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I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Often Can’t Help But Think

… about Kaden’s itty-bitty pod-mates in Doernbecher’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at OHSU.  We’re closely nearing the one-year-anniversary of our little boy’s birth, and with that, the anniversary of his time spent in the NICU.

If you don’t know already, Kaden was born at 34 weeks and without the ability to efficiently breathe or eat on his own.  It is impossible not to reflect on how far he’s come since those first 3 weeks and to find such joy in his progress. 

Yet I can’t let go over wondering about the babies he shared his pod with.  At OHSU, there are over 20 ‘pods’ in the NICU – sectioned off areas in the ward that contain between 4 and 6 babies, depending on the equipment and care they need.  Each pod would have its own nurse, pediatrician and so on.  Everyday when I’d arrive, I would walk from the hand washing area, past 5 other pods and often saw the same parents standing over their child’s incubators or holding their baby or visiting with doctors.  Most often though, I’d just see the babies.  On their own resting in their designated beds.  Nobody there with them except the nurses working to maintain their unstable little life.  

        Dec-11-2010_7402

During Kaden’s 18 day stay, he remained in the same pod and was cared for by only a handful of nurses.  He was in a pod with other babies that necessitated minimal care and he held the role of “the quiet one”.  Several other babies came through Pod 6 during his time, but many of them were there long enough for me to become emotionally attached to their story.

The 2-pounder who was born to teen-aged parents, at 32-weeks... who had the darkest head of hair I’ve ever seen and who’s foot was the width of my pinky.

The almost term little-guy, born to an meth-addicted mom, who visited him once before escaping the hospital and never coming back.  A week or so later, I was there when a foster parent, bless her heart, came to take the baby away. 

The little girl, McKenna, who was born with her insides on the outside and who had, at 6 weeks, had already underwent 4 surgeries.  I comforted her often, because she cried… a lot.  Because she couldn’t eat anything.  She was scheduled for several more surgeries and I was there when her teenaged parents were told that the doctors believed she had some sort of nerve damage as well, preventing her from being able to open her left hand.

The 33-week boy… the 6th child to a woman who could have passed for my age, yet had children in their teens.  She couldn’t speak English and had a difficult time understanding why she couldn’t take her boy out of the incubator to hold him and why he may have to be there for another 4-weeks.  Her 10 year-old daughter translated as best she could. But struggled to deliver the information and the questions.    

And Asher.  The twin born at 32-weeks on Christmas Day, from an emergency c-section after the doctors discovered that the other twin had died.  I had to choke back tears while Asher’s mom and dad told me the story while we washed our hands together one morning.  They were so calm and matter-of-fact and clearly just thankful for the son they did have.  

And the little girl, born term during an emergency c-section because her momma was in a car-accident and brought into the ER.  I remember crying a lot over that story.  I asked for the privacy walls to be put around me and Kaden, and I just cried.  Thank the Lord, the baby’s momma ended up surviving her injuries and was united with her newborn the following day. 

Dec-11-2010_7405I think about those little ones all the time and of course more now, knowing that they are all coming up on their first birthdays, too.  Are they laughing and playing and thriving as Kaden is?  Do they have complications?  I wonder, and I’ll never know.  Which is strange because in the pod, every time I’d hear one of their heart or oxygen alarms going off (as a warning that their rates were dipping to low or spiking too high) I’d panic as if they were my own. I’d stand and wait while the nurse would check the baby and jostle them back to breathing or watch as their heart would pick up the pace… and then look at me and smile, and assure me they were okay.

I was emotionally attached and oh. How I pray they are now thriving.     Dec-11-2010_7398

I’ve thanked the Lord for the past 363 days that my baby is. 

6 comments:

Dianne said...

Well, thanks for the good cry first thing in the morning, Lacey! I don't know if it's even possible, but have you thought about taking a trip to OHSU for his one year celebration? Might be good healing time for you and nice for docs and nurses to see a happy, thriving little boy :0)

Love ~ Auntie Dianne

Mom said...

Gosh, I remember that time as if it were yesterday. It's crazy to think it's been one year already. I know you and Kaden were bright lights for the nurses during those 18 days at OHSU. They just couldn't believe all of the milk you were pumping for your sweet baby. And the hours you'd spend with him every day. Every little step in the "maturing" process was a miracle before our eyes. As we watched our little Tado improve, we thanked God that all he needed was time. The other little ones in the pod needed so much more...miracles and doctors. Remember the sudden snow storm? Thank goodness that Matt made it up the hospital hill before you tried to come down!

There were so many "praise the Lord" moments ....Praise the Lord!!

XO to Kaden from Grammie

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

Oh my. This was almost an impossible read for me. Kam was born 34 weeks and 6 days, and praise the Lord she was only in the NICU {at OHSU, actually} for a mere hours. But in those short hours I couldn't help but feel for those tiny little blessings fighting for their lives. Remember how we were talking about going into nursing? Your story is precisely why I don't think I could do it. The meth addict story . . . too much.

Happy "almost" birthday to your sweet little one, and Merry Christmas. I know it will be super special.

Jennifer said...

Hi. My daughter Grace was born at 30 weeks and was 1lb, 13 oz. Today she is a very healthy 5 year old. She was in the NICU for 8 weeks. I can so relate to the feeling of loving, instantly, all the other babies and families who were there. I cried for Christopher, a tiny boy who fought hard, but went home to heaven. I sobbed as I held my daughter and listened to the quiet whispers of the nurses as they prepared Lauren, the tiny girl next to us to be taken off her tubes and wires so her parents could hold her while they said goodbye. I'm crying now, remembering them, and praying for those parents and those families, and thanking God for my tiny miracle, and yours. Those little lives will never be forgotten.

Stephanie said...

Very moving, Lacey. We all have to remember that every healthy baby is a miracle.

Melissa said...

I (we) are so thankful to be apart of Kaden's life. It has been a blessing to see him grow and do all of the big boy things that he does now that seemed so impossible a year ago. He is such a healthy happy boy and we are blessed to have him in our lives. The Lord has done so much in his little body already, we look forward to seeing what HE does in his life over the years. Happy (almost) Birthday Kaden!

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