Part III: Life in the NICU and Beyond
This is where Maddie's miracle really began to kick in. We were all frequent visitors to the NICU, to watch the baby and wait. Ratchlet and TA, of course, were there the most; Mikey came when he could; and I was there about 5 nights out of 7. I generally came around 10 p.m. and stayed until after midnight, I am a night person after all. I felt that was Maddie's and my special time. It was quiet, peaceful, low-key, without the harsh neon lights and loud noises. I would talk to her, occasionally touch her tiny hands, and I would sing her lullabies. And Maddie would sleep and eat and grow.
Ratchlet and TA were allowed to finally hold their child. It seemed like forever, but eventually the rest of us had our chance too. Cradling that child in my arms for the first time was one of the happiest days of my life.
And she continued to grow a little bit each day, measured in ounces. Over time, one by one the wires, tubes, and sensors went away....all except for the heart monitor. That would be with us for a while. She began to fill out a little and look more like a baby should look. She was beautiful.
Preemies, especially early preemies, can have an enormous numbers of problems, from Cerebral Palsy all the way to deafness, and everything in between. All of the tests they did to identify possible problems came back fine. Against all the odds, this baby just quietly and peacefully stayed on track. One day at a time, one step at a time.
Nine Weeks in the NICU seemed like an eternity but eventually, at last, she reached that coveted milestone. Her weight hit the magic number: 5 pounds!! Maddie could come home!
It was a little frightening in a way. There was still so much that could go wrong. The heart monitor would go off fairly frequently, scaring us out of our skin. Soon we realized, that the leads could become disconnected very easily and the alarm would start screeching. That monitor never, ever went off because Maddie was having a problem.
Still Maddie stayed steady on the course and became the treasure that she is. We soon discovered too, that our little angel had a temper! Just like the doctor said in the delivery room, "Oh, she's a fiesty one!" But that meant she had a strong will and that was something that would be valuable to her her whole life.
We kept watching for signs of developmental or physical problems. The possibilities that did appear were non-issues, none of our worries ever came to pass. She was healthy, smart, curious, and had her own timetable for lots of things. Most of all she was a joy!Our miracle baby was on her way!
We thought one miracle was pretty amazing and we never expected to need another one....but we did.
Part IV: The Week When Time Stopped
See you tomorrow!