While they were gone Barbara and I were chatting about whether or not she was going to head home too. She had a four hour drive ahead of her and she had been at 2 births that day. Phil saw his mom off and decided to go home and see the boys. He was going to stay home with them so that my mom could come visit too. She had been at our house all afternoon taking care of Luke and Micah. While he was gone the nurse came in to tell me that they were sending Bevin up to the NICU. They said that she needed more oxygen. I noticed they were not asking me permission they were telling me what was happening next. They assured me she was fine. I ordered some food and started eating it.
Next a NICU doctor came to my room. He introduced himself and told me that his shift was ending. He explained that he had started Bevin on antibiotics as a precaution. They did not yet know why she was having struggles to breathe. At that point he told me that she would be on the antibiotics for 5-6 days minimum. What????!!!!! And then he proceeded to question me about all her bruising! Luckily Barbara was with me and she could attest that it must have been from the quick birth. I went from 4cm to pushing in less than an hour and she was face up until the very last minute! The questioning flustered me a little bit. I didn't know why she was bruised? I had barely seen or touched my baby. After he left and I knew that i would not be nursing her tonight and that Bevin would not be rooming in with me Barbara and I decided that she could go ahead home. We didn't really know much.
After Barbara left my friend Sarah and the hospital chaplain showed up for a visit. Then my dad came into the room looking for me and Bevin. I told him that they had just taken her up to the NICU and I told him to go ahead and go see her. I couldn't go because I still couldn't move one of my legs. I did not know that they would not him in without one of her parents. So he left for home without seeing Bevin and then my mom showed up with Luke. Luke was so excited to see his sister and I was bummed that he didn't get to see her. "Maybe next time" he said! Oh dear. Maybe not?
While they were still visiting I called for the nurse so that I could go see Bevin. She helped me into a wheelchair and she took me up to the NICU. My mom took Luke home so that Phil could come back to the hospital. The nurse showed me how to scrub up my hands and do the 3 minute hand wash. I was wheeled back to her private room and i stood up on my own for the first time since getting the epidural. My recovery time was over it seemed. The seriousness of the situation overtook me. Bevin was laying in a warming bed with oxygen on her nose. She had an IV with an antibiotic drip and all kinds of other cords hooked to monitors. She started to fuss and there was nothing that could be done for her. I had to put on rubber gloves and I put one hand over the top of her head and the other hand under her bottom and pretend held her. She grunted with each breath. The nurse told me that a lot of times with 35 week babies they can breathe alright on their own at first but then they get tired and can't handle it. I thought about what Barbara had said that this was why 100 years ago so many women had to bury their babies. I noticed that her oxygen level was dipping into the 80's and it was supposed to be 100%. I realized there was nothing that I could do. I would not be nursing her tonight. In fact she would not be fed at all that day or the next day. The weariness hit me. I needed to go lie down. A nurse wheeled me back down to my room. Phil was waiting.
That night Phil went up to visit Bevin too. As far as we knew she was doing fine. We checked again with the nurse that night and she was doing fine so we went to sleep. In the past that first night in the hospital is a rough one. Nursing is sporadic and painful, the nurses come in to take blood pressure, temperature etc. but not tonight. In fact, we sleep right through the night. No one comes in until after 8:00 AM.
We take our time waking up. I order breakfast and we eat casually. We ask our nurse to check on Bevin and she says everything is fine. So I get dressed and ready for the day and we walk up to the NICU. Well, first I try to get a wheelchair for me but they tell me no. I am on my own. Time to start healing.
As soon as we walk in the door of the NICU the nurse says "Are you the Waglers?" "Yes" I say. "Well I was just calling your room and we couldn't find you." I wash my hands quickly. I see the doctor outside of Bevin's room and he walks towards me. I can tell by the look on his face that something is wrong. He starts telling me something about a hole in the lung but all I really remember is a nurse handing me a release form to sign for a procedure. He needs to put in a chest tube and he asks Phil and I to leave the NICU while they do the procedure. My heart starts to pound, I sign the paper with a shaky hand and a nurse escorts us to the door.
We sit down on a bench outside the NICU. What is going on? We had thought she was doing great. As we sat there I swallowed my tears. Phil asked me if I was okay? "No" I told him. We watched other people coming and going from the NICU. I could see that there were 2 additional doctors waiting outside her room. They must be back up just in case...I start pacing around the hallway. I fight back the thoughts in my head. "We are going to lose her and I never even got to really hold her or nurse her or KNOW her!" I can see the door to her room through a window and I see a nurse run out of her room and get something and run back in. The reception nurse comes out and tells me everything is fine. She says that she told the nurse that was running NOT to run. A little while after that the doctor comes out to talk to us and tell us what is going on.
Apparently at some point in the morning they had put a cpap on her to force the oxygen more fully into her lungs. They didn't know if that had caused the hole in her lung or if it was from her own gasps of air. The hole was filling her body cavity with air and making her very uncomfortable. He said that the air was putting pressure on the heart. They knew there was a hole because they had done a chest x-ray. The chest tube would relieve the pressure and let the air out of the body. They did another chest x-ray and found that the tube was in the right place and appeared to be doing its job. Now we just wait and see if the chest tube fixes her labored breathing. The doctor tells me that she will have to be on antibiotics for at least 7 days now. That is their routine for chest tubes. They do it to prevent and fight infection. So now I know that this is serious and she is going to be here for a while.
After we left the NICU we went back to my room to have lunch. I felt really sad. I didn't even feel like eating because I knew that my baby was not not eating. In fact she had never eaten at all yet. That was really stressing me out. A lactation consultant brought in a breastpump and I started pumping. This would become my obsession over the next 2 weeks. I felt like I was doing an important job for her recovery even though she was not getting it yet.
We had quite a few visitors that day. I felt bad that we had no baby to show them. Isn't that what everyone wants to see and hold when they make a hospital visit? My mom brought the boys over to see me. She even finished one of the super big brother capes that I had been scrambling to finish the night before Bevin was born. They loved them and were super excited! I was happy to see them so happy! Robbie and Tiffany and their kids came to visit too. It was nice to feel so supported and loved. Phil's parents came later after we had our celebration meal.
The night nurse did call us later and Phil went up to see if he could settle her. I was exhausted and in need of some rest. He did all he could. I think he sung "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "The First Noel" over and over. Finally the nurse called the doctor and got her some pain medicine. Chest tubes are painful and I can't even imagine just being born and going through all that she had gone through without any pain medication so we okayed it. It settled her right down. We went to bed that night with heavy hearts.
Too be continued...