Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

If the NICU mantra is two steps forward, one step back, it would seem Nyana got the message. Just yesterday morning I thought she was looking great, and the daytime nurse “couldn’t see any reason why not” to hold her during our evening visit. But by the time our evening visit came along, the nurse scrunched up her face and said, “Oh, no, not today. I’m just about to get to work on her.”

Turns out “get to work” meant a blood draw, an X-ray, and then a few other tests before being intubated. I left the room soon after they started, and just read the paper in the parent’s lounge. I had no need to watch them try to find a tiny vein for a tiny IV. Don brought me in to say goodnight to her, knowing that when I came back to see her in the morning she’d be on a breathing tube. I’ve never even seen her with the tube… she rejected it hours after birth, before I ever got to see her! We came home with an assurance from the nurse that by tomorrow, she’d be well enough to handle.

I was cautiously optimistic when we arrived at the hospital tonight, hopeful that she’d been stabilized enough overnight that Don would finally get to hold her. Not the case, unfortunately. In addition to being intubated, they also thrust a consent form for a blood transfusion into our hands as soon as we got there. Too many tests had left our poor Nyana exhausted, and while she wasn’t in a dangerous place yet, she just couldn’t keep up the oxygen saturation in her blood, and the docs decided a pint of someone else’s was the best option for her.

Don and I left during the transfusion—it was tonight that the Red Cross hosted a Harvest Dinner for all the families of BC Children’s hospital, so we took full advantage of a free turkey dinner to take our minds off of what was happening to our daughter just a few hallways away. It was humbling and wonderful to sit there with all these other families—parents of kids who were much sicker than Nyana, kids who were dealing with much more than they should be, everyone smiling and forgetting for an evening where they were. We shared our table with a young girl from the Island, whose cancer treatments meant she hasn’t been allowed to eat for over a week, who wanted nothing more than a plate full of ham tonight and when she finally got it, wasn’t able to eat it because her stomach was too small.

Harvest Dinner at Women's & Children's

Through the dinner Don and I marvelled at how good Nyana looked today. Ironic, that from a medical perspective, today was probably her worst day since birth. But for Don and me, today was a good day. With the breathing tube, they’ve been able to remove the chinstrap that held her CPAP machine, and we had a good look at her face today. The nurses removed her cap, too, so I got some reassurance that yes, she had been born with brown hair, like I thought. And she had her eyes open a lot today, too, and she seemed to be able to look right at the both of us. I was more in love with her today than ever. I’m glad that she took a step backwards today. It’ll make her that much stronger to take two steps forward tomorrow.

What a beautiful girl!


About Mrs. B

Wife, mother, marketer--not always in that order. Lover of fine food, good company, and exceptional grammar. Mother of one former micro-preemie and one full-term monster baby. Building childhood memories in Vancouver's suburbs.
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