Brenden Jessee Shadrick was born on 11/22/09. His original due date was 3/3/10, and Brenden spent 83 days in the NICU.
Birth, NICU Stay, Homecoming
My sweet angel Brenden was born at 25 weeks and 4 days. He weighed 1b 13oz and he was 13 and 3/4 inches long. It all started on Nov 2, 2009. I woke up that morning to some light bleeding and a little pain. I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment for that day. They ran some tests and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next Monday. The morning of the 9th I almost canceled the US appt because I was feeling better, but I went anyway just to be safe and thank the good Lord above I did. The ultrasound showed I was "funneling" the top of my cervix open. They immediately put me into the hospital on complete bed rest (I couldn't even get up to use the bathroom). I stayed in the hospital bed for 2 weeks. During that time I was seen by a specialist, had ultrasounds done every other day it seemed, and not to mention my regular doctors and nurses.
I woke up early the morning of Nov 22 (like 1:30 am) and I told my nurse I felt sick. At about 2 am they hooked me to the fetal monitor just to check. I was in labor. The nurses checked to see if I had dilated, I had about 3 cms and the nurse said they felt a foot or a knee. Brenden was breech. I had to have a c-section. I was terrified -what if something happened to my baby. I went from a regular c-section to emergency ... I was scared and confused. My husband wasn't allowed in with me. The last I remember I looked at the clock, and it said 3:58 am. Brenden was born at 4:13 am.
It was a hard stressful time. He spent 83 days in the NICU (2 NICUs actually, Holston Valley Med Ctr in Kingsport TN and ETCH in Knoxville TN). Brenden had to have a PDA ligation. They did surgery on him at 12 days old. The surgeon told me he didn't know how Brenden survived (even with the life support) that long. He had a brain bleed, respiratory distress syndrome (he was on the vent for 38 days), he started peeing blood, he almost went into kidney failure, and he developed ROP. It was a long hard battle for my little guy. I didn't get to hold him until he was almost 3 weeks old, but finally we got to take him home on Feb. 13, 2010. He weighed 4lbs 12oz. He was on oxygen and an apnea monitor.
During the first couple of months he was home I was asked all kinds of questions, like what's wrong with him, why is he so tiny, why does he have all the tubes and wires... it was very frustrating. Fast forward to today, he's a happy 16 month old toddler and doing great (no more oxygen or monitors). His ROP cleared and he is only a month or so behind hitting his milestones. And some people say you can't tell he was a preemie.
- Watch your baby not the monitors (the best advice i can give). It's going to be very hard, trust me I know, but eventually you will learn not to babysit the monitors.
- Be patient: its a hard battle. Lots of ups and downs, one step forward and 2 giant leaps back. Its frustrating and very upsetting.
- And last but one of the most important, SPEAK UP if you don't like something or someone or don't like how your baby is being handled, tell someone. If you want to know something ask, it's YOUR baby lying there and you have every right to say or ask something if you don't feel you're getting a clear answer get a DR or Charge Nurse!!