I chose to not be with my 2-day old baby.
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
This series is meant to take one of the darkest, rawest, scariest moments of my life and cultivate the lessons. For those of you who have not read the first segment of this series you can find it here. These are the nuggets. The ripples that have helped me and, hopefully, will encourage others. If you choose to read these, please understand I don’t desire anyone to “feel bad” for me. My intention is to use an experience that was given to me to pull all the possible lessons out of it and share those lessons with others <3. The goal: I’m going to write a few of these over the next few months pulling out the nuggets of wisdom from my journey. Even if I can just serve to inspire one person, sharing my story will be worth it.
I chose to not be with my 2-day old baby. I was checked in to the ICU and on a few different monitoring devices. While my breathing was labored, I never really felt the severity of the life or death circumstance I was in. I remember looking into Adam’s eyes that Friday, and I could see it through him, but it still didn’t seem real.
At that point I knew I was going to get to stay in the ICU that night. The team of doctors broke that news to me and let’s just say I was less than enthused. My baby was only 2 days old. I wanted to nurse him so badly. I struggled with milk supply with my first, so I knew that my choices were critical to my nursing success with Jude. I also was informed that you cannot be the sole caregiver for a child and a patient in the ICU at the same time. Go figure. That seems to make sense now, and let me tell you at the time that seemed tragic. Who was better equipped to take care of my baby than me? The answer is not the woman in the hospital bed. Quite a lesson in trust. I didn’t want my baby to leave my side for a minute. Asking me to be without him was like asking me to send my arm home for the night but leave my body at the hospital.
I’m sure you can guess this, but the ICU is not exactly a great place for a newborn to be. There are health risks involved. No matter how clean the hospital staff keep it (and side note the ICU at Northwestern is by far the cleanest hospital I have ever seen), the ICU is meant for sick people, not healthy newborns. I also know that I wanted to nurse for my baby’s health. I get everyone has different opinions on this, and it was something I wanted for my family. I formula fed my first from 7 weeks on, and am truly grateful that there are other ways to get infants all the nutrition they need, and I was bound and determined to do everything I could to nurse baby Jude.
The Pain: They went home. I stayed behind. I had a choice to make. It feels insignificant looking back on it, and in the moment it felt like the biggest choice I would ever make. I chose to let my two day old baby go home with my husband and my mom overnight while I stayed in the ICU. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Kissing him and watching Adam walk out the door with him. I sobbed. And I believe it was the best choice I could have made for him in that moment. Luckily the nursing staff was INCREDIBLE! They would wake me up every 2 hours to check my vitals and I would pump. I didn’t know if that would be enough to replace having my little one for the 12 hours he was away, and I was committed to doing what I could with what I had.
Life lesson number two, quit awefulizing my situation.
I had created this long story in my head that if the baby had a bottle, he wouldn’t put in the effort to nurse. I had told myself that the pump wouldn’t be enough. I had tortured myself with the idea that I was a bad mom if he wasn’t in my personal care for a night. The truth of the matter was that Adam and my mother took excellent care of him. He avoided germs in the ICU by not sleeping there, and has always been a healthy little peanut. Most of the time, overthinking creates a muddy perspective on what I know is the right thing to do. Allowing myself to trust my intuition, and give myself grace for whatever choice I made is a much healthier perspective for me.
An Opportunity (should you choose in):
What unnerving story is plaguing your thoughts these days? How have you gone against, or ignored, your intuition?