Monday, May 9, 2011

Birth Story Monday . Baby Tide's Story, Part II

(To read Part I of Baby Tide's Story, click here.)

Baby Tide's Story, Part II
By: Leigh B.

I believe there were 27 family members, friends, and special church family in the waiting room. I remember the operating room. Blah. Just scary memories. I can remember the doctor assisting Dr. Goolsby talking about buying new shoes. Strange how things stick in your mind. He said I would feel tugging and a little discomfort, but I didn't.

CrisDen Tide was born weighing 1 pounds 8 ounces and was 13 inches long. All I got to see of him was his hat. He was in a body bag (I learned that term in the NICU). All it is is a Zip-loc bag. It helps control their temp. I did hear him cry. I didn't know that was significant until Melody J., the NICU nurse and a sister in Christ, later told a friend of ours that normally babies that young don't cry! What a fighter he was.

The NICU staff whisked Tide down to the NICU with Tim following behind. They allowed my "people" to see him. That's uncommon because NICU is closely guarded and abides by a time schedule. I believe they were afraid he may not make it. I'm so thankful everyone was allowed to see him. I didn't get to see him until the next day. And Tim had warned me.
The NICU, at that point, was a scary, depressing place. Sick, sick babies. I later said if someone doesn't believe in God, just visit a NICU. You can see His Presence there. Just amazing stories lying in those isoletes and Ohio beds.

Tide's bed was closest to the nurses. He was the smallest baby at the time. He was so sick. Lines everywhere, beepers beeping. He was skin and bones. We talked about how he looked like Pa lying there. My grandpa had died in December 2007 and he had been in bed for a month and he was just skin and bones. (To this day, I wish my Pa could have seen Tide. He would have spoiled him so much!)

He was on a ventilator, he had central lines in his belly button, he was nearly translucent! We could only lightly press a finger to his foot. Preemies are so sensitive. We also had to be very quiet. He was under the lamp because of his bilirubin. Looking back, he favored either a skinned squirrel or pictures of "aliens". But to us, he was absolutely, perfectly beautiful.

We had already met with Dr. Bruce before he was born. I loved him but we called him "Dr. Doom" because he gave us the worse case scenarios. I am grateful he did because it gave us more of an insight into what we were facing. He and Dr. Beard and the nurses and nurse practitioners were so good about telling us everything going on.

I do remember having to give them our hospital and then our lodge number. This way they could reach us if anything happened. I've never felt such panic and fear as I did every time the phone rang. The first night we were in the lodge, Tim thought I was having a panic attack because I couldn't find Tide's picture and I couldn't breathe. A week later, we found out I had passed a blood clot to my lung...that's another story!

Everyone says a stay in the NICU is like a roller coaster ride. (I got so sick of hearing that term, but it is completely true.) One day...or're on a high, the next you've dipped down in a valley. Preemies are so quirky and have their own time line and personality. One day, we were in the NICU and Tide was struggling. The nurse asked us to leave so they could put him back on the vent. We already knew this might happen. He would go on and off the vent several times during his stay. We went to the waiting room and a few minutes later, she walked in, laughing and holding a tissue. She said she just had to show us...she opens the tissue and there is a HUGE booger (come on, mommies, it's gross, but it happens!) That's what was causing him to struggle with his breathing! So, fortunately, that was one time he avoided the vent!

After watching weight gain (that wasn't the biggest worry, believe it or not--it's lungs), checking to see if the flap at his heart was ok (can't remember what it's called but if it hadn't corrected itself with medicine, surgery would have been performed), feeding him, keeping his body temperature up, bradies (when his heart rate goes down and his breathing goes down), and many other things, we were finally able to bring him home on May 2, 2009. This was about 2 weeks after his due date.

I know I have left out so much. It's overwhelming the ride we have been on!

If any of you ever face circumstances like these, just pray! Some odd positive things (besides Tide) that came out of this is I learned patience! You just learn to wake up each morning and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Another thing is our marriage was put to the test and we came out winners. I can't imagine how stressful this was for Tim. He still had to go to work and make a living and some days not knowing if I or his baby would make it. That's a pretty big weight on his shoulders. Even though we had been married so long and were older, sometimes during that time, I felt like he and I were teenagers, not knowing what to do in the adult world I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else.

Another piece of advice, just trust your nurses and doctors. They are there to take care of you and your baby. They won't do anything to intentionally harm your baby. I always had the feeling they loved Tide nearly as much as I did. I witnessed some parents who were ugly to the nurses or who thought they knew more than the doctors. Just listen and be patient. I know it's hard but that is their job. The nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, even the housekeeping crew were AMAZING! I do believe scrubs are like super hero costumes. I do not see how these wonderful people do what they do.

Also, this time really allowed us to feel the love of our Christian family. Not just our home congregation, but other congregations around--even out of state. I know we made the prayer list for churches all over the Southeast. We are so thankful for that.

We also met such wonderful new people. Tide had a pod mate named Maddox. His mother and I became close friends. I loved Maddox because he looked like Tide did just 2 months earlier. He died a day before his one month birthday. He had developed NEC. This is a problem preemies face. Tide's feedings had been stopped several times for fear of NEC.

Tide is now a healthy, way active 2 year old. He has a bit of a speech delay. Also, we have been told since before he was born that he may have learning disabilities. I care, but I don't. After what he's been through, I'm just happy to have him here. God was with us through the really sick days of Tide's life, and He will be with us through all the little obstacles.


  1. Thanks for posting, Martha! It's a great idea to have Leigh share Tide's story. It's amazing to read about it 2 years removed from being there while it was happening.

    I think the cool part about it is that the little guy's namesake has a record of 24-3 since he was born :)

  2. Amazing story about a wonderful family and happy and energetic little boy! I am his Bible class teacher and he is such a wonderful student. Sits perfectly still and listens the whole time! He is going to do just fine as he grows up!

  3. I'm so thankful that Leigh shared this story with us all. We can ALL learn many lessons from what they went through. It's amazing the blessings God has bestowed on them and on all of us!