A large portion of our 48-hour stay in the hospital is a complete blur; however, there are other moments that I remember with great clarity. During these two days were some of most joyous moments of my life, accompanied by the scariest ones.
Nolan was born on May 14, 2018, at 7:50 pm. By the time we got to a post-partum room, it was nearing 11:00 pm and I had been awake for almost 36 hours. I was tired. I was in a daze. I was cold for the first time in months. I was struggling to keep my eyes open, but I didn’t want to take my eyes off Nolan for one moment. He was just so precious!
We got situated in our room and started our new life as parents. He needed to eat every 2 hours, and I needed to figure out how to breastfeed. We needed to know how to use the bulb-syringe in case Nolan started choking (which he did 30 seconds into us being alone in our room and it was TERRIFYING). Other than that, he was ours to do with what we pleased and surprisingly we were not handed a “How to” manual for baby care.
Around 1:00 am on May 15th a nurse came into the room to check my vitals. She asked me to confirm my name and date of birth. “Laina Moore. 05-15…” She stopped me. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Joel and I shot a quick look at each other. It was my birthday, and we had forgotten. We all laughed at the fact we forgot and agreed that Nolan was the best birthday present ever.
Most of day 1 was pretty routine. We had visitors. The nurses were in our room every 45 minutes. We bonded with our son and fell more in love with him. Nolan slept. I was trying to breastfeed. They took him to the nursery for a pediatrician check. All things that would be considered “normal” … until it wasn’t.
By late afternoon on May 15th it was clear that breastfeeding was not working for us. I was hardly producing any colostrum and Nolan was already starting to get dehydrated. They started us on formula, and we struggled for him to eat barely any. We were told that this was normal for newborns and not to worry about the amount he was getting.
That night they took Nolan to do a hearing test. This test is something that is given to all newborns, but they would be doing a more in-depth one to confirm he was able to hear in his normal ear. They took him for about one hour, and it was the longest hour of our lives. He passed! Praise God. – They were not able to test his underdeveloped side (his right side), and we were told to follow up with ENT.
Nolan’s undeveloped ear is a condition called Microtia. He does not have a canal opening on that side, and we are still not sure if he has any hearing on his right side. There are very few doctors in the country that specialize in Microtia, and we only discovered the name of the condition when we did our own research. It is such a rare condition that the hospital didn’t even know what it was called.
The skin tag on his cheek is also very common for children with Microtia. In fact, having a skin tag on the face or ear is often a sign of development issues for other organs like the ears, kidneys, or heart (more on that later).
We were able to sleep the second night knowing that our sweet boy had passed his first hearing test for his normal ear. While we still were facing the unknown of the Microtia ear, it was a relief to know that he could hear us through his left ear.
We had to stay in the hospital for exactly 48-hours from the time of his delivery. This meant that we were not able to leave until 7:50 pm. We spent that day learning more about Nolan, and we realized feeding was a HARD struggle for him. We were able to get some milliliters in, but he was eating far less than what he should be. We were told we needed to see our pediatrician the next day to follow up on his weight.
7:50 pm came and we were ready to head home. Joel loaded up the car and I was wheeled out carrying Nolan on my lap. We all got into the car and off we went. It was the first day of the rest of our lives. We had our son. We were headed home. We were beyond excited! We had dreamed of this day for so long and couldn’t wait for Nolan to meet Stella!
While Nolan was having his hearing tested, a sweet nurse named Carolyn came into our room and knew that we were a mess. She offered to pray over us and told us that her own son was born with lots of questions about his health. It was a beautiful and emotional moment that we will never forget. She brought us so much peace in the most un-peaceful time. This was the first example of faith and kindness of strangers that we experience on our journey; however, it became only one of many very quickly.