Forty weeks came and went. I was counting down the days til I could meet my baby. On Thanksgiving night I started having contractions, and went into labor early the next morning. Little did I know it would still be days before I would hold my baby boy.
My labor was speedy, with timely contractions and about an hour of pushing. Nolan Jack was born at 3:20 pm, weighing 8lbs, 3oz. (His middle name is after my late grandpa, Jack who passed away in October). We knew that meconium had gotten into the amniotic fluid when the doctor broke my water. At some point during the delivery his heart rate dropped, and the doc had to perform an episiotomy to get him out immediately. Once he was out the doc advised sending him to a more advanced NICU, and that’s when we made the quick decision to have him rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. The sheer thought that we may lose our baby boy crossed my mind and I was devastated.
When he got to the hospital he had to be on a cooling blanket for 72 hours, to sustain any injury that may have occurred to his brain. The docs said he had electrical seizures to the brain, believed to be from the lack of oxygen at some point during the delivery. Once he finally came off the cooling blanket, I finally got to hold my precious baby boy. It was the best feeling in the world. Shorty after we started breastfeeding, and he picked it up right away.
He also had to have an MRI to assess any damage to the brain. With the power of prayer it came back as good as we could have hoped; only a little spot of blood, that the doc said would eventually be reabsorbed. He has no known damage at this point. He has to be on two seizure meds that we dispense twice a day. Eventually he may outgrow those. We will also have to see specialists in the future to monitor his development, but as far as that goes he is acting and responding like any normal newborn.
After a two week stay, we finally got to bring our little Nolan home (on my grandpa Jack’s birthday). Mike and I could not have done it without the support of our families. Both of our moms stayed for most of his NICU visit, rotating shifts so that someone could be in Nolan’s room pretty much at all times. Mike’s sister even flew in for a few days and stayed as well. The rest of our siblings, parents and grandma came to see him and brought lots of food for us. We also couldn’t have done it without the Ronald McDonald House. Being from the Cincinnati area, I had heard of it but never really knew what all they did until we had to utilize their services. We had a room with a bathroom, several hot meals served daily and numerous other services available; all at no charge to us. It is truly an amazing organization, and I will forever be grateful for all that they did for us. We are looking forward to volunteering there ourselves.
This experience was the most trying time of my life. Not only was I a new mother coping with the struggles of first-time motherhood; breastfeeding, my sore body, and lack of sleep, I was also doing all of this while under these stressful circumstances. I would have been lost without the amazing support of my husband. I never thought I could love him more until I saw the unconditional love he has for our child. He changed nearly every diaper, spent many sleepless nights in a recliner chair to the tune of crying babies all while being so loving, supportive and encouraging to me. He endured numerous meltdowns of mine, and picked me up when I was down. He rarely left Nolan’s bedside. I knew he’d be a great dad, but I never could have imagined he’d be this great. This situation has made us stronger as a couple, but more importantly as parents. It has made me stronger in my faith as well, and taught me the first bit of patience as a mother. Nolan Jack is truly our miracle baby. He has already been through so much, and is such a fighter. We are so blessed and happy to call him ours.
Nolan, right before he left for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Nolan on the cooling blanket.
My devoted and loving husband rarely left his bedside.
My first time holding my precious baby boy.
Dad’s first time holding him.
Finally off the cooling blanket, and able to be swaddled.
Dad’s first feeding.
Ross, one of the resident docs who we jokingly referred to as Uncle Ross. He was wonderful; always stopping by to give us updates and check on Nolan.
One of the three rooms Nolan stayed in while at the NICU.
Love at first sight.
While no one likes being in a hospital, Nationwide’s cheery decor certainly makes it a little friendlier for children.
My content little bundle of joy.
We were so blessed with the many prayers, cards, gifts and support we received while Nolan was in the NICU.
The Ronald McDonald House is a place that keeps on giving.
The life of a NICU parent.
Our little man as he progressed.
Finally heading home.