Friday, October 21, 2011
Grateful for Small Victories...
This morning was filled with a lot of hope. I spoke to the pediatrician and he was super surprised by Faith's progress. In fact, he said that if she was eating well she may even possibly be able to come home with me when I'm discharged tomorrow.
Hope welled up inside me. I had been refusing to allow myself to think of the possibility of leaving here without my baby in my arms, and for that moment it seemed like I had been doing the right thing, just avoiding and ignoring that possibility.
Our first feeding of the morning was the best we'd had yet. She latched and fed for about 5 minutes without any aids. I thought we were making real and totally doable progress when it came to the goal of tomorrow.
Then, came the afternoon feed. Faith was just sleepy and content (they still have her on a sugar solution in her IV that helps to keep her blood sugar up, which is good and necessary, but also makes it so she doesn't feel hungry.) We held her for about an hour hoping she would wake up and open her eyes, but alas, no luck.
We came back to the room with hopes that I could take a short and needed nap. My iron levels are severely low. Apparently I must have bled too much yesterday and my body just hasn't been able to bounce back. This has left me a very sleepy, very dizzy Brittany at times, but I have been trying to push through because, inevitably, I have been more worried about Faith than myself. Well, the nap didn't work because it was lunch time.
The goal then became eat and nap while Jeff went to take a nap and do some things for himself. Well, I ate, but I decided I wanted to chat. I called my sister in law and talked for over an hour...well, too bad no nap...I realized it was almost 2 PM and I should probably try to go feed Faith again.
Well, I though there was hope in succeeding at a feeding because they said she was awake and her eyes were open...a very good sign.
I have been trying to get the hang of the whole breast feeding thing. Its been frustrating because not even my colostrum had been seeming to come in yet.
Well, things went from bad to worse...
Faith would latch and then sit there, doing nothing. We tried using an SNS drip. You fill it with formula and either tape the little tube to yourself or put it underneath a nipple shield and trick the baby into eating and wanting to suck...that wasn't working either. I was trying to remain positive and simply cheered on my daughter stating that if she wanted to come home tomorrow she needed to start showing the nurses that she knew how to eat...
and then things got much worse...
The wonderful nurse running the NICU whom had been helping me with acquiring my feeding skills rubbed my back and gently explained that based off of the way Faith was acting, she was pretty sure that she wasn't going to come home with me tomorrow.
Without warning the floodgates opened. I had been ignoring the thoughts of what it would be like to walk out of this hospital tomorrow without her and now I was being told it was reality. My sweet nurse suggested we stop trying to push something on her she wasn't ready for and explained that a lot of babies born before 38 weeks have a tendency to understand the latch and not the suck part, even though they have a working and strong suck reflex when tested. Maybe Faith just wasn't ready to eat on her own yet. She said that I would be welcome to stay on at the hospital in an extra room so I could be close to her until we could take her home, but the earliest that she could see Faith leaving the NICU and coming home would be Monday.
I sat, sobbed and held my baby. I prayed quietly hoping for the hurt in my heart to go away. When you're pregnant and anticipating how things will end, you don't picture having to leave your baby at the hospital...especially when everyone keeps telling you how great she looks and how much progress she has made. The NICU nurse continued to stroke my back and tried to make me feel better, reassuring me that it was okay to cry and that everything would be fine. Reminding me of all the obstacles that Faith had overcome in spite of everything...
The nurse had to leave go help another couple with their baby. She suggested that I hold her and love on her for a minute, but that maybe I should leave and get some rest. I held her close and prayed for some hope, a little glimpse that everything would be okay. I had literally just thought my "amen" when I noticed Faith snuzzling my neck like hungry babies do. She also started to eat her hand. In my head I thought, "If she can suck on her hand than she can suck, we just need to keep trying." I lowered her back down to try again. The NICU nurse came back and said, "Oh, you're going to try again? Okay. Just let me know when you're ready for me to take her or you need help."
She turned around to talk to some of her co-workers and Faith went to town! I let her know that Faith was feeding. She turned around and looked at her with a surprised look. She said, "Well, I guess just let me know when she stops." About 10 minutes later Faith started to grunt and cry. I pulled her off the latch and tried to burp her. She got the hiccups. We had to wait for about 15 minutes to try again. I tried using the nipple shield and the SNS again in hopes of possibly getting her some actual nutrition (again, I didn't think I had anything coming in at all- not even colostrum) but she refused to take it... I had to laugh because as soon as the nipple shield and SNS were gone, she opened her mouth wide and went to latch onto the bare skin. I decided to let her have what she wanted...wonder of wonders- I realized she was swallowing, she was actually getting something! She continued to feed for another 15 minutes and pulled herself off with a grunt. I burped her and she fell asleep on my shoulder.
The NICU nurse came over to tell me that Faith's jaundice levels were higher than they'd like and that she was going to have to put her on a bili light once I left, but she definitely remarked how amazed she was with Faith. The last 15 minutes were what had surprised her the most.
I'm not going to allow myself to think that just because she finally fed things are going to turn around and she will magically come home tomorrow...especially because she is now officially jaundiced...
However, I am going to say how grateful I am for small victories and little miracles. Faith can eat, she is a little pro at it. I am so blessed by a loving Heavenly Father- he answered my prayer right away. I was witness to a miracle this afternoon, and I am truly awestruck by his ability to surprise us with an immediate answer to a humble prayer.
I think of all the people out there that are praying for so many big things, and maybe they don't see the answers right away...
My humble prayer that my baby can come home tomorrow may or may not be answered, but I am so happy for the small victories that I was able to witness today. Small victories are just one way that God lets us know that he truly is listening, we just have to be willing to look for them and wait for the bigger ones.
Thank you to all of you that have been offering prayers and good thoughts in my behalf on on my daughter's behalf- I think you should know that I truly believe that you played a huge role in this small victory today. I was just the one who was blessed enough to witness the immediate answer to my prayer added to all of yours first hand.
Hugs and loves until next time darlings.