meet henry: our nicu experience.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

If I could sum up the hardest part of having my baby boy in the NICU, this picture above would explain it all. This picture was taken two hours after I delivered Henry, and they wheeled me to the NICU to see him for a few minutes. This was the first time, of many, that I would see him hooked up to all his wires and IV's. Thankfully he was off his CPAP at the time so I didn't see him with the large tube up his nose that he has on in the pictures below. I don't think my heart could take it. He looked so helpless and as his mama, I wanted to do all I could to take it all away and just hold him close. But I couldn't. So not only was he helpless, but I was as well, and during our 8 day stay in the NICU this was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. 

But the hardest was not knowing entirely if our baby boy was going to be okay. From the moment Henry was born (as I described in this post) with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and his lack of crying, he had some problems breathing. And this was the only problem they thought he had. So as they took him to the NICU to hook him up to a CPAP, we thought he would only be there for a couple of hours. Once we got set up in the mother and baby wing though, we just kept waiting for them to bring him in. They would call us and say he needed a few more hours, and then once those hours had passed they would call again and say he needed to stay for a few more hours. Needless to say, that first night was the longest night for me. All you new mamas out there can attest, that once your baby is finally here all you want to do is be close to them. And that night especially, as I laid there waiting for my baby, it felt like a part of me was missing. 

After multiple disappointing phone calls that night from the NICU saying that our baby boy was still in the danger zone and not ready to be discharged from the NICU, early the next morning we finally got a phone call with some good news--that we could come and see our Henry and start breastfeeding! But of course the good news stopped there. We were told that Henry's blood sugar was dangerously low. A normal blood sugar level for a new baby is in the mid 50's and Henry's blood sugar level was an 8. So the road to getting his blood sugar up was a long one, but after weening him off his IV, he was eventually able to hold his blood sugar level up on his own. We were so proud of our little man. 

But after two days in the NICU, we had another curveball thrown at our little family. I was being discharged from the hospital that night, and we had been told that Henry was doing well and would probably be able to come home with us. We were beyond thrilled. But that same afternoon, we were told that they had run a test on Henry and the results had come back, and they weren't good. It showed that Henry had an infection. 

Up to this point, we had taken this experience relatively well. Tanner was strong, no surprise there. But surprisingly, I was too. Because up to this point, Henry's problems were calculated. They knew what was wrong and how to fix it. But with these test results, it was unknown what kind of infection he had. That uncertainty mixed with the sudden realization that my baby boy might not be okay, broke me. As I stood there in the NICU looking at my sweet baby with wires all around him and IV's in his little hand, foot, and head; hearing the nurse tell us the news, I lost any strength I previously had. Thankfully, I had the strength of my family around me and the peace of priesthood blessings given by my loving husband and sweet dad that Henry would be okay. 

That night I was discharged from the hospital. Tanner and I were forced to return home to sleep, without our baby. I was deflated, but we knew Henry was in good hands. We returned to the hospital bright and early for Henry's morning feeding and experienced a tender mercy. We ran into the head Doctor of the NICU, who is a family friend, and he decided to take Henry on as a patient. He explained that they would put Henry on 7 days of multiple antibiotics, just to be safe, as to be sure to kill whatever infection Henry might have. Hearing him explain to us his plan of action and that Henry would soon be as healthy as can be, strengthened this mama's heart. 

The tender mercies kept coming after that. The next day, Sunday, I was able to partake of the sacrament in the parent's lounge with a few nurses and my mom. A sweet elderly man blessed the sacrament while his darling wife spoke only the most tender of words, that my Heavenly Father knew I needed to hear. I again felt strengthened. We were blessed yet again that day when we were told they had a room for us to stay and sleep in, just down the hall from Henry. I was able to stay in that room for the rest of Henry's stay in the NICU, with my Mom and Tanner switching off staying with me during the night, to help me with Henry's night feedings. I was so blessed with help and strength from my family and with no doubt, strength from above. But most importantly with the health of my baby boy. He had the best doctors and the sweetest nurses. The NICU truly was a community of the best people, and we will always be grateful to them for taking care of our Henry.   

After 8 days in the NICU, Henry proved to all of us that he was indeed a fighter. His breathing issues had disappeared entirely, his blood pressure was up to a normal level, and any signs of infection were gone. 

^^ My awesome husband was so loving during this whole experience. He made the hospital a party (as much as it could be) as we frequented the surprisingly yummy hospital cafeteria together daily and had a sushi party in our hospital room for his 25th birthday. He makes hard moments like these good, and good moments even better.

^^ Such a handsome little boy, even with the IV in his head...which was one of the saddest things for me.

^^ I could not have gotten through those first few weeks of hospitals without this beautiful and strong woman. My Mom was there for me the whole entire time. Crying with me when I needed it and being strong for me when I needed. Those nights she stayed with me in the hospital, although with not so perfect circumstances, those "sleepovers" will always be some of my most precious memories of my Mom and I.

^^ Henry got spoiled in the NICU. With the endless attention from his awesome nurses and riding in his most favorite mammaroo, we weren't sure he really wanted to leave. 

^^ Bringing our baby boy home with us was the best day! No words can describe my joy.

^^ I can't tell you how excited I was to be home with my precious baby. Just seeing him right next to me in his bassinet during the night was something I ached for during those 8 days in the hospital. 

Unfortunately, that next morning I woke up with a fever of 103, the chills, and was frankly delirious. My Mom took me to my Doctor where they did a couple tests and within minutes told me I needed to go check into the hospital. They put me into the tiniest hospital room and hooked me up to 4 different antibiotics. I was devastated. I just wanted to be near my baby. I can't tell you how badly I just wanted to bust out of that joint. Especially, since we thought we had said goodbye to that hospital for good, just the day before. Well the verdict was in, I had an infection in my uterus. Fun. But with lots and lots of prayers and priesthood blessings, I thankfully only had to stay in the hospital 2 days. 

I'll admit, it was really hard to count my blessings during those two days. All I could think was, REALLY? I guess they are right when they say, "when it rains, it pours." But I guess Heavenly Father just really wanted to make sure I appreciated being home with my baby and being a Mom. Let me tell you, I will never again take one snuggle for granted. No matter how utterly exhausted I may be. 

I am truly so grateful though for modern medicine. It is a crazy  (and scary) thought to think just 100 years ago, both mine and Henry's experiences could have ended a lot differently. If I have learned anything from those crazy weeks, is to never take anything for granted and to always be grateful.

I feel so blessed to be living my dream life--to be a mom to a beautiful boy. I am so grateful I was chosen to be little Henry's mama and I always will be. And hey, life is soooo incredibly good now in comparison. It's all up from here, right? 


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  2. Love love love this post. Thanks for sharing the story!!!! Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take the plunge and become a mom haha. So happy for you and your perfect little family.

  3. You brought me to tears! I'm so glad everything is going great bow! Xoxo

  4. Love that you are all healthy now and being a mom is the best thing ever!

  5. Victoria, your faith and strength are amazing examples to everyone else. I am so glad that this experience ended positively for you, that your little family is healthy, happy, and together.

    Your baby is beautiful. So beautiful.

  6. From thinking you'll be able to hold your sweet boy earlier than expect, to having to experience the stress of the NICU, to being in the hospital yourself... you've been on a roller coaster, that's for sure!
    Birth is such a spiritual experience, you're birthing a new life and you really do feel so close to Heaven.
    Glad to hear everything turned out well and everything happened right when it should, Heavenly Father is a miracle worker after all. ;) you're very blessed to have such a loving mother and husband to be by your side throughout all of this. I can't imagine having your sweet babe stay in the NICU, those 8 days must of seemed like decades because all you want to do was hold Henry yet that wasn't an option at that time. He is sure is a looker and I am sure he'll use those little lungs of his and let you know he is there and well, you'll get use to his little screams! ;)

  7. Vic, I am tearing up!! So glad you and your little man are OK, such a blessing that you two are happy and healthy :) thanks for sharing, I have loved reading this! We need to have another girls day so I can meet him!


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