Monday, June 24, 2013

Don't google it...

Over the next two weeks, Olive was doing really well.  She was down to 1/2 liter of oxygen and was nursing and bottle feeding well.   I drove to the NICU for as many of the "touch times" and feedings as I could manage with my husband being back at work.  On Thanksgiving morning the NICU called us to tell us they wanted us to bring in her carseat for her test and she may go home soon.   We were so excited.  We had to purchase a new carseat because Olive as too small to fit in the GRACO seat we saved from Mimi.  On the evening of black friday I waited in line for two hours at Toys R Us to buy a Chicco Keyfit that the NICU recommended.

I got to the hospital late Friday night and my heart sank when I walked in to find my baby back on oxygen and full of IVs again. I broke down and cried right there in my little visiter chair next to her isolet.  The nurse handed me some tissues and got the doctor to come and tell me what had happened.  They explained that they had found blood in Olive's diaper, along with a lot of vomit in her crib.  She also had a distended belly and was very lethargic.

Olive was diagnosed with Necrotizing Entercolitis.  The first thing the doctor told me was "don't go home and google it" which of course I did.  I wish I hadn't.  My browser screen was flooded with statistics like "only 40-60% of babies survive.."  Officially wished I hadn't googled it.  More tears over the next 10 days as they filled her body with hardcore antibiotics, had to move her IV every few days, attempt putting in a PIC line.   She was on a 10 day course of these drugs, with no food allowed.  She was sustained by IV sugars and electrolytes.  For the first few days I was not allowed to hold her.  Once her x-rays showed that the gas in her intestines was reducing, I was allowed to hold her every few hours if I could get to the NICU.  The poor thing would root and root for food and I wasn't allowed to feed her.

After 10 days, they slowly introduced food again and then nursing again.  I am still feeling so blessed that I had all the milk she needed.  She had to be weaned off oxygen again as her body healed.  In retrospect, Olive was so lucky.  Her doctors pinpointed the symtoms quickly enough to reduce the damage to her intestinal track and avoid surgery.

After she tolerated the volume of food that was required for her to maintain weight and was off oxygen for 48 hours, she took her 10 hour apnea test and her carseat test.  After anxiously waiting the doctors answer....On December 13th Olive came home.

Even though Olive is home safe in my arms and growing strong to this day, this whole experience has scarred me.  My heart will never be the same after experiencing the pain of leaving my baby in that hospital day after day for an entire month.  I missed so many firsts.  I will never forgive myself, because it was my body that couldn't make it to 40 weeks.  When they had done my c-section they discovered my placenta was in fact torn, and I my amniotic fluid was filled with blood.  My placenta was heavily calcified, as if I was past 40 weeks in my pregnancy, not at 34 weeks.  The doctor told me after that we had made the right decision to take her out when we did.

Olive was put through so much.  No mother should have to face this challenge and no baby should spend those first few precious weeks in a hospital and not in their mother's arms.  I pray if we have any more babies that this is not in our future again.

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