Something That We Do

Love is something that we do!


The Day After

Later that day.

As my last post mentioned, everything was perfect. WAS.

We were home with our brand new baby, doting on his every delicate feature and talking about who he looks like, and loving every precious moment with him. Carl, my mom and I were all eager to change every last diaper- and answer every last whimper coming from this new little person. As a new mommy, I didn't feel the least bit of stress. Although Luke was new to this world, I truly felt I knew him as well as an old friend. And oh, those eyes.... in the few moments he opened his eyes, he made eye contact with me and I felt him looking deep into my soul. Every time our eyes met, I teared up, amazed at the depth he was able to reach into my soul. How could such a tiny human be so amazingly powerful? It was relaxing, and everything was as it should be.

And this might be the hardest blog entry I've ever written.

The whole time we were in the hospital, Luke only fussed if he was hungry or had a dirty diaper. Soon as I fed him or we changed him, he was content as could be.

Well, a little while after we got home, he wouldn't stop crying. He kept passing gas so we figured he must just be constipated and have trapped gas. We tried to help him work through the pain, and did all kinds of leg exercises to help him get the gas out.

When I nursed him, I was for the first time in a lot of pain. Not knowing why, I called my friend Ruia and asked her to come over and check Luke's latch. She told me to try to express some milk and that's when I realized why I was hurting. Although I had colostrum, I apparently "ran out." He was trying to nurse but wasn't getting anything out, so that is why I was hurting. I talked things over with Carl and we decided that we would start supplementing formula for Luke's next feeding.

At this point, it was around 8pm. Luke would be waking up any time to eat. Carl and I were eating our supper, and my mom was holding Luke. She was in a lawn chair outside, and Luke was very content sleeping in her arms. All of the sudden, we heard panic in my mom's voice as she screamed my name. Carl and I both dashed outside and my mom said Luke wasn't breathing.

She shoved him into my arms hoping contact with his momma would somehow kick start his little body. He was completely limp, and I was completely horrified. He was just in a diaper, and the first thought that ran through my head was that I needed to rip my shirt off and get Luke to have skin on skin (see previous blog post). But instead, I smacked him on the back hoping that would sting enough to make him cry. And it did. Praise The Lord.

A second after screaming out, he fell completely limp again. We were moving him in big swinging movements hoping to trigger his startle reflex and get him breathing. He just remained limp. Carl called 911 and I slapped my baby again. Bringing him discomfort was the last thing I wanted to be doing but I was desperate. He wasn't responding to me slapping him anymore, and so my mom took him back and tried more. She told me later that she was sorry for taking him from me but I didn't even notice... I know she loves that baby like she loves me, and for him to be in someone's arms who loved him so much comforted me. And I didn't know what else to do.

I remember seeing my mom put her mouth over Luke's nose and mouth and breath small breaths into him. CPR hadn't even crossed my mind. We ran into the front yard so that when the paramedics got there, they could have immediate access to him. I stood outside screaming my baby's name trying to get him to respond since every second counts...and he just laid there. The paramedics arrived within about five minutes but it felt like five hours. Even at the time all of this was happening, I felt like I was watching a movie in slow motion. I was seeing all of us from a third person perspective.

The paramedics arrived and we pushed the baby into their arms. At this point Luke had started breathing. They started him on oxygen and loaded us into the ambulance. They let me ride in the back holding Luke.

When we got to the ER, Luke was given IV fluids and a bottle. His chest was x-rayed and they also took his blood but his little veins just couldn't take it. They had to prick him repeatedly. Carl and I sang to him and talked to him to comfort him. We were not leaving this baby's side.

The nurse also gave Luke a pacifier, something I had originally been opposed to because I wanted him to suck his thumb like he did in the womb, and like both my dad and I did as babies. But sucking is a comfort tool for babies, so since Luke couldn't maneuver his own little arms to put his thumb in his mouth yet, I was absolutely fine with the paci. Whatever my baby needed in order to be comforted- I was completely on board with. I should also mention that a few hours prior, Luke had figured out how to get his thumb in his mouth, and so he did keep trying while we were in the ER. Unfortunately, once we were in the ER and he had an IV, he also had a board attached to his arm so he didn't bend his arm in a way that would cause the IV to come out... Well, he tried to go for his little thumb to comfort himself and he wound up whopping himself in the head with that dang board. My poor little baby. Bring on the paci...bring on the paci.

After a long night of waiting (and multiple needle pricks), we were admitted into the NICU...once again. Lab results confirmed my suspicion that he was jaundiced, and jaundice can apparently stop breathing. Although he was only slightly jaundiced when we left the hospital, he was much more so by this time of night. Lab results also revealed that Luke was dehydrated. This shocked me and made me feel absolutely awful. Dehydration can cause a baby to stop breathing- so between the jaundice and dehydration, Luke had a double whammy! It is so hard to know just how much milk your baby is getting when you breast feed, and as a first timer- I trusted the countless nurses that told me he was getting plenty of nourishment those first days! Looking back, I can't help but wonder what caused the dehydration.. I know I had colostrum, but how does a baby become so dehydrated in 36 hours?! I guess his little system is just SO delicate.

We were in the NICU from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. I felt relief that Luke was hooked up to monitors so we would know if he stopped breathing. I had a really hard time being okay with leaving Luke at all but everyone kept reminding me how important it is that I take care of myself so that I am able to better care for Luke. The more rest I would be able to get, the quicker my milk would come in, so the quicker I could nourish my baby.

So, that first night, Carl stayed by Luke's side. My mom and I went home and slept. Carl insisted I go try to rest up so I could sit with Luke the following day. I wanted so badly to stay by Luke's side but everyone pushed me to go rest so my milk would come in. My mom and I stayed in the same bed that night because I was so emotional. As I climbed in my big comfy bed, I started crying. It was my first night being in my bed, in over nine months, not being pregnant. And I wasn't getting in bed with my husband, or rocking my baby to sleep in his bed. Instead, both of them were in the hospital, away from me.

The "night" flew by. In approximately 2 hours, I woke up and felt so well rested. My concept of time was so warped, I didn't realize we had gotten home at 5am. It was now 7:30 and I was waking my mom up saying "Let's get moving so we can get back to the hospital!" She asked if I slept enough and that's when I told her how rested I felt... and she told me it had been under two hours of sleep I had gotten! Regardless, I hopped in the shower and we got ready to head back to the hospital.

The following night, I stayed in a room at the hospital called the boarding room. I was provided a meal and a safe place for the night, and Carl got to use it during the day. One of us always remained by Luke's side while the other slept and got his or her self cleaned up every day. I also used this room to pump for my breast milk several times every day. 
Here's our sweet boy under the bilirubin lights, being treated for jaundice. He had to wear a mask so the lights didn't damage his little baby eyes.
It was so hard seeing him have to lay under the lights instead of in our arms.  When we did get to hold him, it took a team effort since he was hooked up to so many monitors and IVs.  The NICU nurses were so kind- they allowed Luke's Momau to come in the NICU even though grandparents weren't typically allowed.  It's hard to see in this photo, but Luke is still tethered to IV's.

Once his bilirubin levels returned to normal, he still had to lay in the bassinet while his breathing and heart rate were monitored.

We were only allowed to hold him to feed him... the highlights of our day! Because of this, and the fact that my milk hadn't come in yet, I allowed Carl and my mom to feed Luke as well. Had my milk come in, I would have exclusively breastfed. A lot of moms tell you to wait until your milk does come in- but having him nurse before my milk was in was one of the things that landed us back in the hospital to begin with! (Disclaimer: at the time, I didn't know my milk hadn't come in.)

The NICU nurses were all so amazing. They all treated us like real people, not just patients that they pushed out of their minds at the end of the day. They offered us advice and support, and even helped me get Luke to breastfeed once my milk came in after being given bottles.
(Warning: the following paragraph goes into some detail about nursing... if this isn't your cup of tea, skip ahead to the next photo!)

One of the things they did to help me continue to breastfeed and bring my milk in was use SNS which stands for supplemental nursing system. For those of you that don't know, if you are trying to breastfeed but have to give your baby formula, your milk might not be made if your baby is satisfied. The milk comes in as needed... Think supply and demand. So, if Luke was getting formula (since my milk hadn't come in) then my milk would continue to not come in because Luke wasn't at my breast asking for it. So, with SNS, Luke was given formula so he didn't continue to get dehydrated, but it was arranged for him to drink it "from me." The formula bottle was hung over my head (kind of like an IV), and a very very thin tube ran down from the bottle to my breast. The nurse taped the tube onto my breast, and put the opening of the tube where Luke's mouth would be. So he "nursed" formula from me. Does that make sense? It would encourage him to breastfeed rather than just take the bottle. I apologize if that's more than you ever wanted to know! Moving on...

Occasionally, Luke opened his eyes. And oh, how precious were those moments!! Looking straight into my soul, let me tell you!

After being in the NICU for three days, Sunday afternoon, we were finally discharged again. I requested an apnea monitor prescription from the doctor so that I would have peace of mind at home.

The doctor....ugh, that doctor requires a post of his own... kept discounting every concern and question I had, and told me the apnea monitor was overkill...  but I politely told him I wanted this done my way. This was my baby and I wasn't leaving any chances for this happening again! And after a few family members recommended the monitor, AND a labor and delivery nurse who we ran into in the hall suggested one, I felt validated. Monitor prescription, please!

We did end up getting the monitor but we didn't end up using it. After being home with Luke a couple of days, I began to realize I had some post traumatic stress. I would hear little things like "C'mon, Luke!" and I was instantly brought back to the night he stopped breathing because that was a phrase used when trying to get him to breathe. Or, when I left him in my mom's arms outside again, I became very anxious since the last time I did that, we wound up in the hospital. I knew in my head that it was a very good thing my mom was holding him because had she not been here, Luke might've been in his cradle while Carl and I were eating! And then it would be too late.


We had a follow up doctor visit the following day, and Luke's doctor said he looks great. Carl and I were noticing a little yellowness again, so we checked with the doctor about it. I was concerned we were heading down the same road as before, but the doctor ordered some bloodwork to test the bilirubin levels and they came back perfect. Thank goodness!

So far, since we have been home (our second time) everything looks great.

Baby Luke, we love you!

One last thing before I go: thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for praying for our baby boy. So many prayers have been lifted up to God, from all corners of this country and even Canada. We appreciate you lifting him up in prayers... God is so good. And He has answered our prayers.

We are home and are enjoying every moment with our precious baby!


Post a Comment