Monday, December 17, 2012

NICU Nightmare

I never went into detail about the night Collins went to the NICU so here is the whole story:

She wasn't born until 3:57pm on Wednesday, the 21st. By the time all the family left and they got us moved into our new room, it was already about 7pm. Derek and I talked about whether we wanted to send her to the nursery that night and we both decided we wanted to keep her with us. I wasn't ready to let go of her. She had been gagging and choking on fluid so although we trusted the nurses 110%, we didn't know how many babies were in the nursery and how often they would check on her. We decided we would rather keep an eye on her ourselves. We hardly slept a minute because we were first time parents jumping at every noise she made. When I say jump, I mean I would yell at Derek to run to her because I couldn't get up very quickly.

So the next day we kept telling the nurse that she kept choking on fluid and we kept having to suck stuff out of her nose and throat. Again, the nurses always said it was normal. So Thursday night at about 10pm, the nurse asked if we wanted them to keep her in the nursery that night. Since we hadn't got any sleep the night before and we would be going home the next day, we told her we probably would. She said she was going to take her to do some of the newborn screenings and would bring her back at 11:30pm when she was supposed to eat and we could decide then. I had just gotten her dressed in her pajamas (bow and all) and could hear people ohing and ahing over her in the hall way. I fell asleep thinking about our cute, healthy baby.

My mom instinct woke me up at 11:25pm and I was so excited for her to come back. This was the first time she had been away for more then 30 min. At 11:40pm the nurse came in and said they had been running a test on her and her oxygen levels kept dropping. They wanted to watch her another 30-40 min and then would bring her back. The nurse didn't seem concerned so I fell back asleep. I woke back up at 12:15 and she still wasn't back. 5 min later, the nurse walked in with no Collins. I knew it wasn't good right then. She asked if she could turn the lights on and I quickly yelled at Derek to wake up. (4 weeks later and I still can't write this without crying). She said her oxygen levels kept dropping and she thought it was best they send her upstairs to the NICU. She said my pediatrician was on the phone to talk to me. I picked up our hospital phone and the pediatrician just explained that since her oxygen levels kept dropping, they needed to take her to the NICU to monitor her more and give her any help she might need. I of course agreed and the nurse said they would take her upstairs in about 30 min. I completely broke down after the nurse left. I hadn't seen my baby in a few hours and I just kept picturing her being hooked up in the NICU and being all alone. I wanted to go up there but I was trying to hold myself together and wait a few minutes like the nurse said it would take to get her up there.

About 15 min. later the nurse came back and said they wanted me in the NICU to feed her. She led us upstairs and after going through the process of getting into the NICU (you have to sanitize your hands like crazy, take off all your jewelery, etc), a NICU nurse led us down to the sunflower room where Collins was. I was still an emotional wreck but was so relieved when we got to Collins and she only had monitors on and not anything in her nose for oxygen like I assumed she would. The NICU nurse said they had been monitoring her and hadn't seen any drops yet and that she was looking great. She didn't think we should be concerned at all. Collins was stripped out of her cute pajamas and laid in just a diaper under a warmer. I picked her up to nurse her and kissed her like crazy and told her how much I loved her and she was going to be ok. The NICU nurse said she had lost some weight so after I nursed, I should try topping her off with formula. After she had taken a tiny bit of formula, I was burping her and her alarm went off. The nurse had told us what everything on the monitor meant so we knew it was her oxygen. It dropped to the lows 80s (above 90 is normal) for a few seconds and then went back up. She said it was probably just from moving her around and burping her and that she was fine. I hogged her for over an hour before I let Derek hold her before going back downstairs before she had to eat again.

We tried to get a little sleep before going back up to feed her around 4:30am. As we walked down the hall to her room, I had to constantly stare at the floor because it was heartbreaking to walk by all the tiny babies in the other rooms leading to hers. Her oxygen levels had stayed up while we were gone and I decided to skip the formula this time because I blamed the drop in oxygen level on the formula. In the room she was in, there were about 6 other babies in there and whenever any of the babies alarms goes off, it alarms all monitors and tells what baby it is (just by a letter, not their name). So although her alarm never went off, there were constant beeps and alarms going off. It is every parents nightmare up there. Again, we held her for over an hour before laying her back down so she could rest. The NICU nurse said the pediatricians usually make their rounds early before heading into the office so we were hopeful she would be there when we came back for our 7:30am feeding.

We got back upstairs at 7am hoping the pediatrician would be there but unfortunately, she wasn't. She still hadn't had any drops in her oxygen level so the new NICU nurse said she didn't see any reason why the pediatrician wouldn't still let her go home that day. She couldn't guarantee it but said Collins was looking great. We went back to our room to pack things up because I was going to get discharged that day with or without Collins. She said she would call if the pediatrician came.

When we got back up there around 10am,  the nurse was running the same screen Collins had failed the night before. She said not to mess with her and she still had a few minutes of the testing to do. Derek and I stared at the screen and prayed her levels would stay up. Luckily, they did! Nurse said she passed with flying colors. The pediatrician finally arrived around 10:30am and we kept our fingers crossed as she examined Collins and looked over her records. She said she didn't see anything wrong and couldn't explain why her oxygen levels were dropping but she gave us the all clear to take her home! We just had to bring her to the office the next day to have her weight checked but the pediatrician said to skip the formula. We were sssooo happy and rushed down to our room to get her going home outfit and car seat. We wanted out of that place as soon as we could!!

Although we only had to experience the NICU for one night and Collins didn't even need any medical intervention, I am ssoo thankful for all the technology they have and for all the wonderful nurses. I don't know how they do it! And for parents who have to spend days, weeks or even months visiting their baby in the nicu, I pat you on the back because it is emotionally draining and the worst feeling in the world!


  1. Gah! This still makes ME cry too!!

  2. Yep, just bawled! So happy she's home healthy! Love you all!

  3. Wow that is every parents worst nightmare. Glad she is ok and now growing and happy beautiful baby girl.