It's more a dance than a race and for each couple steps mom and baby make towards one another, they take one rock-step in place. The last few days have been like that. Baby steps. The baby two-step.
Andrew continues to grow stronger. He started his first day with an IV of Dextrose in his sweet noggin to combat low blood sugar. Unfortunately, the IV only lasted eight hours before Daddy knocked it out trying to hold him. We decided to try to hold his blood sugar up with just bottles every two hours instead of retapping his veins. It seemed smart at the time. Just like Mom and Dad his little veins roll too, and he had four holes in one hand and three in the other to prove it.
Using just bottles worked for a spell, but after about ten hours of just bottles his blood sugar plummeted to the low twenties again - where it was when he entered the NICU. Rock-step. An IV went back in his hand, with 12mL of Dextrose again. He came back strong, his blood sugar levels returned to normal and after half a day we started weaning at the rate of 1mL for each feeding with a strong blood sugar. My little man soldiered on making steady progress until we hit 4mL/hr. He hung there for another half a day before his sugar levels and strength returned. Then it was 3. Then Andrew decided he didn't like the IV and ripped it out. Rock-step. He struggled without it. Drew's sugar levels dropped but not quite to the panic level, but close. For the next day he adjusted. Then last night, he found his mojo again and starting pulling not just good numbers, but great numbers.
Shelly is dancing the same dance a few floors up to a different tune. You know what they say, "If it's not blood sugar, it's blood pressure!" Actually, I've never heard anyone say that.
The C-Section was scheduled due to Shelly's high blood pressure. After Drew emerged rather than getting better, Shel's blood pressure got worse. So while I was with Drew struggling for breath and then battling blood sugar issues - Shelly was upstairs trying not to go into a seizure. Seriously. They put bumpers on her bed.
Shelly made steady progress springing back from surgery, but blood pressure haunts her recovery. She was first on magnesium for twenty-four hours. Then various blood pressure medicines. Then cocktails of drugs, some successful, some not. Hope one moment, disappointment the next. But never despair. For the moment, for Shelly, it is hope. She just had a blood pressure one might call within the range of normal. Perhaps more shocking since her overnight readings were on the edge of alarming.
My girl has also found a role, often remotely, in motherhood. Through meetings with the lactaction consultant we have been able to fine-tune methods for breastfeeding and find the right pump. Every three hours now, even with the baby downstairs in NICU, we are up and pumping - sending first small syringes and now bags of breastmilk downstairs for our little man. Even though her blood pressure often kept her chained to the bed, it gave purpose and hope.
Hope, I've used that word a lot today. The word hope might be misleading, and an artifact of the limitations of language. Because it's more than hope really - it's love. Because despite my past opinion of hospitals and what you hear about healthcare - like other professions staffed out of love: teaching, counseling, biology... this is a place of love. The staff at St. Luke's NICU and Labor and Delivery have been nothing short of amazing. It is clear that they care deeply and passionately about their patients and those that care for them. The atmosphere is joyful and love runs like a current through the staff. I'm hesitant to name names, because *everyone* has been fantastic, but a few individuals do stand out in our experience above the rest.
In the NICU: Julia has been an absolute angel. Saralyn has calmly led me into fatherhood. Brandy and Nicole have buoyed my spirits and kept us all afloat. Stacey and Jennie have led my little man toward success. Nora held my sanity and my son in the rush from the OR to the NICU, and appeared again to set the IV in my boy that no one else could set.
In L&D: Jessica kept us spirited and laughing, while Cindy had us in stitches. Diane adopted Shelly and cared for her like her daughter. Roma for going way beyond to make sure we were comfortable. Rachel, Christy, Natalie... everyone is great.
Everyone here is beyond professional with all the best and most loving parts that come with the word family.
As for the dance? We just received word that Mommy's Rockstar just got the his cap and gown and graduated from the NICU. He is headed upstairs to mommy's bed in within the hour! Way to go my man! Daddy is so proud!