Category: Post-Baby

Our Week in the NICU – Part One

Thinking about our week in the NICU at Mayo St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, must be one of the foggiest weeks of my life.  After giving birth, hormones are running wild, you are trying to take in every moment, needing to pump, and the nagging thought of when you will hear the words home. 

Then, being able to see Adeline at any time was an awesome upgrade now that we were at the same hospital!

During our week in the NICU, they had visitor restrictions on due to a late flu season.  This worked out well for us since the NICU did not provide much for privacy and it had pretty tight quarters.  

When we were finally settled into our new room, we wanted to go see Adeline, and the nurse was ready to take us!  We were staying on the fifth floor of the hospital and the NICU is on the third floor.  As we followed the nurse slowly, as I insisted on walking, we wonder what we should expect.  We had been watching Adeline on the television but hadn’t seen her since birth, which was over 24 hours ago.  

As we got to the third floor, we walked into the NICU as this is a locked unit.  Every time we entered, they obviously wanted us to wash our hands at the station.  We would then check in with the desk to get name tags, and then we could go see Adeline.  The nurse walked us into the open NICU room, and it was almost full with five babies.  Some babies were in little cribs, one was in an “incubator,” and Adeline was in a bed with a warmer on it.  

As we walked over to see Adeline, it was overwhelming.  Now, I was seeing her, in person, with all the wires.  My poor little baby, and this was just going to be the start of it.  The nurses started talking to us, telling us a bit of what “rounds” had discussed that morning, what the pumps were, and what the monitor were for.  

Even though we had already seen it before, it was hard to see Adeline hooked up to so many machines-many of which I didn’t know what they were for.  Pumps, computers, and a feeding tube going down her nose.  

Seeing this and being in the situation can be traumatic for any parent.  Given all these wires, as I like to call them, it was scary to hold her.  I thought for sure I was going to hurt her or pull something out.  Every time I wanted to have her in my arms, and I was sure hat a nurse would put her in my hands.  

Adeline during her week in the NICU
The picture is fuzzy, but she was such a blessing. The little red glow you see is her pulse oximeter probe that tracked her oxygen rates of her blood.

Given I had no medical background, everything they told me went in one ear and out the other.  I figured that were the nurses (and doctors), what did I need to know about this stuff?  Not that the staff was terrible, but how naïve I was, in so many ways!

  Little did I know what I would learn in this our week in the NICU!

The monitors would continuously go off, but the nurses assured us it was ok.  As I held Adeline, she just looked so perfect.  There was no way our little girl was as sick as they were telling us she was! 

 The cardiologists had done an ECHO (it is like a heart ultrasound) on Adeline, and they were pleased with what they were seeing.  But they wanted to continue to watch Adeline over the next few days to see what their plan for her was.  They wanted to see what her oxygen saturations did over the next few days as her PDA closed. (After a week in the NICU, I still didn’t know much about these things)

All I heard was: “We aren’t doing surgery right away.” 

Whoop! Whoop! I knew all I needed to know.

Since some of these children require intervention quickly, I was SO happy about this! I was in so much denial about the first surgery that I was hoping they were going to say she wouldn’t need any interventions.

Every free moment Jeremy and I had; we would head to the NICU to sit with Adeline.  It was so wonderful being in the hospital because she was at least in the same building.  If we weren’t by her, we could see her on the television in our room.  When we were in the NICU, we would take breaks every few hours to go back to the room.  This allowed me to pump, get medications, and even take the occasional nap.  Even though I wasn’t getting up with Adeline every few hours, during the night, I was still needing to get up to pump. Pumping is tiring! I know I could have attempted breast feeding, and I did.  I did not enjoy it and if I pumped, we would at least know how much intake Adeline was getting.  

Every morning the doctors would do “rounds’ where they would walk through the NICU and talk about each baby.  Events that happened in the last 24 hours were discussed, what they anticipated for the next 24 hours, and then they answered questions for both parents and other doctors.  This was something Jeremy or I always tried to be present for.  Even though we didn’t normally have questions, as we were so green behind the ears, it was still nice to hear what was going on from their perspectives.  Rounds were in the morning and could happen anytime from 8:00 am to noon.  Since our large room didn’t have as severe of babies (for the most part), round times were never the same two days in a row.  

Jeremy would always try to get down to the rounds while I was inpatient.  This allowed me to get some rest and Adeline and he could get some bonding time.  Given it was springtime, and we are farmers, I figured he would maybe be busy with field work when we got home.  I wanted to be sure they had some time together.  I would watch the two on the screen and admire them 

Jeremy would generally come back to the room after the rounds and tell me about what the doctors had discussed.  He didn’t typically have much to report on, and we were not always sure what they were talking about anyways.  Yes, the nurses were still available for questions, but for some reason, we didn’t ask much for questions.  We always assumed, yes, assumed, if it was bad enough, they would have a more detailed conversation with us.

Just as we were starting to get into a routine of our hospital and NICU stay, it was time for me to get discharged from the hospital.  We would have stayed if we could since it was so convenient, but it was time to go.  Adeline was born on Monday, and I discharge on Thursday morning.  Recovery had gone well, and I was ready to sleep in a regular bed!  Again, how naïve I was.  The discharge was what I had expected it to be, hurry up and wait!  After the doctors came by to see me, go over the things to watch for, it was time to go! We had packed up everything, got it in the vehicle, and went back to the NICU for the rest of the day. 

For my c-section moms, this was not a good idea, to spend so much time in the NICU!  My feet swelled so bad I could hardly walk by the end of the day!  Be sure to keep your feet up some if possible, take care of yourself! 

Of our week in the NICU, the first few days were uneventful.  As the week moved on, it got so busy! We also learned more from the doctors as we picked up some more of the “medical lingo.”  And when I say some, I mean some, we still had a long way to go in that department.  

The beginning of the journey was easy; now, we were going to be getting a bit more of an education! The week in the NICU was just starting!

-Jessi

The Morning After Delivery

The morning after delivery was a busy one.  I needed to do the pumping thing again, I was already not liking this new this task.  I needed to eat since pumping is exhausting!  I was finally getting to a point where I could walk around as well as a person could who have just been cut open.  The big thing about the walking was that I was able to do so without feeling nauseated.  By this time the nurses were encouraging a shower, which is always a heck of a task. 

Just a little disclaimer for all those who have not experienced childbirth, there is no room to be discreet about things.  At first, especially for a girl like me, this is hard, but just wait for what you will have to share and show! Have you passed gas yet? Have you passed any stool yet? When you push to get the stool out, you should do this.  Let me look down there and check for blood clots, you know, make sure everything looks ok.  I know they are doing their job…but man, oh, man!

Anyways, back to shower time.  The nurses gave me special medical soap since I had a huge incision to clean up around.  By the morning after delivery, you are feeling it! Shower time at the hospital after a baby is not the refreshing experience I was hoping for.  Instead, in my situation, it was almost a punishment!   The soap dries your skin out, stinks, and it is impossible to put lotion on afterward.  Lotion, now lotion requires way too much motivation and logistics.  Forget about doing your hair, so I didn’t even bother washing it.   The shower was done, someone was going to stop by to fill out the “official” paperwork of the baby’s birth.  

Doing the paperwork was all fine and dandy, except we STILL did not have a baby name picked out! We had about ten minutes before the lady came to see us.  

The name was something we hadn’t discussed much because we were not sure of what our future was going to be.  Attachment to an unborn baby with all the unknow was too scary. But now the baby was here; we knew it was a girl, what were we going to name her? Our other girls have family names, but we weren’t sure we were going to go that way again.  

I have always loved the name Adeline, as I am a sucker for old-fashion names.  Talking with Jeremy, I told him it was the only name I could decide on for a girl, nothing else really excited me.  I asked him if he had any ideas.  In normal Jeremy fashion, he didn’t have too much to say.  The only name he would maybe want to use would be his grandma’s name, Josie.  Her actual name was Joann and he wanted to use that.  So, after talked some, we decided on Adeline Joann for our little baby girl.  

By this time, the lady came into our room to fill out our official paperwork. After completing it and making sure everything was right, we had a name for our little girl, and they were going to send in the paperwork to make her “official.” 

Then, it was time for the lactation consultants to visit.  As I had mentioned previously, I was just pumping to save money. I appreciated that these women were coming by to see me, but I didn’t have much interest in what they were coming to talk to me about.  If I had questions about lactating, Dr. Google and Facebook are available 24 hours a day and don’t want to get up in my business to help me.  They talked, I listened and pretended as though I was interested in what they had to say.  I hope they bought it, but I don’t hide those kinds of things well.

Checking the morning after delivery list off, one by one

Peeing and Walking…check

Shower and Dressed…check

Paperwork Done…check

All the Doctors Stopped By…check

Packed Up…check

I was ready to get over to the other hospital and see my baby!  I just needed the last signature on the paperwork and a non-emergency ambulance to bring me to the other hospital. 

After what seemed to be forever, we had the final doctor signature. I shouldn’t have been surprised, things like this NEVER move along quickly!

It was then time to get onto the ambulance stretcher and they were ready to drive me over to the other hospital.  They strapped me on the stretcher, and I was wheeled off to the ambulance.  I made some nice small talk with the EMT’s as they drove me over.  They then wheeled me up to the new and much smaller room I would call home for the next few days. We waited for our nurse to come by.

Both of us were anxiously waiting to go see Adeline! We hadn’t seen her in over 24 hours.

Before we left, we talked with the nurse about being able to see Adeline on our television.  At our hospital, there is a camera on the baby, and you can see them on a hospital television if it is set up for it.  We knew this could be a long, technical process, so we wanted the nurse to get on it.  I should note here that the nurse I had was pretty much my own personal nurse due to how the process works. 

We finally got to see our little lady the morning after delivery!

We talked with the nurse and continued to get settled in.  She administers some meds and I even did some pumping while waiting.  Three hours have never gone by so fast in my life. The milk still hadn’t come in, but the process still needs to be done to stimulate it-at least that is what I am told.  It came in last time even though I didn’t breastfeed…it was PAINFUL…just in case you were wondering.  

It was almost time to go see our little lady.

Were you able to stay close to your baby after they were born?  I have heard of some hospitals being able to keep the baby in the room for a little while so the mothers can always be closer.  What a cool idea, although I would think it would be a while until many hospitals are to that point for obvious reasons.  How was your morning after delivery? Was it a chore for you as much as it was for me?

~Jessi