Friday night I saw Luke for a few seconds after delivery and then not again until 11am Saturday morning. Thankfully, Scott was at his side the entire time and came into recovery practically flying. He was so happy with Luke’s progress after delivery and couldn’t wait to tell me.
We learned that his oxygen (O2) levels were at 100%, meaning that he didn’t have to be in an incubator or under the O2 tent, his apgar scores were 9/9 and his color was good. I think that news brought us tremendous peace. That, and knowing that he was in good hands in the NICU while we got settled into my room.
No need to go into details about how horrible that first night was for me…physically or emotionally. In another word? Horrible. Thank my lucky stars for a husband who was right there with me and a nurse, Carine, who was a huge source of support and encouragement. We made it through the night, had a brief visit with my OB the following morning and thus began our new adventure. After eating some breakfast and getting the all-clear from my OB to travel…we headed to the NICU for the first time.
That experience defies the English language in its description. One look at Luke and I was butta. Oh my. I’m sure he was hooked up to some monitors and had an IV, but all I saw were his beautiful little eyes looking around. I was already in love before I ever walked into that room.
It was also the kids’ first visit to meet their brother. Clare had to sit this one out…she has yet to meet him…because children under 3 aren’t allowed in the NICU. We brought the boys in first and they just lit up like fireworks. They kept saying how small he was and kissing his head. Will was especially enamored. I know this is a moment he will remember and that brought tears to my eyes. Anna-Laura came in next and she did the whole, inhale and say, “Hi Wuke!” She smiled the whole time. Scott and I did too. Luke also met his Nana and Papa which was equally sweet.
Already a rock star and only 2 days old.
We got a brief report from the neonatologist, Dr. W, and things were going in the right direction. They started off his feedings at 5cc so as not to irritate his intestines and to keep any infection at bay. Giving them too much too soon can cause an infection, obviously not good if you only weigh 3 pounds and change. Over the next few days/weeks we’ll slowly increase those feedings’ sizes. He had put in a call to the nephrologist (kidney doctor) to assess the function and health of Luke’s two kidneys, and also noticed that both of his testicles had not descended. For the record, I’ve probably warranted a, “Seriously, Mom? You had to put that on the blog?” from Luke in about 15 years. Well, he’s too little to argue, so I’m putting it out there.
We learned how to feed Luke from the bottle – a fairly new experience for this breastfeeding momma – and how to keep all those cords from getting tangled. He has O2 cords, respirator cords (3), a heart monitor, a warming/body temperature cord, an IV and a few others. It’s quite a handful and we try hard not to pull on the IV. That’s really the one that matters. The more we increase his feedings, the less reliant he is on the IV for fluids. So, bottom line is: bigger feedings mean no IV. That’s one of our “small milestones” we look forward to reaching.
This was my first solo night, as Scott went home to take on Mr. Mom. At first I called him at 9, after the 8pm feeding, and was near tears. I can’t do this! Fortunately, the Holy Spirit intervened and I found my supportive husband saying, “Kathryn, you can totally do this. You have to do this. We will get through it one day at a time.”
So, I put on my big girl meshy panties and did it. Night one was tough, but I surprised myself.
In the NICU we’ve already learned a valuable lesson. Rather than to dream about the day of discharge, it’s better to take one feeding at a time, one ounce at a time, one specialist at a time, one day at a time. And, to celebrate the small milestones, no matter how minute they may seem. They’re big in Luke’s world.