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Challenge: NICU Parenting

38-weeker in NICU

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After years of trying to get pregnant on our own, an HSG test, and 7 rounds of Clomid (with ALL the side effects!), I found out I was pregnant on May 20, 2015. I had a very normal pregnancy, but at my 37 week appointment my blood pressure had shot up. At a recheck appt. that Friday, I was put on bedrest. In the middle of a 24-hour urine protein test, I went into labor on my own and was 4 cm dilated when I got to the hospital. When she was showing signs of distress I was told to mentally prepare for a c-section, and after my water broke and there was meconium, I was in the OR within 15 minutes. Chloe was born at 38 weeks to the day, at 5 lbs 13 oz. We were able to get a small handful of pictures, 5 or 6 maybe, before they rushed her to the NICU. I they stopped next to me on the way out so I could see her before they took her away. Because of the meconium aspiration, she had a PDA valve which caused hypertension in her heart. The next time I saw her, she was 36 hours old. By the time I saw her again, she had been intubated, extubated, and intubated again. She was on O2 and Nitrous Oxide, and if the Nitrous hadn't worked she was ready to be airlifted to LeBonheur for an ECMO. She was finally extubated the final time when she was 3 and a half days old, and it was the first time I heard her cry. After I was discharged that Friday, I couldn't believe that we had to leave our baby at the hospital. We went home and came back a couple hours later when visiting hours resumed, and that was the first time I got to hold her, the first time she had breastmilk (I pumped for 11 months because she wouldn't breastfeed). 9.5 hours short of 7 days in the NICU, she was discharged; the only sign we have now that something was wrong is hearing loss form antibiotics.

Even though our time in the NICU was shorter than others, it doesn't take away memories. I remember being woken up and told to decide LeBonheur or Vanderilt, of a phone call saying that the Nitrous had worked, watching her cry with no sound, watching her team of AMAZING nurses go from 6 nurses for her alone to 1 nurse working with 4 other babies. I remember staring at her sats, watching her O2 levels go up and down, her heart rate go up and down, watching the ratio of O2 and Nitrous to room air change, and the first time I saw her wearing clothes.

Chloe had tubes put in last week to help her hearing, and after walking into the recovery room, I couldn't help but to have flashbacks of the last time she was in the hospital. I teared up, both sad and thankful that she made it out safe!

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