What? You thought I had a boyfriend, didn't you? Nope....well, kinda but not really....B is my nephew. M favorite one to be exact - and always will be.
Well, this weekend was B's birthday party. His first. Oh my! I did not realize how emotional I was going to get about all of it. As I was driving down to my brother's I remembered all of it. The phone call that I got at work from my brother saying that he didn't mind if I came down to swim that weekend but that they wouldn't be there & neither would my nephew. It took a second to sink in - but they had decided to not find out what they were having, how did he know it was a boy? I got quiet, and he said that they all were at the hospital and that Jamie had the baby via c-section. Wait. What? She was only at 32 weeks! What hapened? What did I miss? I would soon find it all out....
Apparently Jamie hadn't felt B kick around like he had been, but Trevor (he's an EMT) could find the heartbeat so the doctor just made an appointment for a day or so later. At that appointment, Jamie was hooked up to the monitors and minutes later was being swept into an OR for an emergency c-section. The doctors, later told us, that they found that B had had a stroke & had Jamie waited much longer to come in, we wouldn't have the amazing little boy we have today. In a whirlwind of an afternoon, Jamie had B, B got transported to Dayton Children's with my brother in tow, and my parents and Jamie's parents converged on CMH to be with her. Once I knew that Jamie was being taken care of, my attention moved to my brother & new nephew. Thankfully, the Ronald McDonald House across from the hospital had a room available for my brother so he could stay there. I worked late that night, but the next day I got off early enough to go be with my brother and new 3 pound nephew in the NICU.
My stomach was in knots all day until I got out of work. Then they got worse. I'm not used to being around babies, I am the youngest in my family, let alone sick babies. How are you supposed to act? What are you supposed to do? I left work, went to pick up a special little stuffed dog - we are a family in love with our puppies so I decided that B had to have one too, and headed up to the hospital. My brother met me at the huge front doors. I hate hospitals, but a children's hospital made my heart break. Everytime I walked in that place I saw behind all the colors and got a little sad at what the kids were going through. Things they didn't choose to go through. Things they didn't deserve. Back to B - my brother hadn't eaten all day because of meetings with the doctor's so he wanted to get something to eat before we went to the 4th floor to see my new newphew. Thank God he did that. I know he was trying to prepare me for what I was walking into, but nothing could have prepared me for the NICU. I would not wish that place on my worst enemy. You don't know that level of desperation until you have a family member there.
One of the things about the NICU that you might not know is that the closer your isolet is to the doctor's wall, the sicker the baby. B was in the second row from that wall. The second row. That put a lot of the whole situation into perspective for me. I followed my brother in washing my hands up to my elbows, waiting at the door for the nurse to buzz us in, and then down the aisle to the first isolet in the second row on the left. All I remember is seeing B hooked to so many wires and tubes, and this silly green sig with his name and a frog above his "box". I tried to focus on that frog until the rush of tears went away. It didn't work. How was this little, super tiny, little slip of a thing supposed to live and grow? My brain shut down, I started to cry.....then I felt my brother wrap his arm around me and I cried harder into his shoulder. Right about then, a nurse came up to check B's vitals and she tried to calm me down too. It didn't work. My foot started tapping. My arms came up to my chest. I tried to shut down further. I forced myself to ask questions. When I'm upset or stressed, if I can understand things via questions, usually I feel better. So I asked question after question after question.
And so....our family's six week NICU experience began. I spent as much time as I could with my brother sitting next to B. I sat there through getting him out, putting him back in, putting clothes on for the first time (did you know that most pre-mies can't wear clothes at first because their skin isn't strong enough for them?), seeing Jamie hold him for the first time, watching him get his first bottle (prior to that he was getting fed via IV and then a feeding tube through his nose and into his belly - he pulled that out a few times!), moving back to the second row from the door (this was very bittersweet for me -I was happy B was getting better but sad for the babies that I knew took his place because they were sicker), watching neighbors come & go (this was hard too - they didn't always leave because they were going home), through everything, I sat there with my brother and B.
Anyways...through all of that, I couldn't imagine we would get here, but I'm so glad we did..... (that one of my brother speaking? Yeah, made me cry!)