What is a NICU?

Emma was taken straight to the NICU at Skyridge, which was just down the hall. At this point if you asked me what a NICU was I would say…no clue (not knowing that we would be spending 2 1/2 months in a NICU). The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a foreign, intimidating and downright scary world. But more on that later.

 

At the Skyridge NICU they decided they did not have the corrected doctors Emma needed. The doctors there decided Emma needed to have a surgery, they were unsure if it was an emergency to have it done right away or if she could wait a few days…but they did not want to wait to find out. They made the decision to have Emma transferred to Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital. This hospital was 45-60 mins away. Now let me also explain that by this point I still had not had the opportunity to see Emma more than a 2 seconds and they were going to take her from me and I would miss out on the first 5 days of her life. When I look back on this I really have no clue how I survived these emotions. I get angry and sad all over again imagining her being taken away from me. It was the middle of the night around 2 am and they were getting Emma ready for her first ambulance ride.

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You can barely see Emma but she is in there! All 3lbs 7oz!

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During this time I was still very incoherent. The medications they had given me for the c-section were very strong and numbing. I knew what was going on but I was unable to show emotion. I felt like a zombie. My family stayed behind with me and Ryan followed Emma to the other hospital.IMG_2480

What occurred the next few days was a true blur and roller coaster of emotions. Maybe one day I will have the strength to write about it, but for today it is still too difficult for me to relive that time.

Ryan loving on Emma from the both of us. <3

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The proud wife in me has to brag about my amazing husband Ryan. He did such a beautiful job writing about our journey to our family and friends on Facebook that I felt I needed to share his words too.

“It’s Ryan here again with another update on Maria and our Sweet Baby Emma Marie Jones!
Baby Emma was delivered on Monday evening at 8:10 P.M. at the gestational age of 29 weeks and five days. She weighed 3lbs 7oz at birth! And Maria did great! Without writing an entire novel of what she had to go through over the past 72 hours, I will just say that my wife is officially the strongest person that I know!
Although Baby Emma came out kicking with a beautiful cry, she told the Doctors that she needed some additional assistance in breathing. Her tummy was slightly enlarged and she wanted some things sucked out of there to help keep it stable. Baby Emma told the head Doctor to keep investigating why her belly was bloated, but to go ahead and place her into the cozy incubator so she could roll over to the NICU. Meanwhile, Mommy was getting stitched up and was then rolled to the post anesthesia care unit to be watched for an hour, before going to a recovery room.
Daddy followed Emma to the NICU where she had lots of tubes place in and around her. But Emma wanted to tell Daddy she didn’t mind too much because she was beginning to breathe mostly on her own without needing the additional oxygen like before, so she wrapped her fingers around Daddy’s finger as a sign that “things are ok.” Once Baby Emma was relaxed, Daddy went to go check on Mommy and to show her extra pictures of sweet Emma that he took.
The lead Doctor at delivery meanwhile investigated what may have been going on with Emma’s tummy. He came to Daddy & Mommy at about 10:00 P.M. to explain that there may be something wrong with Emma’s intestines and that it could be why her belly was so big. The Doctor explained that it could need immediate surgery, and the special Surgeon whom Emma would need is over at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. After extreme care & preparation, Emma said she was ready to go by Ambulance to the special hospital at about 1 A.M. Daddy followed Emma while Mommy had to recover at Skyridge. frown emoticon Mommy had great family support however throughout the longest night of her life.
Emma & Daddy arrived at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children ER at about 1:30 A.M. Emma was immediately seen by a team of Doctors in a large X-ray room. Daddy put on his protective x-ray shield and cautiously stood in the back around the team that put an iodine substance through Emma’s intestine that could be seen via live x-ray imaging. This allowed the Doctors to get a clear picture of her intestines. Avoiding the medical jargon, this test mainly resulted in the observation that while Emma might need surgery, it was not the worst case scenario which would’ve required an immediate one. Therefore, Emma said to please let her relax in the NICU there until further testing could be done later in the morning during normal hours when another team of Doctors would be there. After being setup again in her incubator, she took the elevator to the NICU where she thought she could rest…turns out a team of up to four Nurses at a time got her situated and adjusted things to the optimal levels until 7 A.M. Emma says that she is very happy that so much care was given to her even if things weren’t quiet for awhile. At this point Daddy had about two hours of sleep over the past 72 hours. frown emoticon
Around 9 A.M. on Tuesday morning, Emma left the NICU again and took the elevator to go be seen by a group of Doctors to further examine her intestines. They determined the issue was an atresia – a gap or blockage in an area of the intestines which is why things were not going out where they were supposed to, thus causing the excessive bloating. Emma returned to her NICU room again until a surgery could be done later in the afternoon. After a two hour surgery, the Surgeon found the blockage and removed a bad part of the intestine. Temporarily, the surgeon moved a good part of the intestine to exit outside the stomach, and this is where Emma’s bowel movements will be for now. In about six weeks when the other part inside heals, another surgery will be conducted to attach the two parts together inside to have a direct flow which will lead to a normal bowel movement.
Because Emma was given pain medication during the surgery, she was really zonked out for several hours after and she relied completely on her incubator and oxygen tanks to do the breathing for her. However, Emma says it’s normal and only due to the intense surgery because today she has begun some breaths on her own again. Emma says that she likes growing safely in the NICU until she’s ready to come home sometime in August. Overall, Baby Emma’s future looks optimistic!
Mommy is very excited to get discharged tomorrow morning (Thursday) so that she can reunite with her Sweet Baby, Emma Marie Jones!
Thank you all so much for thinking of Maria & Emma during this time. We are also so grateful for the amazing team of Doctors, Nurses, and Surgeons at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. ”

Still after more than 5 months this brings tears to my eyes, a mixture of joy and sadness. But I know that God brought Ryan and I together for a very special reason. I know I will have good and bad days, happy and sad, but the most important thing I can do is enjoy every sweet precious minute with my husband and lovely daughter, Emma Marie.

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