This post feels a mess to me. I know for sure I am missing things that are important but there was so much emotion and testing and trying to remember to breath shoved into these next four days that there are still a few bits and pieces missing. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that is mostly complete but a small person ran off with a couple of the pieces so the whole picture is missing something.
I’ll probably revise this post numerous times over the next few weeks as little things come back but these are the basics of those first days of Lanie’s life outside the womb.
Lanie was finally born.
7 lbs 3 oz,
19.5 inches long.
In that moment it seemed like people were everywhere. I didn’t know where they all came from – they seemed to flood in from the walls. It felt to me like there were suddenly 20 medical personnel in the room but Kait informed me that there weren’t that many, though she didn’t count.
In the brief moment I saw Lanie after she was born she looked so small to me. She was breathing and crying but something about her didn’t look right and I kept glancing at Rabbit, who I could see through the door in the next room, for a sign she was okay. I didn’t ask any questions because I was afraid of the answers. She was supposed to be born sick. She was supposed to need a feeding tube or a surgery or some other special care. The NICU doctor was present at birth and the surgical team was ready to operate, for crying out loud. How long would it be until I could hold her? Hours? Days? Weeks?
Kait came over to me and said, Mom, she is just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. She was smiling and didn’t look worried and that eased my mind a little.
My friend, Lauren, was able to come back for a little while and missed the birth by only 10 or 15 minutes. She was smiling too and it was good to see her. I needed to see people smiling.
Rabbit looked over at me and said that Lanie looked really good. But all I wanted to do was see her and hold her. I don’t think I was going to be convinced that all was good until I had her in my arms.
Dr. Medlock was beaming when he came to give me good news before he moved on to his next delivery. He said Lanie’s apgar scores were 8 and 9, her heart was beating strong, she was breathing well, and she was perfect. He ran his hand over his face as he told us that the NICU doctor said Lanie wouldn’t need their services. There was joy in his eyes and his countenance took me by surprise.
I was relieved but I still wanted to know why Lanie looked the way she did.
I don’t know how long it was until they brought her to me, it could have been 10 minutes, it could have been an hour. I know my legs were still numb so maybe it wasn’t that long but time didn’t seem to be working properly at that point. When I finally had her in my arms she latched pretty easily and ate for an hour. I saw perfection when I looked at her but, and this is hard to explain, nothing seemed real. I just kept staring at her, sure I was going to see something the remind me she was sick. Sick was what I had expected.
The whole day felt like a haze. Nobody mentioned anything about her numerous ultrasounds and why nothing appeared wrong at birth. I didn’t get to talk to a pediatrician at all and I had so many questions. But I had my baby girl and she was pink and her heart was beating and as the craziness of the day wore off I was in awe of the sweet little miracle bundled up in my arms. I no longer saw whatever I thought was wrong with her. Sure, her face was smashed from all this contractions pushing her head into my hip bone, and she was swollen from all the extra fluid. But had her. In my arms. Alive and kicking.
And I realized I’d been holding my breath for 4 months.
Kait had to get to work – on almost zero sleep, I might add. Rabbit went home to kiss my babies for me and to get some shut eye after about 40 hours of being awake.
As tired as I was I didn’t sleep much at all that night. I don’t sleep well in hospitals and this was worse because I had to constantly remind myself that Lanie was okay.
I wish I would have gotten a little more shuteye because the next day brought another whirlwind of activity. Lanie and I were separated off and on for many hours while they completed a barrage of tests on her little body, reminding me that she wasn’t out of the woods yet. An ultrasound of her stomach, an echo cardiogram, blood work to check 100 different things, thyroid tests, hearing tests, eye exams… And I finally got to talk to a pediatrician and ask some questions but that was before the tests were complete and she didn’t have many answers for me so I was still playing a waiting game.
Our pastor and many friends came to visit during our stay but the best thing ever was Kait stopping by at midnight after she got off of work. It was so quiet and I had my oldest and youngest babies right there with me.
Also awesome was Rabbit bringing all the kids to the hospital to meet their new baby sister. I missed them so much and it was so good to see them. The visit was much shorter than I would have liked though. And Lanie had to be whisked away for another test.
After 4 days of testing and whatnot here are the results.
- Stomach ultrasound looked good. They couldn’t give me a diagnosis on the atresia but said we’d know for sure she was fine after a few days of feedings.
- Thyroid was wonky. Follow up testing needed.
- Ears were perfect.
- Eyes looked fine but follow up with ophthalmologist for possible issue in left eye.
- Heart. Oh boy. There were 5 things wrong with her heart that needed a follow up two weeks later. The pediatrician said it was nothing to worry about yet (yeah right) but we’d need to have everything looked at again.
- T21 – needed to try testing in a couple of weeks for diagnosis. She did show some outward signs.
- White blood cell count on the rise. 2 different antibiotics given over 48 hours. IV’s in her head, then her foot. Numerous needle marks all over her from where they tried unsuccessfully to get a vein. Eventually they called in the NICU to help start her IV.
- Jaundice getting worse, possibly caused by antibiotics. Bili lights for 12 hours. I could touch her but couldn’t hold her but 20 minutes every 3 hours to feed her.
Here she is being a radioactive alien.
I knew she still had some potential issues, and it might be a while before we knew the extent of her health woes, but it seemed to me that it was just one miracle after another happening right before my eyes in those few days after she was born and I felt myself relax just a little.
Lanie was pronounced well enough to go home on the fourth day after her birth. It was a late discharge and it was almost dark by the time we got home. My kids were so happy to have me back. I was so happy but so exhausted.
We had a great weekend at home without any poking or prodding or nurses (who were all amazing, by the way) bothering us.
Monday was coming up fast and would start a new array of appointments, blood draws, and referrals. But for now I had this perfect baby girl and so much joy and over flowing thankfulness to God for all he had done for us.
There is more to tell.
A Baby In There • God is. • Lanie