Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NICU Blues

Early on in our NICU stay they warned us that when our babies became healthy and were just needing to gain weight it would be harder to wait than it was with our little tiny babies who seemed so sick. Of course we didn't believe them. What could be harder than looking at your little 2lb baby with tubes and wires and not get to pick her up and hold her? But when your baby is 2lb and has wires and tubes all over, there is no doubt in your mind that she needs to be in the NICU. You know that you can't take care of her at home, you don't have the equipment or knowledge.

Now the girls are bigger, 3lb 11oz and 3lb 12oz. They look huge compared to the little 2lb babies they were just 7 weeks ago. And now it is all about gaining weight and eating. And every day it gets harder and harder to just leave my babies in the NICU. I want to take them home with me. I want to pick them up and change their diapers without a nurse watching over my shoulder. Last night Kaitlin had some acid reflux. I could tell that she just wasn't feeling well, but when I asked the nurse about it, she acted like it was no big deal. And really, acid reflux isn't a big deal, it's very common in preemies especially. But Kaitlin was so uncomfortable and I felt helpless that I couldn't comfort her the way I wanted to, to put her on my shoulder and help her get those air bubbles out. Eventually she spit up just about everything she had eaten and you could tell she felt much better as I put her back in her isolette. But I didn't feel better. I wanted to be the one to stay by her side all night and make sure that she didn't continue to reflux. I wanted to be the one to comfort her when she got upset. I ache to take them home with me, to dress them without wires and feeding tubes in the way, to decide when I want to bathe them, to let their big sister see them. In short, I want to be their Momma!

Sometimes, I'll be talking with the nurse about what's going on, about how the day is going, about how I want the girls to be taken care of, and the nurse will respond "You're the Mom!" and I think "not really, not right now." I feel so helpless and powerless over this situation. I love the nurses, I think they are all saints for taking care of my girls. I know that there will come a time when I will wish I could had the dirty diapers and burp cloths to the nurse to throw away and to wash. I will want the nurse to help me give the girls a bath and to pick them up out of their cribs and hand them to me while I lounge in a rocking chair. I'll want their expertise when the girls are extra fussy and I don't know what's going on.  I'm sure I'll even want the monitors that tell me their heart rate, how fast they are breathing, and what their oxygen saturation is. But right now, today, I just want to take them home and be a normal family with newborns.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Morning in the NICU

Last night was a slightly downhill night in the NICU. Kaitlin had had a stuffy nose and was struggling to breathe. Instead of holding her we spent the evening waiting for the doctor to come look at her and then waiting for the respiratory therapist to suction out her nose. It was decided she might have a cold. So we left for the night with Kaitlin in isolation, a sample at the lab with a 24 hour wait for results, and a possible chest X-ray because of all the lung problems she's had so far. Isolation in the NICU means that the curtain is pulled between Kaitlin and Abigail's beds, and you have to wear a gown and mask when with Kaitlin to prevent spreading any germs. We went to bed worried about our little girl and hoping it was just a cold and not a sign of something worse. 

Now here I sit in the NICU holding both my girls together! The chest X-ray came back clear and the test that was supposed to take a day took less than 12 hours and showed no virus! Kaitlin is fine, just stuffy. They have changed her cannula and ventilator settings and she's doing so much better. The peace I feel when I'm here, holding my girls, is amazing. When I'm with them I know it will all be ok. When I leave the worry starts to set in. The girls are cuddled up together sleeping soundly on my chest. They are happy and peaceful and so am I.