Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Second Week

The second week was full of milestones and special moments.  Some of these included Ryan getting to hold the babies for the first time, the babies getting to wear clothes, and also a day or so before their two week birthday the doctors decided they could be moved to the special care nursery.  The special care nursery is a step down unit at the hospital. They provide more specialized care than a regular hospital nursery, and the babies are still taken care of by a neonatal doctor but all the babies there are much more stable.

Kate breathing room air on her own 
Just stretching out a little bit

September 24th- A really big moment- first time holding Kate!

Daddy's little girl 

So tiny!
Andrew had to be put back on oxygen for a few days 
Kate doing a little tummy sleeping 
Sweet boy all awake!
The NICU was very crowded while we were there. One nurse told me that they were staffed to have around 35 babies and they were up to 55.  Since our babies were pretty stable they got moved into an isolation room off their main hall. It was tight quarters but I actually loved it because they were in the same room together. It was great to just sit there and look at both at the same time. 

Ashley came to visit 
Daddy's first time changing a girl diaper!

Kangaroo time

Ryan got to try it out too

You can barely even see Kate tucked into Ryan 
I think Andrew liked it...
The babies enjoyed a visit from Abby and Chandler 
James got to come say hello

He was very excited and proud!
We always end our visit with a trip to the Ronald McDonald room for dessert 

We were excited when they told us we could bring in some hats for them to wear. Even the preemie sizes were way too big!
One of the nurses decorated their isolette cards

Double bows on our mailbox
One VERY exciting milestone for me was when they were big enough and stable enough to wear clothes!
12 days old and looking cute!

Nana's first time holding Andrew 
They also graduated to being able to be in a regular swaddle
Packed up and ready to drive to the hospital 

Sara came to do a photo shoot (which will get it's own post) and afterwards we grabbed a quick dinner. Not sure what Ryan is doing here! 
It has been amazing to see how much the babies have changed in two weeks. It's hard to believe that the night they were born they couldn't breathe on their own and were on ventilators and only two weeks later they were breathing room air with no assistance. Amazing answers to prayers!

As I wrote earlier one of the biggest changes was at the end of this week the babies were moved to the special care nursery away from the regular NICU.  It is hard to describe what being in the NICU is like, especially on a daily basis.  It is extremely draining, both physically but even more so emotionally.  Sitting there watching your babies, unable to do much more than stroke them with your finger, hearing constant alarms going off and always looking and checking to see if it is your baby or another one who is experiencing a problem. The thankfulness you feel when it isn't your baby but also the sadness of knowing it is another tiny baby nearby.  The pit in your stomach when the alarm goes off and it is your child's number flashing. Seeing the stress on other people's faces, both the parents and the caretakers.  Seeing how few parents are even able to be up there while these babies are fighting so hard.  There is no privacy in the NICU.  Every issue or problem is heard by everyone on your hall.  There was a little one pound baby stationed beside Kate.  I cannot even begin to describe how tiny he was. He had so many struggles and being there each day, watching and listening to the medical team discuss his treatment plan, putting on a hospital mask and hat while they did a big procedure on him and praying that it would be successful and he wouldn't suffer through it- you can't watch and experience all that and not be affected. Being in the NICU changes you in ways you would never have anticipated.  Each day I was so thankful that our babies were making good progress yet we were surrounded by babies who kept having more and more challenges.  Each night I was so fatigued that I would fall asleep almost instantly, completely physically and emotionally drained. There really are not words to describe all that goes on in that place.  When I got the call late one night from the NICU my heart dropped and then the nurse informed me our babies were being moved to the Special Care Nursery and I was so excited and thankful.  There is definitely still some sadness associated with the families in special care.  The difference is that these babies have turned a corner and are slowly but surely taking baby steps towards discharge.  Each of our babies has a room now, they play soft music, and I'm allowed to bring my water bottle in.  Such minor things but it makes for a much more comfortable and calming environment.  It has been a great transition at the hospital for us but we were never forget those first two weeks in the NICU and all that we experienced there. The resilience and determination of the babies and the mountains they are able to climb is astounding.   One of my favorite nurses said to me one day, "If you don't believe in the power of prayer you will after being in the NICU."  She is absolutely correct and may we never forget the prayers we saw answered during our time there.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the last bit! I loved reading it...even though it was probably hard for you to type! So glad K!e and Andrew are making such good progress!