Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Wait

Part 1
.Part 2

The next morning, I was dying to get to my baby. Of course, I had to wait for my doctor to discharge me. Unfortunately, I didn't see her until about one in the afternoon. She had no idea that Natalie had been transferred, and immediately discharged me when she heard.
Matt took me to the other hospital, where I was finally reunited with our sweet girl.
We didn't get to stay too long with her because the cardiologist was there and took us into a room to show us the angiogram they had done that morning. He also told us she would be having her surgery on Friday or Monday. It was Wednesday. Later that day, we were told it would for sure be Monday. The reason for the wait was to get her eating well. Apparently, feeding issues are the main reason a baby stays in the NICU after surgery.
The end of the week was pretty uneventful. Natalie looked so good that it was very, very hard for me to tell my head she did indeed need surgery.
It was quite the emotional roller coaster, that week. For one thing, I had all the post partum hormones on board, and they were swinging.
The other thing was, when you are waiting for open heart surgery, you flip between being so thankful you get to wait, and wanting it done RIGHT NOW. You know, just in case they wait too long.
I wanted to be with her every moment, in the back of my head was the thought that this could be the only week we had with her. I don't know that you can understand that. I think any heart mom can, but unless you've been there, I'm not sure you get it, completely.
Unfortunately, there was no way for us to stay at the hospital. So we were commuting back and forth. This meant we were normally at the hospital from about 11 till 6. That wasn't nearly enough time for me. While we were there, I was nursing her, and pumping. She was feeding very well.
On Saturday, things started to change.
While we were there, her O2 sats were dropping. The alarms would sound at 75 and it was going off almost constantly. Finally, they just muted it.
By Sunday they had set the alarm at 65. Her sats were still low, and her respirations were up. So in addition to the alarms for her sats going off, the alarms for her respirations was going off as well.
Being her parents, this was so stressful for us. In our minds at any moment she could crash. Although, I don't think that's how it works, but again, as her parent, that's how your mind goes.
Sunday, Matt's parents also flew in to be with us. We are so very grateful for all the support from our family, and were very, very glad they came to be with us.
Monday morning was surgery. For some reason, she was the second case, so we had to wait on the surgeon.
In the NICU, we noticed her nails and lips were blue. The nurse said it was definitely time to do the surgery.
I felt like it was almost like watching someone die. Each day, something new happened. It was really rough.
We ended going to the holding room around noon. The poor baby was so hungry and crying like crazy by then.
I was trying to hold it together. All I could think about was what if she didn't make it through surgery. And the fact that after this, everything may change. I couldn't even hold her because she was attached to several lines. I just wanted to scoop her up and snuggle with her and nurse her. All I could do was rub her head and talk to her while she cried. At one point, it was too much for me and I just had to sit down. I felt like I was betraying her, sitting there and not being with her. I just felt so helpless. I shed so many tears, and said so many prayers.
Finally, they took her back. Again with the mixed feelings. Relief that if all went well, she would be fixed. Sadness to know that if all went well, she would be hurting. And fear of it not going well. I wanted to take her and just run and never deal with any of it. I wanted it all gone.
We headed to the waiting room to wait for what would feel like an eternity.
Finally, the cardiologist came to talk to us and tell us everything went well.
The tears just poured out. I was so very, very relieved.
We would head to the PICU for a bit of recovery before being sent back to the NICU.
In a way, the ride was just beginning. We didn't know what we were in for, and it would probably be what brought me to needing to write all of this out. It was very, very difficult, but that's a different story, for a different entry.

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