It’s my second day at the hospital and a hospital staff informs us that I’ve been discharged and we are expected to leave by noon. There had been no complications, my body was recuperating well so I’m expected to leave. But my baby is in the NICU, am I supposed to leave him? Yes, that’s the procedure. I can come at anytime, spend as much time as I want with him but I will not have access to the hospital “amenities ” anymore. I was left perplexed. How am I supposed to do this? I was with Nathaniel for almost 9 months, we were together 24/7 and you want me to leave him? I didn’t get a chance to process the information that a lactation nurse was already at my door. Asking if I had any milk for Nathaniel. Milk? Oh wait my milk had not come in yet. Like I wasn’t feeling bad already. I advise her that I’m working on it and quickly head to the shower and get dress so I can see Nathan.
As I enter the NICU, I see my husband attempting to feed my son with a bottle with the help of a nurse. Such a beautiful sight. I notice that the feeding tube is now in his mouth instead of his nose. She explains to me that it is a trial to see if by temporary removing the obstruction, it will help him work on his motor skills. I quickly rush and ask if I can breastfeed. But Nathan is too weak and breastfeeding actually takes a lot of effort, while bottle feeding requires less energy. I’m then asked again if my milk has come in…( Side note the amount of pressure to have breast milk ready is unreal.) After his bottle, I hold Nathan for a few minutes before the nurse puts him back in his incubator.
My husband and I decide that he will go pack our stuff and I can stay with Nathaniel while he fills up the paperwork and gets us ready. I’m happy as long as I’m with my son. As I sit there and admire my sweet baby, the alarm for his vitals goes off. Before I have a chance to start panicking, his nurse quickly comes and tap him on the leg. She tells me that sometimes he haves apnea and he forgets to breathe. That tapping him should fix the issue. We will later learn that this was more severe than apnea. I had now been there for a few hours and Nathan’s alarm went off at least 20 times if not more. I was becoming anxious and it wasn’t only Nathaniel’s alarm going off. I was surrounded by many other babies and their alarm were going off as well. I still have nightmares about these alarms. I don’t know how nurses do it. For that they deserve an award.
My husband comes back in the NICU and lets me know we are packed and we can head home to eat, change clothes and come back. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It means I would have to leave my baby. The nurse encourages me and reassures she will call us if there is anything. I agree reluctantly and we head home.
Once home, I shower again. Yes, I shower again. I’m sorry but I don’t feel really clean unless I shower in my own shower. I change clothes and while eating we receive a call from the NICU. My husband answers the call. A NICU pediatrician informs us that it is best for Nathaniel to be transferred to the Children’s Hospital. My heart sinks… This means one thing. Something is definitely wrong.