Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life in the NICU

In a word the NICU was frightening for me. You see your babies hooked up to all kinds of monitors, given medications and there are babies all around--all at different stages and there for different needs. You even see some babies not make it and you think. Could that happen to us? You just continue to pray harder everyday and put it out of your mind.

Everyday was a roller coaster. You had to take an elevator up to the NICU and each time I prayed that they had had a “good day.” Fortunately, they mostly had good days but there were some bad ones. Answering a phone call when you see the hospital number come up on the caller ID is enough to throw you over the edge. Each time we got one of these, it was bad. You just didn’t want to answer in fear of what it could be about.

Some bad calls we got were when Kaylie needed a blood transfusion because her platelet levels were dropping and she was being put in the isolation room. We got a call telling us about the IV burn Ryan received in the NICU. By far, that was the worst call we ever got. My confidence in the NICU was shaken after this incident. Will I ever forgive them? There is a scar on the back of his hand. We go back to the plastic surgeon in March but at this moment it is not looking like he will need surgery. We also got a call saying that Ryan needed a transfusion as well. He was fighting off a nasty infection.

The good days entailed holding them, seeing them gain weight (grams) each day, being moved off the vent to CPAP, and then finally breathing on their own. Believe it or not pooping on their own was big as was increased feedings. I took part in changing diapers, and once they moved to the step down nursery I gave baths and we began bottle feeding.

It took a week before I was able to hold my babies. A WEEK. It was such an amazing feeling to finally be able to do that. You grow up having the dream of giving birth and they put the baby on your chest and everyone is happy. I didn’t have that moment. It happened a different way for me for some reason I'll never know. This was our FIRST family photo taken 20 days after delivery.

After 30 long days in the NICU, they were both moved to the SCN (Special Care Nursery—a step down unit) and on day 42 Ryan came home! Kaylie came home a week later on Day 49! They needed no monitors. Kaylie weighed under 5 pounds when she came home!! Talk about scary. Ryan was 7 pounds when we took him home.

We were glad to get off that ride.

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