Allow me to introduce you to Shepherd…
My sweet little boy was born on November 15 and was a healthy 8lbs 9oz … just two ounces bigger than his big sister and the exact same length. It’s hard not to compare the two of them, something I will have to keep in check as they get older, but the similarities between the two of them are uncanny.
We knew going into my delivery that he would have to spend some time in the NICU for observation because of his SVT and making sure that his heart was ok.
What we didn’t anticipate was him having trouble with his oxygen saturation levels. We didn’t anticipate him being in the NICU for seven days as a result of his wonky oxygen saturation levels. His doctor wouldn’t release him unless he’d successfully been off of the oxygen supplement for at least 48 hours.
Let’s go back a bit.
We arrived at the hospital at 7 a.m. as we were instructed for a 9 a.m. surgery. I told my husband that we likely won’t be in surgery by then, and I was right. The hospital I delivered in is extremely busy. They deal with high risk pregnancies and after dealing with them, I can confidently say that the doctors and nurses are FANTASTIC!!!
Sometime around 10:30 or so I was taken into a room to get prepped for surgery, and then escorted to the operating room. There was something a little terrifying about sitting there watching the nurses and doctors get everything ready for my surgery. Whereas the last time, I was wheeled in and spent most of the prep time looking at the ceiling and feeling the cool sensation of drugs running down my back through my epidural tube.
My son was born around 12 p.m. and surprisingly, my husband chose to stand up and watch as the doctor pulled him from my abdomen. He even snapped a pic. I will spare you from that image.
When they whisked my son into the next room to check him out, after they let me see him of course, I instructed my husband to go be with him. I wanted him to know that one of his parents was there with him. After they stitched me up, they wheeled me into the next room to spend a few minutes with my boy before they took him to the NICU. By this point, they already had the little oxygen tube in his nose. My heart broke. I spent maybe five minutes with him before they wheeled me into recovery where I spent what felt like an eternity while they tried to find me a room.
When they finally got me into a room, it was around 5 or 6 p.m. I had spent 6 hours away from my boy. What a drastic difference from my first experience. I had a few people come to visit — my inlaws — and once they left, I asked that I be wheeled to the NICU so I can see my boy. I felt so much better when I saw him, but still felt distant because I was not able to hold him.
The next day, as soon as I was able, I rushed over to the NICU to hold him and wait for the doctors’ rounds to hear what they had to say about my son’s health. While I waited, I watched another baby, who looked full term like mine, be wheeled into an empty spot followed by a teary-eyed mom. Under my breath I said, “I know how you feel mama,” as I rocked my boy.
I was ecstatic when the doctors encouraged me breastfeed him and start treating him as if he was going home soon. Can you say false hope?! Well, not really when you consider how long some of those other babies would be in the hospital.
It felt like everyday we were one step closer to going home and then there would be another roadblock. Ultimately, we wanted him to come home healthy, but we also just wanted him to come home.
After a day in the NICU, he was moved to the Level II Nursery. He was still on oxygen, but they took him out of the incubator and he was in a regular infant cot.
While we were worrying about the health of our babe, we were also worried about where I would stay.
I was discharged on the Monday and I didn’t want to leave the hospital without my son. Totally unrealistic in the long run, but I was lead to believe that his stay would be short and I didn’t like the idea of travelling 100+ km to and from the hospital. But yet, I felt terribly guilty being away from Peanut.
Originally the doctor wanted to discharge me on Sunday, but my husband said something to make them hold off until the next day.
God was with us that week in putting people in our path that advocated for us to stay in the hospital. First one of the lactation consultants managed to get permission for us to stay in the room that I was in from the day of the birth until the day of discharge. Then she got us moved to another mom and baby floor (the hospital is doing renovations to accommodate both units (regular L&D and high risk) on the same floor). We were there for one night. Then the next day we moved to another floor that was used for mom and baby as well, but was being closed down and renovated for the use of ICU. We were able to stay there for two nights and then by day three in that room, we were ready to go home.
Seven days have never felt so long for me. I remember there were days when I would go to work and five days would feel like an eternity, but in hindsight, it was nothing.
After our babe had been off of the oxygen for 48 hours, he had to have another echocardiogram done on his heart and do a car seat test to ensure that his oxygen levels stayed high for 90 minutes. We were told that if the echo didn’t happen on Friday, we would have to wait until Monday or Tuesday for it to happen.
When I heard that, I made the decision that I would have to go home to see my little girl to get her back into her usual environment.
My mom and aunt were nice enough to bring Peanut down to see me.
Can I just say, thank God for family? My mom and dad had her for the week and when we went to pick her up, my dad jokingly said he had adoption papers drawn up so he and my mom can adopt her. I love my parents with all of my heart and soul. And I love how they love my kids.
After rounds on the Friday that we left, the nurse practitioner in charge told me that his echo would be done that day; that the doctor that does it only had room to do one that day and she requested that it be my babe. I was so thankful.
That afternoon everything seemed to just fall into place. His echo was done and the cardiologist was pleased with the results. He successfully stayed off of the oxygen supplement for 48+ hours. He passed his carseat test.
When we got the news that our boy would be discharged, I saw this glimmer in my husband’s eye and in my mind pictured him grabbing our son and running out of the hospital to the car. :-)
My sense of happiness and relief was immediately replaced with a bit of sadness and guilt in knowing that we were leaving behind other babies who were there for much longer and may not be going home anytime soon. We try to pray for those little ones and their families often.
Upon being discharged, we were referred to a cardiologist in a nearby city. Shep has to repeat wearing a Holter monitor for 24 hours and has a consultation shortly after that. Aside from that, he’s doing so well…
Since being home, life has been busy. Peanut has done well so far with their being a new little person in the house. I hope that lasts.
I pretty much spend all of my down time napping. My little man is an excellent nurser, and since he’s surpassed his birth weight, I’m trying to extend the time between his nighttime feedings so that I can get some more sleep.
I’ll try to do a bit more blogging as this little guy grows and we try to figure out this parenting two children thing. Right now, it can be a bit overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.