Today I will wrap up the story of Colton's first day in honor of November being Prematurity Awareness Month and Colton's Birthday on the 25th. (Part 1) (Part 2)
We waited and waited and waited until finally a nurse came in the room to show me two tiny specs of ink, smaller than the size of my thumb print on the paper I had marked just minutes earlier. Once she got closer I could make out that they were two unimaginably small foot prints. She told us that he was 1 pound 4 ounces and 12 inches long, he had made it to the NICU, one floor above us and was on the oscillator (a high frequency ventilator) the settings were all maxed out (meaning they were doing everything possible for him) but he was still alive. Of course the first thing I asked was to see him, I was disappointed to learn that it would be hours before my request was granted. So many people were working so hard to keep him alive that having me in there at that particular moment would be impossible, they moved me to a room in the High Risk Postpartum hall. The mothers in this hall were like me, they would not be "rooming-in" with their babies, I was glad for this, I couldn't have handled the cry of a healthy full-term infant at that moment.
I don't remember much of what happened during those next few hours, I think I slept, maybe talked to a few people who came to visit. I was in shock, quite literally. Seth and my Mom stayed with me in the room the majority of the time. Later, they told me I had just stared blankly at the TV or out a window, coming out of it every hour or so asking if it was time to see Colton yet. About 5 hours after Colton was born we recieved a phone call letting us know that he was stable enough for Seth and I to come to the NICU to see him. I snapped out of my state of shock and asked my nurse to bring us a wheelchair. I didn't know what to expect but it really didn't matter, he was my son and I wanted to be with him.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a different world that I never knew existed. We walked up to the front desk and showed her our blue parent wrist bands, a plastic band that had to stay on our wrists for as long as our child was in the hospital. She dialed the phone back to Colton's nursery (the NICU was split into several individual rooms with approximately six babies in each) and asked the Nurse if we could come back. After Colton's nurse gave her the all clear she unlocked the NICU door and we walked into a small room with sinks to scrub our arms (up to our elbows) as his nurse instructed, then followed her back to Colton's incubator. The first thing I noticed were the noises, the hiss of the ventilators, the hustle of the nurses, the dings and beeps of the alarms. It was so quiet and so loud all at the same time. She directed us to Colton's little section of the room. I peeked in to the condensation filled isolette and there was my son, so small yet so perfect, so fragile yet fighting with all he had. His skin was almost transparent, and dark from the bruising of such an unexpected and traumatic birth. I later described him to friends and family as a "snickers bar with arms and legs" he was that small and that dark. I was shocked to notice that each heart beat could be seen raising and lowering the center of his chest. He was so beautiful, I stared at him smiling for a very long time. The love I felt for my child was strong enough to move mountains, which was a good thing, because there were several mountains in our way.
Stay tuned for my next post "The NICU Rollercoaster"
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