Hi everyone and Happy Thursday! (warning: very long post with several pictures)
It has been a wild & crazy few weeks–and I am glad to be FINALLY posting! Thank you to those of you who dropped me an email or facebook message to check on me, it really meant a lot to me.
We are home and getting settled- and with the help of my friend Jessica from Homespun Elegance, we should be back to our normal blogging schedule after the long weekend! YAY!!
But, for now a brief update on what’s been going on. I was struggling with some preeclampsia and/or HELLP symptoms around 33 weeks of my pregnancy. The doctor put me on bed rest, which meant i could only get up for about 10 minutes at a time….that left little to no room for crafting. especially since my studio is downstairs. It killed me not being able to do anything–craft, go to Target, even cleaning & organizing. But, I knew we needed to keep our little guy in for as long as possible.
My doctor had planned on inducing me at 37 weeks exactly -but, then at 36 weeks my symptoms started to get worse- and I got a headache that would not go away. So, the team of doctors decided it was best to go ahead and induce me then- on May 9th.
They started me on cervidil to soften my cervix, since I was only dilated 1 cm. We did this for 12 hours, or thru the night. Of course I didn’t sleep because I was uncomfortably in a hospital bed, hooked up to various things. Since I have a history of hemorrhaging in the past, they also gave me an extra iv for a ‘just in case’ blood transfusion. The build up of stress and anxiety was huge for both Mr. Pink & I- as we tried to shield our other 2 kids from the stress. My parents came into town to take care of them, and we were ready to induce full force on May 10th at around 8:30 am. As we waited for the pitocen to do it’s job, I laid in bed and ordered the last few things I needed for our new baby from Amazon. I hadn’t been allowed to go shopping for the past 3 weeks-and there were still some things we needed.
My sweet nurse (seriously the BEST labor nurse in the world) even brought me some toast and peanut butter when I told her I was starving. Typically doctors don’t like you to eat–but, this momma hadn’t eaten in way too long and I needed something. They kept turning up the pitocen, and about 1:00pm my parents left to go get some lunch and pick up our other kids from school.
Just after 1:00 I felt like I needed to push- so I called our nurse into the room- she checked and started getting things ready. At 1:30, the doctor came in and it was time to push. One of our concerns at 35 weeks was that the cord was wrapped around our little guy’s neck. They were going to play it by ear, and hopefully all would go well. In the middle of pushing, I had to stop so the Dr. could unwrap the cord from his neck. It was wrapped around twice. At 1:58 Grayson was born. We didn’t have a name for him at first, because we wanted to really see him and when we did–we knew Grayson was the name for him.
He was 7lbs 6 oz and 20.5 inches long–with so much hair. The kids and my parents arrived literally minutes after Grayson got cleaned up.
Everything seemed fine, and he was perfect. But, when we tried to nurse his O2 levels kept dropping. The same happened when he took a bottle or a had a tube put down his throat for food. So, they took him to the NICU that evening. My heart was breaking. I had barely gotten to hold him.
After they got him set up in the NICU we were able to go to his room- where he was hooked up to all sorts of monitors. We were not allowed to hold him the first night. The 2nd day we were only allowed to hold him to nurse and connected to all of the monitors. All I wanted to do is be close to our precious new baby–and we seemed restricted by everything. It was hard for the other 2 kids to really understand what was going on. It was still hard for me to understand. That same day I was being discharged from the hospital, but Grayson was not. This was also Mother’s Day. Never would I have imagined I’d spend Mother’s Day in the NICU with my 3 kids. This was a really hard day for me…
Though we couldn’t hold him, we touched him as much as we could– to let him know we were there.
Grayson was the BIGGEST preemie on the floor– and yet it didn’t matter because his suck/swallow reflex was not developed enough, effecting his breathing. The monitors kept going off, leaving both Mr. Pink & I on edge. Some nurses were amazing and some were not…leaving us feeling helpless and like I had no idea what I was doing.
How could I have forgotten how to be a mom? I hadn’t. But, in those moments of complete weariness I was convinced I knew nothing.
Every single day was a roller coaster – we’d have a good feeding or a good report and then the very next feeding/report would be bad. We felt like we were never going to get to leave. We had to measure everything he ate- and it had to be exactly what the dr. ordered. Since I was not giving up on nursing– that sometimes meant that the nurse would draw whatever he ate back out of his stomach to measure it, and then put it back in. It was heartbreaking to watch.
On the 4th day, we were told we could put clothes on him–the first time he’d be dressed. It felt so good to feel like we were doing normal baby things. We both cried tears of relief or joy…or maybe just exhaustion.
Then the next day we were told we could hold him as much as we wanted- words I had been dying to hear. As we felt things were looking up- Mr. Pink left to take a nap and a shower. Luckily, we had good friends and family that helped us keep a normal schedule with the other 2 kids and allowed Mr. Pink to be with me and the baby as much as possible. We could not have done it without them.
But, when he was gone, I was holding Grayson as his O2 alarms started going off. They dropped lower than I have ever seen and he started turning blue. I panicked- because, of all the time we were there no one told us what we were supposed to do in this situation. The alarms echoed in our room and down the hall, and no one came. Seconds seemed like hours, and I felt completely helpless. His breathing returned to normal when someone else’s nurse came in finally. But, in those moments a piece of me finally broke. A piece of me that I’d been trying to hold together for the older kids, for my husband, for the nurses, for Grayson…for myself. I sat in that dark room, scared to be alone with my own son, sobbing.
See, they thought it was a nursing/feeding issue. And, we had seen specialists on swallowing and nursing and whatever else. No one had any answers–and I just wanted to scream that ALL he needed was to be held. You don’t get to say that in the NICU. You feel guilty because other people have sicker babies than you. You feel stupid because you don’t know what the monitors mean or how bad is very bad.
Well, that day the lactation consultant heard it all from me, between sobs and more sobs. Then Mr. Pink called to check on me, and I was still sobbing. He never left my side even for a second after that- because emotionally I didn’t have it together any more. I needed him. I needed my baby. I needed my family to be together.
It was one of the hardest days in my life- one of the nurses thought I should get out and get some fresh air–so, in between feedings I went home to take a shower. And, I dug out any shred of positive thinking I had buried in me. Any thread of hope still lying around and I pulled it together enough to put on the same outfit I had planned on taking my baby home in days and days ago. I packed things as if we were going to come home with our baby the next day and I prayed.
(*PS Thank you for all of YOUR prayers and positive thoughts- the messages we got were so thoughtful and really helped me pull it together. So, thank you!)
The prayers worked because the next morning- the doctor came in and after looking at everything decided that we could be discharged. We almost didn’t believe our ears. We just had to pass a 90 minute car seat test before we got to go home. I had stopped feeling hopeful, because every time I did- it was soon taken away from me. But, he passed with no problem.
Then I explained to the doctor how apprehensive I was feeling about my mothering instincts because I had been staring at a monitor for so many days. And, he said what I had been needing to hear all along. You’re the mom, you’ll know–you’ve done this before, you’ll both be okay.
We came home- and Mr. Pink and I were still on edge, somehow waiting for an alarm to start blaring. But, we are settling in, and things are getting back to normal. Grayson gets held a LOT– but, that’s okay. When you don’t get to hold your baby right away–you make up for it later.
We even got in a photo shoot with a talented photographer, Kristi Hall. She was so patient- and great! I can’t wait to have her take sibling shots in a few week!
Here is our healthy, at home, held-all-the-time, adored-by-his-siblings-and-mom-and-dad, sweet baby Grayson.
He is all of 7 lbs now, and such a tiny little peanut compared to his siblings who weighted 8lbs 12 oz and 9lbs 4 oz- but, we are all completely in love with him!
Sorry for the LOOONG post–but, I know a lot of you were wondering what was going on! So, thank you for being patient and hanging in there with me!! Hugs to you all!