You can read part one here
You can read part two here
You can read part three here
You can read part four here
When Lucas was taken to NICU, I stayed in recovery for a few hours and then was moved up to the ward. I was segregated away from the other Mums, in a special section for Mums with babies in NICU.
I requested to go and see Lucas, they kindly took me down on my bed so I didn't have to attempt to get in a wheelchair.
I was shocked at how ill Lucas looked. I think I expected him to be OK as he didn't seem to have any problems when I held him after he was born.
I was told that they were about to hook him up to CPAP as he needed that little bit of extra help to breathe. He also had Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Because his lungs were not fully mature) and possible sepsis.
It was heartbreaking to see Lucas like that. Every parent wants their baby to be born perfectly healthy and I was no exception.
Lucas was hooked up to a monitor that showed his heart beat, his breathing rate and his oxygen levels. This monitor over the next 12 days I would hate with a passion!
After seeing Lucas I went back up to the ward, Matt left to go and get Cameron from my Mum's and I got some more rest.
My Auntie and Uncle arrived in the evening and brought me tons of premature baby clothes. I had kindly asked them to pop to Asda to get me a few baby grows, however they decided that it was the perfect opportunity to go and raid Baby Gap and Next.
I managed, with help to get into a wheel chair and we went down to see Lucas. By this time he had to have phototherapy because he was severely jaundice.
This was caused by his bilirubin levels being too high. I was also told that Lucas had too many red blood cells which was apparently caused by my blood mixing with his. His blood had become 'sticky'
That evening, whilst I was resting I had a phone call from NICU asking if they could give him a dummy as basically they couldn't stop him crying and he was kicking up a fuss. I laughed and agreed. That's my boy. Very ill in NICU and still causing trouble.
The next morning, he only had a Bili Blanket on. His bilirubin levels were falling nicely.
It was NICU's decision to put Lucas on his front, apparently he settled better that way.
The day after that Lucas didn't need the Bili Blanket any more.
Cameron came to visit Lucas and he got very upset seeing Lucas like this. For a three year old he is very sensitive.
The following day I got to hold Lucas for the first time since he was born. He was now off of the CPAP but still having oxygen pumped through into his incubator.
They had also started to feed him formula. Just 5mls every few hours via a tube through his nose but it made a big difference from the sugar solution they had been using previously.
Three days after Lucas was born, I made the decision to go home. It wasn't a decision I took lightly but Cameron needed me at home. Although Cameron had Matt and my Mum, he needed his Mummy, he needed some normality back in his life.
In the car on the way home, I fought back tears. I felt torn. Having one of your kids in NICU and the other one needing you at home. I felt like I was a traitor, that I had chose Cameron over Lucas.
Matt and I then decided to 'tag team', He would go in one day and I would go in the next. That way Cameron had one of us at home and it would remain a normal environment to him.
6 days after Lucas was born, he was moved out of the high dependency unit and into a less dependent unit of NICU. His feeding tube was taken out and he was given his first bottle.
They had concerns that Lucas wasn't drinking enough and they were going to put his feeding tube back in. I told them not to and to start feeding him on demand. I didn't want him to wait 3-4 hours for a bottle. If he got any worse then they said they would put it back in, I agreed. Luckily he didn't need it back in.
We knew the next stage was to get him off of the monitors. After that he needed 48 hours off and he would be allowed home.
Every morning we would make our way to NICU hoping that the monitors had been turned off. But they hadn't. It was soul destroying.
The reason why Lucas wasn't allowed off the monitors was because he kept 'Desatting' during his feeds. When I checked his chart, it turned out he was only desatting during the night feeds. Apparently the nurses couldn't get to him straight away to feed him, so he was so upset by the time he got his feed, he wasn't coordinating his breathing and drinking and going, well, a bit blue!
I asked to speak to a consultant and explained my case.
She instantly turned the monitor off. I cried with relief! I had waited so long for the monitor to be turned off. We were getting closer to getting him home.
The consultant then asked if I could stay in one of the NICU flats for the next couple of nights with Lucas to see if he desatted with me, if he didn't then we could go home.
Later that day I moved into my temporary home and settled down for the night with Lucas in the open cot next to me.
His first feed didn't go well. I don't know whether it was my paranoia or he did actually go a bit of a funny colour. But he recovered quickly. After his feed, I took him back to NICU and went outside crying on the phone to Matt. I asked him to swap with me. I didn't feel like I could look after Lucas. It was scaring me knowing that he may desat and I didn't have the monitor to tell me. What if I didn't notice and something went wrong?
After a long chat with Matt, I went back to NICU, got Lucas and went back to the flat.
Every feed that night I was shaking with fear, but we got through it. The next morning after no major issues with Lucas during the night, I took him back to NICU and was told by a lovely nurse that she would recommend that we were allowed home that day.
She spoke to the consultant who agreed. Finally 12 days later, we were able to go home.
For the last 12 days I had seen parents take their babies home with big smiles on their faces, I resented them so much. But now it was our turn to go home. I said goodbye to some of the parents I had got to know over the last 12 days and wished them the best of luck.
After waiting all day for Lucas's discharge papers, Matt came to pick us up and we went home.
Finally, our family was all under one roof!