The only thing worse than being told that your daughter has to go to Intensive Care is having to then go tell your wife. About a half-hour later, a doctor appears to inform us that Mac isn't getting enough oxygen in her blood and is going to be in I.C.U. for a while. She's breathing fitfully and they put her on 22% oxygen (we breathe about 21%).
After an hour in recovery, Bobbi and I are sent up to a room. The nurse who set us up in the room is careful to inform us that, while Bobbi will be fed 3 times a day, the father is only allowed 2 meals for the entire stay at the hospital. If you’re a new Mom, they do everything possible to take care of you. If you’re a new Dad, you…. and your penis… can walk to McDonalds, motherfucker.
That night we get little sleep because we're in a hospital and they don’t want you to rest there. To that end, they come in and wake you every other hour. I swear, one time they woke up Bobbi to give her a sleeping pill.
The day passes with little change from Mac. They took her off oxygen for a while, then put her back on. She continues to breathe very quickly (80-100). Friday night the doctor decides to do an echocardiogram and discovers a problem. Basically, we all have a shunt that moves extra blood to the lungs. This shunt closes after we’re born. Mac’s hasn’t closed. The doctor says we’ll just have to wait a while longer, that it’s not uncommon (in fact, my neighbor informs me that her daughter’s shunt took two days). Our biggest fear is that she will tire herself out with the fast breathing and be put on a respirator. Through all this we’re comforted by family and friends, including our neighbors Nelson and Maritza. As a team they’re unbeatable: Maritza the pediatric nurse explains everything that’s happening and answers all our questions.
Nelson brings food.
I’m not sure which is more valuable.
We check out of the hospital without our baby girl. They tell us it will probably be a week before she is ready to come home.
This is not how it's supposed to work. You check in, you have a baby, YOU LEAVE WITH THE BABY. You don't go home alone.
Richard Pryor dies.
The doctor calls in the morning and say's Mac is much improved. The shunt appears to be closing on it's own. They take her off oxygen and when we go to visit, Bobbi gets to hold her daughter for the first time since delivery.
Our neighbors and friends continue to come through for us. Alicia (2 doors down) babysits when we go to the hospital at a moments notice. It's times like this that you realize how important your friends are.
Tomorrow they hope to feed Mac for the first time.