Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help through the NICU

Back in September when I first found out I was bleeding, I knew this was not a good sign while being pregnant. It made me nervous, but I told my mom from the beginning, that I knew things would work out how they were supposed to. After losing Ollie, I knew all too well how quickly and suddenly a life could be taken from me. If God needed Loxxley, he would be taken-I would have been beyond heartbroken again-but for some reason, I trusted more this time.

Fortunately, things worked out to my liking and our once again heartfelt pleading prayers, were answered. Loxxley is supposed to be here. He is truly a miracle, the miracle we prayer for. His life is not yet completed and I am grateful formy time I have already spent with him.

The last few months-whoa I mean several exhausting never ending months, I have learned some things I want to share with others facing this same ever exhausting and difficult situation. The NICU is not a relaxing place to be, it is filled with anxious mothers (and fathers) quietly and fearfully attending to their babies the best they can as the doctors try to save their weak and fragile preemie.

First minutes of life @ 2lbs. 5 oz.

Several ways to help you push through and plan for the scary and uncertain NICU:

-When you first arrive in the Neonatal unit be prepared to be tired and exhausted. Every mother-excuse me, most mothers want to be with their precious and oh so fragile preemie every single minute humanly possible. For some, it is not very practical to be there every day, for me, I had to find a way to get to the hospital. I was too anxious and nervous away from him. I just thought that little baby needed me-even when there was not much I could do other than just stare and send my positive love and thoughts towards Loxxley. But do not feel bad if it is not possible for you to be there, the nurses are very skilled and take great care of your child while you are away. And the other mothers send their love to your baby too!!! 

-Be prepared to NOT understand what's going on. There will be a lot of scary machines, tubes, and words you wont be familiar with. That is okay. You will quickly get used to them and like me, will get so sick of hearing those annoying beeps and staring at the monitors and having a panic attack every time your child desats. I swear, Loxxley's alarm went off more than any other probably just seemed this way.

-Don't be afraid of the doctors just because they are more knowledgeable than you-ask every question you can to find out the medical conditions and go home and do your own research. Remember you are still the parent and have the final say. Chris and I actually went against what some of the doctors thought, they dont know everything-but they do know a lot. Trust yourself after you have prayerful meditated about the matter. After losing Ollie and then having a preemie, God has played a big part in our lives and our decisions. He is very aware.  We all need a power stronger than ourselves to call upon for help-even those amazing doctors do.
Can you believe the size oh him????
Unreal and scary. 

-Pray everyday as much as you can for your baby on your knees-I was too exhausted and rushed to the NICU the second I woke up, I wish I had done this more. I needed the quiet and peace I feel when I am praying or pleading to my God. I also needed the strength from a higher power to get me through this tiresome dark valley. God is aware and ready to help. Also Jesus Christ is there to lighten your burdens, He did for me and He will for you, If you ask. This fight is long and hard, but it will end and I hope it ends for you all in bringing your healthy baby home-if your child passes on to heaven, keep this promise with you every day until you yourself die-You Will See And Hold Your Precious Child Again.

-Touch your baby the minute they say its okay.  Chris and I were so scared to even breathe while in the micro-preemie pod, let alone touch Loxxley. We were so worried he was going to die-we had already buried one child and knew how real it was. Loxx was so tiny and fragile. We could see through his skin. He was too tiny to live-well, so we thought. I did Kangaroo care, aka-skin to skin, every single day for 3 months. I tried to do it for 3 hours at a time-this was so exhausting I am not going to lie, but my little Loxx needed it and we all know those momma bears fight hard for their young-the dad's do too, Chris did kangaroo care when I couldn't. These little preemies are so STRONG and TOUGH. They are fighting so hard, so remember to be patient with them. They are doing their very best. They will go home when they are ready. Loxxley got released exactly on his due date. 

First time holding Loxxley, I was shaking.

-Remember to take time everyday for yourself, something I had a really hard time with. After Poppy and Chris moved to Utah, I lived at the Ronald McDonald house-a blessing and a curse to be so close-and sat in the NICU from 9am for his first feeding until 9 or 10 pm. It was way too much for one person. I did this every day for 1 entire month. I would not recommended this approach. I would eat lunch as quickly as I could and almost choke every time, so I could rush back to feed Loxxley. I was determined to have him be breastfed exclusively and for him to take the bottle properly. He had such a hard time. After much perseverance and offering him the breast daily, I am happy to report Loxxley is now breastfed and doing amazing. Not saying he is t still very difficult and lots if extra work cause he is, but it's way more relaxing in your own home. He did take the bottle for the first 5 months. Aww 5 months of pumping, I'm so glad that's over-I know several of my friends who are still pumping and who have pumped way longer-you are tough. Keep with it mommas. It is so difficult, but it is possible. Breast is the best for your tiny preemie, but I do know for some of you it just is not possible. Don't beat your self up about it.  One of my favorite nurses, Jamie challenged me to go outside and walk on a trail or just breathe fresh air every helped so much. Do this! Just get out side and BREATHE. 

And most of all, Remember to....Expect a Miracle!