Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby Cameron and NICU

Cameron finally came, after a long induction that didn't get the job done naturally, he was cut from my belly via c section. That, in itself was a nightmare. Before maybe the last few weeks of pregnancy, I was totally ok with and "elective c section", but decided last minute that I could do it, I could go through natural birth and heal a lot quicker too. I guess when they changed out my epidural bag, or maybe when I was transported from bed to surgery table, my epi line stopped working
... except I didn't notice until mid way through the surgery. His birth at that point became a haze.They had to drug me up directly in my iv line and basically knock me out. I remember waiting for a cry. I heard a faint one, and I sensed something just wasn't right. I couldn't find my husband in the room. It was only later that I was told that I could not see my son just yet. He had been whisked to NICU for antibiotics and he was having trouble breathing. My mom took his first picture within 10 minutes of his birth as they whisked him away. The photos above were given to my by my labor nurse. She felt horrible that things were not explained to me. I could not get out of bed to see him since they had a hard fast rule about epidurals and being left in bed.... I don't know why I didn't think of a wheelchair then although I doubt it would have been an option.... :-/ I bawled uncontrollably.
       About an hour later, my husband came back after visiting our son. I told him to go be with the baby because he needed someone to be there for him in my place. The nurse came back with a beautiful scrapbook page she had made of my son. They took pictures and shot some video so I could see him. It wasn't the same as holding him, but I needed that so badly. I watched the video half a dozen times and fell asleep clutching that scrapbook sheet. I talked to God, I prayed, and told him to please make my son ok.... That I didn't fight this hard to walk away without a child. I told God that he could give me a disabled child....blind, deaf, that I didn't care, I could handle it... just so long as he lived a wonderful life. Boy, God doesn't joke when you play a bargaining game with him, I learned that...
The next day came so very fast. I had not bathed in 3 days at that point...2 full days from being in labor prior to his birth and my mandatory waiting period. I found out I couldn't breastfeed, although I was pumping and pumping that next day. I would save what I could and send it down to be mixed with his formula, or I would go feed him myself. This was the first time I held my son, excuse the bedhead, remember, no shower yet, just the scrub up I did to my arms like a surgeon preparing for surgery. I was the happiest woman on earth, in pain, but Oh so very happy. I went down and held him as long as I thought I was allowed to for the next 7 days. I missed only a few feedings during that time after I was discharged,I would drive all the way home after a feeding to pump, store, and bring it back up for another feeding. It was simply insane, but NO ONE was going to tell me not to see my son. I became "Warrior Mom" from that moment on. Let NO one, even my own family, come between me and my child. My c section was very painful, and only until my second son and c section would I understand the level of pain I was really in.

On day 6, we were told that we might have to "room in" at the hospital, so we brought the car seat, our overnight bags, and prepared to stay a night in the lovely accommodations provided via NICU and our local hospital. There was a male nurse there who I had many a conversation with, and I, for the life of me cannot remember his name. That just simply has never been a strength of mine, I guess. I will never forget his face though.
  We showed up at 3 to do a feeding and were scheduled to come back around 6:30 to "room in". They apparently had a lot of NICU babies leaving that day, so we were told by that male nurse that he sees no reason why we should have to "room in". He thinks we are just fine without it, and gave him the last antibiotic dose via umbilical IV that afternoon. He couldn't promise anything, but he said, either way, to be ready. So, we were. We had bags, car seat, everything packed, even his going home outfit. Kevin's mom was staying with us, thinking she would help out with the new baby and me, but her plans to stay didn't include him being in NICU. So, she was not in her home city and had flown out to see us anyway. We dropped her off at an old friends house of hers so she could visit, and the old friend was prepared to entertain and let her stay with her that night.

We were practically beating down the doors at 6:30 to see out son in the NICU. I was so happy that this would be the last time I would have to "scrub in" and suit up! We showed up, fully prepared to room in and guess what?!?
No rooming in! He got to come home!!! We did our best to contain the excitement. I didn't even change him out of his hospital issued shirt. I changed his diaper and they "unplugged" every wire and tube that had been a part of his body for the last week. FREEDOM! 
I didn't even think about the coming home outfit. I fiddled with the car seat for what felt like a good hour, adjusting, fitting, getting in there just right. I was wheelchaired out with my son in his car seat in my lap (hospital policy, I guess) and my husband raced to go pull the car up to get me. The sun shone on Cameron's face for the first time, and he had this look of sheer bliss. I remember telling him "welcome to the world, my little fighter!" 
We raced over to the friend that was hosting my mother in law and surprised her with a visit. She was the first person outside of close family to see or hold Cameron.And the first person besides my husband and I to hold the "wireless 2.0" version of our son.

Welcome to the world, my sweet Cameron Bear!