My fourth son was born in the early afternoon one year ago today. He was nearly 5 weeks early, and I knew immediately that things weren't okay. My third son spent two weeks in intensive care, so I was sadly familiar with what lay ahead. The nursery at the hospital tried to give him a chance to pull through the night on his own, but his lungs just weren't strong enough, so he was transferred to a NICU at a different hospital the next morning.
The first 48 hours are touchy and frightening. The baby was also heavily sedated so that the breathing machines could be the most effective. Can you believe that one little person needs so many machines to sustain his life? In the third picture he's with my brother, Rick, who we named our baby after.
After a few days he was taken off the respirator, and he graduated to an incubator and oxygen. Waiting for him to have his oxygen slowly turned down, or be strong enough to take a bottle or nurse, or for him to gain weight, seemed like an eternity. Holding him was tricky, too. Preemies can be distressed and can lose progress if they are moved or touched too much, so aside from the restrictions on how often we could touch him, holding him was difficult because of the IV's, monitor wires, and feeding tube.
After 12 days, we were able to take our healthy baby home. As difficult and draining as these NICU experiences are, we feel very fortunate because there were babies beside our son who had been in there for over four months! His three brothers were obviously pleased to have him home, too.
We love you little Shoog!