Where do I even begin… I guess first, thank you thank you thank you for all your sweet comments, emails, texts, gifts, calls, treats… It’s all been wonderful, truly. I’m not even sure how to respond to everyone, but please know they mean a lot to me and Eric.
I have a lot of updates I want to give, so much to tell!
Baby is doing really well! Eric and I have been stopping over to the NICU several times a day to see her, as it’s just a short walk from my hospital room right now. Baby’s breathing is really good, she’s just on a nasal cannulae now. Her lungs are good, thanks to the 48 hours of steroids I got before her birth, but due to her age, she just forgets to breathe sometimes. The forced air helps, as does the NICU team always standing by should one of her alarms go off. She has a feeding tube as well which they have already started using to give her tiny amounts of my milk. I know she has other lines as well, an ART-line I believe, but I think they are removing that soon and instead putting in a PICC line. I feel like I should know what all these are for, but honestly, the doctors talk to Eric and a lot of it goes over my head. I hear the parts I want/need to, like that she is doing really well and they aren’t too worried about her breathing. I’m sure I’ll learn more as we go. Her labs are also looking good, I think just her glucose is low right now, so she is getting help with that. The next big hurdle they mentioned was a scan of her brain to check for bleeding, but that won’t happen until she’s 7 days old, so still almost a week yet for that. I’m trying not to worry, but obviously I’m concerned. I feel like the NICU focuses on survival rates, but that wasn’t really a concern of mine so much, knowing the level of care she is receiving. I think I’m more worried about her quality of life long-term. I want her to be a normal, happy, healthy child.
I’m already feeling lots of guilt about how often we see her, how long we stay, wondering what is expected or what other parents do. I love going to see her, but it’s really hard for me too. We can’t hold her for at least a week and they really prefer we wear gloves to even touch her. I look at her and feel something, but can’t really put it into words. Maybe disbelief that she is really mine. Does the bonding come after I’ve held her?
I’m feeling really well, all things considered. I’m so ready to get out of this hospital though, having been here since Friday night with only the outfit I arrived in! I believe I’ll be discharged tomorrow. I’ve sent Eric home now twice for clothing, toiletries, and such, but you know how difficult it is to tell someone else, especially a guy, what to pack for you! I just want my own bed, my own shower, a razor, and clean clothing! Oh, and no more hospital food or take-out! I’m anxious to get into a routine, as certainly living in a hospital room isn’t it! I can’t picture how the next several months will go though… I assume I come to the hospital each day and spend time with baby… but what about the other times? I already feel guilty going back to my room and sleeping through the night while someone else is taking care of her… I guess I imagined that caretaker being me, and it’s not, it can’t be me right now, I mean, I can stand there and look at her, but not offer much more. Is it selfish of me to sleep through the night? To rest as much as I can right now? They tell us to expect her stay to end around her due date, maybe sooner, but not to get our hopes up. And I know as she progresses there will be more for me to do in her room, like helping change diapers and such, but that scares me too. She seems so fragile… How will I know how to care for her? I’ve watched plenty of babies, even newborns, but she seems so different to me.
I met with a lactation consultant a few times already, as they STRONGLY encourage breastfeeding. I was planning to anyway, but I guess I never pictured exclusively pumping for the time being until she’s bigger and stronger. So far, I guess so good, as I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t get around to reading that breast feeding book I bought! Pumping just colostrum is interesting though. I guess my hope is this gets easier as time goes on. Right now I’m using the pump at the hospital, but I have a pump at home I’ll need to learn to use very soon. I would say I’m a bit sore so far, but the lanolin cream I was given seems to be helping. Again, once I get home and get into a routine I think I’ll feel better about all this. They told me to try to pump every 2-3 hours during the day and at least every 4 hours at night for now to establish a good supply. Seems like a lot, but I shouldn’t complain since baby girl isn’t waking me up every hour! The lactation consultant did recommend I search for a breastfeeding app for my phone to keep track of how often I pump, how much I’m getting, etc. Does anyone have any great suggestions that focus on exclusively pumping?
We’re still working on a name. I have a few in mind I really like, and Eric is leaning toward one of them. For a middle name though, oh gosh, didn’t have a list of those to consider! I see we need a name to add her to our insurance though, so we must decide soon!
Next I’ll work on a post of her delivery, in case anyone is interested!
And finally, below is another picture of her, taken today, notice the green bedding for St. Patrick’s Day! I guess that reminds me, she is under lights today for her bilirubin, but they tell me this is common too and not to worry.