Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guest Blogger for TCH

I was recently back at the TCH Women's Pavilion for a class and was overwhelmed by all the memories that came flooding back.  I've felt SO many different emotions in this one building....there was joy after seeing baby boy's beautiful heart at 19 weeks, fear after every appointment while I was on bed rest, nervousness when we arrived on the day I would deliver William, sadness when I had to go home without my baby, and excitement to finally bring him home on May 16th.  It was kinda nice being back.  Reminds me of everything I have to be grateful for!  I used the NICU lactation room to pump on the day I had class.  I passed by William's old room and saw the tiniest baby doing her car seat test.  I couldn't believe how small she was.  I really can't believe William was that small not too long ago!  Only 4 pounds when he came home! 

While I was there I also took care of some business....I'm officially a milk donor for TCH.  As I've mentioned before, I've been blessed to produce a good amount of milk.  I've been back at work for nearly 3 months and today we used the last bottle of milk that I pumped while William was in the NICU.  Needless to say, I have plenty of milk that could go to good use.  I'm so happy to be able to help these tiny babies. 

I got my donor pack in the mail the day before so I was able to have my blood drawn while I was there.  Love being able to get two things done at once!

In other TCH news....little William is a star!  I did my first guest blog post for TCH and they posted it today!  Eventhough I'm a nurse myself I really didn't know what to expect when it came to my pregnancy and having a preemie baby.  If I could help one mom out....make her feel better...or more normal then my mission is accomplished.  :)  So, here it is....

Isn’t it ironic….I sure did love that song back in junior high. I guess I should’ve known I was in for it when it rained on my wedding day.

I am the proud mommy of a preemie. Yep, this health conscious, worry wart, pediatric oncology nurse had her baby boy eight weeks early. This won us a four week stay in the new Pavilion for Women NICU! The irony in all of this started when I was only eleven years old. While having an abdominal ultrasound done, due to my very own cancer scare, guess what I asked the tech? Will you look at my uterus and make sure it’s there and okay. What 6th grader asks that kind of question? Me I guess. Flash forward 20 years. I’m a nervous wreck waiting in the doctor’s office to see how far along I am in my pregnancy. I’d soon find out that I had a bicornuate uterus. I’m a nurse but my mind went blank. I remember hearing things like increased risk for second trimester miscarriage; prematurity, low birth weight…. I wanted to stay positive but deep down inside I was terrified to lose this little baby. I’m a typical nurse with type-A personality. I like to plan. Well, all of that went out the window. At 29 weeks I was put on strict bed rest. I missed my baby brother’s wedding and any nesting had to be pushed to the back of my mind.

Bed rest is surprisingly exhausting. All I did was worry. My sweet baby boy didn’t want to wait, he made his debut early and it was a scary entrance. As soon as he was born, he was whisked away to the NICU. So, there I was all alone in the delivery room texting back and forth with my husband, Gordon. How is he doing? Has he been intubated? Can he breathe on his own? My poor husband isn’t in the medical field. All he could tell me was there was a lot of tubes and some gel in his eyes. Five hours later I would finally meet our little boy.

After 4 weeks in the NICU, William finally got to come home with us! My husband and I are so blessed to have a healthy baby. I am thankful every day. William doesn’t have any chronic problems from his prematurity, I didn’t have infertility issues and four weeks in the NICU is nothing compared to what some families go through. But it was still a struggle. So, for any preemie parents out there maybe this post will help you out a little.

Ironic….there’s that word again. Life has been a bit ironic since William made his appearance back in April. Here is a quick list of the things that surprised this mommy!

 * I cry a lot. Always have. I didn’t get to meet William until he was five hours old and not a single tear was shed. Only smiles. I had just met this little man and already I was being strong for him. I knew we’d get through everything as a family.

* The first time I cried was the day I was discharged from the hospital. My husband, Gordon, was going home for the night and I was staying at the hospital with William. I felt so sad to not be with Gordon. We had rarely spent nights apart before then. Feeling sad about this just made me feel guilty that I was sad. Shouldn’t I want to be with my baby?!?! I loved William with everything in me but hadn’t really gotten to bond with him yet. I’d only held him for a total of an hour. Good news is it got easier. Gordon and I got into a routine. We ate dinner together every night and loved William’s bath nights on Wednesday and Saturday. By the time William was a week old you had to drag me out of the hospital. Words can’t express how grateful I am that the new TCH Women’s Pavilion had opened. Getting to room in with William was such a blessing and really helped us bond.
* I always thought our biggest challenge would be getting him extubated and off CPAP. Man was I wrong. William learning to suck, swallow, and breath all at the same time was the most grueling thing to watch! There were some days I felt so defeated. I remember telling my mom, “I just wish someone would have told me this was going to be the hard/long part.”
* William has taught me so much already. I am a calmer, happier, more patient person. Time is a preemie’s best friend, and a mother’s worst enemy. Time will allow a preemie to catch up, and it will drive a mother insane. I can’t tell you how many times the doctors and nurses told me William would learn to eat when the time was right. That every child was different. They said a light would go off one day and we’d be home free. Just be patient. My mama always said patience was a virtue. She was right.
* After two physicians were unable to get William intubated and the anesthesiologist had to be called the nurse in me freaked out. The mom in me was cool as a cucumber. I trusted them and found the positive in the situation. At least he would be sedated this way. I always thought I’d be a crazy overbearing mother. I was the exact opposite. So all you nurses out there that have these thoughts and fears….there is hope for us!
* After everything William had been through in his first four weeks of life going home came down to a ninety minute car seat test. Let me just say this was the longest ninety minutes of my life. Baby boy had to sit buckled into his car seat, attached to the heart monitor, for ninety minutes. If he had any episodes of bradycardia (low heart rate) or low oxygen saturations we would have to try again the next day. I was so ready to take our baby home and one beep of the machine would change that. So, I sat there on the cold hard floor next to him at 11:30pm. I sang songs, rubbed his head and held his paci in his mouth. Whatever it took to make him happy and keep him calm! And then there it was….BEEEPPPP. Was it bradycardia or low oxygen sat? The Monopoly game popped into my head….go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Luckily the machine had just alarmed due to him kicking the foot that his oxygen probe had been on. At 1am we were done and he PASSED! So, all you NICU parents out there prepare yourselves!
* I love having people over to our house. I am a people person!! In order to keep William healthy that had to change for a while. Once William was finally home he and I were on lock down. We had to limit our visitors. Our friends with kids couldn’t come over, we couldn’t go to church or take him to the grocery store. People might think we are crazy or overprotective. I think we are just normal NICU parents.

The new TCH Women’s Pavilion NICU is one of the only facilities in the country that allows for parents to stay in the same room with their baby. I could write another blog post on all the positive things about this (stay tuned-I probably will)! All I can say is Gordon and I are SO very grateful for the excellent care William received. We are so blessed and thankful for the wonderful doctors and nurses that touched our lives. Our first month with William wasn’t “normal” but that’s okay. I learned how to work the fancy incubator that William called home for a while. I was able to get him in and out of the incubator by myself and I learned to hold him with all the monitors staying in place. We had a routine and we made lots of friends. We got through those four weeks and I honestly think it made me a better nurse and both of us better parents


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