From the moment we arrived at the hospital, we had no idea how long our stint would be with Jonathan in the NICU.
Things we were hearing were,
“His breathing will have to get better.”
“He’s got to be gaining weight.”
“He needs to be off the feeding tube and eating solely from the pigeon bottle.”
“You have to be completely comfortable feeding him.”
It was overwhelming thinking about how many hurdles we had to be able to jump over before we could actually get back home and learn what our new normal was.
I knew the only way we were going to get through it though was by taking it one day at a time.
So that’s exactly what we did.
Each day he got a little bit better and a little bit stronger. We were praying, our church family was praying and even some of you whom I’ve never met were praying.
Every day we saw those prayers being answered!
My husband would go up to see him or I would call for updates and each time there was something new he’d accomplished.
By day 6 he was totally off of the feeding tube. It was like overnight his mind clicked with the concept of his special bottle and he was off to the races.
Every day he accomplished a little more and by the time he’d arrived to his one week birthday, they were ready for us to do a 24hr shift of our taking sole care of him while under their supervision.
I remember standing in our bathroom as we were getting ready and beginning to cry.
I was experiencing a host of emotions. I was fearful I would do something wrong. I was fearful I wouldn’t be able to take care of him or meet all of his needs. It was scary and I’m grateful for a husband who simply let me cry and then encouraged me I would do great!
When we arrived at the hospital my heart was pounding, I felt nauseous and was praying fervently asking the Lord for His strength.
We were blessed to have the nurse we did that evening.
She was so kind and gave me the “push” I needed for taking the plunge of feeding him myself.
I felt like I had two left hands and all my fingers were thumbs!
I knew there were certain things I needed to do.
-listen for him to breathe
-hold him in a sitting position
-make sure the pigeon bottle is facing the correct way
-insert the bottle towards the side of his mouth where there is a little pallet area
-don’t let him set the pace; I set the pace for him
So there I was with my 1 week old baby and I felt like a first time mom!
There’s a humility you must have in these types of situations. Yes I’ve had 5 other children, however I’ve never had a child like this.
It was hard at first to relinquish any foreknowledge and simply be teachable. As a mom you want to be the one who knows everything about your own baby. But in this case I didn’t. The nurses knew him better than I did at this point and it was hard to be “okay” with that.
Our nurse that evening spent time with me through 3 of his feedings. Then we were all sent to the isolation room within the NICU. My nerves set in and so did dad’s.
By this time I felt a little more confident and I wasn’t quite as tense. Once we hit midnight I wasn’t doing so well. Jonathan had begun to cry and I couldn’t figure out why. I changed his diaper, he’d already eaten what I’d been told to feed him and we were abiding by the 3 hour feeding guide set for him. But no matter what we did he wouldn’t stop crying.
At this point I said in my mind, “Forget it! We are never leaving this place! I can’t do it!”
Then the thought occurred, “Maybe he’s just still hungry.”
We quickly made another bottle and within minutes his belly was full and he was content. After 30 minutes of feeding he fell fast asleep for the next 3 hours. Whew!
We hit a stride for the remainder of our time and with each feeding my confidence grew and grew.
By the next day when it was time for him to be evaluated by the pedatric NICU doctor we were given the all clear for discharge!
My husband and I were shocked to be going home so soon but I felt confident with having had the entire supervised 24hr shift to take care of him.
I still had my fears, but overall God calmed my spirit and He carried me through.
Loading him in to his car seat was surreal.
Realizing we were finally going home and we finally had our baby was a priceless moment.
When we got home and walked in the door it was a huge sigh of relief.
I knew that being home still meant we were going to have difficult nights, and things we would need to learn. But, we were home and that is all that mattered…
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