Jeez, I need to catch up here so I can get writing about what is currently happening rather than filling in everyone on that first day. For those keeping track at home Emilia is now five days old and doing well! So, back to the mad rush of her birth.
I followed Emilia and the army of nurses out into a central area where her isolette was moved against a wall and the real work began. Leads to measure her heartbeat, respiratory rate, and blood oxygenation levels were attached to Emilia’s chest and tiny wrist. A respiratory therapist arrived and taped a breathing apparatus to Emilia’s face which had two little prongs sticking into her too-small nose. I was told that this would provide her with necessary oxygen until she could be further assessed.
The neonatal nurse practitioner Barb (who I later learned we were extremely lucky to have on hand, apparently lots of non-university hospitals do not have these specialists) asked me if I was okay with blood. I’ve never had a problem with blood but I did take a moment to consider it would be coming from my daughter before saying no and that I would like to stay. Barb nodded and began dissecting Emilia’s umbilical cord in order to insert an intravenous (IV) line. Apparently this is the best site for premature babies to have an IV as the site is readily available and provides a direct route for live saving nutrition and medication. It also saves them any extra pokes which I can tell you will chip at your heart a bit each time, even if you like to pretend it’s made of stone. Blood samples were drawn from the IV line in order to check her blood gas levels and for a quick infection check.
Once that was done and Emilia was on some IV dextrose (sugary type of fluid to give her nutrition) things slowed down a little bit. I was told that a transport team had been called from the main hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and were on the way. We took a moment to weigh Emilia which consisted of Barb holding her above the isolette, which has a built-in scale, and then lowering her gently back down. She was 1540 grams, or 3 pounds, 6 ounces! So small!
With things having slowed down I was given an opportunity to hold Emilia, along with her heated blanket, for the first time. I’ll admit I was a little concerned. My siblings are quite a bit younger than me, so much so I’ve held my fair share of babies; this was something different. I couldn’t get over how small she was. Each perfectly formed little finger seeming to me a blazing exclamation point warning me how easily she could break. I stood there, lost in the smallness of her, until it occurred to me that oh yes, I still have a wife.
I asked Barb if she wouldn’t mind checking in on Lauren and telling her Emilia was doing okay. I wanted to go to her myself but I didn’t want to put Emilia down until the transport team got there. About twenty minutes later, they arrived.
The team consisted of two paramedics and two nurses. The nurses were very polite and professional. I could tell they dealt mostly with parents who were in the stages of total meltdown, a group which by my own estimation I didn’t feel quite a part of, by how they calmly explained each and every thing they did to Emilia as they did it. After some discussion they decided she was stable and we moved together over to where mom was waiting. I was told later that it is rare that premature babies as young as thirty weeks are allowed to visit their mother before transport so I took that as a sign of how strong she was.
After their short visit Emilia was placed in her pod and with that she was off. I stayed with Lauren for a few minutes and we caught up on what had just happened. We were parents! This really just happened! With Lauren’s labour only having lasted just over an hour, and the fact that she didn’t receive any pain medication, the doctor estimated she could be discharged within a few hours. I decided I would go ahead to the NICU to be with Emilia. I gave Lauren a kiss goodbye, keenly aware that suddenly I had two women in my life to love, and ran out to our car to give chase.
Well, that will have to do for now. I keep trying to catch up but I feel like so much has happened there is a lot to the story. I’ll do my best to get up to the present day by the end of the week!
So long for now,