I knew the drill. This was the third baby, third c-section, and third preterm delivery. My son’s birth at 35 weeks and 6 days could go either way. I prayed for lungs that were mature.
He didn’t cry right away. No one called my husband to the warmer. My baby was bundled up, and brought over to me to see. Then I heard the words I really didn’t want to hear, “He’s working a little hard. We are taking him to see the neonatologist.”
They brought my baby to the room about two hours later for skin to skin. I looked at him taking everything in. He was beautiful. He was also breathing way too fast. I just so happen to be a nurse. Not just any nurse, a NICU nurse. I had just delivered where I work, and I had a really sick baby. No one had to tell me. I knew. My entire family was in the room, husband, parents, inlaws, and my two big boys.
We didn’t do skin to skin. Instead my husband, older boys and I held my son, Beckham, for a few minutes before I said, “Take him back [to the NICU].” Everyone looked at me like I was crazy as I started to cry. He’s sick, really sick with RDS or respiratory distress syndrome.
He ended up on CPAP and had central lines placed. We couldn’t hold him. I prayed his lungs wouldn’t collapse. Thank God they didn’t. I cried just like every other NICU mom when I went home without my baby. Lucky for me I knew the quality of care provided by my colleagues. Unfortunately for me I worried about every potential complication. I guess the doctor did, too. Taking care of a friend’s baby is tough.
Beckham progressed quickly, and did well. He’s 16 months now. You’d never know he was a NICU baby. Overall we coped well. I do have to say it doesn’t feel like YOUR baby, until you take him home. I had forgotten about that part.
Every NICU baby and family I’ve taken care of has taught me something. Moms always know their babies. This NICU baby was mine. He taught me to be a better NICU nurse. I think that was God’s plan.