Our NICU experience was generally smooth. CJ had some small issues, but we felt pretty sure of what the treatments would be. When he had his brain scan, which is pretty typical for preemies, we were worried but assumed based on how well he was doing that everything would be ok.
Yet, when one of his NPs explained IVH to us, it left us really unsure. She started by explaining what an IVH is (intraventricular hemorrhage-- bleeding in the brain) and what that could cause. As she continued with a confusing explanation of the different grades (basically the level of the bleed), starting with Grade 4, the worst, I started feeling like there was something serious that could cause lifelong challenges for CJ.
While the NP spoke, I could feel my eyes filling up with tears. She moved on to say that he had a Grade 1 bleed, but mixed it in with talk of some challenges. When she finally stopped talking, she asked if they were happy tears and I said I didn't know. I was tired and overwhelmed and her delivery was so poor I wasn't sure what was true. I left the room to go pump and have some time alone. I texted my college roommate, Lauren, who happens to be a pediatric neurologist. Little did I know that Chris was calling her from the downstairs waiting room.
Lauren helped us both understand that an IVH grade 1 is incredibly common and rarely causes other complications. While they can cause some issues, many of these types of brain bleeds clear up on their own.
I learned a lot of medical terms and about life in a hospital during CJ's NICU stay, but I also learned that it's not always what's being said but how that can affect a person.