Monday, June 16, 2008

sweet sound of a swallow

There are many times in life when you realize that things 
are occurring in a way you never thought they would. about the 2nd day of hayvn's life i realized that everything surrounding him had occurred in ways i never thought they would. we struggled to conceive him, we thought we would lose him, and then we had him 4 weeks before we thought we would. being his parent has been an exercise in letting go, that's for sure...letting go of all expectations and assumptions. 

by day 2 of hayvn's NICU stay, we were growing more weary of the road ahead. while he was already off the oxygen, he still had an IV in his little hand and the doctors weren't ready to let him try eating yet. we were told that a small dimple right above him bum could indicate a problem with his spine and we were waiting to get the results back from an ultrasound. since we were still residents at sierra vista, visiting him was still easy and we were able to hold him most of the day. i had been shown how to pump and was already getting a little supply ready for hayvn. it was all so surreal, but yet when you're in it, you find that yourself just dealing with it--like it was normal. like you didn't just give life only to have it separated from you. 

by day 3, the weariness was starting to set in. jeremy and i were told that we would be leaving the hospital that day, and the reality that hayvn wouldn't be leaving with us was almost more than this new momma could take. i woke up early that day and called my mom in tears. the thought of not being within walking distance of my baby was heartbreaking. and poor jeremy was already having to deal with trying to balance his new role as daddy with his baker role. since hayvn arrived early, jeremy had special order cakes that were due that weekend--including one wedding cake. on the bright side, day 3 also included our first go at breastfeeding. while it was wasn't a huge success, it did afford hayvn and i the opportunity to spend some quality time just being with one another. it was precious. we also received news that his little 'butt dimple' was nothing to be concerned about--just a little dimple. 

day 4 found us in new roles, yet again. this one entailed us having to shuffle back and forth between home and the hospital. jeremy had to spend the majority of the day completing cakes, and i was fortunate enough to have jeremy's family's help. gramma and auntie jenny helped to shuffle me around and got to spend some quality time with the little one. again, breastfeeding didn't actually end in eating, but we were a determined little team, hayvn and i, and i was assured by the nurses that he'd eventually get it. luckily, i had a nice little supply building. the doctor had inserted a feeding tube in hayvn's nose in order to get him breast milk 
while he learned how to nurse or take a bottle. 

by now we'd learned that the NICU was a place where you had to be prepared for the unexpected--and you had to put on a brave face, no matter what. our little hayvn was/is quite the little wiggle worm. while the doctors had him eating mostly through a feeding tube, he was still receiving some nutrients through his IV. well, the little guy kept losing his IV. the nurses had tried it in his hand and his foot already. since he was such a mover, the nurse finally resorted to inserting the IV in his head. let me tell you, coming into the NICU to see my tiny little baby with an IV in his scalp was nothing short of the hardest thing i've ever seen. luckily, the nurses assured me that he was not in any pain and the IV would soon be coming out (as he began to eat more and more on his own). by this point God and I were in regular communication and i told Him in no uncertain terms that He'd better get that IV out soon...or heads would roll. 

by day 5  little hayvn had mastered the bottle. in fact, he was taking down almost half an ounce like a starving little man. it was amazing to feed him for the first time and to hear the sweet sweet sound of him swallowing. we knew that his stay in the NICU depended on his ability to take food by mouth, so it was no small victory to hear him suck, swallow and breathe all at once.

unfortunately, on day 5 we celebrated this victory and also experienced some defeat. on day 4, jeremy and i noticed that hayvn's coloring was getting more and more yellow. on the morning of day 5, the doctor had noticed this as well. by early afternoon they had gotten the test results back on his bilirubin and determined that his liver wasn't functioning as well as it should. in order to help him process his food better, hayvn was put under the photo therapy lights. again, i experienced some heartbreak when visiting my little boy in the hospital that night. i was able to feed  him and change his diaper, but i had to do it with him under the lights in the photo therapy incubator. and he had to wear this awful little eye mask, so he couldn't see me when i talked to him. luckily, my mother-n-law was with me for the visit, so she helped me put on that motherly brave face. 

day 6 was a better day. his bilirubin had already started to come down significantly, so we were able to try breastfeeding again (which he was doing better at) and we were able to hold him in 20 minute intervals every 3 hours. since hayvn had been doing better breastfeeding and taking a bottle, the feeding tube was out and the nurses started talking to us about discharge. we were also told that he'd have the IV (moved back to his left hand) out by the end of the day.  while we were encouraged that he'd get to come home the following day if his bilirubin was back in the normal range, we didn't want to get our hopes up. once again, a text was sent out 
to all of our praying family and friends that hayvn would be discharged soon.

day 7 was a miraculous day. we went in for his 8:30 feeding to find him moved to another part of the NICU--the part for reserved for babies going home! his bilirubin had gone down again, and he was no longer under the photo therapy lights. i tried breastfeeding him again and then gave him his bottle as the nurses went through all the discharge information. jeremy brought up our carseat in order for hayvn to undergo the final test before coming home--the carseat test. he was to sit in the carseat for an hour and if his heartrate stayed within normal range he proved that he was strong enough to come home. jeremy and i left the little guy in his carseat and headed home to get things ready. we had several more items to buy and some cleaning to, we knew that gramma would want to be there for his homecoming. 

we arrived back at the NICU for the final time at
 1:30 that afternoon. after scrubbing up, we went in to find little hayvn comfortably sleeping in his carseat, all his items packed up and all his paperwork complete. our little boy was all set to come home. he was finally ours--no more sharing him with nurses and doctors. after strapping him into the car and starting for home, jeremy put
 on tom petty's "wildflowers", one of hayvn's favorite songs when he was in the womb....and then hayvn's big strong daddy cried the entire car ride home.  


The Avilas said...

Havyn's story is a beautiful one. thanks for sharing it with us. I hope all is well....


Anonymous said...

I miss my sweet little nephew! Can't wait til Friday...

Soderin Family said...

Thanks for sharing all the ups and downs of your journey. I am fighting back tears and giving God all of the glory for this little life. It has been such an honor to be able to experience a little bit of each phase of this incredible and many times difficult journey to parenthood. Remember when we prayed, "MOUNTAIN MOVE!!" ?

I can remember driving home from the hospital with Noah. I was so overwhelmed by the intense responsibility and the indescrible love that I felt for my precious son. I was hysterical. Eric was driving and I was in the backseat telling him to slow down. It seemed like an eternity driving down LOVR. (SIGH) It goes by way too fast and the scary yet wonderful thing is that your love for Hayvn will only grow deeper and and more intense as each day goes by.

Mercy Kidz said...

CONGRADULATIONS GUYS! I didnt know you were having a baby/had a baby! COngradulations, he is beautiful!