I have neglected to finish the story of Trey's birth. Well actually, I got to the birth part, but I failed to continue the story of his time in the hospital, which was a very difficult time and one that I want to share with other mother's who have just heard the word "gastroschisis" for the first time. For the full story please click here.
As I mentioned in my last post, Trey's birth went smoothly and his operation apparently was perfect! He was in the critical NICU unit. After I was forced to take a little time to rest after the C-Section I was allowed to go down and see him, albeit in a wheelchair that I was not happy at all to be in.
When we got to his room they had him in the incubator. He was hooked up to a number of machines and I honestly didn't know what was doing what. His belly was covered where the surgery had taken place. I couldn't hold him yet, but I could see him, I could talk to him, I could let him know how very, very, very proud of him I was, and how much I loved him and couldn't wait to touch his tiny hand.
Trey was small at birth, 5.7 pounds, and would fall under 5 pounds during his hospital stay. But when I noticed the other babies in the room, he appeared giant. Needless to say, the majority of babies in the NICU are premature, and Trey outweighed all of them by at least 3 pounds. If you have never laid eyes on a 1 pound baby feel blessed, it is possibly the saddest thing I've ever seen.
I ended up staying in the hospital with my husband for four nights. Refusing to listen to any of the doctor's telling me to "take it easy" since I too had just had surgery, I pushed myself a little too hard and ended up fainting on a few occasions. But frankly, I didn't give a shit about myself, I wanted to be up and ready for whatever was about to come my way.
They had told me to expect Trey to stay in the hospital for 6-10 weeks, until they were certain he was able to eat on his own. I was pumping milk which we were giving to him through a syringe literally 1 ml at a time. Once he was able to go a few hours on the 1 ml without any side effects they would move it up. I can't even begin to tell you what a long and impossibly frustrating process this was. But he was a trooper and doing fantastic.
I checked-out on Christmas Eve, four days after Trey was born. By then we were able to hold him and feed him his syringe. He was doing so well that they were able to move him from the critical NICU to the Graduate NICU and out of the incubator within three days. Very, very, rare according to the doctor's.
As sad as I was to have to leave, it was important to us that we spend Christmas morning with our 2-year old, who was at our home three and a half hours away. Leaving the hospital that day, with my newborn son still inside their doors, was beyond difficult. Though I was so happy with his progress, it just didn't seem right to be leaving empty handed.
When we arrived home Jackson was beside himself happy to see us, as we were him. On Christmas morning before opening gifts I called Trey's room in NICU and was informed he had taken a turn for the worst. He had spit up his milk the day prior and was going back to the feeding tube. He was also jaundiced and had gone back in the incubator under a light.
We had been warned that with gastroschisis there was a lot of back and forth. Just when things looked good the baby could have a negative reaction. But after things going so well those first days I guess I had just assumed the worst was behind us. I spent the entire Christmas morning doing everything I could to fight back the tears for my 2-year old. I've mentioned "hardest times of my life" a few times throughout this story, that day, the guilt I felt at not being at the hospital, of being torn between my children, was most definitely one of the hardest moments of my life. I'll never forget that Christmas. Nor will I forget this last Christmas, opening presents with my two completely healthy boys, happier than ever.
More to come....