I went into labor 13 weeks before my due date. I had a healthy pregnancy until this point.
The next 24 hours are still kind of a blur and everything went pretty fast. Dr. Shepherd arrived and explained our situation. I had to have an emergency C-section and our beautiful daughter arrived at 10:22 am. She was 2lbs 2oz and was taken to the NICU immediately. My husband and I were able to see her and even touch her tiny hand before they rushed her off to the NICU.
We were told Labor and Delivery that day was extremely busy so we had to wait a little while after delivery for a room. When we arrived at my room, nurses were in and out and I had float nurses because they were short staffed. Thursday morning is when it all sank in and Jodi Bohlen walked in. Jodi and I knew each other but had never really talked that much. When she walked in, a flow of emotions ran over me. I had support from my husband and family, but it was something about knowing she knew what she was doing and it was okay to cry, that I broke down. She ran to my bedside and just hugged me. Explained everything was going to be fine, and my daughter was healthy, I was healthy, and this sort of stuff happens. When I finally calmed down, she just sat and talked to me. Jodi wasn’t just my nurse at that point, she was someone who cared. She assisted me with pumping, explained what I needed to watch for, what it was going to be like going home, pain management, postpartum depression signs, and pumping for a baby in the NICU. She is a huge advocate for breast milk, pumping and breastfeeding. Being that I was unable to breastfeed since our daughter was so tiny, Jodi really worked with me and showed me how to pump effectively and correctly. I didn’t get to take any of the breastfeeding or well-baby classes since I delivered early and she helped me work through all of that. It was only day 2 for our daughter in the NICU but Jodi explained that breast milk was the best thing for her at the point besides our love.
When I was released, it was so hard to leave our daughter in the NICU but I knew she was in good care. Breast pumping was a struggle but I kept with it. Jodi kept in touch to make sure I was doing okay and checked with me to see how pumping was going. She was like a pumping coach and cheered me on. When our daughter was moved to the 4th floor NICU, I knew it was getting closer to her coming home. We did a lot of skin to skin and started introducing her to breastfeeding. Again it was difficult, but I worked with our daughter as much as I could.
On day 78, I visited our daughter before going to work to see if she would want to eat. This was basically our final step before going home. When I went to her crib, I saw Jodi and instant relief ran over me. It wasn’t that the other staff didn’t make me feel comfortable or that I didn’t feel confident in their ability, but knowing Jodi was taking care of our daughter that day, I knew it was going to be a good day. We were still doing pre and post weight while teaching our daughter to breastfeed. That morning with the assistance of Jodi was our daughter’s best day at breastfeeding. She did wonderfully and ate so well! The feeling was more than I could explain. Jodi was so much help with positioning, signs to watch for while feeding and keeping me calm. She kept telling me to not get discouraged and to relax. When I left that day to go to work, that sick feeling wasn’t there, I felt at peace knowing Jodi was caring for our daughter that day. Less than a week later, our daughter was home from the hospital. Today she is 6 months old and growing like a weed.
Every person we met at Carle went above and beyond our expectations, especially the NICU staff. I kept a journal every day of who our daughter’s nurse was, milestones and how I felt. Jodi was a huge support for not only being our nurse from a medical standpoint, but also had a bedside manner that you don’t see much anymore. She cares for her patients.