After we were able to start holding Olivia, she seemed to be on the mend. She was officially off the ventilator the day after we held her and then she was extubated. After a couple more weeks in the NICCU, we were moved up to the 5th floor of the hospital. What this meant was we were healthy enough to be out of the intensive care, but not quite healthy enough to go home. The main cause for concern was her eating, she was only taking half of her feeds by bottle and we wanted her at 100%. They said we could go home with a feeding tube and they would teach us, but we vetoed that pretty quick.
Finally after a week of being there, this is about day 36, Myke and I couldn’t stand it anymore. We were exhausted, frustrated, and the money was starting to pile up-especially in parking at the hospital. We finally asked the doctor what was a reasonable goal for us to get her out. He said that if she took 85% of her feeds by mouth for 48 hours we can make it happen. We talked about it and Myke said what we were both thinking. We have to stay overnight to make sure she ate all her bottles at night. Keep in mind, not only are we on 36 days in the hospital, but personally, I was on 36 days of healing. I had started to move around a little more fluidly, but I still had a little pain here and there. I was already pumping every 2 hours, so we figured I would take night one and then Myke can take the next one and then we will take it from there.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night with her. Every two hours, I would get the bottle of my breast milk from the nurse, feed her and then I would pump and pray. By the time it was all said and done I was pretty much awake, so I didn’t really feel the need to sleep (never underestimate the power of a determined mom). In that 24 hours, she took 90% of her feeds and the doctor was beyond excited. He told us if she kept it up for another 24 hours, we can talk about going home within a couple days. Well Myke heard that and he would not let any nurse feed her the rest of the time we were there. I went home and got some sleep and my mom came into town, just to help us with things around the house and to get ready for Olivia coming home. When we told her this news she was even more excited she was going to come.
The next day, Mom is in town and she visited Olivia in her new room and held her and fed her. Myke came home and got ready for night number two with Olivia-the doctor told us to bring in the car seat for testing (a sign that she was going to be going home within 48 hours). She had taken 100% of her feeding.
November 5, 2017. Myke calls me at 10:30am. I will never forget that call.
“Babe, she’s coming home.”
All I could do was cry.
39 days later, my baby was coming home. Final diagnosis was pulmonary hypertension. Something that is common in C-Section babies, but rare to this extent. We piled her into her car seat, drove away from CHLA and never looked back. Thus ended what was the longest, most stressful, and painful season of my life. Now the real work began and we were so excited we didn’t care what was in store.