Within the confines of the NICU walls, you take what’s presented to you. Sometimes that’s many excruciatingly trying days strung together, one after another. A constant state of emergency.
Well, that’s how I felt about the first 33 days of my son’s life.
A persistent state of, “I can’t believe this is happening,” interspersed with moments of hesitant joy and intermittent bursts of relief.
After weeks of chaos, stress, and uncertainty, as a mom, I needed a reprieve. I needed some reassurance. I needed to take a deep breath and enjoy my son without fear or worry. David needed it too. He needed time to heal and rest.
On December 1st, 2011, we both got what we needed. We got a good day.
The day started with a quick stop at the hospital coffee shop. Guess who was in line? The heart surgeon. I smiled and he said, "Your baby is doing good." That's more than he said to me all week. I nonchalantly said, "Thanks." Inside, I did a clap, lunge and a high kick. The day was off to a good start.
Inside the NICU, rounds had started and they were at spot 4: David's bed. Everyone was smiling. A good sign. The doctors decided to put David on feeds and increase his lipids. He had pooped the night before which was 29 days in the making. Now they could attach a bag to his stoma.
You might want to hold onto your chair when you hear about what happened next. Our doctor "friend" said, "I am honoured to increase David's TPN, something that has not been done since he's been here." Clap, lunge, high kick, double salchow. Oh yeah baby. He was making progress.
As an aside, for all of you whom are wondering what TPN is, I always thought of it as baby Gatorade because it was the nutrition they gave the babies.
I didn’t think rounds could get much better but then the charge nurse said, "He's slaying Goliath." Tears came to my eyes. I was so proud of my little man.
The group of medical staff finished up with David and walked to the neighbouring bed but one of the doctors stayed behind and said, "I hope you can gather that we are very pleased with David." How could they not be?
I quickly ran to pump so they could have fresh milk for his feed. Not only was I thrilled for David’s feeds to start but I was also excited because the barn had been under renovation, meaning all of us had been relocated to a temporary pump room for two weeks. On this day, it was the grand re-opening of the old barn.
It was exactly the same but with new paint and a slight change to the configuration of the chairs. I was the first user of the improved room. I almost thought of carving my initials in the paint but that would’ve been immature. Besides, I had nothing to carve with.
Upon returning from the pump room, a nurse, whom I don't know, came up to me and said, "David is the toughest baby on the planet. We’re all rooting for him."
What a little celebrity.
To cap off a great day, just before his midnight feed, a doctor came over and said to the other staffers, "This is David," and a nurse said, "David the warrior."
David had done it! He’d gone an entire day without scary moments or hiccups. He floated along, making progress and quietly overcoming all the obstacles in his way. I wished I could have pushed a coast or auto-pilot button so all the days to follow would resemble our good day.