Having a Premature Baby continued...

I was told that Maddie could be in the hospital until her due date. That was absolutely devastating to me. When a baby is born at thirty three weeks and five days, they made her thirty three weeks even. They took away the five extra days that made her closer to thirty four weeks and therefore made her closer to her due date (which meant that she would be coming home sooner.)

I would be at home with Zach and feel so sad to be away from Maddie. Then I would be at the hospital and feel terribly guilty being away from Zach. Zach was twenty one months at this time.

Babies at thirty three weeks gestation have difficulty with being able to suck, swallow and breathe. They can get tired quite quickly too so the sucking can take a lot of effort.

After Maddie arrived in the NICU, she was requiring more oxygen than the doctor's wanted her to use. So they decided to intubate and give her surfactant. The surfactant allowed her lungs to breathe easier. She was only intubated for six hours and then no longer required oxygen.

She was also jaundiced so she had to go under the lights. The jaundice had improved but then the bilirubin levels started to climb again. So they put her under the lights again.

I would go and see Maddie daily and attempt to breastfeed. All the doctor's were concerned about was that she was tolerating the tube feedings and eventually taking the bottle.

I was pumping every three hours around the clock to establish my milk supply and I would bring the milk into the hospital. The nurse's laughed at me because I was producing enough milk to feed twins. This seemed unbelievable to me because I had to take medication after Zach just so I could feed him. This time I wasn't on anything and I had milk for twins? Wow! I think the pumping was an amazing way to establish my milk supply.

At eight days she was transferred to another hospital. I was devastated that the hospital she was sent too was so far away from our condo. I had been familiar with Foothills Hospital. If I had some extra time where I needed to go and do something while Maddie napped, I knew people at the hospital to visit. I was pretty emotional.

Our pastor and wife offered to take Zach to allow Dave and I to go to the hospital together. That was such a wonderful gesture. It was so great to be able to go with Dave. Zach wasn't allowed to see Maddie because he had not been immunized for chicken pox. That was certainly one time that I was wishing we had him immunized but in retrospect Zach was so young anyways. I don't think it would have changed much. Now he has natural immunity to chicken pox from having the disease and for him it was like a walk in the park.

Maddie was thankfully discharged from hospital fifteen days after she was born. I was so relieved to have my baby at home where life could become normal again.

Life at the condo was quite cramped with two small children in a one bedroom condo with a den. We were building a house that was set to be ready five months after Maddie's original due date. Now that Maddie was born early, we were going to be in closer quarters for even longer. Thankfully our house was done ahead of schedule.