Last June, I was pregnant with my 3rd child. We planned for this precious baby. I knew I was having my first boy, I knew his name, I knew he had hair and that he already looked like his daddy. I also knew I had been in labor for a week. With each pregnancy, my contractions started earlier and earlier. On June 10th, I went to the hospital for the 2nd time. The visit before, I was sent home although my contracts were coming around 3 minutes apart. I spent around 6 hours there without any progress. NONE! I went home and for the next several days stayed in a state of constant inactive labor. There was no relief. There was no progress. There was just me and baby, surviving moment to moment together.
On June 10th, though, I made just enough progress for my OB to finally decide to have my 3rd c-section. Everything was rushed. They wanted him to be born before lunch. They pumped me full of fluids and rushed me to the OR. We called our family and finally got to say “TODAY IS THE DAY!”.
Bruce Alvarow Collins was born on June 10th at 1:39 p.m. weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces. He was perfect and looked just like his two sisters. We spent several hours together passing him around and loving on him. His oldest sister, Lucy, loved him immediately with her whole heart and sang him songs. She did not want to give him up or share him with anyone.
Around 5:00, I gave my new baby to the nurse. They were going to bathe him for the first time and take his photos from the hospital. They never brought him back to me. Around 7:00, the hospital pediatrician came to visit me and told me that my newborn was having very labored breathing. I told her that couldn’t be. He was breathing fine when I let them have him. Is she even sure it’s the same baby? Yes, they are transferring him to a different hospital that has a NICU. Can they bring him to me? Can I see him before he leaves? Can I leave? No, they will not bring him to me. No, I cannot go with him. Can I go see him? Will they let me see him before he leaves? They cannot wheel my bed into the nursery. Ha! Bring me a wheelchair. Later, I find out, the anesthesiologist could not believe I was able to get out of the bed on my own and into the wheelchair. A desperate mother can do anything.
They wheel me into the nursery. I was not prepared for this. Wow, he IS having labored breathing. It looks scary. The nurses are ordering tests for him and trying to get results. I watch someone do an ultrasound on his heart. They’ve ordered a transport. How will they move my newborn? It’s quite a scary thing. They strap him down into an incubator-type contraption that looks like it’s connected to a stretcher. I got to hold his hand, without holding him, for around an hour while we waited on transport. I knew nothing. I didn’t know why this was happening. I didn’t know what this could mean. No one told me anything. I must not be asking the right questions. So much confusion, so much heart ache. Is this serious?
They finally take him away and I am wheeled back to my room. I’m post partum and I’m without my baby.
Two days later, I am dismissed from the hospital and my husband drives me to the NICU. I cannot wait to see my baby.
We are allowed only to change his diaper and take his temperature every 3 hours.
I finally get to talk to a doctor. There’s no explanation. This “just happens sometimes” and they “just need more time”. These words are so frustrating to a mother. What does that mean? Thankfully, my son only has premature lungs. They do a procedure and give him medicine to help speed up the development. He was not pre-term. I was 38 weeks and 1 day. I carried him longer than my other children, who were perfectly healthy.
Later that day, I am finally able to hold him again. It takes 5 minutes to prep all the cords and monitors to move him into my arms.
We feed him. By that, I mean that we are allowed to hold the syringe that is connected to his feeding tube.
We are allowed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. I wish I had taken more photos there, but we weren’t there much. We just slept and ate there. But, this place is a miracle. Please, when given the opportunity, support this place. Everything was taken care of for us. All our food, snacks, toiletries–everything was already there. If you ever need to stay there with your children, they have a whole area just for them to play. They also had a yard with toys outside to play with. This particular RMH was such a blessing to our family.
Slowly, the days passed and we would take one step forward and two steps back. They told us that would happen. They would try to wean him off his bubble CPAP and have to put it right back on him. He kept pulling things out and they kept having to put things back in.
It was such a victory when he was downgraded to regular oxygen.
On day 6, we came home to our girls. We had missed them so much! It was not right. Leaving the hospital without our son was not right. But we came home.
That night I called to check on him and they said he was doing great! Maybe in a couple of days he can come home.
The next day, they call us to come get him! He made major improvement and kept his stats up with no oxygen at all! Praise God! Our baby boy was coming home!
Thank you to Mountain States Health Alliance Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, TN for taking such good care of my baby. Thank you for taking time to talk to me and explain things. We are forever grateful!