot when I wasn't there. So I think they were thinking I was going to have a hard baby, but I wanted to tell them he's hungry every two hours, and he wants his mom and wants to get out of here, and ever since he's been home there has been less crying ;) 
Tuesday morning I missed one touch time because I took my kids to my brother's house, because I knew my kids needed to get out of the house and have fun with their cousins and I wanted to stay with Peter more, knowing he hated the NICU. Which worked out great because when I came Peter was unplugged with everything!!! I was very excited to see it, I don't know if the nurses were tired of fighting him or the pediatrician let them. But they bottle fed him that day, and I guess he drank that thing so fast! And they said he was a new baby with no wires and to be able to drink from the bottle. So that day we decided to start nursing. It was very frustrating because the nurses were trying to help me, and THAT NEVER WORKS for me. You need to leave me alone when I'm figuring out nursing. And if he didn't latch on after 15 minutes I had to give him a bottle because they didn't want him to burn too many calories. Well, it was hard because he was so used to getting food from the tube that he wasn't used to having to work for it, so that day was long and hard and I felt like a failure when I came home that night and I was very tired.
Then Wednesday came, and I decided to be firm and let the nurse know I wanted to be left alone to nurse and that I had a plan. The nurse that day was way more relax and let me do whatever, it was Great! I came with some pumped milk with a syringe and I slowly trained him to nurse. And he started to latch on very quick after that, it just took a few days to use the pump milk in the syringe to learn to latch on. Then that day the pediatrician said he could come home that NIGHT! I was sooo excited because I thought it would be Friday because originally they thought he would need the anti-biotics for 7 days. But since he didn't have a cold or the flu he didn't need to finish the anti-biotics, so we were just waiting for the circumcision which would be later that day and that they needed to watch him a few hours after that. It was a happy day! And we took him home that night!! And the boys were excited to finally have baby Peter home.

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

Loved reading this Jess!! What a crazy week! Stu was in the NICU with low blood sugar and I was a mess but he didn't have any other problems so I can only imagine how sad and scary that would be. You are such a great Mom! I love that you came in with a plan to tell off the nurses when you were nursing. Way to go!! Wish we were close so I could help with your boys. Good luck in the next couple weeks. <3