I’m planning on blogging Whitlee’s days in the NICU so I’ll try to catch up on days 1-3 today as I have time. Some of it is a little foggy which is why I want to record it. I already have to think hard to remember what happened on what day, and even what day it is.
Nolan and I are at home now and Whitlee is still in the NICU but making wonderful progress. We don’t know when she’ll get to come home, so I struggle with that every day but as long as I stay busy when we’re not at the hospital I tend to do a lot better.
I’m also working to remember everything from her birth so I can post her birth story soon!
So here we go – Day 1
Whitlee went straight to the NICU after birth and while I was in recovery, the neonatologist dropped in to give us an update on her and where we were headed. He said she scored an 8 and 9 on her Apgar which was wonderful but she was having a little bit of trouble breathing on her own. He said she’d be on a ventilator for 48 hours that would do all the breathing for her and that they’d given her surfactin for her lungs. He basically explained it like an engine without oil, that her lungs worked correctly but they lacked the lubricant to work very well, and like an engine without oil they wouldn’t work like that for very long before she had a major issue. Their main concern with preemie lungs are tearing or collapsing so the surfactin and ventilator would help prevent that. This was all at about 4 pm.
Late that night her NICU nurse came by our room and gave us our arm bands that would allow us in and out to see her. Then she told us they’d already turned down her ventilator quite a bit and it wasn’t doing all the work anymore, only some of it, because she’d shown improvement so soon. We were so glad to hear our little girl was already working hard to come home. I pumped that night for the first time and got a whole ounce of colostrum, which everyone kept saying was amazing, followed by please don’t get your hopes up that you’ll pump this much on the next few tries. They told me her stomach is the size of an almond and my body won’t produce more than what it would take to fill her belly if she’d been breastfeeding. They were correct though, the next time I pumped very little. Still, I was super proud of that first ounce because they hadn’t even started feeding her yet and I was ahead of her by a great deal. Since I couldn’t be with her, pumping to feed her definitely helped me emotionally.
The first 24 hours I was on magnesium sulfate so it was difficult to be awake and coherent but I wanted to go see her so bad. They moved us to a postpartum room that next morning and said once I got situated over there and felt up to it I could go visit her. They finally let me have a real meal and then I asked the nurse if we could go see our baby. Nolan wheeled me down to the NICU and we scrubbed up to visit her. Unfortunately we didnt really know how the NICU works yet so we visited at a time where it’s basically hands off. They try to limit stimulation to them, so they only really touch them at 2 and 8. I didn’t care though, I just wanted to see her! So all we really got to do was look at her up close but it was so worth it. She was still on the ventilator but was so beautiful. I started feeling bad pretty fast (I was still on the mag at this point and very very woozy) so we headed back after about 30 minutes.
I was scheduled to get off the magnesium at 4:45 which would have been just over 24 hours from her birth so we decided I’d rest and then after the mag, get a shower and visit again. Nolan went home to take a shower while I attempted to rest but people kept coming in to check on me – nurses doing vitals, anesthesiologist doing post op checkup, the freaking billing lady, and then a guy came in to have me do breathing treatments to prevent pneumonia. We’d seen him in the NICU but I didn’t know who he was.. but he had news about Whitlee! He said, “Oh btw, they took your daughter off the vent, she’s on a cpap machine now.” He explained that while a ventilator does most of the work for them, a cpap does even less so it’s an upgrade, a step forward. It lets her do all the breathing on her own, it just provides a little extra pressure so that her lungs don’t decompress all the way and she doesn’t have to work too hard to fill them back up. But he said she was doing great. So just short of 24 hours, she’d gotten off the vent even though they said she’d be on it 48 hours… and icing on the cake – first time someone said to me “your daughter” – priceless words. ❤