The Littlest Warrior: An Inspiring NICU Story

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I feel like the word “Warrior” is an understatement for this little guy. I want to share with y’all a very precious story to my heart, starring this hunk. It’s a difficult part of my life to re-live, but it’s also a time in my life when my faith was tested and made stronger in God.

Heads up…this post my be a little longer than most. But I will make it worth your read 🙂

Almost two years ago, my baby girl and I were getting ready to welcome Lola (my momma) to Cali as she was coming to visit us for the weekend. My husband was out in the field and wouldn’t be back until later in the evening. I had been feeling extremely tired the few days prior and had noticed that I was a few days late. Five to be exact. And I’m never late. [I’m a pretty predictable woman, in every way.] Two very evident signs I had when I found out I was pregnant the first time. Now, we were in no way ‘trying’ to have another baby. Paislee was only 7 months old. We were just starting to get the hang of this whole thing. I guess most of the time babies aren’t planned. In our case we were actively trying NOT to have another baby…yet. I had gone to the doctor months before and had an IUD put in. [I won’t go into the details of that….google it haha.] So back to this beautiful day in March…I was feeling tired and anxious. I thought, “There is no way I could be pregnant.” I took my girl on a walk to the corner store up the street. Bought a test, and walked back home. I took it immediately. They say the best time to take a test is in the morning, but I couldn’t wait. I mean, if you’re pregnant, you’re pregnant right?! Sure enough, I was pregnant. I had so much anxiety in that moment. WE HAD A 7 MONTH OLD. We were going to have two babies under 2 years old. So many thoughts were racing through my head. Then worry set in. I had this foreign device in my body [the IUD] that was supposed to prevent babies from growing inside me. Now I had a baby growing inside me and that thing was still there! I had to go to the doctor and get this thing out ASAP! I collected myself and went to pick up my momma from the airport. At this point I hadn’t told anyone that I was pregnant. I wanted to wait and tell my husband once he got home. This was not a texting matter. My mom could sense my worry as soon as she got in the car. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I had to tell someone. She did what any momma would do, she reassured me it would all be alright. Fast-forward to later that night when my husband got home. Now, I did not give him this news in an exciting or sweet way. I was worried and needed to get to the hospital soon. So we get to the ER and they get us checked in and taken back pretty fast due to the urgency of the matter. The doctors were pretty shocked but reassured us that this is not the first time this has happened and they would monitor us closely and do everything they can to help us. A big risk of pregnancy with an IUD is an ectopic pregnancy. Basically, this is where the egg gets fertilized in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. This can be very deadly for momma and baby. After an ultrasound the doctors ruled that out for us. Thank goodness! It’s funny as I look back at it now because my husband and I were so worried about having two kids. We weren’t ready. But in that moment when we realized our baby was okay, we were so relieved. so, long story short, the doctors were not able to remove my IUD. They had me see a specialty doctor throughout my entire pregnancy. Baby was okay, and was not in any danger with the device. The doctors said they would just remove it during the delivery. Okay…I can deal with that.

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Sadly, these are about the best “belly” pics I got during this pregnancy. I planned on getting maternity pictures taken, but our little Noah had a different plan!

The morning it all came about…chilly morning in September. I woke up at 5:30 like I did every morning to get ready for work. My sheets were soaked. I thought I had peed myself. Or that something awful was happening. I look down and it looks like someone dumped a bucket of water everywhere. What the heck? I was only 27 weeks along. Is my water really breaking? Surely not. It was like a human waterfall y’all. Yeah this was happening. I call my husband, who was in the field again. He has GREAT timing with these things right?! So I immediately call the essentials…my mom and mother-in-law. I tell my sister [who was living with us at the time] that a friend of mine was coming to pick me up and take me to the hospital so she needed to stay back with our daughter.

We get to L&D and the nurse acted like I was crazy for insinuating that my water had in fact broken. I’m pretty sure it’s evident when your water breaks?! Moving on…so they had me admitted and gave me the steroids to help with the development of his lungs and other meds to help keep me from going into labor. After being there for a few hours, my husband was able to get there. Huge breath of relieve to have my person there with me. The hospital we were in was not properly equipped with a NICU and antepartum unit, so we were transferred to another hospital about 40 minutes away.

We were in the antepartum unit for about 2 weeks before the doctors decided to deliver. they wanted to try and get me to 32-34 weeks for the baby’s lungs to fully develop and for higher survival rates. We had an amazing support system here and had friends and guys from my husband’s shop some to visit us during our stay. Which made it a little more tolerable.

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The day before Bubba’s birthday was definitely an eventful one. and incredibly painful I might add. We had been doing good the past two weeks, but I had begun to have contractions that were getting closer together and extremely painful. I was full-fledged in pre-term labor. The doctors had me on some antibiotics, but my body had formed an infection called chorioamnionitis, or chorio. It was very serious and our little guy had to come out ASAP. He was delivered by c-section at 1:54 a.m. on September 21st. Weighing a wopping 3 pounds 3 ounces. A beautiful baby boy, Noah. The surgery went smoothly. Oh and they got my IUD out after looking for it for at least 30 minutes. It was lodged in my right ovary, people. OUCH. But our baby boy was finally here. I got to see him for maybe 2 seconds before they had to take him away to the NICU and get him admitted.

I’m sorry if these pictures seem a little scary for you. But this was our life for the next 3 months. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to see my little baby like this. It was 2 or 3 days before we were even able to hold him.

 

It was such a long road. With many obstacles. I mean seriously…if this little guy can overcome the things he overcame, anyone can do anything. First it was getting him to gain weight and eat on his own. He had a feeding tube for about the first month or so before we started breastfeeding. Once he started to that, he began to gain some weight. Once he gained more weight and was able to keep his body temperature up, he graduated to an open crib! BIG leaps! His biggest battle in the NICU was getting those lungs working on their own. He was on oxygen for the greater part of his stay. He kept having what the doctors and nurses called “events”. They were basically periods of time when he would stop breathing all together. They can be paired with feeding a lot of the time but what kept him in for so long was the fact that his events were apnea events. Where he would stop breathing while laying in a stationary position. Needless to say, it was a scary thing to watch as a momma. We ended up staying a week past his original due date because theres a universal rule that they had in our NICU. He had to go 5 full days without having any events in order to be discharged. Let me tell you how much of a tease that is. There were at least two times where he would go 4 days, no events. And on the 5th day, we would come in to feed him and he the nurses told us he had an event. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. But then he did it! His beautiful, working lungs lasted 5 full days! We were so thrilled! The night before you take your NICU baby home, they offer a room for you to stay in. It’s right down the hall from the NICU in case anything were to go wrong, and it gives us parents a little piece of mind before we take our baby home. He’s been hooked up to all kinds of wires and tubes since the day he was born…of course I want to stay in the room!

 

THEN WE GOT TO TAKE HIM HOME!! After 79 long days…we got to bring him home. I could never put into words the way we felt on this day. Even more of an emotional roller coaster. But our boy was going home and we were all going to be under the same roof! What a blessing! So many times I asked God why my baby. And so many times I blamed myself for the prematurity of it all. I was under so much stress at work and I still think that was part of the reason why my water broke so early on.

I really want to emphasize the worry that comes along with a preemie. The hospitalization is just the beginning. After you bring them home it can sometimes get even worse. Not having the reassurance of the monitors, nurses and wires all around. I watched Noah’s teeny little body turn pale white then gray far too many times in the NICU. I guess I couldn’t blame myself for checking on him every 30 minutes to make sure he was still breathing. Then being overly paranoid about developmental milestones. Which was a big one for me. Wondering if your baby will ever catch up. The trauma from that experience just as a momma still affects me today, almost 2 years later. I have such a special place on my heart for any parent that goes through this as we did.

God and prayer were my saving grace during this time of our lives. Without it, I would have gone downhill fast. But thank goodness for those things. For they brought me this healthy boy today…

 

My baby. My ninja. My warrior. My Noah

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17 Comments

  1. Thank-you for sharing your story – reading it brought back so many memories for me. My twins were born at 31 weeks and spent 2 months in the NICU – one was 3lbs 3oz just like your little guy. They’re 7 now and HUGE – you’d never know they started so little. Take care 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was wiping away tears reading this! My son was born via c-section at 37 weeks due to pre-eclampsia and he had to stay in the NICU for almost 2 weeks. I couldn’t even imagine going through the NICU for 3 months. Looking back, I wish I would have taken more photos but there were definitely some scary times with my little guy’s lungs collapsing and pictures weren’t on my mind. What a beautiful story with such a good ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish we would have taken more video of it. Even though it was such a difficult time, the first 3 months of his life were spent there! And I’m such a camera freak! And wow preclampsia. I’m sure that was so scary! But it sounds like you had a happy ending too! I’m so glad his story touched your heart! Thanks for reading! 💗

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  3. Every child is an amazing testimony to the miracles God gives us every day. What a journey you had, to see you baby all hooked up to breathing tubes and monitors would be scary. I am so happy for you, that your baby boy overcame obstacles and that you trusted God during a difficult time and you have this sweet little guy to love and cherish. What a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww!! I’m sitting here right now with my little warrior and this post is so relatable. I spent 3 weeks in antepartum before delivering my little guy who weighed 3lbs 15oz. It was the scariest experience of my life with my heart almost crashing 6 times and he was delivered blue with a “true knot” in his cord that was wrapped around him 4 times. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m in the process of trying to get out of what I’ve been calling “survival mode” and I’m writing a blog post about both our story as well as the PTSD I’ve been dealing with after the experience. Great post and Noah is super cute!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I loved reading your life story. I felt like I was right there with you! You write beautifully. I had one of my babies early but only at 37 weeks and that was scary enough for me. I am always in awe of the strength that people have when faced with a heart wrenching situation. Thanks for sharing your story! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Check out my blog Life with a preemie. Just started yesterday so i have only one post but would love moms who have been through the experience for feedback and to follow my journey as a preemie mom. We are so blessed to have our warriors.

    Liked by 1 person

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