Since we put the alarm, monitoring breathing on the baby- the kind that clips on the infant’s diaper (and the only alarm the NICU nurses recommended IF I absolutely felt that I had to have one…ehm, yes…) -it has gone off exactly one time. The alarm went off as I was holding baby girl and even though I panicked for a split second, I could feel and see that she was breathing in my arms. The alarm does come with warnings that it can go off if it’s not directly touching the baby’s skin so that must have happened. The alarm came off the diaper slightly or lost contact with baby’s tummy. There are also different alarms, like soft warning ones to blaring serious ones. This was just a warning beep. I replaced it and then it didn’t beep again…until now. And this time it is blaring…
It is Friday and my dad is here, we have been having such a good week with him. He has been holding our little minus baby (that is what we call her now-in a very loving way- minus baby M; it suits her) and they have bonded. She still does this very endearing, funny thing where she will look up at however is holding her, staring at the person, completely surprised, like “who in the world are you and why are you holding me?” (I will never forget those looks; those big blue eyes! We have lots of captured picture proofs) and she looks at my dad like that all the time. She isn’t sad or unhappy, quite the contrary, very content, just surprised, like she wants to learn more about you and just genuinely shocked that she seems to switch “locations” between naps! “Well, I fell asleep here, I know it…so how on earth did I end up here? And who are you?” We have been celebrating Easter, trying hard to make it special, especially for our littlest man. He got to celebrate with his dad and dad’s family, grandma and grandpa, uncles, aunts and cousins and had a real good time I know (I forced my husband to document with both video and camera). My mom cooked quite the feast here at home (we also got grandma’s yummy left overs) and I actually got to hide eggs in the yard with both candy and cars while grandpa kept an eye on napping beauty and our son was entertained up in his room by his dad, “mom this hiding the eggs thing takes you FOREVER”.
My husband’s sister temporarily broke our isolation with grandma because she came from out of state and just had to see the baby. We couldn’t say no of course and they were so gentle and careful to follow all the NICU rules. We had a great time over tea and cheesecake (my fave), celebrating that baby girl is “turning one month”, and it was so nice to see some other familiar and friendly faces! We got the new baby’s aunt up to date with all that had been going on and she got both my babies gifts (my son sure appreciated the attention). They could not believe how tiny our girl was though and we all worried about the doctors concern about baby’s platelets count together, hoping for better results the following week.
Anyways, it was Friday, the day before my daddy had to fly back to Sweden and my mother and father in law were on their way to take both my parents out to dinner. I tried to rest on the pink bed in the pink room (sleeping still impossible- I said I was doing better…not great), when the alarm went off. Man, does it go off, it doesn’t start of as a warning vibration or a beep but goes straight to full on blare mode. I fly out of bed and launch myself at the handmade cradle. My little princess is completely still-terrifyingly so. She does this sometimes though, where she goes into this deep sleep and she literally barely breathes, but she does. You just can’t see it-at all-and it’s beyond frightening. They warned us about the shallow breath in the NICU and there were ways you could check if there was breathing after all, like placing the hand on the lungs, a finger at a pulse point and/or under infant’s nose. Premature babies do the shallow/barely breathing thing all the time but they do grow out of it, usually by 44 weeks of gestation (so weeks after their “due date”). In the meantime patents of preemies everywhere can hardly breathe themselves and forget about sleeping, just longing for that time period (past week 44 or beyond) to pass. BUT, this time the tricks do NOT work. She is clearly not breathing…
My mom flies through the door as I shake the baby’s extremities gently but purposely like I saw “Kate the nurse” do in the NICU. And I see it now, I see the blue. My infant daughter is slowly turning blue. I don’t even have time to panic, not hearing a single word of what my mom is saying but I hysterically run thought the CPR class instructions in my head “flat surface, open clothes, in between baby’s nipple, press with one finger for preemies, hard enough that it feels like you are pressing down on the surface underneath (don’t fear punctured lungs and broken ribs…wait WHAT? As long as you get the infant, BREATHING) and that is the goal here. I’m terrified and I don’t even know how many seconds have past, I just know that my daughter is limp and lifeless and it’s up to me.
It’s up to me and nobody else and I don’t have time to get or call for help.
Luckily, as I put her on the bed (definitely not a hard, flat surface-I would have failed terribly, but all I could think was “do something FAST), I see signs of life, a hand moving, a foot jerking and then just like that some color in her cheeks. I roughly pick her up, willing her to show me more signs of life, gently now cradling her against my face, my ear, hearing her breathe again- and it is the sweetest sound! You can NOT do that I jokingly scold her, flooded with warm relief (not sure whether to laugh or cry, feeling weak and faint) “do not forget to breathe, you silly girl”. My mom is dumbfounded, “what on earth just happened?” But I can also see she is realizing the seriousness of the situation. “On nothing, just a little breathing mishap… you know basic stuff…have to keep mommy on her toes…”