By day two in the NICU, Declan's sugars weren't getting any better. Also, I was fed up with my nurses and having to waddle (and I do mean waddle - a c-section on day 2/3 is NOT a pretty thing) across the postpartum unit and over to NICU every three hours and through the middle of the night. (Also, did I mention how much I hate hospital food? Ugh.) But mostly, I was starting to feel frustrated and concerned about my little guy. Every time they tried to pull back on his sugar solution, he dropped and they had to put it up again. The IV in his hand had already gone and the one on his foot looked like it was about to go as well. I just wanted him out of there.
On the Monday night, Declan had a few regurgs (NICU speak for huge puke) and the doctors weren't happy about it. He was throwing up what looked like bile and his jaundice was getting worse. They decided to pull his feedings and start doing tests to see what was going on. By Tuesday things had gotten worse. All that day he never opened his eyes and never looked to feed. Not once. I knew that was not good and was becoming more and more alarmed each time I saw a doctor's face, because they too were getting worried. They started testing him for infections in his blood, urine and even CSF. This involved a lumbar puncture. I insisted on staying while they did it and helped to hold him still. I knew things were bad when he never flinched and didn't make a sound as they stuck the huge needle into his spine. I was worried sick. The cultures wouldn't come back for a few days but the doctors decided to start him on two different antibiotics right away.
My parents brought Paisley to the hospital that morning and she was so excited to meet her little brother. Unfortunately, she also had a horrible cough and a runny nose. There was no way she could come into the NICU. I was so happy to see her though and I know she was happy to see us again. It was hard to explain to her what was going on and we could tell she was a bit thrown by the whole thing. She loves my Mum and Dad but 4 nights away from home and then a missing baby brother and a weepy Mom had taken their toll. I was discharged that evening (against my wishes) and left a very sick little boy at the hospital. While I was happy to be going home and overjoyed to see Paisley I was devastated. We still didn't know what was wrong with Declan and he had had a bad day. We all had.
Getting up every three hours to pump milk is not fun. It is far more motivating to awaken to a needy baby than an alarm clock and the whir of a machine. But I did it - I felt so powerless to help Declan but the one thing I could do was ensure he was well fed.
I headed back to the hospital on the Wednesday morning and I knew that things were going to have gotten better or much worse. After 24 hours on the antibiotics, Declan should improve and if not then it meant we were looking at something far more serious than an infection. I walked into the NICU with my breath held and when I saw him, I instantly knew he was going to be okay. He was awake and wanting food! I started to weep I was so relieved and although we still had a long haul ahead of us, I knew that we had his infection on the run. His IV had indeed gone and so that day they put one in his head. My little boy had been born with reddish brown hair and it was quickly being shaved off in patches. It's only hair and with everything else going on, you wouldn't think it would bother me but I was sad knowing that I would have to shave his wee head.
Part Three: The emotional roller-coaster continues...