Saturday, January 23, 2010
Piper’s Story, Part 4
Piper made it through her first night fabulously. They even took her off the vent that night, which we were very surprised by. The nursing staff was amazing the first few days and sent up pictures that they’d take and print, sent over her footprints, and all of those other new-baby necessities that every mom wants, especially when you can’t see them.
Her primary nurse told us at one point that she must have been very stressed in-utero because her lungs and muscles were so well developed. She said that they wouldn't expect a baby who got the steroid shots prior to delivery to be doing that well.
The next day, we waited for the nurses to come up to my room and take off the IV. I needed it gone before I could go back to the NICU. I have this terrible habit of closing my veins when I'm nervous; blood draws are my absolute nemesis in life. So, when they needed a vein ASAP the day before, they, of course, couldn't find one. I got the IV in my elbow; between all the tape and tubes, I could hardly move my arm-- I was very relieved to get it off!
I had a really hard time sitting up that day; almost passed out several times trying. And, to top it off, I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast the day before. I was starving. But none of that mattered- all I wanted to do was go see MY baby! The nurses brought over a wheelchair for us to use-- it was about 3 times wider than I was, and hurt like the dickens to sit in. We pushed pillows all around so that I didn't jiggle as much, and off we went. We got there and the nurse who had her that day helped scooch her closer to the edge of the warmer so we could see her better. Then she asked if I'd gotten to hold her yet. When I said "No", she asked if I wanted to. My heart skipped a beat. OF COURSE I wanted to! They kept her in the positioner to keep her tubes organized, and she was in blankets... I could hardly feel her she was so tiny. But it felt perfect. I'll never, ever forget that day!
By the time we got down there, and she was detached from the table, I needed to get back to my room to pump and for pain meds (!!!). Leaving her was so difficult that time-- I was torn between being there, and nursing the tearing sensation in my stomach. Searing pain won.
We knew that surgery would be the day after (Wednesday). Her surgeon met with us that day, and she did her initial assessment. We knew she was in good hands-- one of her partners was one of the first to do this repair laparoscopically, and their practice is known around the world for it. We signed all the paperwork that day, acknowledging that they were going to try doing it laparoscopically, but approving them to do it traditionally if needed. We found out later that Piper was one of the smallest kids that this procedure has been done on-- we are so grateful that they were willing to try!
Wednesday morning, Luke and I headed over to the NICU before surgery was scheduled. They let us hold her again (Luke even got a turn this day), for quite a while this time. We finally named her that morning, before she went in. Surgery went great-- the nurse called us several time just to let us know that it was going well. They said to expect it to take longer than the 3 hours they had said before, because she was so little. It actually took a while less than that; we took it for a good sign!
She was on a lot of pain meds for several days, so they had her intubated through that weekend. The nurses were great about letting us hold her-- it took them about 20 minutes to get her off the table, and about 30 minutes to put her back. The only downside was that she started getting jaundiced, so we were supposed to leave her on the table as much as possible for the lights. During this time, though, she had an isolation room, which was really nice!
With surgery done, we knew the worst was behind us. Now we just needed her to grow!