Four Months Is A Long Time
One of the
most frightening things about the day Thomas was born was knowing
that his survival would require several weeks of hospitalization. The progress felt over the first 6 weeks of that hospitalization
assured us that yes he would most likely survive and that he had
a very good chance of escaping major disabilities. It was after
Tommy was permanently taken off the respirator and moved to the
isolette, that his hospital stay really started to feel like a
drawn out waiting game. The waiting began to weigh on us.
After a week of having just about the healthiest baby in room
2, we were moved to room 5, a room in the NICU for babies
requiring somewhat less intensive care. We went from having one
of the healthiest babies in the room, to a room where he was
about the least healthiest in the room.
Moving from room 2 to room 5 introduced us to a slightly
different set of nurses. Some of these nurses were
(appropriately) far more critical of our handling of Thomas while
we were visiting. Being that we were permitted to handle and hold
him on a regular basis, there was more to criticize.
This really began our education as parents of a preemie. Where
before we were more spectators than participants, now we were
trying to more actively participate in his care.
The NICU experience is described as "two steps forward,
one step back". We had felt to this point that we'd taken
many more steps forward than steps back. Unfortunately, week 8
included a step back.
Thomas' oxygen requirements went up and he became more
sensitive to being handled. That Thursday, one of the residents
called Natalie at home. He had been put back on the CPAP, placed
on antibiotics and was being tested for infection. Once again,
negative 24 and 48 hour cultures were followed by a positive
culture at 72 hours. It was felt that Thomas was requiring more
intensive care than what was available in room 5, so he was moved
to room 3. It was a hard step back for his parents.
Thomas improved after about a week, just in time to receive
his 3 pound award.
After ten weeks leave, Natalie finally had to returned to
work. Returning to work was difficult for her as she knew that it
would be more difficult to spend time with him every day. The
night before Natalie returned to work, we went for an extended
Sunday night visit. It was that night that we were permitted to
bath him together for the first time.
Another little milestone.
The day Natalie returned to work, she received a flower
arrangement from Thomas. The note said "Daddy says you have
to go to work to buy me lots of toys. Go to it Mom!" To this
day, Thomas' father doesn't know how Thomas borrowed the credit
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