Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Look Back: NICU Days

With Reed’s birthday approaching, I started looking back through pictures of his early days. After a perfectly normal and healthy pregnancy, we never imagined that our son would be born and be taken from us quickly and not leave the NICU until his discharge 10 days later. I can’t even put into words how hard and emotional those days were. I know we were lucky in the fact that our child was not overly sick, but living those days were the hardest days of my life.

Reed was born very quickly on October 7, 2011 and was given to me briefly. The took him to clean him up. IMG_3528As they were working on him, they noticed he was having labored breathing. They did a couple things, and after no improvement. They decided at that point to take him to the NICU for further testing. They gave him back to me briefly and after a couple of minutes, they took him from me. I wouldn’t see him again for almost 6 hours.IMG_3533 It was 2-3 hours before we were able to speak to the neonatologist to get the initial diagnosis. We did see a nurse a couple of times, and without full test results we got a wide variety of possible issues. Reed’s cord had been wrapped around his neck and there was talk of fluid deprivation. Later tests and x-rays showed that he had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). He also had cloudy lungs. They had to keep him under an oxygen hood and we were not able to hold him for the first 32 hours of his life.IMG_0776 Due to the nature of his issues, as a precaution, they decided to start him on a 10 day antibiotic which meant he was there for a full 10 days. I was devastated when I learned this. I wanted nothing more than to take my little baby home, though I know he had to get better. We were not prepared for this in the least and it was a complete shock.

Later in the evening on his 2nd day, his oxygen levels were good enough to remove the oxygen hood. This was a huge relief, because it meant we could finally hold him.IMG_3561IMG_3557We were so happy to get to hold him. At this point he still had a feeding tube and it would still be a little while before I was able to nurse him. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how scared I was to hold him attached to all those wires, for fear of doing something to hurt him or mess something up.IMG_3559 When we finally got to feed him, he had to be offered bottles if he didn’t nurse for a specific amount of time. Zach got to help with that. My kids are blessed with an unbelievable daddy!IMG_3571

Going down for midnight feedings was much easier when I was still in the hospital. IMG_3576 Leaving the hospital two days after his birth, without him, was one of the saddest moments of my life. I know in my heart it could have been so much worse, and I’m thankful it was just a temporary separation. In the midst of my pain, I couldn’t help but mourn for those moms whose separation is permanent.

We spent our days feeding him every three hours. We split our time between the hospital and with Ava. I spent several nights at the hospital in the Ronald McDonald House while Zach kept Ava at home. I would get up and feed Reed at 6:00 a.m., rush home to get Ava ready for school, get showered, and back to the hospital for the 9:00 a.m. feeding. It feels like just yesterday we were living this. Reed didn’t like the IV in his hand, and pulled it out, earning him a nice little unicorn spike. :)IMG_3589 IMG_3590IMG_3583 I love this photo of his perfect little face. IMG_3622Ava didn’t quite understand why she didn’t get to see Reed. We talked about him, we showed her pictures of him, and she didn’t understand him being sick. The day we got to take her to the window to see him, was so special. I love her waving hi to him when she finally got to see him!IMG_3601We had to leave our hospital bracelets on while he was in the hospital. Ava got a bracelet during that week at a birthday party, and she showed me her bracelet and said, “now I can go see Reed.” Love that sweet baby girl.

After about halfway through his stay, this sweet little man was SO ready to go home. The days back and forth were exhausting and overwhelming. Having a new baby is tiring anyway, but it was a million times worse not having that baby at home and having to be back and forth.IMG_3607-2IMG_3617 IMG_0016 IMG_0001 IMG_0006 IMG_0008 IMG_0009 IMG_0013 I had a really hard time emotionally with Reed being in the hospital. You go through 9 months of everything being perfectly fine and his being sick just rocked my world. Even though he wasn’t incredibly sick, the first couple days were very touch and go and very scary. I’m so thankful he was okay and that he was healed completely. We were SO SO blessed that we have an amazing NICU with a team of doctors and nurses who gave us incredible care. If we’d had to go to another city, it would have been so much harder. So while things were bad, they could have been so so so much worse.  IMG_3627 

The day we finally got to take him home was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was such a relief to get him dressed up, wires disconnected, and walk out of the hospital for the last time WITH him. We were SO ready for Ava to meet him, and to all be together. IMG_3632 IMG_3636IMG_3638

It’s so hard to believe it has been a year. Looking back through these pictures brought back such a flood of emotions. I felt like I was living those days all over again. I am SO SO thankful we have a healthy almost one year old. As hard as this was, I would do it again in a heartbeat for Reed. He is SUCH a joy. He’s got the sweetest little personality and I am SO proud to be his mom. He had such a tough start but has come so far. He is such a blessing to our family and will always be our little fighter!

In closing, I’d like to ask you to stop and say a prayer for all families with children currently in the NICU. Unless you’ve lived it, it’s hard to completely understand how incredibly difficult it is both emotionally and physically. Our stay was minimal to so many, and I can only try to imagine how the parents who spend months enduring it must feel. We were covered in prayer during Reed’s stay and I’m certain that made all the difference, so I would just ask that you pray for those who are hurting today due to their babies being in a NICU.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow...what a road you were on in the beginning, I had no idea as I didn't start reading your blog until a few months later. So happy that he's doing great now. Hope he has a wonderful first birthday, those are great memories for sure! You have such a beautiful family!


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