They dangled him over me to see. His Apgars were 8 and 9. All appeared to be perfect. He went off to the nursery with Mr. Long-Suffering and then things went wonky. I'm a little unclear on the details and it was a couple of days until we knew for sure (there was talk of bowel obstruction and other un-fun stuff) but it looks like he didn't get enough squeezing on his way out coupled with the early breathing that had him inhaling fluid into his lungs. His chest x-ray was fuzzy and showed fluid and his stomach was filling with mucus. So, he did spend over 4 days in the NICU and if I live another 100 years and never step foot inside a NICU again that would be alright and just fine with me.
After about a day and a half it was clear that Trip was going to be OK and that he was fine, but it was still so terribly stressful. My hat is off to all of those who have 10-day, 3-month, and even longer NICU stays. Their strength encourages me. The baby next to Trip had been there for 70 days so far and was at 37 weeks, adjusted. She was not getting out any time soon. Her mom still cried every day while she was there holding her daughter. Harder than that was seeing dads crying. And first-time parents (whose babies were about as healthy as ours) looked far more shell-shocked than we were.
We didn't know whether Trip was going to be discharged with me or after me. Since I had a c-section, I was allowed to stay 4 days in the hospital. I ws probably well enough to go home after 2 (or definitely after 3) but I was not leaving the hospital if I could help it.
Trip was 10 hours old before they would let me get out of bed into a wheelchair to go to the NICU to see him. As soon as I got there, they took him out of his giraffe isolette and let me hold him. He had so many wires, leads, and tape (pulse ox, NG tube, IV with a little board to straighten his hand, temperature sensor, blood pressure cuff on his tiny ankle). I cried. I kissed him. Mr. Long-Suffering was a little angry that he had been at Trip's bedside for hours and no one had offered to let him hold Trip and along I come and BAM, baby out of the box. (Of little consolation to him was the next time I was there I couldn't hold him and just sat at his side cupping the top of his head (his fuzzy, downy head)).
The biggest, fattest, least-sick baby in the NICU (and it still made me cry).
Things happened then, and I am still a little weepy and angry about the whole ordeal so let's just jump ahead to Friday when we had proven that we cared, knew what we were doing, jumped through the hoops and over all hurdles they put in our way, played their little games, and promised to keep him alive if they would let us take him home. So, he was discharged, and I instructed Mr. Long-Suffering to go and get Trip and bring him to my room so they couldn't change their minds while we waited for me to be discharged.
We put that baby in the car seat and high-tailed it out of the hospital so fast the elderly volunteer at the front desk never even saw us leave.