NICU

I sent text after text to Michael begging him to tell me every little detail about what was happening in the NICU. I must have asked him for updates every 15 seconds. I begged God to protect her and give the medical team wisdom as they helped her breathe clearly on her own.

I was in the labor and delivery room with my doula and nurse. They both kept saying that they were so surprised the NICU team took her. Between texts from Michael and the whirlwind that was happening I finally looked up from my phone long enough to say, “if they had any doubt I was glad they took her in.”

All I knew was that if there was any reason for concern that she wouldn’t breathe clearly I wanted them to fix her quickly and bring her back to me.

Before I went into labor Michael and I communicated our game plan for announcing her arrival with our immediate family. Our plan was that Michael would send a text saying that the baby was born without sharing details. We would then do our golden hour, take care of the logistics, and FaceTime our families to introduce her in person. I had really specific desires to introduce her to the family “in person” (aka over FaceTime). I loved the idea of them getting to know that it’s a girl, what her name is, and see her face all at once. It was so important to me to let people meet MARYN… and for her to become the picture they have in their mind when they think of her rather than imagining who she would be. I wanted her to create her own identity. However, as soon as she was wheeled away to NICU I had a sudden tug on my heart for prayer specifically for HER. I shot off a text to our immediate family that said, “Hi the baby is here it’s a GIRL!!! Please pray she had to go to NICU. She has meconium in her lungs. Michael is with her. Very scary for both of us. More to come!” My announcement of her arrival included for the first time that it’s a GIRL.. much to Michaels surprise. I knew clear as day that I needed our family to pray for HER. (Later that day we discussed the text I sent and he agreed that I made the right decision) It was so so so clear to me that it was the right time to let them know they have a niece/granddaughter. Our team of prayer warriors called upon the Lord for us. I had no doubt that the prayers of peaceful hearts and healing lungs were answered. I felt so much peace knowing that my lady was covered in prayer from the fiercest of prayer warriors I know.

Back in the delivery room my doula forced me to order lunch. I was not hungry. She told me I would be hungry later. I couldn’t even fathom eating at this point. I remember watching a vlog by one of my favorite instagram gals talking about the meal after giving birth was like the meal after running a marathon. I ran a marathon a few years ago and that first meal after the race was heaven! I’ve also heard other mamas talk about how hungry they were after labor. I laughed to myself as all of the things I expected to be… we’re not. I couldn’t imagine eating anything but mustered up the whereabouts to ask her to place an order for stir fry and some rogue sides. She said, “You’ll be glad when it arrives!! You just don’t realize how hungry you are.” I agreed with her and figured that HAD to be true.

Text after text from Michael poured in. He gave me details on her weight (9lbs) and length (20.5inches). He assured me she was doing great and that everyone on the NICU team was googly eyed over our girl. His reassuring texts made me feel a slight bit better. He sent a video of her lungs inhaling and exhaling as well as multiple pictures including one of him holding her!

He spared me from the details of the team ramming tubes down her throat and jabbing her OVER 30 times trying to get an IV started.

Back in my room my food showed up. I drank some of the cranberry juice and had a few bites of mac and cheese… I told you, rogue sides. Food wasn’t appealing. I pushed it to the side as I chatted with my nurse and tried my best to comprehend what was happening. She gathered up our belongings (we didn’t take much with us thank God) and started prepping me for next steps. She explained that they would take me up to the NICU on the way to the recovery room and that she would help me get settled in. My doula gave me a big hug and told me she would keep in touch. It was now just me and Erin and the room felt empty and quiet. It was time to put my phone down and take care of myself. Michael assured me Maryn was stable and just needed to be monitored. He even said the medical team had left the room and she was just hanging out hooked up to the machines while he sat and stared at her.

Erin took out my epidural and showed me the crazy wires that were in my back. She helped me get out of bed and make my way to the restroom. I needed to brush my teeth desperately bad. She loaded up a padsicle for me and slapped that pup right in my mesh undies. I put on a hospital gown… I guess they frown upon roaming through the hallways of the hospital in the buff. Eh. To each his own…

Walking was tricky after my epidural line was removed. Apparently my anesthesiologist hit a nerve because my left leg was numb from my quad to my shin. As I type this my skin is still a bit tingly right over my knee cap. The doctor said it might take a few weeks to heal completely. Not only was my left leg numb but my lady bits felt like they got sent through a meat tenderizer. I was not ready for the PP aftermath. What a crazy experience. I was so thankful for Erin… she coached me on how to care best for my lady bits after birth. It really does take some special attention. L&D nurses ARE MY HEROES!

I made a comment to my nurse that I was so shocked and amazed that I didn’t tear. I did a hair flip as I joked about my rockstar vagina for birthing a 9lb baby without tearing. My nurse, who by this point totally understood my humor and knew she could get away with it, made a snarky comment to me about not bragging about that in the future people might get the wrong impression. We both got a good laugh!

Erin loaded up the wheel chair with our bags and instructed me to take a seat. We headed out of the room and on the way to NICU so I could spend time with Maryn.

The hospital we deliver at does the sweetest thing… every time a baby is born the mother pushes a button on the way to recovery that plays (throughout the whole hospital) the first few notes of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Erin asked me if I wanted to have Michael come down to push the button with me. As devastated as I was to do it without my girl in my arms and Michael by my side… I told her I would rather he stay with M in the NICU. I did send him a message and let him know that it would be me pushing the button next. He recoded Maryn listening to the music as I recorded myself pushing it. Cue the first of MANY postpartum tears. I tried to hold them back as Erin wheeled me through the hallways, up elevators, and into the NICU ward.

The NICU was beautiful and so peaceful. I remember feeling so safe and warm in there. Erin rolled me into Maryns room and the nurses took her out of her bed and put her into my arms. It was a perfect moment and I simply couldn’t hold back the tears. I asked Erin for a Kleenex and she had to run out of the room to get me one.

After a few minutes of holding her and admiring her they had to get her back on the monitors and I had to get to the recovery room to get checked in.

I do not remember leaving her room. I think that’s the Lords way of protecting me from that heartache. All I remember after leaving her room was saying goodbye to Erin as the recovery nurses took over and she headed back to L&D. I was texting with Michael and letting him know I was fully admitted and what my room was. He told me that the latest news was that Maryn would likely be released from NICU after they established an IV for an antibiotic. Her white blood cell count was high indicating her body was fighting off an infection so she had to be on an antibiotic. He said as soon as she had that IV she would be with me. Based on the timeline I had I figured the best thing to do would be to rest for a few minutes until she got to the room. I was thinking it would be 30 minutes MAX! The exhaustion had fully set in and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep and woke up over an hour later to quite a few missed texts and SOAKED with sweat. The postpartum sweats were unexpected and terrible. I was trembling again and totally freaked out. I called the nurse and she came in to help. She called back up and several other nurses came in to change my bed sheets, take my temperature and to help me to the restroom. They were worried about my body temperature and my epidural site. I was super swollen and in quite a bit of pain. I still couldn’t feel that section of my left leg and wondered why Maryn hasn’t made it down. Michael said they were on their way and we’re only waiting on her discharge orders. I took a super hot shower as the nurse helped me wash my body and put a hospital gown back on. I’ve never felt so thankful to have help in my life! PP stuff has taught me to ask for and accept help with open arms. That shower was the best thing that happened to me (other than meeting Maryn) in over a week! The shakes were so bad but I was glad to be back in bed. The nurse also gave me a heating pack for my back and an ice pack for my vag. Heaven! My low body temp, uncontrollable shaking, and sweats were attributed to the hormones. Ugh. Whatever!

The text I had been waiting for finally came! THEY WERE ON THEIR WAY!!! I got out of bed and opened the door. I hobbled with bare feet in my hospital gown like a pegged leg pirate down the hall holding back tears of joy as I saw the NICU nurse, Michael, and my girl in her carriage turn the corner. The nurse gave us a ton of information about her IV, her antibiotic schedule, and warning signs to look for as her lungs and throat healed. I couldn’t focus on anything but Maryns sweet face. She was so perfect and beautiful I couldn’t wait to get her in my arms and nurse her.

FINALLY the time had come, she was ready for some skin to skin and NURSING! I was so excited I grabbed her out of the carriage and popped her onto my boob. The nurse was shocked and asked how many brothers and sisters Maryn has. When I told her this is our first she was impressed with how easily nursing was for us. I was so incredibly thankful and so glad I had spent hours pumping before M came so I was well prepared for BF. Maryn fell off her latch a few times but got the hang of it really quickly. By her hospital discharge she was a QUEEN at taking the boob… and I was super confident feeding her. Our only challenge was that she would fall asleep on the boob. I’m proud to say she doesn’t do this anymore! She’s a quick learner.

After nursing I slipped her into my hospital gown and we got to snuggle skin to skin. It was the most amazing perfect few hours. While we did this Michael filled me in on what he experienced in NICU. He said they would have been to me a lot sooner but every time they started an IV Maryn flinched and burst her blood vessel. He told me they tried over 30 times before they were finally successful. This is what took so long (7 hours total) to get her out of NICU and into recovery with me. They finally got her IV in her foot and part of her care instructions were to be EXTRA cautious with her IV. Apparently Maryn is strong and would flinch from the needles and pull away from the nurses causing quite a bit of trouble. My poor baby had poke marks and bruises all over her hands and feet. We had to leave her foot out of the swaddle and she couldn’t have a bath until her antibiotic was complete.

Sweet Michael was exhausted and starving. I was finally starting to feel a bit hungry and asked for sushi. Before he went to pick up dinner we called some of our family to introduce them to Maryn. I’m sure it was the longest day of their lives… as it was mine! We got ahold of Michaels brother, my mom, and his parents. We weren’t able to get ahold of all of the family. I didn’t want to disrespect them by telling people her name and sharing pictures before I had the opportunity to introduce her to them. It had been over 12 hours since she was born… I was ready to shout her name from the rooftops! My girl was here, she’s healthy, and she’s ours forever!

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