Friday, June 25, 2010

When James Was Born

Last night I was up with Tyler. As I always do, I listened for James' steady breathing. I love that sound. Last night, all the memories of his stay in the NICU came flooding back. I remember waiting, and waiting, and waiting for them to bring him back to me after his 'bath.' (We are talking HOURS!) I remember how the nurse told me in a very snippy tone, after she finally realized that I was about ready to go all Mama-Bear on her, that 'your son is having trouble breathing. He's gagging and turning purple.' I remember asking her if he was OK, if he was going to be alright. She wouldn't answer, just said I'd have to wait to talk to the doctor. I remember being alone when she told me this. When everyone came back in I was a crying terrified mess. I tried to tell them what was going on but I didn't know much. Jeff had seen an x-ray machine going through the hall. It was for James. We all sat there lost in our own fears. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I didn't know how I could ever cope with losing my baby. My friend Candi sat with me and held my hand, and helped me though the whole ordeal. She even smuggled in Quiznos so I didn't have to eat the hospital food. James was born at 1:13 pm, he went to the nursery for his bath about an hour later, they told me at 5:00 that he was having trouble, and the doctor did not come in til 9:00 pm. It was awful, to say the least. When he finally came, all he could say is that they didn't know what was wrong. It could be one of three things: pneumonia, an infection, or Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). They were going to watch him and see. It took them til Monday (from Saturday) to decide he had RDS. Basically, he was lacking surfactant in his lungs, which allows the lungs to expand freely. For him, it was like he was trying to breath through a coffee straw. Of course, they had to give him oxygen, through CPap, which is oxygen plus pressure. No one could say whether he was going to be OK. They kept saying 'it depends on if his lungs mature.' Not the answer we wanted to hear. With each breath, his chest would cave in so deep it looked as if he had no rib cage. He would stop breathing for seconds at a time. We would watch the monitor, his chest, the monitor, waiting for him to breath again. It was scary. He didn't open his eyes, he didn't cry. It wasn't until he was several days old that Jeff saw his eyes for the very first time. We couldn't hold him for five long days. They couldn't feed him, because he needed to focus all his energy on breathing, and not digesting food. However, after 5 or 6 days of that he was, quite literally, starving. (I wish the doctor had not told me that.) So, after that he got tube feeds. He had to have a PICC(??) line that was always being moved around, from an artery in his leg to his arm to his scalp. He would try to pull at that, and his CPAP machine, so they had to tie his arms down. While other babies came and went, James stayed. He was there for two very long weeks. At one point, he got a punctured lung from the pressure of the CPAP machine. They took him off of it, and onto a nasal canula, to give him a rest but then he started doing really bad and he had to go back on CPAP. It was a lot of ups and downs. A lot of scary moments. Each night, we would stay as long as we could. It was heartbreaking to leave him. We would cry. Jeff would stop in each day on his way to work, scrub up, and go in and see James. I would go as often during the day as I could. I never wanted to leave him there. When they finally let us take him home when he was two weeks old, it was a mixture of great joy and also fear. He came home on an apnea monitor that would alarm if he stopped breathing (which only happened twice, and were short bouts) and mostly went off for accidental reasons. It was so good to have him home with us, and not have to leave him at night. I realize that all of this is a little bit out of the blue, but sometimes when I see James it all comes back so clear. All the fears and the what-ifs. Needless to say, I am very grateful that he is here and healthy and strong. I have this verse in James' baby book:

James 5:13, 15a Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.


Jules said...

I'm just getting caught up from vacation. I guess it's safe to say the feelings never go away. I often remember our NICU experience with Haley.

DayPhoto said...

I'm so glad he is okay today. And you are too. Our oldest grandson had that horrible long stay at birth. Both of his little lungs had collasped and he was at death's door. I have always felt it was God telling Jordon it was okay to come and experience earth that helped Jordan recover.