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Challenge: NICU Parenting

The Longest Days

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These photos represent the beginning of the longest 17 days of my life. But first, we should start at the beginning of the journey.

I went in for a routine check up at 29 weeks pregnant. They drew some blood and gave me my Rhogam shot. I am A negative, so I knew I would need this. Fast forward a few days and I get a message from my doctor's office asking me for a call back. When I called they informed me that my blood work came back positive for antibodies, but not to worry as this was my first pregnancy that the test showed up for. They also advised me that they had scheduled an appointment for me with my high risk doctor and that I needed to go there right away.

In short, I was diagnosed with isommunization and my blood was attacking my baby's blood causing her to be anemic. Three intrauterine blood transfusions later, it was decided that they would either induce me or schedule a c-section (baby was still breech) for 36 weeks.

God intervened. I noticed that my baby wasn't moving as much and went in for an ultrasound. The doctor told me to go get my hospital bag. We were having a baby today,, at 35 weeks!

My doctor felt that my baby would not do well if we tried to flip it, so a c section was performed. I was able to see my daughter for about 2 minutes before she was whisked off to the NICU because she wasn't breathing that well. I didn't get to see her again until a few hours later. I was only allowed 15 minutes.

The hardest part for me came the next day. My heart broke as my husband wheeled me down to the NICU and I saw all the other babies there. We weren't allowed to hold my daughter because she needed photo therapy due to having extremely high bilirubin. She wasn't allowed to nurse because she had a cpap machine in to help her breathe.

We had already experienced loss one time before, so watching our daughter struggle to breathe and not being able to do anything but lightly touch her head was very difficult. They were doing twice daily heel pokes to check her blood levels, and she had the tiniest IV in.

The next day we were allowed to hold her! For 30 minutes. But I would take it. She was beautiful and perfect in every way.

The next 15 days were filled with ups and downs. We struggled with feedings. We couldn't get her bilirubin levels to drop enough. Her red blood cell count was dropping, and I felt like we would never get to go home.

It was our nurses that kept us sane. They answered my endless questions. They sat with me when I cried. And when it came time for us to go home, they came and gave me a big hug. I was at that hospital for 17 long days with my daughter, and I can honestly say, I wouldn't have made it through without those wonderful angels in disguise.

My daughter is now doing better. We still have biweekly blood draws to make sure she is producing enough blood to keep her going, but she will come out of this okay. I know we are fortunate. We get to put our NICU stay behind us. But I will never forget the longest 17 days of my life.


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