Friday, September 3, 2010

NICU Days

I wrote about Hutton's birth story here. Unfortunately that was only the beginning of our journey...

Within seconds of his birth they placed him on my chest and I remember looking at him and saying "Hello, Baby Boy!" He was only there for a moment though before one of the nurses told me to "Give him a kiss." I bent my head down, placed my lips on his little warm head and then just like that he was gone, whisked away to be checked out and worked on. It was different from my experience with Keaton, with Keaton the nurses left him on my chest as they began cleaning him off. Hutt was literally only there a split second.

The NICU team did their initial work in the room while I was being tended to. There was lots of buzz in the room and although our baby was early he looked very healthy, so the mood, at least from my vantage point, was light. My hormones instantly started pumping and I was on a high, so excited to finally meet this baby, so excited to be a family of four. All I could think about as I was being stitched up was calling our friends and family and introducing our new little baby boy to his big brother.

I was talking to the doctor and didn't realize they had placed Hutt in an isolette until minutes later. Seeing this kinda took me by surprise. Although they called a NICU nurse in for Keaton too he never had to leave our room. So as I saw the isolette being pushed toward the door I was a little shocked. The hormones were still pumping though so I was still happy. They were probably just going to take him out for awhile to get evaluated...he'll be right back, I thought.

Fifteen or twenty minutes after the birth the room was suddenly clear. It was just Collin and I and our nurse. We were working on the admittance paper work - there was no time to complete it beforehand - and it was during this conversation, where she started to explain the ins and outs of the NICU that it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My baby isn't coming back.

He had been transferred to the floor above us, into his own room in the neonatal intensive care unit. We could come and go as we pleased but the unit is locked at all times so a nurse would have to be with us to both enter and exit. Once I was discharged from the hospital I could stay with him but until then they asked that we stay in our own room at night.

All normal stuff.

Except it wasn't normal at all. Our baby was supposed to stay in the birthing suit with us. We were going to send him to the nursery at night and have the nurse bring him in when he was hungry, just like the first time.

Instead I set an alarm every three hours for those next couple of nights. I filled my water bottle, wrapped my robe around me tight, and tiredly made my way down the hall to find a nurse who would be able to put me on the elevator.

No. It was nothing like the first time. Nothing like what I expected.

When it finally dawned on us that they were keeping Hutton upstairs I immediately sent Collin to check on him, to be with him. He got up there in time to hold him quick before they got him settled into his isolette. I wasn't able to get up and move around for a couple of hours so by the time I made it to his room he was all tucked inside and all I was able to do was put my hand through the porthole and touch his little fingers.

No. It was nothing like the first time. Nothing like what I expected.

I sat there for a few minutes like that. Wanting so badly to cry, trying so hard to be strong. Collin was next to me and I saw him look up and smile, Hutton already had his first visitor, Auntie Kira. When Kira walked into the room I felt like, it's okay, it's okay to break down, I can not put into words how happy I was to see her. To have another mother in the room with me. To have someone that would understand how sucky this was.

We initially thought Hutt would be there for just a couple of days longer than I was in the hospital. But as the days wore on we seemed to be no closer to discharge. His bili counts refused to drop, so one day under the lights turned into two, to three, and so on.

This was hands down one of the roughest weeks of my life. I wasn't able to hold my new baby at will, pick him up when he fussed, or snuggle him close when he snoozed. And because Keaton was to young he wasn't allowed in the NICU.

Once I was discharged from the hospital I set up camp in Hutt's room while Collin returned to work and held down the fort at home. At the end of the day he and his Dad would come to the hospital and Busha would drive Keaton up so I could see him. It made for long days and broken schedules; it was rough on everyone involved.

I fell into somewhat of a routine and on the morning of the 4th of July as I sat in the waiting lounge drinking my morning coffee and eating breakfast (there was no food allowed in the rooms) I decided that when this was all over I was going to put together a video of our time here.

These days sucked, there is no doubt about it, but they opened my eyes to what's important in life, and for that I'm grateful.


Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

5 comments:

Kira said...

Now I'm crying. What an amazing video Kate. Have I told you lately that I'm glad we're sisters!

Em said...

Me too, Kira! Totally bawling. Lucy sat in my lap while I watched it the entire time looking at the screen and up at me. I said to her, "This is a very special video of Baby Hutton, shall we watch together?" And we did. I'm so glad you made it, Kate. What a great way to remember that first week of Hutton's life. He is a little miracle!

CLAREW said...

I can't even imagine!!! Wish o was there to give you a hug ;) Kel

Rachel said...

Granted I was already weepy, but add me to the list of criers. This is a beautiful way to remember this time. So thankful that he is home, happy and healthy now.

Amanda said...

Kate...you are an AMAZING mother! From the heartfelt letters you write to the boys, the compassion you show them and the patience you have...you truly are an inspiration! Thank you for making my day and for making me remember just how precious life really is. Love you!