In less than seven hours of being born, my son had an IV in his tiny hand and was isolated in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. As a new Mom, the separation from my baby was unbearable.
I was drifting off to sleep when I received a phone call from the ICU that my baby was hungry. I asked the nurses not to give him a bottle, explaining that I would be there as soon as I could. I buzzed my own aide several times before receiving an answer. She was aware of the ICU situation and I asked for a wheelchair in order to be brought up to my hungry son. First ten minutes, then fifteen additional minutes went by. Once she finally returned, she told me that her shift was ending and I would need to wait for the next aide to bring a wheelchair.
In response to my glare, she added smugly, “You should be walking around by now anyway.”
My fatigue and frustration began to get the best of me as I reminded her that my baby had been born less than nine hours earlier. Still, my anger pushed me to stand up. My body was weak and sore. My legs were shaky as I slowly moved past her to the nurse’s station where I asked someone else to find me a wheelchair so I could get two floors up to feed my son in ICU.
When I finally received the help upstairs, my heart began to beat quickly as my eyes searched the eight little plastic cribs for the one holding my son. It soon sank deep into my chest when I found my son being held and fed from a bottle. With a lump in my throat, I managed to squeak out, “I’m here.” The ICU nurse told me, “We had to feed him. It’s been forty-five minutes since we called you.” I could not hold back the tears as I gently held my son and sobbed as the nurses pulled a privacy curtain around us.
The remaining few recovery days in the hospital were terribly draining. I spent every minute I was awake with my son in ICU, unsuccessful with attempts to breastfeed him. I helplessly watched my newborn wail as blood was taken from his heels each time they gave him antibiotics. I was rarely in my hospital room and wasn’t eating. My husband made calls to friends and family with my plea that no one visit.