On Wednesday, the day after he was born, this pediatric resident came to take a look at Adrian. By the time she left, I was bawling. She had seemed very unsure of how to hold a baby and looked like she was hurting him as she was examining him. She later came back with some other people and they also had a look at him. Then on Thursday they came back to tell us that there were some things they were concerned about, and they wanted to take him to the NICU Level 2 Nursery for further monitoring. I guess during his check that morning he had choked so badly that they had to suction him. So they took him away and I bawled. I had no idea what this meant or what was happening. Finally we got to go over and see him. (I am convinced that those walks back and forth from the NICU were what sped up my recovery, even though that first week my abdomen was in pure agony!) And, you can guess, I bawled once again when we got there because he was stripped down to his diaper in an incubator with all these leads hooked up to him. The doctor told us there were concerns with lack of weight gain, some respiratory issues, feeding issues, and possible genetic abnormalities. I was in so much shock, and I just wanted Adrian to know that I loved him no matter what. Jake was so strong, and asked questions with such a level head. I was grateful that he was there! It was hard to leave Adrian in the nursery, but we went back a couple of hours later for a feeding. I met with the lactation consultant, who was such an encouragement to me.
Thus began the strict 3-hour feeding cycle, and it felt so endless. I had many highs and lows, and Adrian had some good feeds and bad ones. On Friday I was discharged from the standard ward, and the doctors visited with us again, saying that he exceeded their expectations with breast-feeding and that he was gaining weight. His respiratory system was starting to look better, too. The we saw the geneticist who said that the results for genetics would be back in about 1-2 months. The doctors said that the only thing keeping him in the hospital was his feedings, and as soon as he could feed exclusively orally he could go home. [At that point he had been using a feeding tube for some of his feedings because he wasn't waking up to eat.] Because I was breast-feeding, the hospital was able to put us up in a bunk room, which was pure solitude after staying in the ward. It was a blessing to have the amenities of the hospital's Ronald McDonald room, and I will never undervalue that organization again since we benefited so gratefully from it. After spending the entire weekend with crazy ups and downs, needing to use the feeding tube on many occasions and observing him a little more closely, I noticed that he looked tired and exhausted. The LC suggested alternating between the feeding tube and breast-feeding, to see if giving him a break in between makes him more receptive to breast-feeding.
Honestly, I had never felt as discouraged as I did the first few breast-feeding sessions that second week. He was so hungry, but did not want to breast-feed. He would rear back his head and cry like I was torturing him. That's when the LC suggested that he was just weary. So we waited for the doctors to get in touch and to explain what could be going on. It was frustrating, but I was happy that Mom was able to stay with me for a few days since Jake had to go back to work.
The whole experience was overwhelming, and possibly the toughest thing I've had to face in life. But we were so looked after by God, and couldn't dismiss the blessing it was to have a son! We were so absolutely in love with him, and that's what made us push through the tough moments of each day. I would do anything for Adrian. It was hard, though, because I felt so trapped in the hospital. I was just praying that God would grant me patience as I waited on Him to do His good will in His time. I just wanted Adrian to be healthy, and I needed to stop placing undue expectations on him for how quickly I thought he should be improving. I felt rejection from Adrian when he didn't want to breastfeed, and then the frustration ensued as a nurse and I would fight with him to get him to eat. We were both exhausted.
At that point we were asking the Lord for some improvement so that we could go home on Thanksgiving. Adrian started to improve later on that week, but I still needed to remember to trust God in His timing. Some of the passages that comforted me were Psalm 139:13-16:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.and Psalm 104: 27-30 reminded me that it is the LORD who is in control of everything, not me:
These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit,[a] they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
Jake was so amazing through it all. I never knew I could function off so little sleep, and my body was hurting from the section, but Jake was there, steady and supportive. Whenever I voiced my doubts and fears, he said, "Ashleigh, you are a wonderful mother but a terrible God!"
Although it wasn't ideal, we experienced some of Adrian's firsts in the hospital, including the first time we tried to give him a bath. We had both watched nurses give him baths previously, so we thought we could do it. The nurse left us to it, but as soon as his little body started sliding around in the tub we both freaked, and called the nurse back over in panicky voices. We laughed about it later, but felt like major parent fails at the time!
to be continued....