This excerpt was written at 51 days into Emy’s 105 day stay in the NICU for a preemie support forum.
Emy was born March 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm at 26wks gestation. She weighed only 2lbs 2.3oz. It wasn’t a high risk pregnancy, yes it was my first and I was only 29 years old. I ate three meals a day, she wouldn’t let be otherwise. I took my vitamins and even quit smoking. It was a fairly pleasant pregnancy until “it.” happened. I had a odd discharge and cramps and so the doc on call referred me to the OB-GYN Triage. And from there the ball starting rolling downhill. Two and half days later, Emy is born via emergency c-section.
In the meantime, I had pumped, tried milk enhancing herbs, and refused Rx medication for milk production (too many contradiction from my medical history) and still lost my milk. I never had it fully come in. I didn’t even get a chance to get discomfort from engorgement. I’ve returned to my pre-pregnancy weight, which was a surprise for me. Physical I guess I’m OK, even though the docs won’t release me to full duty for work. The incision is itching like crazy, there is one last stitch yet to dissolve. All in all, I’m OK.
Emily is still in the NICU. Shes now 3lbs 8oz and taking 34mls per feeding. She’s been off the vent once just over 24hrs. Shes on the vent again and this time she’s fighting another gram negative infection in the lungs. I’m starting to watch her o2 settings creep up again. Tonight she’s on 35% O2. Her bradys seam to be getting under control as is her acid reflux. She’s smiling more so I can only guess she’s having a lot more gas.
It’s her breathing that bothers me so much. Her lungs are radding. I can feel it when I touch her.She’s making more secretions than previously. I don’t know if it’s because they had to reintubate her or not. Her own breathing right now is fairly shallow and rapid, even though her o2 sats are hovering high 80′s to low 90′s.
I know the NICU is a roller coaster ride. I know there isn’t much I can do about feeling helpless right now. I know I have to take it a day at a time. But tonight I found out one of the other babies didn’t make it, no matter how hard he fought. He had been on and off the oscillator. It really hurt to see where his isolate had been was empty when this morning he was still there. I only found out that he died because his aunt was fairly distraught, as we rode the elevator to the Maternity floor.
I want to cry for him and his family and I can’t. My eyes water but the tears won’t flow.
Thank you guys for all the kind words.
As to the questions… I don’t have a medical background. I wouldn’t call being an amateur herbalist as having a medical background. I do alot of research, on the net and the library. Besides it’s my daughter. I want to know what’s going on with her and what they are doing. I’m going to learn as fast as I can.
They are a bit reluctant to try kangaroo at this time with her. It really has limited my time with her. I’m having to build a rapport with each nurse and slowly work on each one as to when I can hold her. It hasn’t been very successful. As long as she on the vent they will be reluctant.
Emily’s not in CHKD. It turns out that my hospital has a level 3 NICU and she isn’t the only one there. I’ve already watch babies come in with earlier gestational ages and I’ve seen the graduates leave. It was just yesterday that I saw for the first time that a baby died. I’ve been in there watching and waiting for 51 days.
We had canceled on my husband’s aunt Saturday just to come home to some more friend’s of ours sitting on our porch. They had camped us out! And they were fully expecting to stay the night. Shortened version; friends from high school, have a high strung four year old daughter and live with her mother which is the cause of stress to all involved and grandmother. Which is why they were sitting at my door, running from her mother.
Saturday night I went to see Emy and of course everybody wants to come. Turns out there is some good news. They took her off the vent and have on the nasal cannula, 2L pressure & 35% O2 as of this afternoon. This is the fourth time around. She was so touchy when I saw her. Her heart rate kept dropping back and fourth. At least she was recovering on her own without dropping her O2 stats. I quickly shooed everyone home. I’m glad I’ve gotten in the habit of going in first.
No. As I’m still on maternity leave, I work for a local general contractor was/as a Carpenter’s apprentice. The thing about not back to full duty is that when I requested to go on light duty as per doctors orders, I was put out on maternity. LOL So at my 6 week check up I tried to get clearance to go back to full duty, they wouldn’t give it. They would give me light duty which is worthless to me at this point. I can’t go back to work until the doc’s clear me for full duty. With my line of work anything less is dangerous.
Which sucks. I know I had a c-section, I just want to know when I’ll be strong enough to work again. I’ve always worked very physical jobs and the prospect of not going back is already driving me nuts. Well I’m heading to bed… I do hope that I can continue to chat with everyone here.
And only now do I get around to putting this bit of her story together, as she’s now a vigorous seven year old with just a few touches of preemiehood but otherwise healthy. I saw plenty of sorrow in 105 days of sitting in the NICU. I even have a touch of PTSD about it. The alarms and whistles of ventilation is enough to send my mind racing back to that place for a moment. I carry with me the lessons the nurses taught us and I am thankful for that. I am sure I would be a bigger mess if I had not heeded their experience and advice.
She is my magical miracle child, born after more than ten years of infertility. And every smile I see, every whispered word she says, every giggle and laugh, every time her eyes shine with learning and wonder, I know…I KNOW she was more than worth every drop of tears, anguish, pain and worry I had with her rough and troubled beginnings. But I knew even before she was born, she would be born a fighter and her momma wasn’t wrong.