Month: September 2018

NICU Awareness Day

NICU Awareness Day

If you’ve had a child in the NICU, you’ve seen something you can’t unsee. Even when my child was on the up and up, I sobbed listening to the grandma sing Jesus Loves Me to the three pound baby whom doctors had been swarming just hours before as he came out of surgery. Even when my child was coming home, I watched a mom and dad spend their last day with the daughter they’d never bring home. While our NICU stay was long, I truly believe you could have the peachiest, little NICU stay and still be changed by your experience. If your child has been in the NICU, your child has been a patient in an entire area of a hospital dedicated to saving the lives of the freshest of babes, often too fresh. The things you see, the vibes you feel, the stories you hear… you don’t get these anywhere else. 

Book Review – The Alice Network

The Alice Network

The Alice Network includes the stories of the 1947 Charlie St. Clair (American college student, pregnant, unmarried and in search of her disappeared cousin, Rose) and the 1915 Eve Gardiner (young, single woman with a stammer, recruited to be a spy in the Great War in enemy-occupied France). Their worlds collide when Charlie turns up at Eve’s door, suspecting she may be the ticket to finding Rose. Together, they embark on a mission to find truth – what happened to Rose? And what’s left of Eve’s former life in the Alice Network?

Due Date

Due Date

By the time we got to that September due date, Oaklee had been in the hospital for 69 days and home for 18 days. She’d grown heaps since being home. She weighed about 7.5 lb – which seemed huge to us considering she started at almost a third of that weight. While we were still frantic and trying to figure out how to take care of a baby, let alone, a long term NICU graduate, Oaklee was doing great. 

In these first weeks at home, I largely spent my time pumping, washing pump parts, sorting ounces of breast milk, mixing bottles, giving bottles and cleaning bottles. We were at the beginning of our bottle-to-breast journey and I was already getting burned out.

Sweet September

Sweet September

Kevin and I celebrated three years of marriage on the 13th of September. It should not come as a surprise that our third year was our most challenging year. While it was challenging, there was no time for our marriage to suffer – we both knew there was a greater cause to attribute our energy to. But still, I will note that I can see how experiences like ours can make or break a marriage…

Book Review: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney is about Dawn Raffel’s search to uncover the truths of Dr. Martin Couney and the things she learns about his story along the way. Several claims have been made on what Dr. Couney did and didn’t do – whether he was even an actual doctor or not – but little evidence supports most of those claims. What is known by fact is that he saved thousands of American preemies and low birth weight newborns in his infant incubator exhibits, where the babies were displayed to the public, for more than three decades in the early 1900s, most famously at Coney Island in New York City.

Homegoings

Homegoings

Our NICU days were over. Our dreams of snuggling our baby at home had come true. But our hearts were not unscathed from our successful experience. We did not escape without our eyes being opened to the hell that is an intensive care unit for newborn babies. In fact, on our very last day there, we saw the worst of it…

Homecoming

Discharge

Ten days into our two week homecoming goal, I made a 7:00 am phone call up to the NICU to ask Nurse T, Oaklee’s night nurse, “Are we going into work today? Or are we taking our baby home?”

Nurse T responded, “You’re taking your baby home.”

And just like that, September 5 became the happiest day of my life…

We Will Gavage

We Will Gavage

We were five days into our two week homecoming goal. Oaklee still had her ups and downs with feedings, but her oxygen sats and respiratory rate were starting to maintain a healthy range. This indicated substantial progress in Rollercoaster Two, simply because she was given more opportunities to feed than before when she was most often tachypnic. So here’s what we needed to happen: Oaklee needed to prove she could consistently take, on average, 80% of her feeds by bottle or breast before her next step.