Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crazy Rampage & NICU Life

I'm so sorry that I haven't updated since last week - I was released from the hospital on Friday... without Tyler. I think all would be right with the world if no mother ever had to leave the hospital without her baby ever again... of course there are worse alternatives, but it is extremely hard to leave your baby behind - even knowing that they will be fine. You sort of have a picture in your mind of how the birth experience will be... and you'd be hard pressed to ever find someone that has the NICU as a part of that picture in their mind's eye. This Mama pictured a c-section and then 4 days of snuggling my baby in my hospital room while our friends and family came to meet the little guy... not exactly what happened, but eventually all will be right with this story too.

Tyler is still in the NICU, and is doing well. He came off of all the breathing assistance machines and oxygen on Saturday night... and was moved to a regular bassinet - so he's passed three of his benchmarks in order to be released. He is still working on the eating from a bottle thing. Right now we (nursing staff, John, and I) are trying to use the bottle every other feeding and what he can't drink on his own within 30 minutes is finished via his feeding tube. The other feedings are done exclusively through the feeding tube... because he just gets so tired from the bottle feeding - he needs a break.

Yesterday we began a new plan where either John or I am at the hospital pretty much 24 hours a day - it is tough, and unfortunately... I think John's getting the short end of the stick, but our little tiny man is worth it. Basically our plan is that John goes to work during the day, while James is at the sitter and I stay at the hospital with Tyler. At 5:00PM, John helps me do Tyler's bottle feeding, and then takes me to pick up James from the sitter and go home for the night to take care of him. We have people from our church and family coming over to help me get James in bed for the night, but from there I can handle it. John spends the night at the hospital with Tyler, and then heads home after the 5AM feeding to pick James & I up to start all over again. Last night, Tyler took two bottle feedings while John was at the hospital with him... but today he was only able to take 1/2 on the two bottle feedings that I was there for.

Basically, from what we've been told - the whole bottle/breast eating thing is a reflex... it's a suck, swallow, breathe combination reflex that babies develop somewhere between 34 to 40 weeks gestation. Tyler is currently still being considered in terms of gestational age - not in terms of his physical age... so he's right now measuring at 37 weeks. The reflex hasn't kicked in completely for him, but we're working on it...and the doctors and nurses seem to think that once the little guy gets that down - he will take off and then we can take him home. We are praying that this happens sooner rather than later, but of course will work with him for as long as it takes.

He dropped from his birth weight of 6 pounds 10 ounces (you may have seen us report 15 ounces, but other than his crib card and the scrub top that they gave John to wear in the surgery - that isn't documented in his medical chart) down to a low of 6 pounds 3 ounces... but he has consistently gained at least an ounce a day now since the weekend... and is back up to 6 pounds 8.6 ounces tonight. So we're hoping that this growth will bring along some developmental milestones that will allow him to pick up that last remaining skill that is holding him back from being at home with his family where he belongs.

Other than being tired, worn out, and EXTREMELY hormonal... I've been struggling personally with some guilt over this situation. I wonder if it's a normal part of the NICU Mommy experience... a certain feeling of just being completely overwhelmed with the thoughts of what you could have done differently to make the outcome different. I think about that all the time - about what I could have personally done differently to enable my body to remain pregnant for another week or two... what I could have requested from the doctor to make the outcome different (like the steroids to develop his lungs at the first sign of my blood pressure troubles)... At times I am completely brought to my knees emotionally over those thoughts. Poor John has to deal with my irrationality...

Rationally speaking, I know that none of that changes anything or helps the situation... but there just comes a point almost everyday so far that I can't seem to shut off the irrational/emotional side of my brain - and then the waterworks come on strong. It's hard to stop... and once the flood cometh... there isn't much that I can do to stop it. It's a bizarre out of control feeling... of which John (and I guess me too) wonders if it's normal or if it's a sign that I might be headed down the road to post pardum depression. How do you know what is the normal hormone response to giving birth versus a problem?


  1. Hey Kim,

    I wanna let you know that with the exception of your NICU experience, I *COMPLETELY* understand your hormone-induced emotions. I had the emergency c-section...the 6 lb, 10 oz. baby...the hormones...the baby's jaundice to contend with...her not nursing to contend with...her 10 oz weight loss upon our arrival home to contend with... It was all completely overwhelming to me, was nothing I was prepared to encounter let alone handle, and it felt like it was going to get the best of me. I cried. LOTS. I've never felt so powerless in my life as I did those first two weeks after her birth. People around me were worried & concerned, no one knew what to say to me or how to handle me. It simply took time. And by the grace of God, things began to mend, my heart/mind began to heal, and I found HIS strength.

    You have been through A LOT. The csection & NICU to contend with, but also the euphoria of this pregnancy that, a year ago, you were let to believe would probably never happen. Add to that, your need to continue to nurture and care for your other baby during this time, your husband during this time, as well as need to take care of yourself. It can be hard to process and if you take too much time thinking about it, the tears will flow! I know, I've been there!! It's understandable that with all of this, the emotions will be heightened.

    But I'm here to tell you, I don't think they'll last forever. You seem to have a great support system around you (I did, too, it's just hard to see how great they are when we're in the throws of emotion!), a devoted trust in God, and an intense level of personal stamina and drive. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. Tyler will come home & you will savor EVERY minute with him!!!

    One of the best pieces of advice I was given during my post-pardum recovery was, "NO GUILT". You will recover, and soon you will walk alongside a loved one going through this very thing, and you will be able to minister to her from this experience that God has given you. No guilt! You've done great thus far! You can do this!!

    (And it's ok if you need a big box of tissues to get you through!)

    ~Wendy P.

    PS: I commend you on this post. HUGE step for you. I was too proud to let anyone other than my immediate family know how I was suffering. Afraid I'd be judged. Girl, you get no judgment from me, just total understanding!!

  2. Oh honey. I'm sorry. I am thinking about you guys. Please keep your chin up. You are doing everything you can and he will be home with you soon. We love you!

  3. Kim - Remember that guilt does NOT come from Christ. It comes from the enemy. He will do anything to tear you down. But he is not your Father. Listen to your Father.

    Remind the enemy (the miserable snake that he is) that you did the best with what you were given. You know that you did everything possible according to your doctor's recommendations to have a healthy pregnancy.

    And, be easy on yourself. You just had a baby (and you already have a baby at home too!). You just had major surgery. You have a baby in the NICU.

    Some of it is normal. When things don't go as planned, we always question "what could I have done differently?" I did that after my first c-section.

    When you see your OB, tell her what you are feeling, and let her be the judge of if you are getting PPD.

    You are not alone.

  4. I can't even imagine what you all are going through. Tell John that he is a trooper!

    Just wanted to tell you that both of my kids lost weight after birth. Sophie took a few weeks to gain all of her weight back and she was tiny to begin with. If he has already gained most of his weight back, that is great!

    Just remember that while this time is very difficult, one day you won't even remember it as more than a story to tell people. He will be home with you all soon and then the fun will really begin.

  5. I wish I had something to tell you other than I feel for you and your guys. It's traumatic for most of us, in different ways, obviously. Seth immediately got a vasectomy after Ethan's birth because he didn't want to ever go through birth again. He was an emotional wreck from all of my complications. The one thing I can tell you is that it does get better... not that helps right now, I know. If you ever need to talk, please call. I've been down a dark road myself, and being there alone is the worst part.

  6. Oh girl you are so normal. I remember feeling the same way - guilty over wondering if I had messed something up and if I had only been pregnant for a week or two more than Tommy wouldn't have ended up in the NICU.

    It's a lot right now. You birthed your first child. You have crazy hormones. Your new baby is in the hospital's care and not yours. Your irritionality and tears and feelings are all very understandable and legitimate.

    Just remember to breathe and give yourself a break in all of this. Before you know it, he will be home with you all and you will be a mother of two crazy and fun boys. (o:


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