Right when they put Elora on my stomach one of the first things I said was, "Why isn't she crying?" You hear about that first initial cry when a baby is born, so that is what you look for, and she didn't. She was very content though. They said she was fine but they would need to take her to the NICU just to do a regular check up because she was early and a bit small. We didn't want her left alone so Josh went with her while they got me all set up to go downstairs to the Mother Baby Unit.
Once I was settled in the new room Josh came down to check on me. He then informed me that Elora would not be staying with us in our room, she would have to stay in the NICU for a little while for them to keep an eye on her. I immediately started crying, here I was just gave birth and barely got to hold my baby and she was taken away and then I was told I couldn't see her until I was able to walk upstairs to the NICU. How was I going to see her? I was numb from the waist down. When was the epidural going to wear off and will I be able to walk after that? I had so many things going through my mind.
Josh continued to go and visit with Elora, which was fine with me. Even if I couldn't see her I wanted Josh to be there so she wasn't alone. During one of his visits upstairs, our good friend Jolen came. She hugged me and cried with me and I can never thank her enough for that moment. I needed it. And it meant the world to me, because it showed how much she cared and loved all of us.
Later that night Josh told me that Elora would not be going home with us. While I was in labor my Doctor had to use a vacuum to get her out and that vacuum caused a small cut on her head. The cut caused her pain and the pain made her not eat, so she had to have an IV in the top of her head and a feeding tube in. The pain in my heart was overwhelming. I couldn't help but feel guilty. I felt like somehow it was my fault. If I could have just gone through the pain and waited a bit longer to deliver or if I could have pushed harder so they didn't need the vacuum, then my daughter would not be going through this.
The next morning started with all of our friends and family wanting to come by and see us and our Baby. I told Josh I really couldn't handle seeing anyone. It was hard enough to get through a text without crying, I really didn't want a ton of visitors and having to explain to each one why they couldn't see Elora. So Josh was kind enough to deal with telling everyone we were not up for visitors.
Later that day I was finally able to go and see our little girl. I got into her room in the NICU and saw her in the incubator and she had all these wires on her for monitoring and IVs. And I cried. You want to protect your kids and be able to take away their pain, and I felt horrible I couldn't do that. But it was also a great moment because I got to see just how perfect she was. She was just beautiful even with all the wires.
Through out the the rest of our stay, Josh visited her as much as possible and I went to see her for each feeding. Seeing her made my day, how could it not looking at that face! The time came where Josh and I could no longer stay at the hospital and we were discharged. Another hard moment for me and I'm sure any other person that has had to leave the hospital without their baby. It just didn't feel right, but we handled it much better than expected. It helped to know that we would be back every few hours for every other feeding.
Elora was out of the incubator when we left on Tuesday and in her own crib. It was great seeing her in clothes and out of the incubator.
The next day we came back to find her back in the incubator, under a UV light, and with a mask covering her eyes. It brought tears to my eyes. It felt like such a set back. The nurse explained that Elora had jaundice and that is why she had to be put back in the incubator. The nurse then hugged me and told me not to feel guilty, that it wasn't my fault... this only made the tears fall harder, but I was thankful for her words because she knew exactly how I was feeling.
This day we were also informed that one of the things she had to do in order to be discharged was to eat without the feeding tube for 48 hours, which we thought we would easy because every time we came she ate like a champ! She was doing so well.
Another to do was she needed to have her IV out. During one of our visits the vein in her head with the IV "died" so they had to pull the IV out, which they did while I was holding her. Elora handled it fine and barely moved but it took everything in me to stay strong for her. They told us that for most babies the IV lasts two to three days but for Elora the vein would only last a day so they kept having to find new veins in her head to place the IV. We left after that and shortly after Josh returned to drop something off and happened to go in the room while they were placing another IV, he said it was very sad hearing her scream, I'm just so glad I didn't go up with him.
Thursday brought good news, Elora got her IV out! We were so proud and it was so nice not having to worry about pulling on it while we were feeding her. And her head was looking so much better! It is quite amazing how fast babies recover. She is one strong little girl.
But with the good came the bad. We found out a couple nurses after feeding Elora if she continued to fuss, instead of just giving her more milk in a bottle, they would use the feeding tube. This really upset us because every time they used the tube added another 48 hours to her stay. It would be one thing if they actually needed to use it, but they were using it out of mere convenience. So every time we went in we would make sure the new nurse on duty would not use it.
Friday was an all around good day. We got to the NICU in the morning and had one of our favorite nurses. She told us she knew Elora didn't need the feeding tube so she was just going to take it out so this way it wouldn't be used at all. We were so happy! To see her without the IV and feeding tube was amazing, it was a very proud moment for this Mommy and Daddy. She was beautiful before, and without all the things blocking her face, it made her look all the more breath taking.
Josh's parents were back in town and wanted to finally see their Grandbaby. I was very nervous for this because I had been doing very well with being strong and I knew this was going to be emotional. Specially because Elora was in the NICU they only let Josh and I in there so his parents were only going to be able to see her through a window in the NICU. So Josh and I decided I would go out and meet them and bring them to the window and Josh would bring Elora to the window on the other side. We were pleasantly surprised when the nurse told Josh he could carry her to the window instead of having to wheel her in the crib. It made it that much more special. So the moment came when I went out to see them for the first time in a few weeks. Of course there were tears but not nearly as much as I expected. We went into the room with the window and waited for Josh to come. The curtains were pulled away and there he was, a very proud Daddy holding his baby girl to show his parents. It was an amazing moment. And of course all were teary eyed, but in complete joy.
Josh later told me how great it felt to carry her to the window. (We normally had to be right next to her bed because of all the wires but the nurse took them off so he could do that.)
Saturday was a very busy day for us. In the morning we were told Elora's bilirubin levels (jaundice) went down so they took her out of the incubator and out of the UV light, they would test her levels the next morning and then she would be coming home with us! So we went through all the discharge papers, videos, and brought the car-seat in. We called everyone to let them know she would be home tomorrow and at the Baby Shower that afternoon. Then we spent the night doing last minute things to her room and cleaning the house so it was perfect for her to come home to.
That night we couldn't sleep, it was like Christmas. We kept talking about how nice it will be to not have to drive every couple hours to the hospital, specially at 12, 2, and 4am! We were so excited to stay home and finally be able to cuddle her and not have to put her right back after feeding her. Sunday morning couldn't come fast enough.
Sunday morning was finally here. We were excited to be bringing the diaper bag along with us. We got into the NICU excited to take her home with us. The NICU Doctor came in and our world stopped. He explained that her bilirubin levels went back up so she would have to be put back under the UV light and she would not be discharged for at least a couple more days. Our hopes were too high.
We barely made it out of the NICU and into the hall before we collapsed against the wall and held each other crying. In that moment we did not care who walked by, what they thought, how loud our sobs were, all we cared about was our family and how we had to wait to all be together. All we could do was pray.
I felt like I had been so strong the last few days and that had all been torn down. I could not stop crying. Thinking about it now, it could have been worse but at that moment it was the worst thing imaginable. We then had to again explain to everyone why she would not be home. And the worst part, we couldn't cancel the Shower, it was too late and I didn't have everyone's number. I was going to have to go and face everyone without my daughter.
Right before the Shower I had calmed down a ton and knew I could handle it. I drove there, completely calm and level headed. I walked into the room, saw everyone that was there for me, and immediately started crying. Each person hugged me and held me while I cried even more. Everyone there had been praying for us, there for us, and now were celebrating with us. I could not thank everyone enough for the support. There were tears, but we were also celebrating. I was happy I made the decision to go. It helped in more ways then I could explain.
So Josh and I continued to do the back and forth from the hospital to home. Each time we saw Elora our hearts were lifted. How could we be sad when we had such an amazing little girl.
Monday night they took the light off again in hopes her bilirubin would stay down. They said it was a good chance she would be coming home the next morning, but this time we didn't let our hopes get up and didn't tell anyone.
Tuesday morning I called to say we were on our way and the nurse told us to bring a going home outfit. It was finally here. After a physically and emotionally draining couple weeks, we were finally going to bring our baby home. Our baby girl was healthy and that was all that mattered.
We were together as a family. We were home... together.
Those weeks had some of the hardest and greatest moments of our lives. I can not thank everyone enough for all the prayers, even from people we don't even know, from friends of friends. But most of all, there are no words to describe how thankful I am for my husband. He helped me through recovery, through the emotions, and was there every moment. He has always been an amazing husband, and now I watch him hold his baby girl and he is an amazing Daddy. I thought I couldn't love him more, but he seems to find a way to make me fall more and more in love with him each day.
I am so blessed.
These two are my world.