Caroline is still in the hospital. Her breathing went downhill on Monday, and after a chest x-ray showed an infiltrate in one of her lungs, the doctors made the decision to transfer her to a bigger NICU. (She actually was moved to the NICU at the hospital which is my school-- which is SO weird for me.) We had been staying in the hospital with her, feeding her and worrying about her and staying by her bedside basically 24 hours a day. We had almost zero sleep since the day she was born, and we were really starting to lose it by Monday. I literally spent the entire day before she was transferred in the hospital room, pumping and crying, because I just knew that something was wrong. The nightmare just kept going like one of those weird dreams... Tyler and I followed the ambulance to my school in the middle of the night, and we drove up that same road I used to go up every day to class, but this time we were following our precious new baby and wondering what was happening to her and if we would ever take her home.
It still all just doesn't seem real. I was supposed to be one of those mommies who got wheeled out of the hospital with balloons tied to the wheelchair and holding my baby in my arms. But I wasn't, and somehow she still isn't home with us, and I'm terrified to take her home even when they say she's ready, because I don't know if I will ever recover from sitting there for days, listening to her monitor beep and watching my baby turn blue. And being completely helpless to do anything about it at all. I swear, after I delivered her, I would wake up in the middle of the night, positive that I still felt her kicking in my belly. Then everything would come back and I would remember where she was... for a couple of days, I couldn't think about her or look at her without crying because I wanted to take care of her and fix her and I just... couldn't. Thank God for Tyler, though. I don't know how I would have pulled through this without him. He has been so strong for me and is already so tender with our daughter that I tear up (with happiness!) whenever I see them together.
Today she finally turned a corner, which is why I am even able to blog about this at all. She hasn't had any episodes of apnea (stopping breathing for more than 20 seconds) since she's been at the bigger NICU, which is huge. She's been nursing well and has learned to pace herself so that she can breathe and eat at the same time. The diagnosis that the doctors have given us is that she has really bad acid reflux, and she refluxed into her lungs which is what caused the aspirate to show up on the chest x-ray ("aspiration pneumonia"), and what caused the new breathing problems on Monday. Otherwise, her problems (which are now resolving) were just due to her prematurity. Apparently there's a really wide range of what 36-weekers can look like maturity-wise, and my baby Caroline was just unlucky.
So now they are saying she only needs to be at the hospital until her IV antibiotics are finished, which is another 4-5 days. Honestly, I'm dying to take her home and have her with me all the time, but at the same time I'm scared to have her here away from the nurses... what if she stops breathing? I just will have to trust that they won't let us take her until she is truly ready. That's the only thing that keeps me sane when they tell us it's going to be another delay until she can leave the NICU.
This all sounds very depressing, but really today was a great day. We finally got a diagnosis that makes sense and isn't that scary (SO many babies have reflux, hers just happens to be serious). She did a great job nursing and hasn't had any apnea in days. All the doctors and nurses say she looks wonderful (and everyone loves her hair!)... I really do believe it will only be a matter of less than a week before she comes home with us where she belongs.
And I promise I'll post my birth story soon... just wanted to post an update on our baby girl. Here's hoping she only gets stronger and healthier from here on out.