Saturday, May 18, 2019


After all of the drama bringing Genevieve into the world, I was really hoping the hard part was over.

They tested her blood sugar shortly after she was born, and the numbers were lower than hoped for... they gave her some glucose gel, and retested a few hours later.

To be honest, these hours are really foggy in memory. She was born shortly before midnight on Sunday, and we were moved to the mother and baby room in the wee hours of Monday morning. I remember waking up feeling hot and sick to my stomach again, and I know they kept testing her blood sugar. She was very sleepy and not interested in nursing. We gave her a bit of formula and her blood sugar still wasn’t where it needed to be.

All this to say, baby girl ended up getting herself admitted to the NICU because of her low blood sugar.

Apparently this is an issue that is relatively common for "late pre-term" babies, and can show up in babies that have very long labors or very short labors. We're not really sure which one I had, since I was hooked up to an IV and having mild contractions for more than 48 hours, but I really didn't get anything going until the doctor broke my waters, and then she was born two hours later. So... fast or slow, she needed IV glucose.

They called her a "big kid" in the NICU because compared to their wee premies, a six pounder apparently seemed big to them. (Having had eight-and-a-half-pound Coco, I still felt like she was a teensy little thing.) They also called her one of their "sugar babies," which was cute sounding, except it all still meant that she was hooked up to an IV and monitor and had cords everywhere and her poor little heel was getting pricked every three hours to test her blood.

We were feeding her formula every three hours and upping her glucose IV as needed until her numbers got up above 60.

I have to say, I really liked the NICU doctor and the nurses were great. But being there was scary. We were in this dark little cubical of a room with a couch and what was literally the most uncomfortable recliner in existence. Sitting in in was painful, and it was so hard to put the foot rest down that I literally didn't have the core strength to do it. The monitors beeped incessantly.

The hospital gives you two nights for a vaginal birth... and since she was born at 11:32pm, the midnight that came half an hour later counted as my first night. My second night they moved me down to the NICU floor, which was good because I was close to Baby G and because there were far fewer interruptions--nobody took my vitals every few hours, so I actually got a bit of sleep that night, except that I got up to go feed the baby because I wanted to try breastfeeding before each bottle of formula that she was getting.

The nurses kept wanting me to pump, but I knew my milk hadn't come in and also I hate pumping. I have always had oversupply issues, and I knew that my milk would come in regardless of whether or not I was trying to "stimulate" it with a pump because it definitely came in after I lost Eliza and the engorgement was horrifying and traumatic. So it was just a waiting game. I pumped a couple of times as a show of good faith and gave her a couple pumped drops of colostrum, in addition to nursing her before each bottle feeding. It's freaking discouraging to pump for fifteen minutes and get nothing!

It was amazing to me how quickly we acclimated to the NICU. I went in wide eyed and terrified, and cried through the whole explanation from the nurse of what was happening and how she'd be monitored. By the end of the day, I was navigating the Giraffe pod and the parents lounge and the dim, beeping room suddenly felt like home.

I had to check out of the hospital on Tuesday, but Baby G was in the NICU for a couple more nights. David convinced me to go home and sleep for a few hours on Tuesday night after her midnight feeding, mostly because my poor mom had caught the stomach bug and was not functioning, so we wanted to help my dad manage getting the girls up and off to school in the morning.

We had sort of disappeared on the girls on Friday--one friend picked them up from school and fed them dinner, another friend picked them up from there are brought them home and put them to bed and waited for my parents to arrive. They got to meet Genevieve briefly on Monday morning before going to school, but then she was in the NICU and my mom was sick so no one was visiting. Coco was struggling a little bit (metldown city), so we decided it would be helpful for us to be at home briefly.

But let me tell you, leaving the hospital and leaving her there in the NICU felt impossible. I literally couldn't think about it. I walked out of the hospital and got in the car and drove home but I just couldn't wrap my head around what was happening.

The next morning, we were back in the NICU and told David that I was sleeping there until she got released. I was so swollen from my IV meds that my feet were unrecognizable. My eyelids felt grainy and dry.  My nasal congestion had immediately cleared up when I delivered, and my face was slightly less puffy as a result, but my muscles were still sore from the body aches. I felt like I had no appetite, but I had to eat and drink to flush the fluids out of my body. All I did was sit and hold the baby and drink water.

Her numbers were getting better at this point, but it was a slow weaning process from the glucose IV and she had to pass a "car seat test" where they put her in the car seat for 90 minutes and monitor all her vitals to make sure her heart rate and oxygen levels don't drop.

She failed the car seat test the first time--after an hour, her oxygen level dropped below 90 for 32 seconds (30 seconds is the limit). And this was so discouraging--we couldn't leave until she passed, and all I wanted to do was go home, but also I didn't want to take her home if she was in any danger of her oxygen levels dropping. I feel like I spent those NICU days just weeping on and off, knowing that it could be so much worse, but wanting everything to be different.

David went home again Wednesday night, and I stayed and slept on the couch in the NICU room. I felt like I didn't sleep at all, except apparently I was sound asleep when our pediatrician came through. (Side note: I loved so much that our pediatrician visited Genevieve in the hospital every single day--and she was friends with the NICU doctor from medical school, so it made me feel like they were a really collaborative team.)

Finally, it was Thursday and she was completely off the glucose IV and we tried the car seat test again that afternoon, with a specialist car seat fitter person making sure that everything was set up exactly right for our little six-pounder. This time, she passed the test perfectly and I cried again with happiness because we were finally headed home, almost a week after I'd initially been admitted to the hospital.

Of course, Thursday night I called the pediatrician in a panic because I thought Genevieve looked really jaundiced (and she was a little jaundiced, but the doctor assured me that her levels couldn't rise from where they'd been that afternoon to the danger zone in just a few hours. I was scheduled to see the pediatrician the next morning at 9am, so I went to bed feeling reassured). I was beyond relieved to be home, but suddenly it was terrifying not to have monitors and experienced eyes on all her vitals... it was just me!

(Well, me and the Owlet sock, which was definitely a good investment for my peace of mind.)

And so here we are... at home, baby asleep in my arms, the NICU in the rearview mirror. So grateful for the care she got, and so incredibly thankful that she is home with us now.


  1. This all sounds so scary!! You poor thing. Hugs, so glad you got such great support and are all home safe now. Hope you can get a little well-deserved rest! (Thank god for baby monitors!!)

  2. So relieved to see your last two posts! CONGRATULATIONS!

  3. I’m sorry for such a crummy sickness, and scary labor and nicu stay. I’m so glad G is right where she is supposed to be now xoxo

  4. Congratulations, so happy that she is home with you.

  5. Congratulations on your sweet, sweet girl. So glad you are both home!

  6. Thank you so much for posting, Brooke. You and your family are true warriors! Keep the posts coming as you have time. And don't ever think nobody is reading just because they don't comment! Love your blog.

  7. I'm so glad Baby G is home! I have been mooning over her on Instagram.