by Krystin Moneaux
I had my preemie on July 31, 2019. While I’m still fairly new to this whole experience, I feel like I’ve learned a lot so far. We aren’t new parents, but we’re new to the NICU. We have a 2 year old son who was born full term with no issues. However, our second child was born at 33 weeks.
On July 29, 2019 I went into the hospital because I was feeling lots of pressure. It almost felt like she could be coming soon. I fully expected to be discharged and put on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. What I didn’t know was that I was in preterm labor and having contractions every 2-5 minutes. They admitted me into the hospital for observation that night and were going to discharge me in the morning. Well at about 2 AM, the nurse came into my room and woke me up and asked if I was in any kind of pain. I told her no and asked why. She said my heart rate was about 150-160 while my baby’s heart rate went down to the 90s. I was scared. I calmed myself down and both of our heart rates went back to normal. They decided to keep me another night. My husband was offshore during all of this, so I was even more scared. He came home at 9 PM on July 30 so he came straight to the hospital to stay with me. Everything with myself and my baby had stayed good that whole day. The doctor just wanted me to stay one more night to make sure that didn’t happen again.
At about 5 AM on July 31, about five nurses came running into my room to wake me up. I had no idea what was going on at all. I could hear them yelling to prep the OR for an emergency section and that they needed help in my room. I was totally panicking. They started me on oxygen and had me flipping from side to side. They couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat. My husband and I are completely panicking. After what seemed like a lifetime, the nurse finally said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. “We got her heartbeat back.” I was so relieved, but I was also scared because this was the second night in a row that this had happened. At this point, I was questioning whether this had been happening at home and I just didn’t know.
The nurses immediately informed my doctor about this and she sent an ultrasound tech in. After it was done, it was sent off to a high-risk doctor. He consulted with my doctor about what the best thing for me and the baby was: an emergency c section. I was terrified. I delivered my first child naturally, so I had no idea what a c section was like.
I was crying and I was so scared because I knew it was what was best, but I was also terrified that my baby was going to be here 6 weeks earlier that she was supposed to. At 5:37 PM, I delivered our beautiful daughter, Addison Kate. She was 4 pounds 14 ounces. She’s the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.
The second night of her life was rough for her. She experienced pneumothorax. This is when air collects in the space between the lungs and the chest. Because of this, she had to have a chest tube placed in her side. She also had a feeding tube. We couldn’t hold her for the first nine days of her life. We would go see her every day and just sit there and talk to her.
The pneumothorax persisted for 8 days. She was also having trouble breathing so she had to be on an oxyhood. This is more efficient than an oxygen cannula. As soon as she got better at breathing, they took her off the oxyhood and put in the oxygen cannula. After all that was gone, she was having trouble sucking her bottle. She was tube fed for the first 10 days of her life, so she didn’t understand the concept. She had episodes of bradycardia, which is drops in her heart rate, but she steadily started getting stronger every day.
After spending 32 days in the NICU, she finally came home. Our family finally felt complete with her home. Her big brother Carson absolutely loves her. He wants to help out so much. It’s so sweet. She adjusted well to coming home. One of the only things that we noticed about her was that she couldn’t sleep in complete silence. I think she was so used to hearing everything that was going on in the NICU that she just couldn’t sleep without background noise. Our son adjusted well to here coming home as well. He would help out with anything that she needed. He still loves to help her do things that she can’t do yet.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we were terrified. Hearing about how COVID was affecting the respiratory system was a nightmare for us because Addison had issues with her lungs. We stayed home for 3 months. We didn’t go anywhere or do anything with her until July of 2020. I had to go back to work, so she went back to daycare, but we didn’t go anywhere else with her. It was still scary because I didn’t want her to be sick. I knew it would be worse for her than it would be for us. So far, we have steered clear of having COVID in our household. I cleaned and sanitized everything that was brought into our house. We Face Timed and called our family and friends because it was just too risky being around them.
In May of 2021, she was diagnosed with RSV, parainfluenza and rhinovirus on top of an ear infection. This was the sickest she had been since she came home. She was admitted into the hospital where we spent two days doing breathing treatments, IV fluids, sand IV medicine. She got dehydrated so it made everything much worse. She is back home and doing well now! We will forever be grateful to our NICU and hospital that continues to provide amazing care for Addison!
I’ve learned a lot in our journey. The hardest part was having to leave her at the hospital and go home without her. The best thing to help me through this was knowing that the NICU was the best place for her to be. The doctors and nurses were so amazing. They called every day with an update for us. They also let us know what is going on every time we would go see her. The bradycardia episodes have taught me to be patient. The only thing that will help with these is time.