Aiden is climbing back up again. He has had, as his nurses have said, his best 24 hours so far at the NICU.
His oxygen needs are down to 30%, and his ventilator has gone down slightly. They are upping his feedings. His CO2 levels have been steady enough that they felt comfortable pulling out his artillery PICC line (which is a pretty big sign he's improving, as they tell us). His neonatologist thinks he's doing well enough that they want to start pushing him a little bit and see what he can tolerate. It may give him a few rough days again, but as she said, we can't let his body get used to being intubated either. We need to start helping his body learn how to sustain itself. And I agree, we need to slowly push him along.
He's been such a champ at keeping himself more calm, that the nurse surprised me with the best gift today.
When the charge nurse came over to give us our update, she turned to his nurse and said, "Have you told her yet?" His nurse laughed and said, "No, I was waiting for you!" When I asked them what, his nurse turned to me and said, "How would you like to hold him today?"
My heart felt as if it burst!
My baby boy is 18 days old and I finally got to hold him for the first time.
It took his nurse and three respiratory therapists to bring him and all his equipment over to me. And when they finally laid him in my arms, I broke down into tears.
Time seemed to slow down as they hurriedly scurried around me, ensuring the seemingly endless amount of tubes were securely attached to my shoulder. Once they got everything in its place, they jokingly ordered me not to move a muscle. I laughed with them. Believe me, I wasn't going anywhere!
His tiny body tensed as they moved him. He looked like he was going to panic, but he instantly relaxed when I snuggled him close to me. And I instantly felt as if all my feelings of guilt and uncertainty melted away.
His perfect little body felt like nothing in my arms. His ventilator attached to my shoulder felt heavier than him! His entire body fits in the crook of my arm perfectly, with his feet barely stretching to sit in my palm.
Aiden was so relaxed and content. As I talked to him he would give me little squeaky coos in response. And as I kissed his little hand he would reach out for more.
The hour and a half I got to spend with him was heaven. All my anger softened. All my prayers pleading to let him live felt answered. And, at least in that moment, all of my fears were hushed. His sweet nurse told me she knew we both needed this so that we could feel this connection and both continue to heal. I owe her more then I could possibly give her in return. Both of us definitely needed it.