Fletcher in the NICU 12/30/04
On December 30, 2004 at 8:12 am Fletcher Samuel Burns was born via scheduled c-section. I remember being so emotional that morning, crying before we left to go to the hospital. When they were getting me ready for the c-section I couldn’t look at Craig without crying. He was waiting outside the operating room door as they were preparing me and every time he looked at me I would cry uncontrollably. I was a basket case! I just wanted Fletcher to get out my tummy so I could hold him! Well, that didn’t happen. Instead after Dr. Hager delivered Fletcher the nurses took him over to the corner of the room to get cleaned up. I only saw a glimpse of Fletcher and I could tell something wasn’t right with his skin. And the next thing we knew the NICU doctor was in the OR and she took Fletcher to the NICU. It seemed as though no one knew what was going on especially Craig and me! As they were putting me back together sweet Dr. Hager told us that Fletcher had some kind of rash and that they would do some lab work and try to figure out what was wrong. I did not see or hold him until an agonizing eight hours later. Since I had a c-section I had to recover for eight hours before I could go upstairs to see him. Someone brought me a Polaroid picture of Fletcher so I could ‘see’ him. I must have looked at that picture a thousand times. Craig and I knew in our hearts it wasn’t a rash covering his sweet little face. But each day we were in the hospital family and friends would say, ‘that rash is clearing up’ or ‘his rash looks better today’. Thankfully we had already prepared ourselves for the worst. That is pretty funny to think about NOW, that a so-called rash could be the worst possible thing wrong! After my eight hours of recovery Craig wheeled me up to the NICU to see my sweet boy. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Craig was so thoughtful and tried to explain everything to me. Fletcher was requiring oxygen so they had this clear plastic box over his little face. He had a tube in his mouth and he was hooked up to all kinds of monitors. I was able to hold him, but I was so afraid. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to bond with him. Afraid I’d hurt him. Afraid of all the wires and tubes. Afraid for his future and people being mean to him because he looked different. I was a mess. Well, I went home after four days in the hospital Fletcher did not. I will never forget coming home and seeing the “Welcome home Mommy and Fletcher” sign Kayleigh and Maddie had made. It was almost unbearable to walk in the door without my baby. I tried to be brave for the girls but it was too much. I told everyone I was tired and I went to my room and just cried. It was awful. I did not know how to do this. I hadn’t thought beyond the moment. I think I must have been in shock. Somehow Craig knew what to do. So someone took me to the hospital each day and dropped me off so I could be with Fletcher and each night after he got off work Craig came to the hospital. Unbeknownst to us, this was the beginning of what we now call our life. Fletcher was in the NICU for 19 days. He was there because no one knew what was up with his skin, his right eye would not open completely and on top of all that he would not eat. The doctors would not let us take Fletcher home until he could take 45 cc’s of formula consistently. That’s only an ounce and a half! It was sheer torture making him take a bottle. We had to work with a speech pathologist to learn techniques of how to HOLD his bottle so he would take the required amount. It was crazy to us. We had just entered a whole new world and we were clueless. We thought if we could just get him home, he’d eat. Not so my friends. Poor little Fletcher was miserable. He cried constantly and he wasn’t really big on sleeping either. Craig and I were beside ourselves. We did not know what to do with this baby who didn’t eat or sleep and cried all the time. But somehow the more he needed me the more I loved him.
Holding Fletcher for the first time
Daddy and Fletcher on day 11 in the NICU
Holding Fletcher on day 17 in the NICU
The first picture of all three of our children together day 7 in the NICU
Fletcher's first night at home. No tubes or wires!