Your miserable! Feet are kicking you from the inside. You can no longer shave your legs, you have as much gas as a, “Tanker Truck,” and your hungry as hell! All of the time. Those last few weeks of pregnancy can be, quite a royal pain in the butt!
The countdown takes over, and every little pain, you wonder if it’s time. The anxiety of the day finally being here hit’s you like nothing else ever has. But, you are SO ready to get that baby out! The baby comes either naturally, or you will be induced. Scheduled C-Sections are on the rise since 2005, either due to choice ,or the baby needs a little help getting out into this big ol’ World. (Also certain conditions with the baby will call for a C-section. For the baby’s and your safety.)
You hear those first cries, and your heart and soul are taken immediately to a new place. A new world with a love you have never felt in your life. Automatically feeling protective of your cub you know you’d give your own life for theirs in an instant.
Next your child will receive the “APGAR” Test (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration), and a shot of Vitamin K to help their blood clot. If all is good, it’s off to the nursery for the little one. If something is not quite so right within those two or three day’s you stay, it’s off to the NICU. A bit of a scary place in my opinion.
Your already terrified of what the doctors could find wrong with your child, and all you want is for your little one to be okay. And then you start noticing your environment , all of the machines, the beeping, the baby’s crying, possibly parent’s crying as well. The premature baby’s in the incubators or “oxygen tent’s”, can be really heartbreaking. I had to keep telling myself, “These little cuties just had to make an early appearance to meet their Mommy’s!”
It’s a very personal experience you go through when you have a child in the NICU,kind of forced in the open, but you have to push past it. For your child and for your sanity. Everything seems so gloomy, and dark. Some doctor’s speak to you in their language, and you have to ask the nurse to clarify. Some doctor’s question you to the end’s of the Earth, about the things you “did” during your pregnancy. Don’t feel alarmed by the questions, they are just trying to help your baby, and rule out certain things.
I personally felt attacked and complained about it, then our son’s nurse explained to us that they were routine questions for all children that are full term and admitted to the NICU. Even though I did nothing wrong during my pregnancy except over-eat, I still felt guilty, I still felt that it was my fault somehow that my little boy was in the NICU hooked up to all of these machines. All of his scans were normal, his heartbeat was strong from the beginning, the pregnancy was normal. It came time for me to be induced and I couldn’t dilate past 3cm. So at 4:20 PM 9/30/10 my son was born via c-section. A perfectly healthy 8lb 6oz 21in boy. Whose APGAR was one point away from perfect. Why was he there now?
His nurse the night he was born reported his lips looking blue, and “suspected sepsis.”
After many tests, the doctors finally find out what was wrong with our boy, besides the infection, which turned out to be from Meconium (the first bowel movement your baby makes after labor is induced and the water is broken.) Sometimes the baby’s can’t wait to get outside the womb to take their first poo.
Our son was diagnosed with “Severe Reflux”, and “Deep Laryngeal Penetration.” All babies are born with reflux. Where there stomach muscles are not strong enough yet, and it’s a sign of their “flapper” not being strong enough for them to keep any form of food down. It’s also a predictor of a baby being more susceptible to aspiration. Which also caused a longer stay for our son. His case was so bad that it made him quit breathing a couple of times for a few seconds each. When I was released from the hospital, I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay with my baby, this wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to go to our family’s home together. I cried when I had to leave him, he was asleep, happy, and full. His nurse held me the entire time I was crying, and told me I needed to get some rest before he came home. Because, this was the last chance I’d have to sleep the way I wanted to for at least the next 18 years.
She said she understood I wasn’t supposed to leave him there, and she said it would get easier.
I didn’t want it to be “easier,” I didn’t want it to be anything but over, and him home with his Dad, and Myself. He was in the NICU a total of two weeks. And yes, we know we are very blessed it wasn’t longer. We were ready to have him in his crib, and the call finally came that he had passed every test with flying colors, and we were going to have a “family night”, at the hospital. Sleep with him in a room, bathe him, etc, but most importantly how to give him the medications he was sent home on, and a “monitor”. Which had two wires we had to put on his sides to make sure he had a normal heartbeat, and normal breathing. It only went off a couple of times, thankfully both were false alarms. He was a wiggler ,so he had pulled the wires off. The wires are on sticky pad’s that you have to put on their sides, and the pull of the tape on the pad will make your kid sore, and very cranky at times! Do not ignore your monitor! It truly has saved many children’s lives! Listen carefully to your annoying instructor in the NICU, about the machine, as well as the CPR for infants. The creepy “baby” they give you to “practice” on, can be disinfected, and donated somewhere. So someone else can learn how to save a child’s life.
As hard as it was to walk into that room sometimes, and seeing all of the sick babies you develop a bond with the other parent’s in there. Whether you speak to each other daily or not, you have an understanding with each other. The nurses are the backbone of the NICU. I could not thank my son’s nurse’s enough for how patient they were with our questions, and with showing us “trick’s” for reflux babies. And truly caring for the kid’s they take care of. They don’t get nearly the credit they deserve.
There are so many times I think back to my Son’s roommates and wonder how they are doing. I hope they are all happy, healthy two year old’s with no affects left from their stay in the NICU. Like my kiddo, who has no more problems keeping his food down, and to himself.
So if your a new parent and you know you will be visiting the NICU, or if you are surprisingly there here’s your list of what to expect, and what can help.
- Just breathe, the stay there is only temporary ,even though it may seem like year’s.
- The doctor’s and nurses are there for you and the baby.
- The other parent’s can be a big help!
- Listen carefully to the directions from your doctor.
- If you are not comfortable with your child in the hospital that they are in, have them transferred.
- Don’t guilt trip yourself.
- Talk about it! Get it out, don’t bottle it. You never know when your experience may help someone else.
- Be prepared, to see some very sick babies. Though it is so unfair for an infant to have to suffer anything, it can be a very scary sight. Especially when you have never seen anything like it.
- Prayer helps very much.
- Be clear with your doctor about what you want for your child.
- Read their chart. (You may have to sign a peice of paper, but I’d want to know what kind of tests they are doing on my child, and when.)
- Speak with the Lactation Specialist . Breastfeeding is highly encouraged in the NICU.
- Take the nurses advice and rest as much as you can, though you probably won’t. She was right, sleep will be a rare luxury soon. So will shower’s, and eating.
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