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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

what the NICU did for our family

After our baby boy left the hospital and was transported to the NICU at another hospital (about 20 minutes away), my single driving focus became getting discharged so I could go see him. Within an hour of his departure, I stood up out of my hospital bed despite the excruciating pain from my C-section incision. I had my catheter removed and peed on my own. 

The next day, my husband, his mom and my mom all took shifts in the NICU with Mav. I wanted someone to be with him at all times since I couldn’t be. I didn’t want him to ever feel alone. My best friend came to visit so I wouldn’t be alone. She lifted my spirits and walked with me around the hospital grounds. I was trying to get more stable on my feet to make sure I was capable of being released from the hospital as soon as possible. I also had my IV removed. 

The following morning, I was discharged. Probably earlier than I should have been as I was in a lot of pain. But the emotional pain of worrying about my baby’s health and not being with him was worse. My mom picked me up and took me straight to the children’s hospital to visit Mav. He seemed to be in good hands as his daddy hardly left his side the entire time. 

But I felt lost and disconnected. I didn’t know how to take care of my baby. My husband had to show me how to change his diaper. He showed me how to feed him (the nurses fed him similac in the NICU) and swaddle him. I felt like a failure as a mother. How is it that the person who is supposed to be there in his first days of life doesn’t know anything about how to take care of him? Not to mention, I wasn’t there when any of the specialists came to evaluate our son so it wasn’t clear what his condition was and when he’d be discharged. My heart was filled with worry and sadness. 

The NICU nurse could see that I was struggling – physically (from the surgery I’d just undergone) and emotionally. She did the kindest thing possible…she helped me stay close to my son. Since we live more than 30 miles from the hospital, she called the Ronald McDonald House located a block from the hospital and got us a room. I can’t tell you what a relief this was. Especially since I could barely ride in the car – every bump was so painful. It was a challenge for me to walk or sit up. Not to mention the stairs at our house that I’d have to climb up and down every time I wanted to come see our son at the hospital. It would’ve been impossible. 

The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) was amazing! There is nothing more stressful than having your child in the NICU. This organization is such a blessing to families that live farther away and want to visit their baby often. I’m so grateful that I got to experience this non-profit (which is completely volunteer run). I’ll be finding a way to give back to the RMH in the future. 

Thankfully Mav wasn’t in the NICU for too much longer. When he was discharged, it was such a relief to be heading home with our family intact. I’m so grateful that his breathing and eating issues improved enough to come home. He is still struggling with eating and breathing even a month later but we just have to take things day by day. 

Although the NICU experience is something that no parent wants to go through, there is always a silver lining. For us, it was that my husband became front and center in our son’s first days. He was the primary caregiver. Although it hurt at first, it really was a good thing. I’m super type-A and afraid that if circumstances were different…. I would have micromanaged my husband’s interactions with our son and they wouldn’t have formed such a strong early bond. I also think the circumstances made A more hands-on with Maverick because he had to be. He became comfortable caring for our baby in way that might not have happened otherwise. For that I am grateful.

Donning my lovely modmum hospital gown on discharge day
since I didn't get to wear it to give birth.



28 comments:

J and A said...

What a story. I am so proud of you. You were already one of the strongest women I know. I am so glad his stay wasn't too long but you got to be close to him finally! He is one lucky little Mav!!

Amie said...

What a cutie he is!!! Praying for his health to get better with each day :)

Melissa Long said...

I'm so glad they were able to make the experience a little less stressful for you. It's such a great organization! And I'm glad you and Mav are doing well!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

So sweet that you can see the good things despite the circumstance!! Glad his stay wasn't too long and you are back at home now!

Aislinn said...

I'm so glad M overcame his eating and breathing issues quickly and was able to come home fast.

My husband had to become the primary caregiver to our son as well since I had an emergency c-section after 14 hours of labor and was in a lot of pain. I agree that having him take such a hands on role so quickly made his bond with our son stronger, too.

I hope you guys are doing well. I love seeing M's pictures on IG, he's suck a cutie!

Ashley Sanderson said...

Oh Jessah! My heart just hurts reading this because it brings back all of the emotions of Raegan being transferred to another hospital and me trying to handle the recovery of a c-section. We are a strong kind of momma! So glad his stay was short and he's home and you get to love on him anytime you want!

Jessica said...

Wow, that sounds like it must have been SO hard. I admire your strength! I had a c-section with my baby, and I can't imagine dealing with recovery AND having to worry about my baby like you. Thoughts and prayers are headed your way, mama! I hope everything is okay!

My Peanut Butter Problem

Dream Chase said...

I've been thinking about you. *hugs* I'm so sorry for what you've had to go through. After everything that these were your first days. I hope you're happily connecting at home now. Thinking and praying for you guys.

Amber said...

Jessah, I can't hardly even begin to tell me how much I relate to this post! I was only one floor up from my babies, in the same hospital, but because of my preeclampsia, i wasn't able to be with my babies for their first day and a half. It was so hard and emotionally painful! It was difficult to watch him caring for our babies in a way that I couldn't because I didn't know how. He changed their diapers, took their temperatures, did kangaroo care.... But it truly was a best case scenario for him. He's always been so scared to hold newborns, but he didn't have a choice. He had to care for them when I couldn't. You worded all of this so beautifully. I'm sorry that Mav is still having some troubles, but I pray that will get better with time. Hugs to you!

ADSchill said...

It's great that you are thinking of the positives of the situation. It's easy to dwell on the difficult times and what was taken from you. The most important thing is that it was a short stay and Mav is doing well. I'm so happy for your family and that you are finally able to be the mother you wished to be. Hugs.

Erika said...

Oh wow, what a blessing the Ronald McDonald house is!! I've heard other families say the same thing. I'm sorry yall had so many complications and twists, but thankful they took such good care of you!

AMY MICHELE said...

I couldn't imagine those feeling or your thoughts. I love how you were able to find a positive spin on the situation though! Our husbands are so disconnected because they can't feel the movements and kicks like we can. I'm so attached to my little one already and the babies not even born.
I love hearing stories of RMH! They have helped my sister care for her son on so many different occasions!! I'm so glad that they were able to help you stay close to Mav during this trying time for you. I am a firm believer that women who go through infertility are made to be stronger (emotionally, physically) for what ever reason.
If you find a way to give back to RMH please let me know! I'd love to donate something to them or give back for all that they have done for my sister and our family too!
Love your posts and I love following you through instagram!

<3,
Amy

Cristy said...

I felt the same way. Grey was the one in NICU with the Beats. He was the one showing me the ropes. And though I too felt helpless and like a failure, I also learned so much from our time in NICU. Things that I still use to this day.

Glad your time was short. And may the days to come be better and better

J said...

Aww, im so happy all three of you are home and healing, your mav is absolutly gorgepus, i know all to well that c-sections are very painful, and nicu stays can be scary, but thank God for the good nurses and good doctors that took care of all of you. And try not to feel like a failure because your NOT, you, your entire family are a succes, Thank God :)

Suzanne said...

Your story is beautiful. The bumps and bruises along the way make it your story and his. I hate that you were separated from him for even a moment, but like you said, A really did step up and all I can think of is the amazing family bond that you have now. You are always in my thoughts and I'm so overjoyed by this amazing happy ending. xoxo

Aramis said...

I'm so sorry that your birth experience didn't go more smoothly, but it's very sweet to hear how your husband stepped in and took the lead with Mav. Hope things are getting better every single day and you're enjoying your baby!

Abby said...

Our family has stayed at the Ronald McDonald House twice as I've undergone surgeries. It has such a special place in our hearts. Donations are of course a great way to give back to them, but one of the easiest things to do is to collect coke tabs! (or pop tabs depending on where you live!) We save them up till we have a big baggie full then drop them off. They use the money they get from them to provide money for gas or medicine for families as they're being discharged from the hospital. Glad your little man is doing better!

Dawn Running said...

Ronald McDonald house is wonderful! It's one of the non profits that Thirty One supports. Thankful you had one near you when it was needed and that there was a room available!

Julia Spencer said...

Wow! What an experience! You are handling it all so well. Hugs Mama!

Janna Renee said...

That is so awesome you got to stay at the RMH! I know it was hard to not be there, but he was obviously in good hands. You looked beautiful and I'm happy you guys had a team of friends, family, doctors, and nurses to take care of you! Love your gown even if you didn't get to wear it for delivery!

Laura {happily ever} Parker said...

I volunteer for Make A Wish and I am very aware of how awesome the Ronald McDonald house is for families. So glad they were able to keep you close to your son. One of my good friends is also a NICU nurse and bless her heart! They are amazing. So glad you are surrounded by such supportive friends, family and hospital staff!

Jennifer T said...

I'm so glad you all were able to go home and hope you all are adjusting and doing great! What a precious little baby boy you have!!! :)

Jennifer T said...

I'm so glad you all were able to go home and hope you all are adjusting and doing great! What a precious little baby boy you have!!! :)

George Hawurek said...

If you were a bad mother you wouldn't worry that you have such problems ;) It only shows that you are a caring mother and you don't give up. Cheers! http://www.eggdonationfriends.com

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to every part pf your story. I had triplets after ivf at 32 wks & my girls were in the nicu 5 agonizing months. They are healthy & well, and I know how amazing those nurses are. I was there every single day morning till night. It's a different experience giving birth when your baby/babies are held in the nicu...it seemed so unfair at times..but it the end, it has made me more grateful, more compassionate, more aware of just how precious a gift life is. We are so blessed, as are you. :)

C said...

I'm sorry to hear that Maverick's Birth didn't go as expected and I'm sure the NICU stay was especially hard. Hope his eating and breathing continue to improve and I hope you are recovering well!!

Finley S said...

This is so great! How helpful everyone has been in what could only be a hard time. But so glad he is home now and prayers for your cute little man. Ps. What an awesome big Man U have too. Isn't it completely comforting to know their strengths in times like this xx

JenS said...

I remember that feeling of helplessness when my girls were in the NICU. My husband was also the primary caregiver those first days when I couldn't be. It was weird having to ask permission to hold them. I try to see the silver lining in it, though. My husband calls is Baby Boot Camp and we are grateful for all the tricks we learned from the NICU nurses about diapering and swaddling and feeding.

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