So, I've really posted the most important stuff. Basically, we were in intensive care for four days, then moved to the regular infant unit, where we stayed for nine more days. Liam continued to improve gradually over that period of time. I could tell he was fine and we were just wasting time/money/bed space, so I finally demanded that we be released, and they sent us home with a tank of oxygen and a kick in the pants.
The following are a few miscellaneous things I want to remember about our visit:
The Polynesian Invasion
There was one Polynesian kid in the ICU. At first, his parents were there with him. Then, slowly, relatives and friends began to trickle in. Pretty soon there was a crowd of Polynesians camped out, day and night, in the PICU waiting room. They watched movies and talked and ate a lot. It was like a hospital-sponsored family reunion. I loved it.
One of the hyperactive residents assigned to Liam decided that, as a breastfed baby, he was sure to become anemic and develop rickets, so he prescribed him a gosh-awful multivitamin that stank to high heaven. Liam would immediately throw it up after each dosage. I even asked the doc if it was really necessary to give him a vitamin he threw up, and he said, "Oh, yes, yes. All breastfed babies need supplementation." So I smiled and nodded and threw it in the trash on my way out the door.
While sitting in a nursing stall in the lactation station at PCMC one day, I overheard a girl talking on her cell phone.
"Even if the procedure is successful, she wouldn't live more than a few days," she said. "So we're not going to do it."
"We want to bring her home to bury her."
"We want her to be close to us."
I realized that all around us people were losing babies. Our baby was going to be okay, but not everybody was so lucky. I finished up and, on my way out, saw this sad mommy standing in a corner. I wanted to hug her. I didn't.
The Antsy Nurses
A nurse came into our room at 3:00 AM one morning to check Liam's vitals. She noticed that he was breathing fast (he was always breathing fast) and freaked out. She called in another nurse, and they stood over him, talking and counting his respirations. This, of course, woke him up. He started crying, so I got up, but the first nurse told me, "He's breathing too fast for you to feed him. I'm going to call in the respiratory team." They both skittered out, leaving me with a crying baby. He wasn't breathing any faster than usual, so I sat down and started nursing him. Then Nurse #1 came back in.
"Are you breastfeeding him? You shouldn't be breastfeeding him! He might..."
"Aspirate. Yeah, yeah, I know. He won't, though. He always breathes like this."
"Well, I don't think he should have been released from the PICU." And she bustled back out.
I was so tired and frustrated that I burst into tears. I rocked the baby and cried and cried. Then I took a pillow and a blanket and left to go sleep in a waiting room somewhere else.
Abe says that lights were turned on and respiratory therapists and doctors and nurses came trooping through for the remainder of the night, all to come to the same conclusion: Liam was fine. And it was fine for me to breastfeed.
Which Reminds Me
Everybody in the hospital called it breastfeeding at all times. I never "nursed" the baby. He never "ate." I always "breastfed" him. And he always "breastfed." The nurses would come in and ask, "How long did he breastfeed?" This was fine, just strange. I doubt people weren't asking non-breastfeeding moms, "Has he bottle-fed yet this morning?"
So anyway, this is the end of the saga. I'm happy to be done with this so that I can move on to other posts. I am WAY overdue for newsletters for Soren and Liam and I have several books to be reviewed. So stay tuned! I'll be posting some delightful photos of my beautiful kids.