Monday, September 21, 2015

Harper's Story - NICU Week 1...

Our first week with Harper was pretty much an emotional roller coaster. We felt everything from excitement of having a new baby to sadness that I got to leave the hospital but without my baby, to joy over tiny milestones he was reaching and nervousness over how we were going to handle all these emotional ups and downs for the foreseeable future...probably every other possible emotion was felt during that first week as well - like I said, roller coaster. 

The amazing crib sign that Andy, Adam & Kathleen put together. 

His first night nurse put this together for him - look at those tiny feet! 

The first two days while I was still in the hospital it was pretty nice to be able to just pop downstairs for a visit. Of course the downside was that there wasn't much I could do other than stand there and look at him and talk to him. He had his IV fluids going in through his umbilical chord so holding him was not an option. I'm not sure I'll ever forget seeing him in the NICU for the first time and seeing and hearing him cry and knowing there was nothing I could do to soothe him - or at least that's what I first thought and upon seeing the tears flowing from my eyes, his amazing (I'll probably overuse that word as I talk about his nurses) nurse quickly let me know that I could try giving him his pacifier. Happily that was all it took and not only were Harper's tears gone, so were mine. 

We learned other ways we could interact with him, like placing a hand on his head and another on his feet. It wasn't much, but we were taking what we could get. We also learned we could help take his temperature and change his diaper. Andy was the fist one to tackle that job - I was a bit nervous at the thought considering all the chords and wires, but Andy was a rock star (as usual) and showed me that it wasn't impossible so the next time I happily took on the task. We also got to help with his oral care - basically taking a special q-tip with water and cleaning out his mouth. I also got to do this with some of my milk which was nice. I also got to hold him up while his nurse changed his bedding. These tasks aren't much, but we learned early on to take what we could get. 

Harper checking out the card Adam made for him. 

On his third day in the NICU we learned that he would be getting his PIC line in - this means switching from the IV going in through his umbilical chord to a vein in his ankle - and it also meant after 24 hours we'd be able to hold him. This was great news as we had been told it would likely be on the seventh day that the PIC line would go in. 

So on the fourth day (Tuesday of that week, I'll never forget it) I was able to hold him and do skin to skin with him. It was an amazing feeling, one that I never in a million years thought would be such a novelty - I mean, holding your baby should be something you can do whenever you want, right? This new normal is teaching us otherwise, but it didn't take away from an amazing first real contact with our son. 

We went back the next day and had them wrap him in a blanket so Andy and I could both hold him during our visit. 

Before we knew it, after several more visits, diaper changes, and snuggle sessions, our little guy had hit the 1 week/30 week mark. He weighed in at 2 pounds 12.4 ounces - was slowly gaining back the little bit of weight he'd lost and his breathing doing amazing. I'll admit the first week didn't really fly by as I'd hoped, but we're learning to take things one day at a time and enjoy the small moments. 

No comments: