You often hear people say that being in the NICU is like being on a roller coaster ride. You’re always anxious and never know what to expect day to day. Your emotions are all over the place, sometimes fluctuating hour by hour. This is the life I experienced for roughly 4 months. My NICU journey began on December 6, 2011, when I was told that I was going to have to have an emergency c-section since my little one was breeched and that this would be the safest way to deliver a baby so tiny. Little did I know how tiny he would really be. Kingston Malone McKinnon was born at 2:16pm, weighing 1lb 3.5oz (545 grams) and 12 inches. He was considered to be a micro-preemie being born at 23 weeks and 6 days at such a small size.
After being resuscitated twice at birth, the first 4 weeks were very challenging and Kingston was very sick, struggling daily to breathe on his own. He was on various ventilators to assist him with breathing as well as, numerous medications, and bright florescent lights for his jaundice. The doctors said that the two betamethasone shots administered within 48 hours of my delivery helped to save Kingston’s life. At 4 weeks, he was transported to the ICU at John Hopkins to have a PDA ligation surgery. The surgery was successful and within 48 hours he was weaned off the mechanical ventilator. Over the next 2 months, life in the NICU became an unpredictable ride filled with a lot of ups and downs, heartaches and triumphs.During his stay in the NICU, Kingston had over 15 blood transfusions and multiple medical procedures. He also had to be intubated and put back on the ventilator twice. He did a second stint at Hopkins ICU where he was treated for a serious blood infection (sepsis) and his chronic lung disease. He also had developed ROP (eye disease) which kept him in ICU since he needed special medication to administer his weekly eye exams.
Through it all, we were blessed that all of his test results (head ultrasound, hearing test, MRI, blood work, etc) came back normal. After a long 4 months, our little Kingston graduated from the NICU and moved to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital where he spent an additional 5 weeks growing and learning how to feed.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012 my wish finally came true. Kingston was going to be able to come home before Mother’s Day. What a great gift! After a long 5 months, 22 weeks, 145 days in the hospital, Kingston came home at a healthy 8lbs 11oz. As difficult as our journey may have been, we realize how much stronger it made us as parents. Every day we look at our little miracle baby and feel tremendously blessed to have survived such an experience!