A long 87 days in the NICU

2014-10-13 10:39:46 by Hannah Seigfried - Patient family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

sariah-lynnWhen I was only 6 months pregnant, I went to Akron City Hospital's ER because I was in so much pain and was admitted due to high blood pressure. As it turns out, I had severe pre-eclampsia.

The doctor came into the room and told us that my baby had to come out. We were scared, expectedly, and unsure. A nurse of the neonatal intensive care unit came to our room and explained to us that she would either stay at City or be transferred to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Before we knew that the NICU at City was operated through Children's, I was really hoping she would be transferred. Because of past experience, I already knew they were great.

The nurse explained to us all of the risks that could possibly happen with her being born at 29 weeks. I felt oddly calm. I knew she was going to be okay. The C-section was quick and successful. The nurses rushed her out of the room but I could still hear my little Sariah Lynn cry… I cried.

Her father was allowed to see her and took pictures to show me. After I was able to leave the recovery room, they took me straight to the NICU in a wheelchair and brought me right up to her isolette.

I peered inside at my tiny 2 lb., 15 oz. baby girl. I wasn’t able to hold her because she was still stabilizing but I was able to feel her soft skin and watch her chest go up and down while she breathed.

Her condition was stable enough that she would stay at City. The next day, I made my way back down to the NICU to hold her for the first time. I was so nervous I was going to break her.

sariah-lynn2She was hooked up to CPAP and had all kinds of cords on her. The nurses were patient. They made me comfortable in a recliner chair and carefully situated her on my chest. I was still very tired and didn't hold her long that first day.

But even when she was placed on a ventilator for a few days, the nurses never minded assisting me in holding her/putting her skin-to-skin.


A refreshing change

I wanted to mention one particularly AMAZING experience I had while there. After being in the NICU for several weeks and feeling like we were never going to be able to leave, I was desperate for a change.

While taking one of my daily trips to the hospital on a beautiful,  sunny day, I parked on top of the parking garage, as I always did, and stopped to breathe in the refreshing spring air and feel the warm sun on my face.

Once I walked into the building, I felt sad that my 10-week-old peanut had never felt the sun on her face nor the soft breeze on her skin. On a day like this I should be walking her in her stroller.

When I got into the NICU, I shared these feelings with my favorite nurse, Kim. She said,"You know, let me find out if they will let you take her for a walk. But don't get your hopes up. I haven't seen them allow it before."

That night, I received a call from Kim. The doctor said I could take her for a walk. I was overjoyed!

We picked up an adorable umbrella stroller and a super cute outfit for her to venture out in. The next day, I woke up with a huge smile on my face for the first time in a long time. Once there, I was so anxious waiting for Kim to be available to take the journey with us.

While waiting, the doctor who approved our trip out to the bridge was doing his rounds. I couldn't contain my excitement, I jumped up and gave him a huge hug and thanked him for the opportunity.

Once Kim was ready, we carefully put Sariah’s tiny body into the stroller and made our way out of the NICU for the first time. Each person who passed awed at her, amazed at how small she was. We walked slowly (I was afraid of her bouncing around too much) and a smile didn't leave my face the whole time.

Sariah Lynn at 8 months Sariah Lynn at 8 months

We went down to the end of the bridge and sat in the chairs in the sunlight, letting her soak it all in. It was exactly what we both needed.

Three days later, her nurse told me that we were allowed to take her out again. This time, daddy and big brother came with us. Even though we still had a few setbacks before we could bring her home, this exception made it a little easier.

A week later we were transferred to Akron Children’s for her surgery. She needed to have a g-tube placed until she was able to eat a little better on her own.



Finally going home

After 87 days, we finally made it home. I am so grateful for the kindness and understanding the NICU staff provided to us. Since then, we have been to the OR 3 times, seen Dr. Soldes many times regarding her g-tube, and have spent time in hematology concerning her neutropenia (an abnormally low count of white blood cells called neutrophils).

We may have had a few bumps in the road, but I feel very blessed for having Akron Children's Hospital. I have a healthy 8 month old, thanks to them.


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