It's been awhile since I continued the story of Trey's birth and gastroschisis surgery and recovery. So today I'll pick up where I left off. For the full story please visit On A Serious Note by clicking here.
After hearing the bad news on Christmas about Trey's setbacks, I had my mom and Jackson (then 2 and a half) in the car first thing the following morning for the three and half hour trek back to the hospital in Denver. With not knowing how long Trey would be in the hospital we had decided it made more sense for Travis to stay at home and work. If there were any emergencies I knew all I had to do was call and he'd be there as fast as possible.
We had also decided that for financial reasons we would be staying at the Ronald McDonald House, located just a short walk from the hospital. I had visited the House earlier, knowing we would be spending time in Denver, and was floored by what an amazing facility it was.
But before going to check-in at RMH, my first priority was to get to the hospital and see my baby boy. I left mom and Jackson in the lobby when we got there. Jackson was below the age to visit in NICU and I wanted a moment alone with Trey before having mom come in.
As I mentioned earlier, when we had left on Christmas Eve, just two days prior, Trey was doing amazingly well. All of the doctors commented on how fast he was recovering. Seeing him two days later was like seeing an entirely different baby. They had him set up with the lights for the jaundice and had put a tube down his throat to help collect the green and black substance that was coming from his stomach due to his rejection of the milk. He looked TERRIBLE.
I just sat and held his little thumb and cried and cried. The guilt from having left for less than two days was killing me. Although I knew spending Christmas morning with Jackson was the right thing to do and had I stayed at the hospital it would have made no difference in Trey's condition, I still felt terrible. I kept explaining to the nurse that I was normally not this emotional. I simply could not stop crying!
When I returned to the lobby my mom was jumping at her chance to go meet her new grandson, but I just couldn't let her. What I had seen brought me to my knees, I couldn't let this be her first look. As disappointed as she was, she understood, and we left to check-in at RMH.
As I've mentioned before, there simply aren't enough positive things I can say about the Ronald McDonald House. From the moment we checked-in I felt so much support from both the staff and the other parents staying there. The facility itself was amazing, with playgrounds both in and outside for Jackson, full kitchens stocked with all the necessities, comfortable rooms, free laundry, libraries, computer room, games, movies, you name it. Then there are the volunteers. So many people give so much time and they couldn't be more appreciated. During my stay nearly every dinner (and some breakfast's and lunch's too) were provided by volunteers. Families, businesses, community organizations, they truly made our stay feel like a home away from home. My mom, having been skeptical about staying there, was completely blown away. Upon leaving she bought some toys to leave at the House and continually sends donations.
While in NICU I had certain visiting times where I could change Trey's diaper and take his temperature. I realize that doesn't sound like much, but I so cherished those moments as they were all I had. They took place every four hours and I found myself creating a little schedule around them. Get up, pump, go to hospital, eat breakfast with mom & Jackson, pump, play with Jackson, go to hospital, pump, eat lunch, nap with Jackson, pump, go to hospital... and so on. I was trying so hard to show Jackson as much attention as I could. We went to the zoo one day, another perk from RMH, all guests get free entrance into the Denver Zoo. Another perk was the gift of four Club Seats for a Denver Broncos game, which someone had donated to the House for guests. Travis came down and he, my mom and I, took Jackson to his first game. It was a real blessing to have such a special day during such a stressful time.
I'll be forever grateful to my mom for her help during this time. I couldn't have done it all without her.
As the week went on Trey began to improve and I was finally able to feed him. Well I guess you could call it that. We would take some of the milk I had pumped and put it in a syringe, we'd feed him the tiniest amount you can imagine, starting at 1cc, then sit and wait for four hours to see how it affected his stomach. During the wait, if Trey wasn't sleeping, he was screaming his head off! He was starving, but there was nothing we could do. We had to make sure his stomach would accept the offerings. If it did, then four hours later we'd add another 1-2 cc's. If you don't know what a cc is, think of it as a sip of water. That was literally about all he was getting at a time.
The goal was 16 cc's. When he was finally able to take that amount down we would start trying to breastfeed. This was a torturous process. We'd get to 4 then have to go back to 1. We'd get to 10 then have to go back to 5. We'd get to 12 and have to go back to 7. This poor baby was starving and I couldn't help him.
Today, at 21 months old, Trey eats more than any child I've ever seen. He simply can't get enough. And when you feed him, he stuffs as much in his mouth as he can at once. I am convinced this is based on those early weeks, when he couldn't get what he wanted. Maybe that's why I let him stuff his face today. I'm just so damn happy to see the kid eat!
More to come.....