Difficult roads often lead to the most beautiful destinations. There are some moments in your life where everything makes sense.. there are no actual words that can describe it.. it’s just a feeling .. when everything comes together perfectly .. even if just for a second.. you loose all sense of doubt.. you don’t question why or how.. you just let it be and your heart feels full. Today, I am so grateful for one of these moments.
This morning when we called, the nurse was a little concerned about Peter. His hemoglobin was low and his heart rate fast. He seemed to be having the same issue Maurice had a few days prior. The boys are about a month old. All of the blood cells they received from me and, in Peters case, from Maurice, are breaking down. The life span of red blood cells is about 35 to 50 days in a preterm baby. They are being broken down faster than new ones can be made. It seems that this is a common problem in the NICU. They were going to discuss it with the doctor on rounds. I couldn’t wait to get there and be with him.
When I walked into the hospital, the doctors were all already in our room. They said he seemed pretty stable and although his numbers were not “great” ( hematocrit 27.5 and retic count of 3) his tachycardia or fast heart rate was not sustained and we could just watch him for now. They will recheck his blood next week as long as he doesn’t show any significant symptoms such as requiring more oxygen or having a fast heart rate for longer periods of time. It always concerns me .. the watch and wait… but right now it’s the best we can do. Blood transfusions are not without risks and as long as he seems comfortable we will wait. He gained some weight today and is now 1385 grams or 3 lbs 11.4 oz (up 30 grams from yesterday.) He is tolerating his feedings over 30 minutes and looks wonderful.
Next, they review Maurice. He also gained weight and is 1010 grams or 2lb 3.6 oz ( up 40 grams.). He is tolerating his feeding over 60 min and overall doing well. The genetic specialist was not overly concerned with his state blood test and only recommended to repeat it in about a month. He seems to be tolerating the transfusion well and his numbers are stable. The plan for Maurice is to give him another trial off of CPAP tomorrow. He’s a little bigger and stronger now and the doctor thinks he’s ready.
As soon as I heard this I asked if I would be able to hold them together. I have been dreaming of holding my boys at the same time and having them next to each other since delivery. Initially, I was told they would both have to be off CPAP to do it.
Today my beautiful nurse and the doctor said I didn’t have to wait. My heart skipped a beat! The wires and machines involved are very complicated. If Maurice’s mask looses pressure it’s very hard to get back and usually requires a respiratory therapist. She didn’t seem concerned at all and made me feel so safe and ready.
I put on my kangaroo shirt and helped get the boys ready. I changed their diapers and checked temperatures. I love doing routine things with them. It helps make the NICU seem a little more “normal.” I sat in my big mommy recliner chair and waited as she unplugged the wires and machines. One by one alarms were going off. I have become used to them now but I still can’t help looking at the monitor. First she passed me Peter. I tucked him into the pocket inside my shirt and rested his little arm against my chest. He curled up right away and looked so cozy. She then walked over to Maurice. His machines took a little longer and beeped a little louder. I could hear the pressure stop when she disconnected his breathing mask to put him on me. It’s only for a few seconds but it makes my heart stop. Finally, she had him in a comfortable position and reconnected everything one by one.
Maurice and Peter both opened their eyes and looked at each other. I put their hands close and told them over and over how special this moment was for me. I told them how much I love them and how I always knew we would all be together… and now after 29 days here we are. My boys have transformed me .. this journey of highs and lows .. the people I have met along the way.. it has taught me so much about love. Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are challenging and unique. Many times it’s the journey that teaches you the most about the destination. God bless the broken road that led me to you my loves.