Staying Positive with a Baby in the NICU
Sometimes the toughest situations make you appreciate your life more. When I went in for a scheduled cesarean for my second daughter, we weren't expecting any complications.
The pregnancy had gone great with nothing out of the ordinary. Once she was born, she looked completely healthy and I was able to hold her and breastfeed immediately. Then the nurses took her to the other room for some routine tests.
After a couple of hours, I wondered why they didn't bring her back to me. When I asked, they said the blood sugar was slightly low and they kept giving her glucose and checking sugar again but it wouldn't go up.
Finally at 2:00 in the morning, they decided to fly her to a different hospital with a NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit). They said I couldn't go because I still couldn't move from the waist down. I cannot even tell you how upset I was at that point. There was also a hurricane coming the next day that was supposed to go right over us. I couldn't bear the thought that I would have to spend the hurricane in a separate hospital in a different town from my newborn baby.
My husband flew with her to the main island and checked her into the hospital. They would only let him visit once, so he decided to fly back for the storm. He was practically crying when he had to leave her there, but he didn't know what else to do.
They found out after a day or two that it was a bacteria and she would have to stay there for 10 days on antibiotics. The thought of having her in there for 10 days was horrible, but at least we knew what she had right away and they were treating it.
When they released me from the hospital after two days, I flew right over even though the doctors told me to go home and rest so I could take care of the baby when she did go home.
One of the hardest parts of this whole ordeal was leaving the hospital without my baby and going home without my baby. I didn't realize how lucky I was to take my first daughter home after 2 days with no problem. It must have taken me 15 minutes to muster up the strength, both physically and mentally, to actually stand up and begin walking out of there without my baby.
Once I arrived at the hospital, I was relieved to see her and make sure she was okay. There were about 20 babies in there and a lot of them looked like they were in a more difficult position than her, so I had to count my blessings. They let me in every two hours to breastfeed, so I basically did that every day. I was thankful to at least be able to see her often.
At this point, she had already tested negative for the bacteria, so we just had to wait. The day before she was going to be released, she went pale after I fed her. The doctors and nurses immediately hooked her up to all the machines and tested her for everything imaginable. After she tested negative, they said it was maybe a one time life threatening event with a drop in blood pressure and she would still be able to go home the next day. I went home to pack her things and we went the next morning to pick her up.
My three year old daughter was so excited to finally meet her baby sister after 10 days of waiting. We arrived at the hospital with the car seat only to find out that she had gone pale once again and would have to stay there for at least 11 more days for a second round of antibiotics. That must have been one of the hardest moments of my life.
After waiting for so many days and trying to stay positive, I was beginning to wonder if she would ever come home. One of the other mothers who had an extremely premature baby put it in perspective for me. She said, "At least it is only 11 more days. I don't know how much longer we have in here or if he will survive." The next 11 days were difficult, but every time I saw her, it comforted me. Every test that came back negative for whatever they were testing made me more positive. I just learned that I had to be patient and pray that everything would be alright. There is nothing else you can really do when she is in the hands of the doctor and God.
Once the day arrived to pick her up, I decided to go with just my husband. I didn't want to put my 3 year old through that again if they didn't release her. I could hardly believe it when they actually let us leave with her. After everything we all went through, we were finally able to start our life with her.
She is now 8 months old, healthy and crawling all over the place. Her sister adores her and we do too. As hard as this experience was, it taught me that life is so precious. I really appreciate little things more now, because I realize how fragile life can be.
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