Daniel made his grand entrance into this world just after Christmas in 2012. As our fourth child, we were exterienced parents and ready for this next little blessing, but nothing along the way prepared us for the roller coaster we were about to ride.
After a very typical 9 months of pregnancy, Daniel was still comfy, cozy with his mom and had no intention of leaving. So on December 28, 2012 we gave him his eviction notice :) and induced a week past his due date. When he decided to come, he came quickly. He was came so fast that by the his mom was ready to ask for an epidural, if was too late! This was the first time she had delivered with no medication! It was a struggle to get him out though and other nurses and doctors rushed into the room to assist. When he finally made his full appearance everyone was happy and surprised at what a big boy he was. No one was more relieved than his mom! Daniel was quickly put on his mom's chest to bond and she noticed how purple his arms and legs looked in comparison to her other children at birth, but that though was brushed aside as he was weighted in at a whopping 9 lb. and 15 oz. and 21 in. and his color pinkened.
Because the hospital was on flu lock-down, the only people allowed to visit the new baby were the grandparents and great grandma. The excited older siblings would have to wait till Mom and Dad brought the new baby home to shower him with love. No big deal, right? Well, the first day went great. All the normal things...baby getting used to being in the world, mom and dad getting used to being new parents again, on again off again sleep, that first nasty diaper. On one occasion mom asked the nurse if she as getting wet diapers in the nursery because she just didn't feel she as getting enough when he was with her. The nurse assured her that she had changed some wet diapers and therefore no one was concerned. On the morning we were supposed to be going home, Jessica had had a particularly difficult night with Daniel. He was very fussy, she felt like he was constantly falling a sleep and not eating enough and then he was mad when he woke because he hadn't eaten much. She was exhausted. When the nurse came in at 4am to check on everything, she suggested she could take the baby back to the nursery and Jessica could have some rest. We had been rooming in, but at this point, Jessica thought that this was important to do as she new she needed to be able to function and was going home to 3 other excited little ones!
After a few decent hours of sleep, mom and dad were up, dressed and ready to get going. They were going to release us from the hospital in the next couple of hours....or so we thought. The nurse somberly came back into the room to check on us first without the baby and sat down with us to explain something that had be discovered while we were off in dreamland. A nurse, who was at the end of her training, was checking Daniel's vitals. Unlike her other colleagues, she did not give him a pacifier to quiet him down while listening to his heart. At this time when he was all worked up, she noticed something that no on else had up to that point, he had a heart murmur. Because of some new training she had received (something that has since been passed as a law in newborn screenings), she wrapped each of his hands and feet with an oxygen monitor to record the oxygen saturation of the blood. The information would not register in Daniel's right hand. The nurse wanted to comfort us and explained that sometimes these things are just innocent, but because the murmur was present and the oxygen stat was not, it was very important to have him sent to have an echocardiogram of his heart.
We called home and explained to our parents and kids that we would be longer than expected and that we were going to be sent to another hospital but which one, hadn't been decided yet. Jessie's parents expressed their concern and love too them as did Jason's. Jason's mom also said, she had woken up with a Bible verse on her mind surround Daniel...Phillippians 4:6- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We brought Daniel to our room and snuggled him and loved on him and dressed him in the clothes were had planned on bring him home in; black corduroy pants with a red and black plaid shirt and an adorable little red vest with a snow man on it. The time passed very slowly and we spent all day there before it was decided we would be transferred to the NICU at Crouse in Syracuse. The ambulance arrived to pick up Daniel neither one of us would be able to ride with him. We would follow along later. It is hard to explain everything you feel as you hand your baby over to complete strangers who will be leaving with your child. They velcro strapped him into the incubator that was secured to a stretcher and adjusted the the height of the stretcher, which was apparently on hydraulics. Dad leaned into Mom and said, "Look at that, they even pimped his ride," to add some levity to an otherwise tense situation. She cracked a smile.
We left the hospital. Empty arms. Uncertain future. We arrived at Crouse and now needed to navigate a foreign hospital, after visiting hours. It is 9:30pm, do you know where your children are? Well, no...not exactly. We went to the information desk and were told that the NICU was on the 9th floor. We got in the elevator and touched the button for the highest level. Jason remarked, "He even has the penthouse suite." The elevator wooshed us to the top in seconds. Other parents were still loitering the hall outside the NICU looking haggard and drained. We rang the bell and were shown to a small side room. There we found 2 babies, Daniel and his roommate, a little girl. The space was 98% filled with machinery and monitors that beeped incessantly. Daniel had all sorts of wires now to track his heart rate, his oxygen saturation, and his breathing. Although this was far from routine, we still were not all that concerned as we not getting back any bad reports.
They had one room available in the ward for a parent to sleepover if it was necessary. Somehow, we literally shared a single person hospital bed in a closet sized room for then night. Jessica got up throughout the night to nurse Daniel as needed. When we woke in the morning, we readied ourselves to go home. Not sure exactly sure when the echo would take place, we called family and said we would hopefully be heading home in a few hours.