1 Whole Year (I Made it)

Hallelujah! We made it one whole year. I am still married through all of this and my friends and family are still talking to me. I call this success. I also would never of made it through this year without the support of my teacher friends, hometown girls, NICU staff, therapists, my parents and sister, and of course Donnie! I have heard that having a baby is hard but this years experience was extremely hard. I can sit and look back at all of the things I wish I would of done, wish I would of known, or wish I could of changed. But I sit and look at my little miracle in awe and wonder. How did I get so lucky to be this baby’s momma? Why did God choose me? I hope to think it is because he knew that I had the strength and the faith to give her the best life she can have.

Our first couple of months was navigating through with no clue what the future holds. I honestly look back at the first few days of Harlow’s life and wonder how I made it through those days. I still remember like it was yesterday that the doctor coming in with the chaplain to talk about the progress and prognosis of Harlow. You know that it is not good when they are bringing in the Chaplain. I was supposed to be celebrating this life that just came into the world not worrying if my baby was going to die. That is so hard to say. I don’t say it often but there was a time that medical staff thought she could possibly die. My beautiful baby that I carried for 9 months. I remember just breaking down. I didn’t want to look at anyone. I wanted someone to take the physical and emotional pain away. But we made after that little, stubborn Diva decided to finally pee. We spent the next few weeks beginning to heal from all the trauma at birth. Harlow spent 46 days in the NICU. She went home on Jtube.

After being home for a couple of months, Harlow was starting to develop like a typical baby. Yes we were still doing tube feeding 24 hours a day but she was alert and ready to take on the world. This is when the two months of HELL happened. I pushed for her Jtube to be converted into a Gtube so she would not have to be hooked up to a pump all day. This is when the NGtube (nose) was placed. Harlow spit up more than normal, yanked it out several times, and you could not leave her for a second or she would yank it again. IT WAS AWFUL. I honestly don’t know how we survived those days. I would have to swaddle one hand so she didn’t pull the tube. Someone always had to be watching her. Someone had to sit in the back seat with her. So for me to go anywhere, I had to have my dad, mom, or Donnie around to sit in the back seat. But we survived again and her surgery on March 13th was a success.

The spring flew by. Harlow started to make some gains with her eating. She started to teeth. She started to try different foods. Life started to feel normal or typical. She was so happy and easy to please. She enjoyed her first Cardinal’s game, a trip to the zoo, and visits to grammy’s.

This summer Harlow really started to thrive. She is still not a fan of being on her tummy but she scoots on her butt around the house. She has started to pull up on her own. She has her own personality. She likes to do things on her terms and has been like that since day one. This little girl’s stubbornness and will is what pushed her to thrive. She is loving and enjoys everyone’s attention. She loves to read her books and play with all her toys. She starts to dance (bounce) when she hears music. I seriously could not ask for more happy baby. She is the BEST. We are still doing some Gtube feedings until Harlow’s intake of liquids by mouth is more. But she is happy, healthy, and the best thing that ever happened to me! I often look at her and start to cry. How could this thriving baby had been so sick? How could anyone not see that she had the strength and will to survive? What is her future going to hold? This momma is going to toast with hubby for making it one year. It is stressful enough with adding a baby to your life but all of the issues that we have overcome has made this celebration even better. So for Harlow’s birthday (10/2) I want everyone to celebrate life! Celebrate the small things! Celebrate the love you have for your babies! Celebrate that you are surviving parenthood! Celebrate that not everyday is perfect but there is always tomorrow! CELEBRATE!!! CELEBRATE!! CELEBRATE!!

NICU Awareness Month

September is NICU Awareness Month. The NICU was our home for 46 days. It is where I first held my sweet baby girl. It is where I prayed, cried, and fell more in love with this miracle baby. No one has a baby thinking you are going to have complications. No one plans to have a stay in the NICU. I honestly knew very little about the NICU. After observing for 46 days, I can say more babies have a stay in the NICU than I ever thought. I think that child birth is a miracle in itself. But a healthy mom and healthy baby delivery is major miracle.

So when you start the dream of having baby you think about all the fun stuff such as decorating the nursery, baby showers, picking out those cute little outfits, and baby class. Baby class doesn’t really tell you about complications because why would they want to scare a new mom. I totally get that. Unless you are having complications during your pregnancy, then you might tour the NICU. Our NICU had 2 floors that they used for most of their babies but had 2 more floors they could use when overflow. Seriously, you think that the NICU would fill up that quick but it does. Our NICU had a small baby unit where if you were (I believe) under 30 weeks at delivery, your stay started there. It was dark and very quiet in that room. We never got to visit the small baby unit because Harlow was full term. Then there was other beds (cubicles) for bigger babies. On another floor they had beds for babies that were starting to transition to home. I saw so many babies come and go. I saw babies who were there when we started our stay and were still there when we went home. Next time you are in a hospital say a prayer for all those babies fighting for their life, the nurses who save those babies lives, the doctors who find any way possible to heal them, and all other staff who help those babies thrive.

It takes a tribe to help those babies fight. Harlow had the best tribe at the hospital from birth and still today with all her therapies. We have people who were strangers become family. They loved my little girl, worried about her, and were there when I couldn’t be. The NICU staff and our begin therapies are what helped me cope, gave me courage, and reminded me daily that I was doing a great job. Most parents go home and it is mom and dad at home with baby and family who help out when needed. I can name so many people who mean the world to my family who were strangers but are now and forever part of Harlow’s miracle journey. There are not enough words to Thank them for everything they have done along this journey. With her 1st birth only a few weeks away, I have been working on stuff for her party. But the thought that keeps crossing my mind is “what can I do for my NICU staff to say Thank you!” How do you thank someone for saving your baby? How do thank someone for coming into your home and helping you with therapies and working with you to find ways for Harlow to be a typical baby?

I know I have already talked about how left out I feel when friends start to talk about their birth experience. I also feel left out of the NICU groups sometimes because most of them are talking about Preemie births. When I say that we were in the NICU for 46 days that most people ask “How early was she born? Or that’s why she is so little!” Nope we were 39 weeks 4 days. Our story is a different story to tell. I would love to hear from others who have similar NICU experience.

So tonight momma’s pray for those moms who are having to sit next to an isolate. Pray for the moms that have to wait to take home their baby. Pray for those moms who have yet to hold their newborn. Pray for those moms who are juggling life and a NICU stay. Pray for those babies fighting for their lives. Thank God for your healthy baby. I thank God every day for my blessing and how our experience has changed me!

Just a few of Harlow’s Tribe! There are so many more members to this Tribe!

My Thriving NICU Miracle Baby

Small little thought

A few weeks ago Harlow and I went with three of my friends and their babies to the Zoo. Two of my friends just had babies a couple of months ago. There was a picture taken of the two moms feeding their babies bottles and our little friend who is almost 3. Harlow was sitting in her stroller also feeding. A bunch of pictures were posted later on Facebook and my husband asked me if it bothered me that Harlow wasn’t bottle feeding. Which for my husband to even think about how I felt was super sweet. He asked if it felt weird or if it upset me. I didn’t really think about it at the time. My response was no tube feeding is our normal. When we first had the tube, I am sure that this situation would of bothered me. I am sure that I would of felt a little left out (not because anyone was doing anything wrong) because, Harlow was different. I have just made sure that Harlow’s feed work with the plan for the day. I will either feed her in the car driving somewhere, feed her while she is in her stroller, or make sure that we are back in time to feed at home (or wherever we are staying). She has become a wiggle worm so it is hard to feed her unless she is ready to nap or is contained in something.

One of our favorite places to feed is to walk around Target. I was feeding her there one day and standing at the front waiting for my husband to come back and pick us up. A lady walked up to me and said this is one of our favorite feeding spots also. It was nice to know that someone else enjoys walking around Target while tube feeding! It was also nice to for me to not feel like we were that different.

Reality is Setting In

So I have been in complete denial that I have to return to work in August. I am so grateful to have been able to stay home with Harlow all of last year. I know that she will do great at daycare but I keep thinking it is not me taking care of her. They don’t know what she likes! Will they do the feeds the same as me? Will she get enough snuggles in? Will they be patient with her? I honestly never wanted to be a stay at home mom. I don’t know that I want to stay home forever but Harlow is my miracle baby. I already spent so much time away from her when she was in the NICU. I have left her for the evening with my mom, dad, and my husband (daddy) but I have never left her over night. My husband keeps telling me that I need to let go. I need to just leave her when I go somewhere. I just can’t seem to be able to leave her. I have explained to my husband that this is something I am going to need to figure out but right now I am just not ready.

We met with Harlow’s teachers at daycare last night. I know she will do great but it was hard to even think about dropping her off everyday. I know that most moms go back to work and it will all be good. But I think it is going to be a tough day. I am afraid I will cry ugly tears. I am afraid it will feel like all those I nights I left her in the NICU. I am afraid it will be harder on me than on her.

To all those moms out there who went back to work after 6, 8, or 12 weeks, You are so strong. To all the moms who are lucky that they can stay home and care for their sweet babes, squeeze those babies just a little bit tighter and think of the moms out working.

Harlow update: She has been doing so great with eating her baby food. She loves to feed herself. She loves green beans, carrots, avocados, mac n cheese, bananas, and her puffs and crunchers. She will try about anything. She can drink out of a sippy cup. She has started to roll to her tummy more often and is trying to get her legs underneath her to crawl. She sits by herself when she wants to. She amazes me everyday with her progress and her will. She is truly my miracle baby!

Tubes, Tubes, and more Tubes

The look on so many people’s faces when you tell them you daughter won’t take a bottle. They look at you like that is what babies do and why can’t she just learn to suck that bottle. If I had the answer to the question, then Harlow would be taking a bottle right now but she is not. Let me tell you the back story of the tubes (and yes we have had multiple different tubes).

Once We knew Harlow was going to make it, our next step was to make sure she could take a bottle and gain weight. She still had oxygen so they put in OG tube which was through the mouth. She did ok with that and was starting to take milk.

OG Feeding Tube
NG Feeding Tube

Once she got her oxygen out she went to a NG tube which is a feeding tube through the nose (aka the devil… I will explain more later). She was taking the feeds ok to start. We hadn’t really tried a bottle much but I just thought she would start to take the bottle. I was soooooooo naive. I also didn’t really want to face reality. I didn’t want to use a feeding tube. You think that your baby will heal and learn to take the bottle. Looking back now, I should of got the Gtube surgery so much sooner than I did.

So end of October, Donnie (my husband who I had to convince) and I decided we would go ahead with the Gtube surgery. A Gtube is a feeding tube that has a button that takes the milk to the stomach. I really wanted to be able to take my precious baby home. We talked with doctors about our decision and it was decided that Harlow would benefit from having a Jtube. A Jtube is a feeding tube that goes into the small intestine. Harlow had been having quite a bit of pukes and was not gaining a ton of weight. Here is where I have so many regrets. I had talked throughly with nurses about the Gtube and felt very confident in our decision. When the Jtube idea was presented to us, I asked one simple question! WILL THE FEEDS BE THE SAME? I was told yes. I should of never been happy with that and should of asked more questions.

Harlow was taken into surgery on November on November 7th. Everything went great. My dad was there with me when the surgeon came to talk to us. He said she was doing wonderful. He then started to explain the feeding process. He would recommend that Harlow feed 18 out of the 24 hours. I was completely and absolutely in shock and horrified. I sobbed. What had I just done to my little girl? Why did I every agree to this? I asked so many questions. 1. How does a baby learn to crawl with a 24 hour feeding tube? 2. How does a baby learn to roll and not get the cord wrapped around it? 3. Why am I just finding out that this Jtube is a continuous feed?

I was so unhappy, disappointed in myself, and mad! I was mad! I just made this life changing decision to have the surgery to only find out that Harlow is going to be eating 24 fucking hours a day (excuse my language)! And no one can really answer my questions about the Jtube. I just wanted to take my sweet miracle home and heal.

Right after Jtube surgery

So fast forward a couple months, we have been doing the continuous feeds but Harlow is starting to progress like a typical baby. Harlow was having OT therapy in our home. I kept asking my OT what can I do about this continuous feed. It is hard for her to learn to roll over, I can’t leave her unattended at night unless she is swaddled, and how in the world can we learn to eat or take a bottle ( I was still hoping) if she is never hungry! I explained how I didn’t know about the continuous feed until after the surgery. She suggested that I ask to see a GI doctor and write to Carle’s patient advisory.

I was super excited to get this ball rolling to move to a Gtube. We went to a GI doctor. He suggested that we try an NG tube again to make sure Harlow can tolerate feeds to her stomach and gain weight. If that is what is was going to take to get to a Gtube then I would do it. We got Harlow’s NG tube put in on January 18th. This started two month of hell but I was willing to do whatever it took to get the Gtube. The goal was to have Harlow try the NG tube for two weeks and then check weight gain. Well, Harlow hated the NGtube. She is now grabbing at everything. She hates that small tube down her throat. She starts to puke again. I have to watch her 24/7 because will pull this tube out. I have to swaddle down one arm so she doesn’t pull this tube out. She can’t really do tummy time because she will root that tube out of her nose. She hates that small tube down her throat. I hate this fucking NG tube. She wasn’t gaining weight like the GI doctor wanted. Let’s try the NG tube for two more weeks. UGH UGH UGH!!!!!!!!!!

One arm swaddled down so she doesn’t pull out the tube.

It was two months of HELL!!!!!!!!!! She pulled the tube out driving home from a doctors appointment because I didn’t have anyone to ride in the back seat with her. We had to get the NG tube changed every two weeks. I couldn’t leave her for more than two seconds or she would pull the tube out. Oh yes and the tape on her face needed to be changed almost daily which made her face super sore. She would have spots that would start to bleed. She finally gained enough weight for the GI doctor to agree to put in a recommendation to the surgeon. So on March 13th Harlow had her Jtube switched to a Gtube.

They used the same incision and button hole from the first surgery.

March 13th was the beginning of a new life for Harlow. We started to have typical feeds like a baby who takes a bottle. Feeds lasted about 30 minutes. We were able to move freely around the house and not have a tube continuously hooked to us. We started to sleep in our crib. We started to become a typical baby family.

Since the Gtube surgery, Harlow has done great. She has started to eat baby food and mush food. She loves her veggies more than fruits. She has started to drink from a sippy cup. So if all continues to go well, Harlow will be able to be tube free after she turns 1 (prayers for Harlow to continue to progress with eating and drinking from a sippy cup).

I look back and wish I knew then what I know now. I wish that I would of made a better decision. But I can’t change the past and I have to move forward raising this miracle baby. I get to witness a miracle all the time. Every time Harlow meets a new milestone or does something new, I know that is God’s way of telling me that she is a miracle baby!

Harlow eating puffs which is one of her favorites.

a different story

I listened for years my friends talk about babies and their experience with birth, raising babies, and all the other things that go along with having a kids. I waited patiently to be able to join in their conversations. And still today I feel like I don’t have much to offer to the conversation. My experience with Harlow is completely different from everyone else’s. I know that everyone has a different experience but I feel like mine is all the way out in left field.

It started in the NICU. Almost all the babies who were there were born early. The most common questioned asked by other NICU families was how many weeks was your baby delivered. Of course my answer was always shocking to most, Harlow was born 39 weeks and 4 days. She was a big baby for the NICU.

With so many friends having babies lately (which I am so happy for them), it really brings to light how much my story differs from most mommas. I mean I can sort of relate to mom’s who had a C-Section. I was out for mine and honestly my recovery was easy due to the fact that I didn’t have time to worry about me. I don’t know what it is like to get up in the night because your baby is crying to be fed. When Harlow came home with her Jtube, she slept the whole night due to continuous feeds. I would most of the time have to wake her up. Don’t get me wrong, the sleep is great but again it is not the typical mom story.

It also took awhile to feel like a mom. When you leave the hospital without your baby it is very hard to think of yourself as a momma. I felt like for weeks I was just going through the motions. I was pumping so that was mom like. Finally about three to four weeks after birth, I was doing some laundry. I actually enjoyed it because it made me feel like more of a mom.

As a mom, I can tell you about the NICU, tube feedings, in home therapies, doctor’s appointments that go along with a sick baby, and how you compare everything to other people. I still do this today. I see on facebook other moms post milestones or list what the baby is doing at each month. I know that Harlow will catch up one day but it can be tough to watch babies born later than her hitting some of those milestones before her. I know that she has a completely different story to tell but man this world makes you compare your story to others.

I know that I am beyond blessed to have a healthy, happy, sweet, little miracle baby. But raising a miracle baby can be hard. I need to remember that it is ok to have a different story to tell and someone out there can relate to my story.

46 days in the NICU

After Harlow finally produced urine it was the process of healing and figuring out what kind of side effects would there be. I truly believe that most of the doctors and specialists believed that I would be taking home a baby that would never function as a typical baby. I knew we might have some delays but I knew that she was a fighter.

Harlow was up to 12lbs due to the retention of fluids.

I didn’t see Harlow’s eyes for eleven days. They were swollen shut from all the edema. Holding her was a process. Nurses had to help situate all the cords. It was hard to snuggle super close because of cords, tubes, and I was afraid of breaking her.

My new routine started the day I left Harlow at the hospital. Arrive at hospital between 9-10 am. Stay at hospital with Harlow until 6-7 pm. Come home and try to assemble something for dinner, watch some TV, and go to bed. This routine was also pumping every three hours. Wake up in the night to pump and call the NICU to check on Harlow. Oh and try to have some sort of relationship with my husband. This was my routine for 46 days.

Once you do something for so long it starts to feel like normal. My new routine became normal to me. The NICU became my home. I got used to the sounds, sights, and lingo. I made friends with the nurses, Who are all unsung heroes. The first time that the monitor beeps because the lead is not picking up the breathing makes you panic and by the time you leave you don’t even notice that the monitor is beeping half the time.

The NICU was a roller coaster of emotions. I was relived that Harlow was going to survive but you see the words “Failure to Thrive.” It freaks you out. Any little thing scared me to death. Is this going to be a setback? What are the side effects going to be? Still to this day, I am nervous every time I go to the doctor. Are they going to tell me she isn’t gaining enough weight. Am I going to see the words “Failure to Thrive.”

Everyone calls you Mom or momma in the NICU but honestly it was so hard to feel like a mom. I went into the hospital with a baby in my belly but had no recollection of the birth, no baby around, and couldn’t even hold her. It is hard to know that you aren’t making the decisions with your baby. Someone else is with them during the night while they sleep. You are not always there to comfort them.

Harlow and I prayed for all the babies everyday. It was great to see the babies heal and go home. But it is heartbreaking to watch many babies born after Harlow leave before her. I remember one day I was holding Harlow and the nurses and doctors were in the next cubicle working on a brand new baby. I heard them tell the mom and grandma that the baby wasn’t going to make it. I sat there and cried along with them because it was so heartbreaking. I held Harlow a little bit tighter and thanked God for healing her.

46 days or 1, 104 hours that my new routine was my normal. I am blessed to have some of the best nurses and now I can call them part of Harlow’s tribe. They loved her when I couldn’t be there. They were her family. Words can not express how much I am grateful for each of them that took care of my baby and me.

It was a good run Boobs!

The pressure of providing food for you baby can be very stressful. Moms are told they need to breastfeed to better their baby. I completely understand the whys of breastfeeding but no one tells you how much work it is. Or how if you can’t produce or your production doesn’t last a year how you will feel like you are failing your baby. I was in a completely different circumstance so maybe breastfeeding isn’t quite the chore I imagine. I started to pump about 4-6 hours after my C-section. I began to pump 8 times a day. I never got that bond with feeding. I would pump when no baby was around. I would set my alarm for every 3 hours during the night. So even though I had no baby at home, I was exhausted. I got to the point in the NICU that I didn’t care who walked in when I was pumping. I met doctors while I was pumping. I was determined to try and provide the best I could for Harlow.

I felt like a pumping machine. I was producing a good amount and left the NICU with a freezer full of milk. We even had to buy a small deep freeze so the milk would last longer. So I kept pumping. I kept getting up in the middle of the night. Harlow was now home and on a 24 hour feed with her JTube (which I will explain more later). She was a rockstar sleeper. She would go down around 8-9 and would sleep for twelve hours. So here I am still getting up every 3 hours to pump with a sleeping baby. I started to go longer durations over night so I could get some rest. Production was still great or at least enough for her feedings.

Now fast forward to the end of February, I am super stressed out about her transition to a Gtube. We have an Ng tube which is through the nose into the tummy. Harlow despises that tube. I despise that tube. I am concerned with her gaining weight, spitting up, and now my supply is starting to decrease. I am stressed about so many other things just add this to the list. I kept pumping. I had backed down to pumping about 6 times per day. I just couldn’t keep up with the 8 times per day any more! The pumping process took about 30-45 minutes total, then prepare her feed, and then feed her. So I would spend anywhere from 60-90 minutes on her feed. She was spitting up quite often also. The feeding process was beginning to become a nightmare.

Sunday (5/12) was my last day to pump. I am bummed that I didn’t make it to one year. BUT I am proud of myself for lasting 7.5 months. It was hard. I got discouraged often. I wanted to give up multiple times. I know that Harlow is going to just fine taking formula. But it isn’t easy to admit defeat. Moms don’t get down on yourself and just keep thinking that you are doing what is best for your little one. I am in awe of anyone who can make it a year! I am super proud of anyone who tries to breastfeed but it just doesn’t work. I am proud of anyone who chooses to formula feed. Being a mom is the hardest most rewarding job! Keep it up mommas!

October 2, 2018

September 29, 2019
4 days before Harlow was born

My pregnancy was a very typical pregnancy except that the doctors called it a geriatric pregnancy ( or advanced maternal age). Ha Ha Ha!!! I had started to do non-stress tests about 4 weeks before my due date (October 6). I had went in for a non-stress test on September 27th. Test showed that baby was active and everything was good. During the day of October 2nd I worked (as a special education teacher) and noticed that I was having some pain. I thought it was either Braxton Hicks or just the start of labor. As the day progressed, the pain began to increase. I stayed at school until 5pm so I could get all the lessons and plans in order for my sub just in case. When I got home I told my husband that I thought I was beginning labor. My pain was getting worse and the pain was closer together. I showered and called labor and delivery around 7pm. They suggested that I drink a big glass of water, lay down on my left side and rest. Looking back now, I can’t remember if I felt the baby move or kick throughout the day. I wish I had payed more attention to the movement and what my body was telling me.

At around 9pm I called back to labor and delivery and they suggested that I come in. We arrived to the hospital and were taken up to a room. This is where everything turned to a blur. They had me get into a gown and began to check for the baby’s heartbeat. The heartbeat kept dropping. There was about 4-5 nurses around me and my doctor. They asked that I get on all fours to see if they could get a better read of the heartbeat. The nurse was trying to get an IV in me but couldn’t multiple times. They finally got an IV. This whole time I had no time to think about what was happening or that anything was wrong with the baby. I couldn’t’ really see or hear my husband. The heart rate was continuing to drop. My doctor rushed me into an operating room. While leaving the room I caught a glimpse of my husband who had no idea what was really going on. I was still on all fours as they rushed me into the operating room. They explained that they were going to give some local anesthesia and get the baby out as quick as possible. While they were administering the anesthesia they were throwing iodine all over my stomach. This is the last thing I remember until waking up in a new room with my husband right next to me. I was told I had a girl who was rushed to the NICU. Our little miracle baby was born at 10:54 pm. Harlow Lucille weighed 8lbs 8oz and was 20.5 inches long. She was born with no heartbeat. She had to be resuscitated. They immediately intubated her. My doctor said that this was the lost apgar score.

A apperance, P pulse, G grimace, A activity, R respiration

Harlow had a 3. An apgar score of 10 is the best. My doctor later told me that she had to stop stitching me up because she couldn’t see through the tears.

I don’t really remember my husband, doctor, or nurses tell me about the delivery. My first memory is asking my husband what was going on. I guess I had already been awake from the C-section for about an hour and half before I started to remember. I was so confused, exhausted, and in pain. I just wanted to see my little girl. A NICU doctor came to explain to us that due to Harlow having lack of oxygen to the brain she would be going through a cooling process. Which means that they would cool her body down so that her body did not have to do any extra work but more oxygen and blood would go to the brain. By 4AM the nurses got me up to go see my sweet Harlow. The pain of getting in and out of bed pretty much disappeared. I wanted to see my baby and my pain was no longer an issue. She was the one who needed all my attention.

The cords, wires, breathing machine, smells, and sounds of that tiny little cooling room scared me to death. No one could tell me what was going to happen after the 72 hours of cooling. Of course we got worse case scenarios…she could have brain damage and her motor skills might not every develop. We had to wait 3 days to see what was going to happen when they stopped the cooling process and she warmed back up. During these three days, we could go and visit her. I was allowed to touch her but I had to be very careful. Harlow had experienced a couple of seizures the first few days. I had her baptized on October 6th. I remember the nurse who was in there with me holding my hand while the pastor baptized her and I just sobbed. I was so scared that I was going to lose my little girl. Not only were we dealing with the lack of oxygen to the brain but Harlow suffered an acute kidney injury. Doctors are unsure if this happened in utero or due to the lack of oxygen. So we had everyone praying for Harlow to pee. She went 5 days without peeing. She was getting so puffy due to retaining all the fluids.

I was released from the hospital on Saturday which is also the first time I got to hold Harlow. Harlow had still not peed and I know the doctors and nurses were very scared they were going to lose her. I can’t even describe to you the feeling or thought that you might lose your child. So here I am 4 days from having a baby but going home empty handed. I am leaving my baby and not sure how long or if I will ever get to take her home. Leaving the hospital, there was another couple who are taking home their little bundle of joy. Tears are just flowing down my face. A lady stops to ask me if I am ok. My husband explains to her our experience. She asks if she could pray with us. We stand in the lobby of the hospital holding hands with this stranger who wants to pray for my sweet baby. I thank this lady for taking the time to pray for my family. I thank everyone who prayed for Harlow during this time.

The feeling of leaving your child for one night does not get any easier. I left her for 45 nights and not a single one of them was easy. I didn’t get that instant bond that a mother and baby experience. I didn’t hold her for four days. I didn’t get to feed her, change her, or able to ease her pain. I had to just sit and watch her and pray for my baby to heal. Pray for my baby to pee. My pain of an emergency C-section was gone. My pain was now in my heart.

Harlow finally peed on day 5 (Sunday). I will discuss in a later post the aftermath of the cooling process and our road to recovery. We spent 46 days in the NICU.

1st time holding Harlow
I was a sobbing mess. I didn’t know if it there would be a next time.
My wonderful NICU nurse put a pretty bow in Harlow’s hair.