Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Abel and the NICU--Part 3, "Reunion"

True to her word, the doctor discharged me shortly after 7am.  My mom came with Mercy and Gilead to pick me up.  In the short, 5 minute ride home from the hospital I became so nauseated I spent the next several minutes hanging over the porcelain throne.  The ride to Doernbecher was going to be over an hour, and it wasn't looking like I was going to be capable of getting through the trip there.  The next couple of hours were spent acquiring a prescription for nausea that would allow me to join Ryan and Abel.

During those couple of hours Ryan called.  He'd been offered a job.  We couldn't process it.  We'd been praying for work for over a year, and this was a tremendous answer to prayer.  However, for the moment, the job was shuffled to the backs of our brains while the rest of our brains focused on our baby's survival.

It was near 11am by the time we were on our way out the door.  We stopped to drop the kids off at a friend's home on the way.  Joanna graciously offered to keep them overnight if it turned out that that would be helpful.

When we finally arrived at Doernbecher, signed in, scrubbed down, and got back to the "pod" that Abel was in we were greeted by a very tired looking, but encouraged Ryan.  

Entrance to the NICU

Handwashing procedure.  We had to do this every time we entered the unit.

Handwashing station.  Those are knee pads below the sink that operated the faucets so that you didn't have to touch anything that might recontaminate you.

He and Abel had had several visitors from church, and Abel was improving.  He was now off of oxygen and had even sucked on a pacifier for a few minutes, which was big news given his complete lack of a rooting reflex.  Then they had me try to nurse him, and he latched on.  In that moment I thought "we're going to get to go home tomorrow!"  His respirations were still about double the normal rate, but he was oxygenating and seeming to want to eat.  Those were both major concerns that seemed to be resolving.

By the next feeding I was utterly exhausted.  I'd had a c-section a mere 48 hours before, had only slept 3 hours in the last 60, and there isn't anyplace to lay down in the NICU.  I began to shake, and tearfully had to say that I couldn't hold Abel, let alone feed him.  Apparently I really wasn't looking good, and Abel's nurse encouraged Ryan to take me down to the emergency room.  She thought I was going into shock.  Ryan did take me down, and we waited five hours to be seen.  During that time my mom left to pick up the kids and take them back home.  As it turns out I was just post-surgery, exhausted, and stressed out.

We spent a few more minutes with Abel before heading to a friend's home for the night.  They were only 30 minutes from the hospital rather the 1 hour and 15 minutes we are from the hospital.  We arrived sometime after midnight, and fell into bed utterly exhausted.  Apart from having to wake up every 3 hours to pump I slept like the dead until after 10am. I awoke feeling much better, but also guilty for having abandoned my baby for so long.  Ryan assured me that his nurses would be glad that I had gotten some rest.  Regardless, I got showered and dressed as quickly as I could so that we could head back and see how Abel had progressed overnight.

When we got to the hospital our hopes of being discharged were dispelled.  He wasn't eating, and his respirations were still over 100 per minute.  At that point we knew that we needed to prepare ourselves for a longer haul than we had hoped for.

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