For Premmie Day, we thought we might share some memories from his first month.
Dexter is incredibly lucky because Lenice kept a diary for him. She’s in the process of typing it and turning it into a… book, for lack of a better word. Here are a few snippets – raw and unedited:
Moments before Dexter was born: They tested my sensation with ice and when it was determined I was ok, the caesarean began. I could feel them pushing down on my stomach and pulling and yanking – like they were sitting on me, almost. I had to ask if they had started to cut me, and then I heard a tiny little cry – just one and I knew you were there.
Your dad couldn’t see anything and he wasn’t allowed over to you straight away. We could hear them talk about your legs – how long they were. I couldn’t hear anything else and no one told me anything…
After a few minutes, your Dad was able to see you. He said they had you wrapped in plastic and then they took you to the neonatal intensive care unit.
They wheeled you past me, but all I could see was your head. That was hard because I couldn't even touch you.
Your Dad went with you, while I stayed behind to be stitched up.
You weighed 1.59kg with a head circumference of 29cm. They don’t measure length anymore, but we have since estimated that you were around 35cm long. You had your injections and were given the APGAR test, which you failed miserably at first!
(Lenice had to wait 8 hours before she saw Dexter! Eight hours! He had visitors who saw him before his own mother saw him! Imagine the heartbreak.)
You seem to respond to my voice and even Aunty Carol’s! She’s already getting you in trouble and you reacted to her voice as soon as she spoke to you!
(I told him he was naughty- that he was born too soon… he cried! This was our first moment together! C.)
I told your Dad he should visit you before coming to bed. He mentioned he’d visited you on his way to dinner. He’s sneaky like that!
(Andrew loved him instantly… Dexter does that to you!)
Turns out you kept the nurses very busy last night... They were worried about a potential bleed in your lungs. Your saturation levels dropped badly and so you needed to be pumped with 100% oxygen for a while.
(I held my breath every morning, when I read the Dexter update text message from Lenice! Hours of sleep were lost to worrying about Dexter. C.)
You've been given morphine and nitric acid and they keep checking you for possible infections.
I really want to hold your hand, but I’m so scared of passing anything on to you, so I’m trying to keep touching to a minimum.
(Imagine not being able to even touch your baby’s hand!)
I went and had quiet time with you. Just sitting with you definitely helps me.
(Dexter had countless procedures, antibiotics, medicines, transfusions etc. etc.!)
(Eight days before she could hold her son! Eight days! Andrew had to wait 21 days before he could cuddle his son! His aunties snuck in a cuddle, when no one was looking, when Dexter was 92 days old! Our Little Man was three months old before we snatched him up for a few amazing seconds worth of cuddle! C.)
(Dexter did this a few times… he never made it easy for us.)
They can’t give any definite answers, but we are looking at difficulties with movement and learning and development. They can’t say how bad or to what extent. Worst case scenario is that you will be wheelchair bound. But, we aren’t going to know how severe it is until you reach the developmental age, so when you should be rolling over, crawling, walking, etc. They’ve said that on a scale of mild, moderate and severe, you are likely to be moderate.
(Dexter’s efforts and determination are inspiring. Go Cheeky man! C.)
Dexter’s 144 days were difficult, but Dexter came home and not every premature baby’s story has this happy ending.
Today is a day to raise awareness about premature birth… the colour for today was green.
To all the mums and dads in the NICU right now, our hearts are with you today. xx