WEDNESDAY AUGUST 24th
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Isaiah 43:2 NASB
When we went to go see him, we were told little to no stimulation. This broke our hearts. We just wanted Eli in our arms. When we saw him, he looked like this tiny chunky baby. He was only chunky because of all the fluids they were giving him. They went over how they did things in the NICU. We needed to wash up before coming in. Medical gown and masks had to be worn at all times. When a new baby came in, we would have to leave and the NICU would be closed for an hour. How to label breastmilk bottles. etc.. He was not allowed any milk from the very beginning. This meant I had to start pumping right away. I started pumping every 2 hours.
THURSDAY AUGUST 25th
One of the doctors explained to us that he needed oxygen to clear his lungs and they weren’t sure if it was a stress reaction or infection caused by swallowing his meconium. She would have a better idea in 24 hours. She told us that he would be kept for 1-2 weeks depending on what it was and how fast he could recover. They would try to give him small drops of breastmilk and then eventually upping it to 1 ML per hour.
FRIDAY AUGUST 26th
We were informed that it was an infection and required a week worth of antibiotics. He oxygen flow rate started at 7 lpm and they lowered it down to a 6. He started at 23% of oxygen and they were able to get it down at 21%. We were happy that everything was going so well. We were still not allowed to hold or feed him. They taught us how to change him, check his temp, clean his belly button while he had all these tubes and wires on him. His “touch times” were 11:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30. When he was allowed stimulation, these would be the times we would be able to do these things.
SATURDAY AUGUST 27TH
I was able to breastfeed him in the morning! We were very worried that he wouldn’t latch on and refuse but he latched on the first attempt! I was able to breastfeed Eli for 30 minutes. To make sure he was getting enough, Uli fed him expressed milk in a bottle and got to do skin to skin contact He was so hungry! He drank all his milk like a champ! In the afternoon, they upped his feeding to 20 ML to every 3 hours and after hour 6 of starting the new feeding schedule, they would up it again to 30 ml every 3 hours. I did not pump enough milk for him so they had to supplement with formula during 3 feedings. His oxygen flow rate was lowered down to 4 lpm.
SUNDAY AUGUST 28th
This day was a blur.. probably from sleep deprivation.. I had an alarm set for every 2 hours. By the time I finished pumping and cleaning all the parts, I was sleeping an hour at most. Someone told Uli, “Oh you get to sleep, you have it so easy.. just wait until that baby comes home.. say goodbye to sleep!” I was pissed..[FAST FOWARD: I got more sleep with a baby in my house than when I was pumping]
They removed his feeding tube. One thing that stood out this day is a pretty funny story. The only visitors allowed in the NICU are the parents and the baby’s grandparents. Two people are only allowed in the unit at a time. A grandparent must be accompanied by one of the parents of the baby. My mom and step dad were able to make it out to Las Palmas to visit Eli for the first time. I brought my mom in first (Uli was at work) and she was able to visit with him for 15-20 minutes. After walking her out, I brought in my step-dad.
My step-dad is young. Very young. He is 34 years old. He looks like he can be my brother. After washing up and putting on his gown and mask, he walked into the unit. One of the male nurses saw him and asked who this man was. I told him that he was my step father. He then tells me, “I’m sorry but he can’t be here.” I was confused! They said grandparents can visit but they must be accompanied by one of the baby’s parents. So I’m about to walk him out and I stop to ask him, “why is he not allowed to be here.” He said, “We only allow parents and grandparents. We do not allow baby’s step-parents.” I started laughing and he gave me the this confused look. I had to explain to him that he was MY step-father and not the baby’s. He was so embarrassed and apologized many times. My mom and step-dad had taken pictures with their phones so that is why I don’t have any here.
MONDAY AUGUST 29th
We were informed that Eli de-satted the night before. They had to up the oxygen to 23% and oxygen flow rate to to 5. They had to put his feeding tube back in so I was not allowed to breastfeed him that night. Eli’s grandparents were able to visit him that night.
TUESDAY AUGUST 30th
He was going to have his last round of antibiotics that evening. He was doing well so they lowered the oxygen air flow to 4 lpm and if he did well for 12 hours, they would lower it to 3 lpm.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 31st
Eli was doing great. They decided to lower his oxygen air flow to 2 lpm and if he could tolerate that for 3-4 hours, they would turn it off completely. He was
off of antibiotics and was out of heated crib and in a open regular crib. They asked us to bring his carseat in case they wanted to do a carseat test.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1st
WE GOT THE DISCHARGE ORDERS! HE PASSED HIS CARSEAT TEST. FEEDING TUBE AND OXYGEN WERE NO LONGER NEEDED. We were finally able to go home as a family around 4:30 p.m.
I still have nightmares of the beeping noises from the NICU. We made sure to attend every touch time. Our old house was in the Thorn and Redd road area and it was too much driving for me. . From 8:00 am to 9:30 p.m, I was either at the hospital, in my car pumping, or at the clinic I worked at. One night, we didn’t get home until midnight because Eli didn’t want me to leave. He cried every time I put him back in the heated crib. Once I held him in my arms, he was calm and would fall asleep. I felt terrible that we had to leave. One thing I wished I carried with me was my camera to document everything but my camera was the last thing on my mind. I thank God every single day that Eli recovered and is a healthy little boy. GOD is so good! Eli’s crib neighbors were there when Eli was admitted and they were still there when he was discharged. I think about them everyday. You’re probably wondering how I remember all the details. There will be some things that I will never forget but everything else was in my text messages when we were updating our families.