Yesterday morning when we arrived at the hospital we were told that they were just waiting for a room to be ready and then Landon would be moving up to the recovery floor. We were thrilled when we were told we would be moving in an hour. We hurried and packed up all our things and placed them on the cart. I walked the halls and snapped pictures of the PICU which has been our home for over two weeks. I was surprised at the emotions I felt. It has not been a terribly long time that we have been here, but when everyday is so new, so monumental, so scary, so emotional... well you just can't explain it. We've gone through so much and had so many different thoughts and feelings while sitting in Landon's room in the PICU, we've sat with family in the waiting room. We've walked to the water fountain countless times, listened to rounds, gotten to know all the nurses and really like a few, came back at ridiculous hours just to check on Landon and give him kisses. We've sat around his bed every morning, with a coffee in one hand and the other stroking our beautiful son or letting his tiny hand wrap around one of our fingers. There's been a lot of tears shed in that room, but the amazing thing is, there's probably been more laughter :) It is where Ryan first got to hold Landon. It's where I fed him his very first bottle.... so many memories.
They brought in a HUGE crib bed for Landon. He looked so tiny in it. We walked behind the nurse as she wheeled Landon to the elevator, up three floors, down a very long hallway, and into his new room. It is so nice!! Huge windows with beautiful scenery, couch that turns into twin size bed, big tv with blue ray player, fridge and microwave, and most importantly... a SHOWER. That was all I needed to see to decide that I would move out of Ronald McDonald and in with Landon. We sat down on the couch as the nurse explained to us how things work on this floor and it didn't take long for us to realize this is NOTHING like the NICU. The nurse told us that they really encourage the family to do everything they can. She said they try to check on their patients at least once an hour, but sometimes it's every couple hours if no alarms are going off and they get busy with another patient. She told us what they want to see before they can send him home and she confirmed that he is doing well and looks like he belongs on the floor. When she was finished, she left and a door closed behind her. For the first time, I felt like we were on our own with Landon.... and this terrified me. We hadn't eaten yet and needed to go to Ronald McDonald to get our things, but how could we leave him? We are used to him having a nurse that is either with him in the room, watching and monitoring him from the window right outside his room, or just a couple doors away from him at all times. Someone checking on him maybe every hour? That's worse than leaving him with a babysitter! We fearfully left him to go get our things, but every moment we were away I was picturing him laying in this huge bed, crying all by himself :( We were not gone long and I was glad to find the nurse in his room when we returned. She told us that she just removed the oxygen thing from his nose. I was so glad to hear this because without that it would be so much easier to hold him. After she left I got his bottle ready and fed him. After he was done I was just holding him, when he got the hiccups. He gets them quite often and he hates them. I imagine they are really painful with his incision. He was getting more and more upset and his alarm kept going off. We were watching his monitor and his sats were dropping from the high 70s into the 60s then the low 60s, when it reached 59, I looked down at him and his face was blue. Ryan hit the call light and the nurse came in soon. I put him back into the bed and she put his oxygen back on him. Soon after his sats returned to the 80s.
After the nurse left I sat on the couch and just wanted to cry. So many fears overwhelmed me all of a sudden. I feel like I don't know how to care for my child. I feel like I missed out on the first weeks of his life and I'll never get that back. We've done what we could up to this point, but really we haven't been the ones taking care of him, all of his needs have been met by his nurses. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've fed him and changed his diaper. This makes me so sad. Now they expect me to just know what to do? What if we take him home and he cries and turns blue again? We're not going to have oxygen to just pop onto him. We aren't even going to have a monitor in our apartment. How will we know what his sats are at every second? Ryan could tell I was feeling overwhelmed and he told me that we were going to be fine. He said that all new parents experience these feelings, we're just experiencing them later.
As the day went on they tried a couple more times to wean Landon off of the oxygen. He's on such a low amount they don't think he needs it, but for some reason he seems to think that he does. Every time they took it off of him, he did fine for a while, but whenever he gets upset and cries, his sats drop. I'm not going to lie, this TERRIFIES me.
Last night I found myself calming down enough to enjoy some family time. It felt good to not have a nurse hovering over us all the time. It was so nice to be in a room with our son that has a closing door that isn't completely made out of glass. Ryan and I played a game and watched the movie "We Bought a Zoo". It came out on Landon's birthday so we figured we should buy it for him to watch when he's older. I could actually just hold him while we watched it, such a great feeling. Something moms probably take for granted because their babies have never been hooked up to 10 different machines.
We were told by the nurse that came on in the evening that they are hoping to get Landon out of here on Monday. I was SHOCKED to hear this!!! I thought at least a week on this floor and Ryan was planning on leaving for Bismarck on Sunday. The nurse told us that Landon is doing everything he needs to be doing. He's off of everything, if they can just get him to be ok without the oxygen. He's eating good already. She said that all he needs is a car seat check, which I think they are going to do today and a hearing test on Monday. She said after those things he should be good to go since Ryan and I took our cardiac and cpr class last week already.
As I'm sure you can imagine, Ryan and I are thrilled with this news and also scared. All we've wanted is to take Landon home and get into a family routine, but now that it's so close to happening, we don't feel ready yet. I'm sure no one ever feels quite ready to take their first baby home, but how can you when every time he cries, he turns blue?
Please keep us in your prayers. We're reaching the end of this portion of our journey and it's daunting as we look ahead into the unknown. Tomorrow we will be checking out of Ronald McDonald and moving our other vehicle to my aunts house. We're not sure how we'll get it back to Bismarck yet because I'll be riding in the backseat with Landon on the way home. Landon's carseat check will also be today. This is not the kind of carseat check I was expecting. The nurse told us we'll need to bring his carseat in and he'll be placed in it for two hours and monitored to see how his sats do. There is so much going on, it's an exciting, but scary time for us. It helps knowing we have so much love and support around us and to go home to. Thank you everyone! We couldn't have reached this point without your prayers.
I don't know if you will read this before Monday, but if you do, could you give Ryan a call? He doesn't know how to get a hold of you during the weekend.