|first car ride|
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the youngest of my twins coming home from the hospital after an 85 day stay. At this time last year, I was embarking on an exhilarating yet terrifying journey. The well being of my sweet little men, born so early and so tiny, was to depend entirely on my husband and myself.
I knew all too well the fear that the transition to home care would spark. We actually had brought K home from the hospital once before. He was home less than 24 hours, however. During the time he was home with us, his alarm went off almost every hour and he actually turned blue a couple of times. (We later found out that a nurse had given us bad information, telling us to not elevate his bed.) We were so happy bringing him home. So happy. We snuggled and cared for him all evening, handling his alarms and his interrupted breathing with a certain amount of calm. The husband had to work the next day, so he went to bed late, and I cared for K alone all night and the next day. By the end of it, I was a shell of a person. There was no question that his alarms were not false. He physically was turning blue with many of the spells. I revived him each time as I had been shown in the hospital. The nurse's words kept ringing in my ears, "you took the CPR class, right?" Please, please don't let me need to give him CPR. I didn't need to administer CPR, but three of his episodes were bad enough that they prompted me to give him oxygen.
When Hubby got home from work, he found me still in pajamas, unfed, unwilling to leave the cribside. I was so relieved. Everything would be okay now. I don't know why I thought Hubby's appearance would solve everything. It did not. K continued to have spells, and one spell actually caused him to go limp. One moment he was awake, experimentally kicking his feet, then he turned dusky, his alarm went off, and he stopped moving. We revived him with stimulation and oxygen, and in desperation I called the hospital. I was hoping for a change in medication or formula, or perhaps some instructions or suggestions on how to reduce the frequency of the spells. Instead of being given instructions, I was told to bring him back to the NICU.
I sobbed harder than I think I had cried the entire time he had been in the hospital. I was beside myself. I was a failure, and would be separated again from my baby. To this day, I feel the doc asked to bring K back not because she thought he needed to be in the hospital, but because she doubted my ability to properly care for him. None of the nurses had ever seen anyone admitted back to the NICU.
He spent another couple of weeks there, had some tests run, and gradually the frequency of his spells decreased. Still, I was panic stricken. What if we had a repeat? What if there was something in the home environment that caused more spells? Was it me? The cat hair? The temperature in their room? He did have a couple additional bad spells after returning to the hospital, but improved greatly over the next couple of weeks. I felt like the nurses that were watching him during his bad spells understood my fears, but the other nurses thought there was something wrong with me. I didn't want to take him home until I thought he was ready.
After a couple of weeks, however, and a change in medication and instructions, I knew it was time. I was ready to try it again, and I felt he was as ready as he would ever be. I was so excited and nervous. I could not sleep the night before he was scheduled to come home. I was up until five in the morning.