Life was a whirlwind when we arrived at Seattle Children’s. The doctor on call began explaining Owen’s birth defect to Brian & I while tests were being performed on our tiny baby. Not only did Owen have an “imperforate anus”, but there were several other anomalies related to this birth defect. Soon they were testing Owen’s heart and checking his kidneys. In very short order, Brian & I said goodbye to our little baby as he headed into surgery.
It was 11pm and I was exhausted. Only 36 hours before I had given birth and I’d only had 4 hours of sleep since then. I headed to the parent’s room where I was offered a small cot. I didn’t think I could possibly calm my mind enough to sleep, but exhaustion took over and I slept. Hard.
When the pager went off to alert me that Owen was out of surgery and we could return for an update on his status, I immediately noticed that the 3 hour surgery had taken closer to 5 hours. I was terrified that this meant horrible news for my baby.
It seemed like forever before Dr. Avansino met us to discuss the surgery. Our little baby was fine. The surgery had taken a little longer than expected because his intestines were so dilated, but Dr. Avansino thought everything looked good. I couldn’t wait to see my baby.
Owen stayed in the NICU for a couple days. The comfort of the NICU is that nurses only care for 1 or 2 babies at a time, which allows for intense monitoring of your baby’s vitals. The difficult part is that the delicate, NICU babies need their rest. After waiting 9 months to hold my son, I was being told to limit holding him so he could rest and recuperate. It was miserable so I would hold him for as long as the nurse would let me. Between being at Owen’s side and pumping milk for him every 3 hours, I was only getting about 4 hours of sleep a night… and that not even in one shot.
My mom was worried about me… As mothers are apt to do, and it didn’t help that my post-delivery body wasn’t loving my crazy schedule. My feet and legs were so painfully swollen I couldn’t wear shoes and could barely fit into my sandals.
But I couldn’t think about that when my little baby was hooked up to machines. All I wanted was to be at his side, even if I wasn’t allowed to hold him.