Right after Monroe was born they were a little worried about her temperature being low so for the first hour they had Kaitlyn do skin to skin and would monitor her before taking her back to the nursery if it were necessary. The grandparents were a little bummed because they did not get to hold her but we were praying her temperature would come back up. The same thing happened with Harlow just because of their low birth weight so we didn’t think much of it..
Around 8 the nurse came in and checked her temp and it was just below where they wanted so they told us they were going to take her to the nursery to put her under the lamp and would bring her back in an hour after they bathed her. A few hours passed and finally at 10:00 we had called multiple times and was able to get the nursery nurse to come tell us what was going on. While they were monitoring Monroe’s temperature they had noticed she was breathing really fast so they put her on oxygen. The nurse wasn’t very informative but told us the Pediatrician would come tell us what was going on. After 2 more hours of no answer or any sign of them bringing Monroe back Jacob was able to flag down the pediatrician as she was leaving the hospital. She came in to our room and told us that Monroe had TTN. TTN is where a newborn has respiratory rates of 60-90 breathes per minute where a normal newborn has around 40 breathes per minute. Monroe’s respiration rate hovered around 90 for those first few hours. You can read about it here. Monroe had an unusually large amount of fluids on her lungs; they drained about 4 vials from her lungs when she was born so they said this might be the cause of it. The doctor said this is a small bump in the road and typically babies even their breathing out over the next 48 hours. This was good news to hear but we were itching to have our little Monroe back with us. The worst part was the pediatrician told us Kaitlyn could not feed her until she is off oxygen because she would choke on my milk as she was trying to eat. They inserted a feeding tube with sugar to keep her levels maintained while she was on oxygen. After the pediatrician left they let us go down to the nursery to see her. You hear people say it, but nothing prepares you to see your helpless newborn hooked up to tubes in obvious discomfort. Your heart hurts in ways you never thought it could. We couldn’t pick her up yet but Kaitlyn would lay her head on the bed next to Monroe and sing softly to her. We made multiple trips back to the nursery throughout the night, since we didn’t sleep so much knowing our little girl was down there.
The next morning we waited in the nursery for the pediatrician to make his rounds. Monroe’s respiratory rate still was around 80, but the doctor said he saw some improvement. They took X-Rays of her lungs to make sure it was just fluid and there was no sign of infection of pneumonia. The X-Rays came back negative. Kaitlyn was able to pump and we could feed Monroe with a tiny dropper. This helped soothed Kaitlyn over because she was worried Monroe wouldn’t know her milk and she was missing those first few crucial hours of feeding Monroe her colostrum. Around noon on Thursday, the day after she was born, they weaned Monroe off her oxygen. They still left some air on so all it was doing was making sure there was some flow through her lungs. Her breathing would come back down to 40 then jump quickly back up to 80-90. Since she was never consistent they wouldn’t let her come back to the room with us.
Let me tell you through this whole thing the nursery nurses at Parkhill were God sends. These women told us everything we needed to know, and were so sweet to Kaitlyn and Monroe. They obviously knew the feelings of a parent not being able to hold or feed their baby. They had a NICU nurse that would come and check on Monroe periodically since she was on the border line of being premature, but they said she was strong enough to stay in the regular nursery.
That afternoon I was able to finally hold Monroe around 20 hours after she was born. She was still hooked up to all her IV’s and oxygen but it felt good to hold my girl in my arms. Kaitlyn is a rock. That girl was so strong as her baby looked so helpless, but it was obviously getting to her that we didn’t know she would come out of the nursery. That afternoon I saw one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, a baby who just needed her mommy. Kaitlyn was obviously tired from giving birth and not sleeping but she didn’t leave Monroe’s side. That afternoon she laid next to M in the nursery held her hand, and started singing to her. When Kaitlyn would sing to her her breathing rate would slow down and she would relax. I have a picture of this I will cherish forever. Kaitlyn begged the nurses to let us take Monroe back to the room with us so she could hold her skin to skin and let her be with her mom. She kept telling the nurses “She just needs me. She will be fine, she just needs me.” One of the nurses said we could her since we’ve been so awesome, but only for 1 hour. They had to take her glucose test first. The nurse said if she passes that then she can go with us. The magic number for her to be over was 40. First test came back… 34. She was well below where she needed to be. You could see the disappointment in the nurses face. She was rooting for M just as much as we were. She said let’s warm her little foot up and try again in 5 minutes. Second test comes back 44! The nursery cheered for our us and our little girl. They unplugged us, and we wheeled Monroe back to the room at 6:00 pm on Thursday. 24 hours after she was born. The 1 hour window they gave us came and went. A nurse came and checked her breathing and it was holding steady at 40, her temperature was great, and so was her sugar levels. That girl truly did just need her mommy.
Monroe was able to stay with us most of the night on Thursday night, they took her back to have her hearing test in the middle of the night, but we knew that would be fine, that little nugget would jump and raise her hands above her head with the smallest of noises. On Friday the pediatrician made his rounds and said Monroe was doing great! They were going to have us stay 1 more night since it hadn’t been 24 hours since she had been on Oxygen. They discharged Kaitlyn and moved us to a smaller room. Friday was so much fun. We were at ease knowing Monroe was going to be okay, all of our family was still in town, and Big Sis Harlow wanted to hold Sissy Roe every chance she got (She was skeptical of her when she had her IV tubes still in.)
Friday night Kaitlyn, Monroe, and I all laid in bed together, ate Mellow Mushroom calzones and watched Gossip Girl. Saturday morning, 4 days and 3 nights after Monroe was born they discharged us from the hospital at 9 am and we took our little girl home. Harlow greeted us at the door with a scream and our family was finally together. All 4 of us.