babynapping from the NICU

The running man is tall and skinny, all dressed in black with a frantic facial expression, everyone in his way gets shoved and we all are momentarily too shocked to do something. Within seconds, before anyone can even realize what is happening he grabs the tiniest baby that I have ever seen out of his bed, cords and all. Realization about what he is trying to do strikes as he starts running out of the NICU with the tiny infant, not caring if the alarm is blaring and then turns off as the cords fly off the baby and they all detach from his Itty bitty body. What is this man thinking. I turn my head to the sound a woman sobbing, crying and then wailing, a mess on the floor, she is the woman that has come in every day to care for that baby boy who has his bed two beds down from my baby’s. I assume she is his mother and now he is being taken by this man, risking his health and quite frankly his life. I turn motionless and can just helplessly watch the drama unfold right in front of me. Seriously, what the freak is going on? It isn’t long however until security comes rushing in (I can’t help thinking if they had time to wash their hands…?) and in an ultra rapid blur they have taken the baby from the man and the man out of the NICU. The nurse who has been handed the baby looks shaken up and pale but doesn’t miss a beat as she carefully replaces the tiniest tiniest boy in the bed, methodically replacing all of the leads (cords) and hooking up the monitor, pressing buttons and checking the baby’s vitals all the while keeping his hysterical mom from interfering. We can all hear the police sirens outside, waiting for the NICU to turn quite and serene yet again. How is that for some start of the week drama…!?!

My daughters weight plummeted to 4 lbs 4 oz at it’s lowest point, that is a little baby. As I was trying to keep up with my pumping and struggling with supply, my baby was fading away, that’s how it feels and it’s hard not to blame yourself. That is a significant weight loss that earned her a couple more days in the hospital (on top of the “after Brady days”). She had such a good birth weight and that did prove beneficial as she was loosing- at least she had some to loose. The doctors did predict that she would only be around 4 lbs and when she was over 5 at birth, everyone was happily surprised and very pleased- this little eating strike  however, no one saw coming. The NICU nurses don’t recommend formula of course, breast milk being even more crucial and beneficial for preemies, but weight gain and survival should probably also be up there on the importance scale.

Luckily our baby starts eating again after the feeding tube debacle- she did not like that!- and decided that she was better off eating from syringes, feeding systems leading to the breast and eventually bottles again. She did not loose weight again after that, in fact quite the contrary, she steadily gained and then surpasses her birth weight but not before some scares of loosing way more than the normal “after birth weight loss” and completely terrifying her momma.

I’m spending the afternoon in the NICU, only leaving to pump, eat and finish my last round of IV antibiotics. I get another lecture from the PM nurse about the importance of isolating the baby past her due date ones we are home with her, not allowing anyone to visit her, no one but immediate family touching her (and no preschool hands please) the importance of hand washing etc. We have to keep an eye on her breathing and realize that she won’t be “fine” just as soon as she has reached her due date. It doesn’t quite work like that.  We are not to leave the house basically and baby is extremely sensitive to infection,”you don’t want to end up here again” she warns me.

I also find out that the man trying to steal the baby was his dad and that there were some custody issues involved but who would do that?? Risking their baby’s safety? I shudder as I think about it. The mom with the full skirt and serious expression is now rocking and feeding her doll sized little one two beds down from us and I can’t keep from stealing glances. She must be so relieved that he is safe, but really what was that dad’s plan? Baby napping from the NICU?

As I go back up to my room to get unhooked from the IV and dress to wait for hubby to pick me up (yay) I also feel a little sad to leave my baby here for the second time and swear to be back as often as I can. It proves to be quite difficult though since I can not drive and a new chapter of our journey begins; “how to get to the NICU when you are not allowed to drive”

About jennym

A doctor of psychology and a mother of four writing about the struggles and joys and the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, pregnancies, deliveries and her absolute love for her children in a humoristic yet down to earth weekly blog!

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