“How quickly we went from over-the-moon happy to pissed.“
A continuation of C-Section in 4 Min.
It was 8:00am on Thursday, September 20, 2019. As I clung to my minutes-old baby, safe and warm on my chest, the nurses buzzed around us testing, whispering, questioning.
Winslow’s blood sugar was dangerously low – 18 mg/dL – an automatic admission to the NICU. I think I physically felt my spirit drop through the floor. How quickly we went from over-the-moon happy to just pissed off. After a glucose gel failed to instantly raise his blood sugar, the nurses suggested formula for an extra boost. He was an hour old and I had a bottle of formula thrusted in my face to feed him (a route I’d never intended to take). Win did what I didn’t have the guts to do – refused. But then the nurse suggested we force the formula into him and began explaining the process of a nasogastric tube for a gavage feeding. I was honestly offended as she flooded my mind with painful memories of my daughter’s first months. “We’re familiar,” I cut her off with the only couple of words I could manage to get out.
For probably 20-30 minutes, there was a back-and-forth whisper of whether or not Win would go to the NICU. But my husband and I knew this territory all too well. He would go. It’s an easy place to get into. And once you’re in, it’s hard to get out.
At last the call was made; Win would be admitted. And before I knew it, some stranger was holding my baby near my face asking if I wanted to give a kiss goodbye. Again. No, I didn’t want to give a kiss goodbye. Because I didn’t want to have to say goodbye. I wanted to snuggle my baby and enjoy that moment with my husband. But that infamous kiss sealed the deal again. A stranger walked away with my baby again. I sat in the recovery room without a baby again. My desires for my baby and me were stripped from me again. Someone else got to make the decisions about my baby again.
It was hard not to be disappointed in my son despite the fact that he not only did nothing wrong, but the situation was also just so far beyond the control of a human, let alone one who is minutes old. However, phrases were thrown out like, “If he could just get his blood sugar up,” pinning the pressure on him as if raising his blood sugar was something he could do on command. To say he was “failing” tests implied he was in a situation where, if he just tried a little harder, he might succeed. The language, in this moment, was unfair. It set the tone of my initial relationship with my son. And then the actions came into play. They took my son away from me, and they brought him to a place I loathed and essentially kept me hostage in another building, waiting on an incision check, before allowing me to see him but telling me I couldn’t hold him or feed him.
Post-cesarean, you have to prove silly things like your ability to pee, walk and eat before you can leave your room. When your baby is in a different building than you, that means you have to prove you can pee, walk and eat before being with your baby. Never in my life have I been more motivated to pee, walk and eat. Get. It. Over. With. I need to go get my son out of there.
Within his first hour in the NICU, Win’s blood sugar stabilized, but then he became a bit tachypneic. Had he not been sent to the NICU for his blood sugar, his minor tachypnea (something many people experience without ever noticing) would have gone unnoticed. We were smack dab in the middle of the viscous cycle we begged God to help us avoid.
“Feels kind of like he just needs his mom if you ask me… I think Win went in at a point where he could have done better with us than in the NICU.”
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 36 weeks, 4 days
Actual Age: 0 days
Doctor’s Appointments: 11
Makena Injections: 19