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11/18/92 — First Full Day on the NICU

November 18, 2010

Weight: not weighed today


Molly's first picture, 11/17/91. This was taken by the nurses to show to me because I went into shock after she was born and did not visit the NICU until the next morning.



I got to really meet you today. I saw you just briefly yesterday, because I was busy having Molly. You look like a little old man, like your daddy did as a baby. Daddy had a better view of you as they were working on you. He came down to see you Sunday night with Grandma and Papa.

I was told your color was black and then blue. You needed oxygen right away. You needed a transfusion right away, too, because you were bleeding. You were in such a hurry to join the world. Tiny, skinny and red. Your little foot was bent. They told us not to worry — we can take care of that. I think you’re a handsome guy, so trendy in your ski cap and mask. One of your eyes was open. Your hair looks dark.

After you were born, the doctor put a tube into your mouth and gave you a special medicine (surfactant) to help your lungs work better. When you were stable, they brought you to the ISCU. They brought you down in a transporter — a warmed isolette. Now you are on something called an Ohio bed (an open table), which makes it easier for the doctors and nurses to work with you. You on a ventilator with a tube down your throat. I know it’s not comfortable, but it helps you breathe and conserve your energy so you can grow. They also put an IV through your umbilical cord (called a central line). We had an ultrasound of your head and the readings were within normal range, which means there is no sign of a brain bleed. That is the biggest concern right now. The next 24 hours are critical.

Your Uncle Eddie flew in today all the way from Washington, DC, just to meet you.


I didn’t get to meet you on your birthday. The doctors had to put me to sleep so you could be born safely and then I went into shock, so they gave me a sedative that made me sleep all night. I finally got to meet you today. I was really scared. The nurses took a picture of you last night so Daddy could show me what you looked like. The nurse held her hand behind you so I could see that you are small enough to fit into it.

They told me that when you were first born, you were breathing room air for a while, but by morning they were giving you some additional oxygen. Dr. Silver said you made two peeps when you came out, but Dr. Adams said you were really wailing for a while. After you were born, the doctor put in an endotracheal tube. Daddy watched the doctors give you surfactant to help you breathe. You are participating in a special study to help determine which kind of surfactant works better, natural or synthetic.

When they felt you were stable, you were transferred to the ISCU, which where they take care of very tiny babies like you. It is on the first floor (not ground floor) of the Evanston Women’s Hospital. You were placed in a transporter, which is a warmed isolette (box) that kept you warm. It had armholes on the side of it so the doctors could continue giving you oxygen along the way. They say the next 24 hours are critical.

Very tiny, red and wrinkled and so delicate. Your eyes are closed and your hands and feet seem very big. It looks like you have some blond peach fuzz and I think I’ll call you peaches.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2010 6:50 am

    I’m so glad that you kept this journal and are now able to share it with your adult twins. I wonder whether it would have helped me to keep a journal during my son’s NICU stay or whether it would have been too (emotionally) taxing. Mostly, I read while at the hospital with my son – first a microbiology textbook (I was trying desperately to finish a 10-week summer course), later a fat book on premature babies. I couldn’t even read all of the Preemies book, though. The chapters about birth and a baby’s first day in the NICU brought back too many terrifying memories. 4 months later, I’m now able to write with some degree of coherency about my son’s birth and early days.

  2. November 18, 2010 8:05 am

    Thanks for stopping by. You have a long way to go with your son and I think it is amazing that you were already able to share his story in support of Prematurity Awareness Day. It took me 19 years to be able to put our story in writing, although we have told it many times. To be perfectly honest, I started keeping these journals as a way to keep the straight about the complicated medical issues of two sick babies. There was so much going on and I had to learn so much that it was hard to keep everything straight. Writing down even a few lines a day helped me stay on top of it all. Best wishes to you and your preemie.

  3. November 18, 2010 10:49 am

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is so nice to see preemies doing so well. What an amazing job you did keeping a journal. I am currently taking my journal and turning it into a private memory book for our son Bronson.

    • November 18, 2010 1:49 pm

      Amber, I think that’s such a wonderful idea. I know Bronson will appreciate it. One of the things we learned on the NICU was the preemies are often smaller than their peers for a long time, and it can be very helpful to show them just how much they’ve grown and how far they have come. Good luck with your memory book and best wishes to your family.

  4. November 18, 2010 1:02 pm

    Hi thanks for commenting on my posting yesterday. Mike and Ollie are true miracles. 🙂

    • November 18, 2010 1:50 pm

      They are indeed miracles. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. November 18, 2010 10:01 pm

    Keeping a journal in the tough times can help, I know. How beautiful that your two are thriving!

    • November 18, 2010 10:06 pm

      Thank you, Chris. I had never successfully kept a journal before this experience (or since, unless you count my blog, which are much more like individual essays than journal entries). This was the only way I could track all the chaos of having two sick babies in the hospital.

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