I want to preface this post about our experience in the NICU with Baylor by stating that NICU parents are the most remarkable people I have ever met. our stay is absolutely nothing compared to the families we shared a POD with during the three days we had our baby there.
the baby girl across from us was just 31 weeks and shares a birthday with Baylor, but hadn’t met her mother yet due to her own complications and being forced to stay in bed. the baby boy next door was tiny but mighty, and on the sweet one on the other side of us was hardly 25 weeks with alarms sounding every half hour. we also witnessed a NICU graduation of a baby that had been there for 92 days. ninety-two. we will never understand the stress and emotions involved with those kind of hurdles and the emotional trauma incurred while watching your baby improve and decline so dramatically, but we do understand the worry and the feelings of helplessness. Jordan and I still tear up at the thought of leaving our son for those first nights for someone else to care for. NICU parents are super human and my heart goes out to those with far more incredible stories than our own.
the next morning Jordan took me down to the NICU to visit Baylor for the first time since he was born. I was proud to be bringing a tiny 5ml syringe full of milk to my boy. Jordan had been back and forth to the NICU through the night so he walked through the motions of checking in like he was a pro. he scanned the milk in, labeled it, and then we proceeded to put our phones in plastic bags before scrubbing in to walk into the NICU. when he wheeled me in, and I caught my first glimpse of Baylor since he was born 24 hours prior, I wanted nothing more than to scoop him up and cuddle- the things you truly take for granted in any normal situation. the nurse asked that I just touch his hands at this time because he hadn’t been able to hold down the last two feedings and they wanted to limit his movement to offering bottles only. I was actually okay with that because I was really nervous to hold him- I could feel my hands trembling and I was feeling so unsure how to even handle someone so fragile. he had pulled out his feeding tube through the night and was taking bottles of donor milk in addition to any colostrum I was able to pump. because he wasn’t tolerating his feedings they dropped another NG tube just to be in the safe side. he had already lost a lot of weight while on CPAP for several hours the day before and so we were doing our best to help him maintain his weight of 7 pounds 3 ounces (down from 7 pounds 13 ounces at birth). we left the NICU and was promised to come back and assist in his next feeding. I was determined to take a shower (which proved to be as horrible as attempting to walk to the NICU on my own) and get into my own clothes before going down to see him again.
I finally got to hold him, nurse him, and just BE with my boy. over the next two days we went to visit for every single feeding. I eventually went from the wheelchair to walking and was honestly feeling great compared to my recovery experience with Brady. I was on a boatload of antibiotics and medications and had my lines and ‘other things’ attached to me longer than normal due to the extent of everything they did after Baylor was born. finally, on day three, we got the OK to remove his last line and prep him to be discharged from the NICU. he was eating well, maintaining weight, and overall doing great. I was dying to see the other kids and wanted them to finally meet their baby brother! persons under 18 years old were not allowed in the NICU, so we had been holding off from having BB bring them all up to visit until Baylor was out and doing well in our room. the plan was for us to head to the NICU for one more feeding so they could do a final glucose check before releasing him. we had a few friends stop by to check in on us randomly through the day- offering support and just to visit which helped to pass the time. I was dozing in and out of sleep when the door opened and I heard the roll of the bassinet from behind the curtain. when I realized that they had brought Baylor down to our room, I immediately started to sob. he was HERE. I couldn’t help but be so excited and moving as quickly as I could I got myself out of bed to hold him tight for the first time without a line being attached. that evening, after the excitement of the afternoon had calmed, was just perfect. Jordan’s dad brought his Bible up to the hospital to have Baylor’s feet stamped into it, like he has with the other four babies. meanwhile, I got pictures of my precious four at home with their BB having the best time ever. we FaceTimed them before bed so they could see baby Baylor over the phone and ended our call with promises to meet the very next day. the next afternoon, the familiar shuffle of tiny feet came into my room- they were so excited to see mom and dad and their new baby brother!! I couldn’t believe the time for Jolie, Parker, Baker, Brady, and Baylor to finally be in the same room together was here! my dear friend Ashley came to capture their first meeting and those moments couldn’t have been more precious. we had some very proud siblings on our hands. Brady completely shocked us all with his adoration for Baylor. I was convinced there would be more tears than excitement, but he proved me wrong very quickly. ..and eventually Papa and BB got their turn to hold him. it was a really good day. I cried to see them go but knew it wouldn’t be long before I got to see them again.
our last evening in the quiet hospital room before going home the next day. the next morning we got ready to be discharged and both Jordan and myself were so ready to be home as a family of seven. after we got home, we spent the entire evening just being together. our amazing neighbor brought us dinner and saved us from relying on the trusty cereal bowl for dinner.
it was a really good end to an eventful week.
January 22, 2019