29w1d – Lots of Updates

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.

Baby A

 

18 thoughts on “29w1d – Lots of Updates

  1. I have been following your pregnancy throughout, and I am so proud of you for making it through what you have. I think you have the same concerns we all have, preemie or not. You are SO strong and you guys totally have this!! She is absolutely adorable!

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  2. She looks great! And not intubated?! That is so awesome! 29 week preemies live very normal lives most of the time! They might not reach their milestones until their adjusted age (that was the case for mine for about 10 months) but long term there is a very good chance that no one will ever know how preemie she was! She will be able to run and swim etc!

    Yes the bonding comes later! The first time I held my children at 7 days old it was a giant rush of endorphins!! I felt like I was high on the best drug ever! Also in about a week you and her nurses will feel more comfortable with you taking an active role in her care – baths, diapers, temp, etc! You will go from feeling like there is nothing for you to do, to feeling like you live and die by her every-3-hour feeding schedule! It was scary at first because she will still be little, but you will slowly get the hang of it over the next 6-8 weeks!

    Sleep sleep sleep! We stayed at the Ronald McDonald house and we would sleep from 10pm-7/8am every day! (But I would wake up once to pump!) Remember, when she comes home she will be the gestation of a normal newborn baby, so you will still have multiple months to be up all night with her! Take advantage of the $10,000 “baby sitters” in the NICU and sleep!

    If you want to provide her with your milk it is so important to be really dedicated to your pumping schedule right now! Every 3 hours is a must! The hospital grade pump is a must! Only go up to 5 hours between session once a day (while you sleep) until your supply is well established. Once you see how much you makes and how much she needs you may be able to relax the schedule, or not. But if it is a priority for you, stick to it! If you plan to nurse you will be able to start putting her to the breast (probably with a nipple shield – those help preemies!) in a few short weeks so she can slowly learn to eat. It is a struggle with preemies but if you are willing to work hard at it and ask for help, she can learn!

    sorry for this novel! call or text me anytime! 563 210 6233

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    1. They actually just changed her bed today to an incubator. They said they do better with less stimulation, does that sound right? I’m here with her just waiting for rounds and her brain scan, and then hopefully I get to hold her! So far I’ve been spending the days with her, and then going home at night to sleep and such. I still feel guilty though, as so many friends have told me they never left the hospital the entire time their babies were in the NICU. I feel like maybe I’m not doing enough for her, but when I’m here, I don’t feel like I can really do anything for her, besides be here, and pump of course!

      I think pumping is going well so far. I’m doing 2 hours during the day and 3 at night, but I’m exhausted. I got 30 oz yesterday though which the nurses here told me is awesome. At some point I won’t have to pump so often though, right?

      I’m adding your cell number to my phone, mine is 319-213-7626. Thanks for all the information so far, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot more questions in the coming days, weeks, months 🙂

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  3. I’m so glad to hear that her breathing is going well! She is beautiful! Your are right, pumping is different but I promise you its gets easier and easier the more you do it.

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  4. Okay, that posted before I was done writing, sorry. Both my boys had to spend time under the lights for bilirubin and they told me that was nothing to worry about too. Don’t feel guilty about going back to your room and sleeping. You have been through a a lot and need your rest.

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  5. Congrats on your new bundle of joy! Precious! In terms of visiting time at NICU… I think a lot of parents spend the entire day with baby and then head gone to sleep. Some hospitals you can sleep on site if you just can’t bear to leave your little one. I’d say spend as much time as you can for bonding and being active and informed in the care received. Prayers she continues to do well!

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  6. I really feel for you trying to make sense of everything and take in all of this. I will keep baby girl in my prayers and hope there were no brain bleeds. A week must feel like an eternity right now. Sending much strength and peace your way.

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  7. she is doing very well, all things considered! you might be interested in following the mom in me, md – and specifically read her posts on her preemie/NICU experience (http://themominmemd.com/category/babies-2/our-preemie-journey-babies/). she went through IVF to have her first, who was born at 32 weeks due to preeclampsia. the feelings you’re experiencing sound very normal – i imagine it’s a somewhat disconnected/disembodied feel, and your bond will grow with time. generally before they let long-term NICU stayers go home, they give the parents a chance to overnight in a room there with the baby, so that you can feel comfortable with plenty of support around. i dug up this link too – hopefully it helps with the exclusive pumping you’ll be doing for a while! http://exclusivepumping.com/

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  8. So glad that you both made it safely through what was obviously not your planned birth. I can only imagine how scary it was (and what it must feel like having to leave your little one), but it is wonderful that you are confident in her care team. Yes, being under the lights is common– Annabelle spent 48 hours solid with her little mask in her “tanning bed.” Looking forward to positive updates on you and your precious girl!

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  9. *hugs* I would say rest up now. Of course, spend time with her, but as you said, there isn’t much you can do with her now. She needs your touch, she needs to hear your voice, but she’s getting that. I’m glad you’re both doing well!

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  10. Thanks so much for the update! I’m so glad to hear that baby is doing well and it sounds like you’re starting to feel a little more recovered, too. I’ll be interested in how you manage the pumping since I’ll be following that path as well, if we’re lucky. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we’re thinking of you, pretty much round the clock, and saying prayers for your strong baby girl.

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  11. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping or letting someone else take care of baby. When I had my daughter at 35 weeks she was in the NICU and I felt guilty going home and relaxing.. but the nurses always assured me that baby would be okay and it’s better to enjoy the quiet right now till baby comes home. The hubs and I werent sure how much we should go to the NICU.. I guess whatever amount feels right for you.

    Try not to feel guilty going home or not seeing baby all the time. I used to call the NICU just to get updates .. and I’d come in as much as I could and what felt right..

    My daughter had apnea too and that was scary. But they grow out of it. As far as pumping I had an awesome app called baby connect. We ended up buying it but it keeps track of just about everything to do with baby and pumping. I’d check it out if I were you. Also because you are pumping i’d recommend recording video of baby or taking pics and watching those videos and looking at those pics while pumping, that helps you get more milk.

    As far as feeling a connection with baby .. to be honest it took a quite some time for me.. Since she was in the NICU we didn’t get much time to cuddle or anything like that.. when she came home and we were alone and in a routine I felt closer to my baby..

    Congrats on your bundle of joy 🙂

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    1. So far I’ve been trying to spend the days with her and then go home to sleep and such at night. I’m certainly home more than I’m here, but I know she’s in good hands here. Also, we’ve been calling the NICU at night before we go to bed for an update, makes me feel better.

      I’m hoping after I get to hold her I’ll feel more of a bond. Still feels like I don’t have many rights over her… Such an odd feeling.

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