My experience as a NICU mom

On Saturday, September 24th, 2005 at 11:22 am my son was born. However, far from being the best day of my life, it turned into one of the scariest. The delivery went pretty easy, just about ten hours. The scary part came when the doctors were doing their post-delivery tests. The APGAR was perfectly normal, but the doctors thought his breathing was in distress. They were going to have to take him away to run more tests. For one brief moment, I held my son before they whisked him away to the NICU. 

Scared, tired, and worried, it would be hours before anyone would tell us anything. Two other babies had also been admitted to the NICU within minutes of my son. That information did little to calm our nerves. Finally, after many hours the staff pediatrician came to tell us the news. A tiny air bubble had burst in my son’s lung, most likely from the trauma of his birth. This was causing air to leak out. He would be on pure oxygen for the next 24 hours and then we would see. They told us the medical term was that my son had been born with a pneumothorax, also known better as a collapsed lung.

Since my son was in the NICU, I would have a room to myself. When they moved me from the delivery room to my hospital room I was confronted with baby balloons. However, they were not for me. The nurse assured me that the new proud parents would be leaving within the hour. Still slightly numb to everything I turned on the television to reports of Hurricane Rita and the damage it raged on the Gulf. That was nothing compared to the gurgling of a child not my own. The nurse had spoken the truth. My roommate was discharged with her bundle of joy. A few hours later, thanks to an error on the part of the nurses’ station, they started to prep the room for a new roommate. Thankfully, my husband intervened before anyone could be moved in.

Why are mothers of babies in the NICU not given roommates? Let me describe what happened the next night.

All the scans had come back good, but it appeared that my son was developing jaundice, possibly from being on nothing but oxygen for the past 24 hours. As long as the bilirubin levels stayed low, we would be allowed to leave in the morning. He could even stay in my room with me overnight. At the same time, they moved another NICU mom and her son into my room. Not a problem, I finally had him. I was happy. Happy until around 9pm that night when they tested my son’s bilirubin level again and decided it was too high and he would have to return to the NICU. The worst sound in the world is the cry of another woman’s child when your own son has just been taken away. It was a sound that lasted for most of the night.

That is why NICU moms have no roommates.

They discharged me that next morning. He stayed. The bilirubin levels were dropping, but slowly. After ten days of back and forth travel from home to the hospital, of constantly scrubbing and donning the sterile yellow smocks, the doctors let him come home. He was discharged with the caution to follow up with his pediatrician and have more blood work done. Thankfully, he did not have to return.

Today he is a happy, healthy teenager. It is hard to believe this was fourteen years ago. Though, the happiest day of my life is not the one when my son was born. The happiest day of my life is the day I got to take him home.

nicu

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I Tried Acorn Squash in the Instant Pot…Yum!

Since purchasing my Instant Pot, I have tried cooking a lot of new foods I was hesitant to try before. Different varieties of squash probably being the biggest. I have learned that I don’t like Spaghetti Squash no matter how it is prepared, but love Butternut Squash (check out my soup recipe here!). Aldi has Acorn Squash on sale this week, so I thought, why not? I purchased two (for less than $1.50!), but could only fit one in the Instant Pot once I cut it in half. I was worried it would not be enough for my family of three. But it turned out that one was enough of a side for us and both my husband and son enjoyed it. So win-win!

Here is what I did:

Materials:

  • Instant Pot Trivet
  • Spoon
  • Tongs
  • Measuring Cup
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Procedure:

  1. Wash Acorn Squash and remove any labels.
  2. Cut Acorn Squash in half and, using a spoon, scoop out any seeds.
  3. Place water and trivet in inner pot of IP.
  4. Place Acorn Squash side by side, cut side up on trivet.
  5. Place 1tbs butter in each half, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Close lid and seal vent. Set at Manual on High pressure for 5 minutes. NPR for 15 min.
  7. When done, careful remove from pot using tongs or a large spoon.
  8. Enjoy!

Goals for September

I probably should have shared this on Saturday, but the idea didn’t occur to me until after I had already posted and I didn’t want to have too many posts overlap, but I have seen a few bloggers post monthly goals and thought it was a neat idea. As someone who teaches productivity, I know that writing it down makes you more likely to follow through and if you are to share the goals, that makes it even more likely that you will achieve your goals. Creating SMART goals strengthens the likelihood even more, but well, let’s not go too far…

So this is what I hope to achieve this month, I will do a round up post at the end of the month to see where I stand on those goals:

1. Pass the IRB Committee Review

If you have been reading for a while, you know I am a doctoral student. I am at the final stage of my education: the field study. However, before I can send out my survey and schedule my interviews, I have to pass the institutional review board for my university. Basically, proving that I am not doing unethical research on humans. Usually, the process doesn’t take that long, but for some reason, my university has a backlog. So it took two months to hear that they needed me to make some edits to my study proposal. I am hoping that I hear that I am approved this month because well, I still have to pay tuition even though I am just waiting. Sounds fair, right?

2. Contact all the doctors

We actually have three doctor’s appointments just this week alone! And when I say “we” I mean my husband, but I go with him for most of his appointments because he has memory issues. Total this month I think there are five appointments not counting the weekly checkins with his counselor and the nurse practitioner. My husband has an autoimmune disorder on top of many other conditions, but we live in an area that doesn’t exactly have the best medical options. So we are trying to get him into a special clinic up in Baltimore that specializes in his condition. However, they won’t even schedule an appointment until they have all your medical records sent up to them. So we have a cardiologist, a rheumatologist, a pulmonary specialist, a neurologist, and his primary to contact to get his records. I have to say that the nurse practitioner at his primary’s office is awesome because she has helped me figure out the process for getting all these records released and who I need to get them sent up to.

3. Post at least one blog post a week

I know I have been slacking, but it has just been an overwhelming summer between the dissertation edits, being short staffed at work, teaching my summer graduate course, and a whole bunch of other things happening all at once. So I would like to get back into the swing of things. I really do like writing and I feel like as much as the statistics show you all like when I post my Instant Pot recipes, those post can be a little bit of a cop out because they don’t take much time or thought to put together (well, the cooking does, but I am just reporting on what I did). So I hope to get some more substantial stuff up on a more regular basis.

4. Upload a short story to Kindle Direct Publishing

I noticed the other day after looking at all my unfinished works in progress, that my inspiration tends to fizzle out once I get to twenty five pages or so. So I think I need to start smaller. I have been toying with the idea for a while of uploading something to KDP and I have a story that is almost ready to go. So after a couple more edits, I will try my hand at self publishing. Once I do, I will create a post here detailing how the process went and what my progress looks like. Might as well do it while I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for that IRB approval, right?

So fingers crossed that the next 30 days go smoothly! Stay tuned for updates and if I can keep to my monthly goals.