I’m back with another IUGR post! Part I went over background info on my sister and the diagnosis, Part II was all about the end of pregnancy and her son’s birth, and today’s post will detail their hospital stay.
How long were you in the hospital after delivering?
I was in the hospital until Wednesday (so Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon).
How long was Titus in the hospital post-delivery? What benchmarks did he have to hit to go home?
Titus was in the hospital until Monday August 29th, a total of 7 days. In order to go home, Titus had to hit a little over 4lbs in order to be big enough for his car seat (they are only safety rated or 4lbs and up). He needed to pass a “car seat test” where they hook him up to monitors and make sure he maintains his oxygen and heart rate while in the car seat for 1.5hrs.
He also had jaundice, so they needed to get that under control. After a little bit of phototherapy in his incubator, he was well on his way! He also had to be able to maintain his body temperature for 24 hours while out of the incubator. From the time Titus was born until Sunday morning at 6am, he was in an incubator to help keep him warm. Once they took him out, it was a 24 hour countdown until we could go home (as long as he could keep his body temperature up – and he did!).
Run through a day in your life when Titus was in the hospital.
So a day in the life during his hospital stay… not a fun time for me. In the evenings, after Caroline and Lawson were asleep, I would drive to the hospital (praise God, it was only a 15-20 minute drive) around 9/9:30pm to stay the night and take care of Titus. I didn’t have to stay the night by any means, but I felt like it was the only time I could be with him and my two older ones wouldn’t know I was gone since they were fast asleep. I would get there and bring my belongings to the “nesting room” that they had for me. A nesting room is a place set aside for a mom who’s baby is in the hospital after she has been released. I was able to be there as much as I wanted or as little as I wanted.
Whenever I wasn’t there, they would keep Titus in the special care nursery (a step down from a NICU). Titus didn’t need to be in the special care nursery health-wise, but he couldn’t just stay in a room by himself, so the special care nursery was sort of like a daycare run by nurses. And let me tell you, I never for a second had to worry about him when I was away. They were some of the most caring, loving, helpful people I know–to both me and my baby boy. I will never forget how God worked through them to give me so much comfort during such a difficult time. Anyway, once I set my stuff in the nesting room, I would walk over to the nursery and knock on the door. The nurses would then bring Titus over to my room and give me a rundown on how he was doing and when he last ate.
When I was at the hospital I was pumping after each time I nursed him and when I was home, every three hours (around when he would be fed my expressed milk at the hospital). The nursery had a little fridge with milk in it that I was giving to them. From when he was born until Thursday at some point, they were checking his blood sugars quite constantly. For a while it was before and after EVERY feeding. Checking his blood sugars consisted of placing a little heel warmer on his foot and then pricking his heel to see where his blood sugar was at.
After a while, he could just have them checked before feedings and then eventually not at all. We had a few run-ins with him almost having to go to the special care nursery to stay for a little and get an IV where they would give him IV medicine to increase his blood sugar, but he always got out of it by the skin of his non-existent teeth. A couple of times he needed a liquid sugar paste that would boost his sugar, but by Thursday (before the Monday that he was released) his blood sugars were no longer dipping. His feedings usually went something like this: nurse as long as possible, try to feed him some Neosure (a high calorie formula) to “top him off”, and then finish off by pumping. This made for very little sleep for me, but it definitely got his weight up quickly, as well as my milk supply.
I would usually leave in the morning after his first “morning feed” to try and be home before Caroline and Lawson got up. Then I would go back after lunch time usually and stay for a little. Then come back home for the evening, and then lastly go back at night.
What were the biggest challenges and blessings during Titus’ hospital stay?
I felt so torn and responsible for so much and yet unable to meet everyone’s needs during this short time of my life that felt like forever when it was going on. I wanted to be with my older children but I also hated leaving Titus. It was hard waiting for him to be ready to be home and many tears were shed. God once again taught me patience through this trial.
Once again, thank you so much for sharing your story Hannah! Reading through her answers has me in awe of how much she, Titus, and her family went through during that intense week after his birth.
Be on the lookout for Part IV in the series, which will discuss Hannah bringing Titus home and what life has been like since then!