Our daughter was in the NICU being evaluated for a variety of minor things while I recovered from delivery in L&D. I ordered some lunch and drank a lot of water. They removed my IV fluids, leaving just the port “just in case.” We packed up our things. I rested my eyes. I twiddled my thumbs. I waited and waited until they would wheel me right down to the NICU so I could see what was going on with my baby. With Leopold, I didn’t get to see him right away because he was a c-section and they took him off to the nursery as I was stitched up. I hated not being able to hold my baby right away. Then, when they brought him to me he tried to nurse and stopped breathing and they took him away again for overnight observation. It was really difficult to be away from him for so long, to not be able to bond with him, and unable to know what was happening with him during that time.
I was trying to be strong and know that our baby girl would be ok, but it was sad and frustrating that once again I had to wait to see her. Once again something went wrong and my baby was taken from me. As much as I tried not to, I was thinking of ways I could have prevented her being taken. Did I really have undiagnosed GD as they suggested? Should I have eaten less? Should I have walked more? Gained less weight? How could I have prevented this? I let these thoughts enter my mind, then quickly pushed them away. My OB, who I trusted very much, told me that he believed my baby was healthy, I was healthy, and nothing was missed. I believed him and my gut told me my baby would be just fine and after this short time away she would be back in my arms for good. I had to be strong for her and I could do this.
I told myself it was for the best she was in the NICU, better her be evaluated and checked out by someone over cautious than something be missed. But I was growing impatient. It was probably around 2 pm when I finally was wheeled out of L&D and we went straight down to the NICU to see how lady baby was doing.
It was quite a process to get in to the NICU (as it should be!). You need a badge to get on the elevator, get into the room, then wash your hands for 3 minutes.We finally found our little girl and I had to keep myself from hopping out of the wheelchair and running towards her. She was hooked up to all these monitors, crying a big hearty cry, but the nurses let me hold her right away and encouraged me to breastfeed her. The nurse said I’d be amazed she had a great latch and strong suckle. Well, I tried to feed her but they already gave her a bottle of formula so she wanted nothing to do with me. I was a bit frustrated, then I just let it go and cuddled skin to skin with my beautiful daughter. I would worry about breastfeeding later, but just assumed she wasn’t hungry now.
At this point, the doctor on staff told me that she looked fantastic. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. They were waiting for some bloodwork to come back (I think it was the meconium bloodwork?), but her breathing normalized very quickly, her blood sugar levels had come back just fine. She was “a little blue” due to a fast and “traumatic” delivery, she had hemorrhages in both eyes (scary way of saying a blood vessel popped in each eye and the whites of her eyes were red). Both of these were cosmetic things – “bruising” that didn’t cause any issues and would fade in the next week or two. My OB had explained the “bruising” they were referring to was blood that pooled in her head on the way out and didn’t have a way to circulate back. They wanted her to have one more blood sugar check, drink one more bottle of formula (groan from me – but if this was the thing they wanted to happen for her to be released quickly, I went with it). I could pump to stimulate milk production. Then she would be able to room in with us in Mother & baby! So relieved.
We cuddled our little girl for a bit longer, then our L&D nurse wheeled me up to Mother & Baby to get settled there and said our nurse there would get us all set with our own badge so we could come down to the NICU as much as we wanted until she was released to room in with us. This is what I needed to hear – a plan to when I got to see my daughter again upon leaving. It was so hard to walk away from her, but we did it. I cried of course. We got checked in, then came right back down to see her again as soon as we could. I think it was around 3:30 at this point. I tried to nurse her again without luck – again. I gave up more quickly this time and just let it be, hoping we would be able to get the hang of things soon. Carlos held her and my FIL got to hold her at this point too. The nurse in the NICU let us know that the blood test they were waiting on would be back soon, they’d feed her one last bottle, then send her on up to us. We got a text from my MIL that her and Leopold were on their way in. We left our daughter for the last time in the NICU and Carlos wheeled me back up to Mother and baby. On our way in, we ran into my MIL and Leopold. Leopold was very confused with his surroundings, seeing me in the hospital gown and in a wheelchair. I coaxed him to climb onto my lap and take a ride to our room. He did, quietly, and didn’t say much to me. I think he was very overwhelmed.
We got back into the room and we waited and waited for our daughter to be released into the room with us. We gave Leopold his “big bro” gifts, a semi-truck with an excavator, a puzzle, and a couple of disney movies. He was really excited to get these and started to warm up to all of us and forget about the strangeness of the situation. Around 5:30, our sweet girl was wheeled into our room to stay 🙂 Leopold couldn’t stop looking at her and asking to hold her. I was so relieved she was only down in the NICU for a short time, was out, and able to join us.