When we first heard about McKinley's omphalocele, we thought we had the choice between Children's Hospital and Baptist in Oklahoma City. At first, I definitely was leaning towards Baptist. Many of the reasons have been listed in the blog before. But the main one, was the last time I was at Childrens, which was ages ago.. I just remember it being waaaaaaaay different than what I experienced at Mercy (which was pure bliss).
However, as we did more research and talked more with our doctors, we knew the absolute best fit for McKinley and her condition, was to 100% hands down, have her at Childrens. Yes, it would be a bit different for me.. but I can have a baby anywhere (as long as there is a doctor with drugs).
Well, when Craig and I pulled in for the free valet parking and entered the new atrium, we knew it was going to be a bit different. It was SO nice and a very happy place. It made me think of when we visited one of my best friends from college, Stacy, when she worked at Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital. I remember thinking, what a blessing that hospital had to be to parents and kids who were dealing with sicknesses.
But now being on this side, no amount of happy butterflies took away my feeling of being totally overwhelmed. Although, it is very very nice and I do enjoy the bright colors. :)
We met the most wonderful RN, Debbie, who takes all high risk pregnancies and people who's babies will be in the NICU on tours. She was veryinsightful and very patient.
Another side note: I dont wish planning for a sick baby on anyone, but if you do, I pray that you are surrounded with a support group like we are. I have mentioned it before, and I will mention it again.. God has blessed me with INCREDIBLE life long friends, they are encouraging and loving. AND SMART. Having friends who can help me formulate my thoughts into questions, and even bring up questions, I would have never thought of, has been such a blessing. I am able to enter medical conversations confident and walk away with so many answers.
Debbie took us to the floor where I will be having my C-Section. We were not able to look into a surgery room, but she kind of explained to me how that morning will work. She explained that unlike normal C-Sections, where the dad can go with the baby back to the nursery, Craig will stay with me. The nurses normally like 30-45 minutes to be able to stabalize NICU babies and get them all situated in the NICU. Craig will be able to stay with me, and my mom can join us in the recovery room. If McKinley is stable enough, I will be able to SEE her in the C-Section room, before they take her to the NICU.
Next Debbie took us the Mother and Child floor.. this is where I will go after I am done with recovery. I will get a larger room, since I am a C-section patient. Because I have to come up on a gurny, they wont fit in the smaller rooms. I am ok with that. :) There is a chance that I will be able to get up and around later that night, but it might have to be the next morning. My prayer is that I will be strong enough and able to get up that evening. I will REALLY be wanting to see McKinley at that point. I will have to depend on pictures people take for me.
Debbie, then took us to the NICU floor. All of the babies are in a room with another baby. But they have a curtain that you can pull around, if you need/want privacy with your baby. A HUGE blessing about Childrens, is there are no limitations on visitation for the parents. We can be with McKinley 24-7. We dont even have to leave during the shift change. We are able to have 3 people total back at a time seeing McKinley in the NICU. Again, very few limitations.. our guests just can not be there during shift change. It was during our walk through the NICU, that I realized that Craig and I must have looked like deer in the headlights. A nurse stopped us and asked if we were hanging in there, and reminded us that everything would be ok. We appreciated the encouragement.
We, then got to see the Village. It was here that both Craig and I both had to hold back tears. I am not sure what it was about this floor.. but it just all hit me. Another great thing about Childrens, they have a floor, where when your baby is getting close to coming home, they move them to. You basically get to move in with your baby. There is a twin bed in the room with the baby. I hope we are there soon.
We also got the tour of the Ronald McDonald floor. They turned a floor (or part of a floor), into a little place where parents can go watch TV, pay bills, grab a snack, do laundry etc. It was very nice. They also have turned 3 hospital rooms into Ronald McDonald rooms... every baby that goes to the NICU is assigned a social worker. Depending on when McKinley has her surgery, they may recommend that we stay in one of these rooms.. you can stay there for 3 days at a time. They are concerned that I take care of myself also, since I will have just had surgery.
After our tour, we were saying bye to Debbie, she gave me a big hug and whispered to me, to not worry about anything. I. lost. it. All of the tears I was holding back on the tour, came out. And continued alot of the night.
There is NO doubt in my mind that we have chosen the absolute best hospital for McKinley. I believe that the staff there will be able to take care of her and love her and love on us too. I know that God has directed us to the right doctors, the right surgeons and definitely the right hospital. We feel blessed.
But it is overwhelming. Definitely not the beginning of life, we had planned for our little girl. When am I going to learn about trying to take control and planning??? We are holding on to our faith, and could not be more thankful to be chosen to be McKinley's parents.
Please continue to pray for total healing for our baby girl. Pray for continued calmness in Craig and I's hearts. Pray for my doctor, Dr. Stanley, and McKinley's surgeon, Dr. Letton.
We get to see our baby girl tomorrow! Can't wait!!!