Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Birthday My Big Little Preemie!

I can't believe Levi is already two years old today - two years old and no longer the little tiny baby he once was! Giving birth to Owen has really opened my eyes to just how difficult it was to have a preemie. I honestly don't think I will ever get over it. Even now, after all this time has passed, every once in a while I still get overcome with emotions over Levi's birth and subsequent stay in the hospital, and I doubt that will ever change. When they left Owen in our room the night he was born, without monitors or nurses coming in to at least check on us, my jaw dropped open, and I asked, "Wait, is this safe? What if he stops breathing?" Well, suffice it to say I had a really hard time sleeping that night. It was so weird. All the differences between the two experiences are astounding.

First off, not only did they leave Owen with me, but I was allowed to hold Owen whenever I wanted, versus having to wait 3 days with Levi, and then only being allowed to hold him once a day for 30 minutes at the most. I remember the first time we went to hold Levi. The nurses told us to be there around 1, which apparently to them meant 12:45. So when Tyler wheeled me in at 1pm, they told me I was too late to hold him because they had to do their shift change and I would have to wait until that night to do it. I just broke down in a wracking sob the moment the words were out of her mouth. She looked so confused and sad for me, and thank the Lord she was compassionate. After Tyler told her I had never held him before, she let me stay anyways and hold him, which was simply amazing. It took so long to get him out of his isolette, because he was on the hardcore breathing machine called a CPAP, and he was so frail it was ridiculous. He was on the CPAP for a week, which was really scary, because that meant he was completely incapable of breathing on his own even with the steroids they gave me to help develop his lungs. I remember it was such a joy when he moved to a regular breathing machine. Anyways, it was two more days before poor Tyler could hold him, because I just had to hold him one more time, and like I said, we could only hold him for about 30 minutes a day before we had to put him back.

Not only could we not hold him, but for the first two weeks while we were in Walnut Creek, only two people at a time could go visit him. That meant either Tyler or I had to wait in the hall while we introduced our family to our new, precious baby. The first couple days this was easier on us, I suppose, because I was still fighting for my life in the hospital bed and really couldn't go see Levi anyways. But after that it got really hard, because as you can imagine, all you want to do is show off your new baby, and we had to choose between who could do it.

Levi's first couple months were so hard, and even though I was aware of it, I didn't realize just how hard until little Owen came into our lives and showed us the difference. Levi would stop breathing when he ate, so I never got to experience a relaxing nursing session because we always had to be on guard, ready to resuscitate him. One time in the NICU Tyler got a horrible experience with that when Levi had an Apnea spell on him, and he didn't know how to react. The alarms started ringing, which is a really horrible sound, and every nurse in there ran over to snatch him out of Tyler's hands and to bring him back to us. That one brought Ty to tears, and I love him for that! But in the end, all of this made nursing in the middle of the night a nightmare, and it took months before Levi got over it. He also used to throw up for hours on end because his tummy wasn't ready for milk yet. We had to take him to physical therapy every month for the first year because he was so stiff. We would get horrible phone calls asking for permission to do surgery on our newborn, because his IV was hurting him and they needed to make a direct line to his heart. And you know what's crazy, even with all this, his story is really nothing compared to, as I call them, the preemie preemies. You know, the really little ones. We were so blessed!

And we still are! I love that little man with all my heart, and I really wouldn't trade any of the days I had with him for anything. Levi, we love you so very much, and are so proud of the little boy you are becoming! You bring us joy and laughter every day. Happy birthday my little man!

Hooked up to his CPAP, feeding tube and monitors. So many wires!

My tiny little guy.

It was so hard doing everything through the doors of an isolette. I sure don't miss that!
And look at him now! Such a cutie-pie!

Him and "Green Train." How he loves his trains!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful family you have. Thank you Melissa for sharing your heart and Levi with us.
    Levi, You are a real cutie! Happy 2nd Birthday little man...
    Venita Kelly


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