Since we got to Las Vegas I haven’t had time to post a whole lot, so I’m going to try to recap the last week in one post. I apologize for it being so long but I want to be able to remember everything years from now 🙂
Tuesday (May 5th) we were a ball of nerves waiting to get the call that Samantha’s birthmother had signed the papers. We were originally told that she was signing at 10am Nevada time, 1pm at home. We booked a flight to Las Vegas for myself, Chris and my mom that left at 5:30, so we figured we’d get the call at 1 and leave for the airport at 2:30. A little before 1:00 I got an email from the social worker saying that they were pushing it an hour later because they couldn’t get the notary there due to traffic. Then it was pushed another hour later. We went ahead and left for the airport (my wonderful cousin and aunt drove us) and got the phone call as we pulled into the airport parking lot that she had signed. Nevada law has no revocation period, so it was final. We rejoiced, my mom and aunt cried, and we parked and checked our bags. Once we got through security I posted a picture on facebook of us at the airport and let friends and family know we were on the way to pick up our daughter – for real this time (I was very proud of myself for keeping it a secret! I’m not a good secret keeper at all!)
After the longest flight ever (it actually was less than 3 hours) we arrived in Las Vegas, drove to the hospital and got to meet our daughter a little after 8pm. She was in the NICU and on oxygen. She had also had some bad diarrhea so she had a sore bottom – they had her diaper off and some air blowing on her little tiny hiney. At first they only let me and Chris go in and mom had to look through the window, but then the nurse felt bad for mama and let her come in for a bit. She had been born Saturday morning (May 2nd) at 6:22am, weighing 6 pounds and was 18.5 inches long. On Tuesday she weighed 5 pounds 13 oz.
We got to feed her and snuggle her for a couple of hours and left the hospital around midnight. The nurse (Jo) was super-sweet and excited for us. Up until this point she had been on 21% oxygen (room air) with a 1 liter flow but her o2 saturation was dropping a lot so they had bumped her up a bit (I think she was on 25% then). According to the medical records they had sent us, she had been being gavage fed through a tube in her nose in addition to bottle feeding because she was having trouble coordinating her sucking/swallowing with the bottle. But when we got there the tube was out and the nurse said she had been doing better with the bottle. They made a name sign for her (all the other babies had pretty little hand-made signs on their beds but she didn’t since she didn’t have a name yet).
Because we hadn’t eaten in over 14 hours, we left the hospital around 11 to go get something to eat (tacos at Don Tor Taco – they were edible). We went to the hotel and slept a little, then were back at the hospital at 8am Wednesday morning.
Wednesday (May 6th) we got to talk to the doctor and found out that Samantha was probably going to be in the NICU about 10 days. We hung out with her for the whole morning, from 8 when we got there until about 10 when we left because we were supposed to meet with the social worker to sign our papers. But she called and rescheduled for 3:30pm – so we went to get some lunch (Marie Callender’s) and then I came back to the hospital. I took some onesies and blankets so that she would have her own stuff – I guess to sort of symbolize that she was no longer “baby girl” but now “Samantha Jayne” who had a family and people who loved her. Mama and Chris went to get our stuff out of the hotel and get everything moved into the condo we had rented for our time here.
The doctor came by right around noon (Dr Ali Paroozi) and told me he was concerned about several things – a heart murmur, chromosome abnormalities, and why she was continuing to need oxygen (her oxygen saturation levels were dropping below 90% ). He ordered a bunch of tests which were done pretty quickly that afternoon. They did an ultrasound of her head and one of her chest and abdomen and also a chest/abdomen x-ray. We had to leave at 3:30 to go meet the social worker to sign papers (she had called and left a message moving it from 3:30 to 4) so we were hoping the doctor and cardiologist would get there before we had to leave, and they did. The cardiologist said she does have a tiny hole in her heart that should close within 6 months, apparently that’s not very uncommon in small babies, but otherwise her heart looked good. She also had a little fluid around her lungs that was probably causing the breathing problems – but we weren’t sure what was causing the fluid. The blood test showed metabolic acidosis, however. Dr Paroozi said no more formula, so they started an IV and gave her some bicarbonate.
We left to go sign papers, which was much less of a big deal than I anticipated LOL but it was great to have everything official 🙂 After signing, we went back to check on our baby girl. Her oxygen saturation levels were looking good (she was still on oxygen though) and the bicarbonate seemed to be working. Since she wasn’t eating, we left to get some dinner (subway – yum) and ran to WalMart (also ran to Marshalls and Babies R Us looking for preemie gowns but couldn’t find any) and then came back and held her some more – but the nurse said she was getting too comfortable while we held her and falling into a deep sleep and would start breathing very shallow, then her O2 sat would start dropping. So we had to put her back in the bassinet. Since we couldn’t hold or feed her, we went back to the condo around 10 for a few hours of sleep again.
Thursday (May 7th) we went back a little after shift change (8am) and she had done well overnight. They had run another blood gas and it came back good. She was down to 21% oxygen (room air) again. The doctor came by and said her head ultrasound was normal and the acidosis seemed to be corrected so he was going to let her eat 20ml at her 11:30 feed, 20ml at her 2:30 feed and then back to normal (40-60ml) at her 5:30 feed. I went back to the waiting room (sure is lucky that she is right by the window – I leave the blinds up a little so I can peek in at her from the waiting room) and worked a little on paperwork – Chris went downstairs to the lobby and worked and a little before 10 mom joined him (they kick us out of the waiting room at 10am every day because they have a class in there) and I went in to hold Samantha some more. She was getting very hungry – the nurse dipped her pacifier in a little bit of sugar water and she was going to town on it LOL. Because all of the other NICU parents were in the discharge class in the waiting room, they even broke the rule and let my mama in to hold her for a little bit. A little after 11 the nurse let me go ahead and give her the 20ml because she was so hungry – and she sucked it down in record time. Around 12 her 02 sat started dropping again so I put her down and went back to the waiting room. Mama and Chris went to get lunch (they had Carls Jr and brought me a milkshake – I wasn’t that hungry). We went back in a little after 2 and fed her again (just 20ml again) – this time I held her for almost 2 hours straight and it was heaven 🙂 Went back out to the waiting room around 4, then back in around 5.
She was very excited to get her full bottle at 5:30 and ate 50+ml so the nurse took the IV out (left the port in but disconnected the iv) – exciting!! A little after 6 we left again and went to the condo for a nap, Chris picked up Checkers for dinner and we ate at the condo. I took a nap then a shower and we came back for her 11:30 feeding. Chris and mom went back to the condo to sleep and I stayed at the hospital. I fed her, held her a while, and went to the waiting room and slept on the little benches in there until 2:30 then changed/fed/held her and went back to sleep until 5:30 and then changed/fed/held her and went downstairs to meet mom and Chris for breakfast around 7.
Friday (May 8th) – When we went up for her 8:30 feeding, Chris fed her for the first time 🙂 I was really impressed! About halfway through I took over and got her to finish the bottle. We face-timed with my class through the window and Chris videoed it so I could see it later – it was so awesome!! I miss my babies at school and loved to see them so excited 🙂
I left Samantha and Chris to have daddy/daughter time for a while (I was next door in the waiting room of course LOL) until he knocked on the window to let me know about 10:30 that she had pooped (he is scared to change her with all the wires and tubes) so I went back in, changed her and spent some cuddle time with her until her 11:30 feeding and Chris fed her again (again he did great) and then we all left to go to Olive Garden for lunch (me in the yoga pants and T-shirt that I had slept in, with spit up all over me). Dr Paroozi came back by and said that things looked good. Back to the hospital for her 2:30 feeding. A little after 3 we went back to the condo for another nap, let the nurses handle the 5:30 feeding. We went back at 8, mom and Chris went back to the condo after the 830 feeding (I think they had Del Taco for dinner but I wasn’t hungry) and I repeated the night before LOL
Saturday (May 9) After her 5:30 feeding I stayed with her until 6:22 when she officially turned one week old 🙂 Then I went downstairs for breakfast. Mom and Chris got there a little after 7 with Krispy Kreme donuts (even though I had already eaten bacon and grits, I managed to choke down the donuts LOL). We went up at 8 after shift change, changed/fed/held Samantha for a while (daddy swaddled her and fed her again). At 9:30 they shut down the NICU (i.e. kicked out the parents) because they had to do a procedure on a tiny baby so we went to the condo (did we eat lunch? Is this when we went to Wendy’s? I think I slept? Was this when the a/c guy came to fix the a/c in the condo?) It’s so sad that this was only two days ago and I can’t remember – I was so tired) then mom and I went back for the 2:30 feed and spent the afternoon at the hospital – by now we had a routine of hanging out in the waiting room watching her through the windows and then popping in for feedings and snuggles 🙂 I took the “real” camera in and did a very mini photoshoot (literally one pose). After the 5:30 feeding we went to eat at Arby’s, stopped at DQ for ice cream, and then went back to the condo again. Mom and I came back at 10ish to see if the nurses would let her sneak in and hold Samantha one last time but they wouldn’t so I gave her a quick snuggle and she said goodbye to ganmommy through the window. We went back to the condo and slept all night.
Sunday (May 10) – My first Mother’s Day! We got up and took my mom the airport around 7:30 and got to the hospital around 8. Changed, fed and snuggled our girl, then I went to the waiting room and Chris went down to have some breakfast. Went back in around 10 and spent an hour+ (change/feed/snuggle and a mini photo shoot) then we went to In N Out Burger for lunch and to Target to get me a hoodie (I was freezing in the waiting room). Back to the hospital, with Samantha for about an hour at each feed and in the waiting room the rest of the time. Chris left for a little while to go to the grocery store but I spent as much time snuggling my girl as I could for Mother’s Day 🙂 We left a little after 6 and stopped at subway to pick up dinner, then back to the condo to eat and then back to the hospital at 8. She was doing good so we fed her and snuggled some then went back to get another good night’s rest.
Monday (May 11) – I got up and came to the hospital for her 5:30am feeding and she was doing well. Came downstairs and worked on this blog post during shift change and went back up around 8 to find her oxygen cannula out!! Spent the morning with her (8:30 and 11:30 feeds). She had her hearing test and passed! A little after noon, I went to get Taco Bell and took it home to Chris for lunch. He came back to the hospital to do her 2:30 feed all by himself while I napped – the nurses said he did a great job 🙂 He came back to get me and we did the 5:30pm feed together – her sat levels are dropping a little but when I hold her she seems to breathe a little better. Came downstairs for dinner (eating in the cafeteria – I had frosted flakes and an ice cream snadwich LOL) at shift change and in an hour we can go back up to see her 🙂 Not sure if I will stay up here tonight or go get some sleep. I’m afraid the night nurse will put her back on oxygen and that will delay our discharge … Obviously I want her to be on the oxygen if she needs it, I just hope she doesn’t need it.