After I settled into my ward, the nurse brought Thaddeus in. Both sides of parents were around and everyone was looking at the new addition to the family. The newborn however, did not quite enjoy the attention and started crying. It was a weird and rather weak cry, not quite the typical cries you’d hear from a baby. My mum and I thought it was odd.
We got a nurse to check on T and he was brought out. They never brought him back to my ward and I was told shortly after, he had to be admitted into NICU for wet lungs. We were left bewildered and had so many questions – “how did he get it?”, “why did it happened to him?”, “how could the doctors not tell when he was out?”.
The husb went to see the doctor to find out what happened. Apparently, T had wet lungs because he could have taken in some water on the way out from my tummy. We were told that wet lungs are quite common in newborns, especially those delivered via c-section. How come I never come across that when I did the reading-up?!
I was sad that he had to be separated from me so soon and I could not visit him since I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for the first day. 🙁 The husb took some pictures for me to see and I felt my heart wrenched.
He was placed under a headbox with oxygen supply. His breathing rate and oxygen level were being monitored – we were looking out for his breathing rate to slow down and the oxygen level to remain normal in him. We were hoping with all our might that he could recover soon and come back to us. And I really wanted to nurse him..
However, the next day came and we were told that there was not much improvement. His stay at the NICU gave me much strength to overcome the pain of the c-section because I wanted to regain my mobility as soon as possible to visit him and take care of him. I got out of bed and managed a few steps on my own. It was surprisingly not as painful as I had expected. It was only day 2 after the surgery, hence I was not to be hero and was wheeled to the NICU instead to see my baby.
My tears fell when I saw all the medical stuff he had around him. As first-time parents, we are already clueless with what to do with a newborn. So when our newborn had problems, it was extremely stressful. I tried not to blame myself for putting him in this situation because the last thing we want was for me to spiral into some form of depression, but I felt damn awful that my baby had to go through this. There were a few other newborns with the same conditions in the NICU and I felt so bad for them too.
I asked about the feeding and they said it was okay for newborns to go without milk for the first two days because they still have some “storage” from the placenta. Besides, it was hard for him to feed now with his rapid breathing. However, I was advised to start pumping to get my milk supply going first. To keep him hydrated, he was put on IV drip.
I did some reading up on this condition and was hopeful that T would get through this by the 3rd day and get to go home with me. Unfortunately, it was not looking too good for him. T was still breathing too rapidly and it was exhausting for him. The retraction around his ribcage was quite bad. They had to upgrade the treatment and let him use a CPAP instead.
Because my c-section wound looked fine and I was coping well with the pain post-surgery, my gynae allowed me to be discharged earlier. Since we were not allowed to stay in the NICU for the entire day anyway, it’d be more practical for us to get quality rest at home and have the milk supply going. The hospital ain’t that far away from our place, so we can make a few trips a day and deliver the breastmilk too. I couldn’t stop crying as we drove home though as we were heading home without our baby.
The feeling of helplessness SUCKS. It was pretty much a battle that our son had to fight on his own. While waiting for the oxygen to help clear the water in his lungs, he developed jaundice too. Sigh! So on top of those tubes, he had to undergo phototherapy.
All we could do was to visit him a few times each day and give him encouragement. We are very grateful to the nurses at Mt. Alvernia. Every time we were at the NICU, they would update us on T’s situation. I’m sure they’ve seen many emotional parents but they genuinely cared for us when they saw me crying and told us to stay positive – babies are a lot more stronger than we think.
My milk supply could not keep up with my baby’s growing appetite (yep, my baby’s appetite was growing quickly despite being not well) and I was feeling discouraged. The nurses always spur me on by telling me not to stress and just do my best. Some gave me advice on what I could do to boost supply.
We have a great pediatrician too. Every day, she would check on T early in the morning and update us. T’s condition was looking up by the 5th day and the CPAP was removed. I was ecstatic when the nurse said I could carry him. My poor baby was finally in my arms again.
I was damn happy I could finally nurse him on day 6! It seems that T is finally well on the road to recovery. We were crossing our fingers that T can be discharged by the next day because it was the day for Chinese New Year reunion dinner.
Our prayers must have been heard when our PD gave the go-ahead for T’s discharge on day 7. Our tiger boy had won the battle! The husb and I were thrilled that our family can be reunited on this day! It was also a relief to know that this will not have any lasting effect on his development. 🙂