Labor and Delivery… and my tour of the NICU (this is a long one)

When the University of Colorado Hospital offered me tours of both Children’s Hospital and the NICU at UCH I happily agreed.  And both experiences were harder than I expected. 

Touring the NICU hit a little closer to home for me.  Uterus didelphys puts me at greater risk for delivering a preemie.  Even though I had gotten my cerclage at 19-20 weeks with Hannah, I still had doctors that were skeptical I would make it past 28 weeks.  When I did, they were surprised.  I did a little happy dance when I surpassed 32… and EVERYONE was ecstatic when I hit 38. 

What they told me last time, and I’m sure they’ll tell me again, is that the cerclage, or sewing your cervix shut, will not stop labor.  If you’re going to have the baby, your going to have the baby. They schedule to have the stitch taken out around 36-37 weeks, but if there is bleeding or extreme pain before then you need to get yourself to the hospital ASAP. 

So there I was, standing at the door to the NICU, looking at all of the tiny babies clinging to life. The smallest baby was just 10 ounces. The nurse giving me the tour was super friendly.  When she asked why I was there, we explained this blog… and then I told her about my uterus didelphys.  No other explanation was needed.  She said they get a lot of women with uterine abnormalities delivering preemies there.  And there sat another reason why I chose this hospital.  I didn’t have to explain. They just knew.

I put on my yellow mask and we looked at the rows upon rows of beds available.  Most babies will enter the NICU if they are early, experiencing a major/life-threatening problem, or weigh less than 4 lbs.

imageTiny machines for tiny babies

imageLittle spaces to reach in and touch your baby

These babies get help for just about everything you can think of. They even have specialists available to help your baby continue to develop, as if they were still in the womb… from learning reflexes, to staying in the curled up position they like to be in, in mommies tummy.  How cool is that?! They mimic what it’s like in mommy’s tummy to help these babies survive!

imageDarkness and quiet are great for these little ones.  This baby is getting treated for jaundice… common in preemies.

Parents must go through so much to be with their child day in and day out while they lay helpless in what look like little incubators. Just wearing the yellow mask was enough to make me feel faint and nauseous as I breathed in and out my own hot air.  But I guess once your child is in there, your needs don’t matter anymore.  Just theirs. If you have to wear the yellow mask, you wear it… and you’re happy to wear it and be there. My heart goes out to all the parents who go through this. You are my heroes.

My last stop of the day: Labor and Delivery. A totally different emotion took over as I stepped back onto the 5th floor of the hospital. It was such an exciting time to be there as I got ready to deliver my daughter. We were safely at 38 weeks, my water broke on it’s own, and labor was progressing at a great pace. We got to welcome in the GREATEST little human that day.  A huge smile spreads across my face just thinking about the day my son will arrive! 

Now, their facilities are not as nice as the brand new ones at Children’s.  But you still get a bathtub, shower, tons of space, sleeping room for dad… and for you brave souls who want to experience a water delivery, they even have enough space to set up that small pool in the room to accommodate you. I salute you ladies! I couldn’t have done it without my epidural.  Those contractions during transition were way too much for me.

imageEnough space for the water delivery pool.

imageYou can barely see the fold out couch/futon for dad… I’ll be in that bed thankyouverymuch!

Now I just need to make it to full term. I don’t care how swollen I get. I don’t care how uncomfortable I feel, this baby can hang out for as long as he wants! I’m in no rush to get him out.

My next appointment is Tuesday.  We’ll see how my body is doing then. But I know I’m in good hands. For anyone who may need care themselves… here’s a link to UCH’s website: http://www.uch.edu/conditions/pregnancy/

The hospital is also following my pregnancy on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UniversityofColoradoHospital. I cannot thank them enough for helping me get the word out about what it’s really like to live through a high-risk pregnancy.  If you LIKE their page, you can get more updates on me, health news, and even some crazy tidbits about their doctors. Ha!

For now, it’s back to vacation, and enjoying the silence for a sleeping toddler!

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