Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Home minus One

                                  Grandma Ireane and Olivia

I got my 19 staples removed and steristrips applied over my incision. Then, I was discharged to home.

Mark and I walked over to see Olivia, then we headed to my parent's house to get Amore. My mom and I made plans to go to the hospital together this evening. My dad is working on his hospital phobia and will hopefully overcome it soon. Mark's mom has Nan and Pickle up at a lake and they will be returning tonight. We snuggled up with our sweet, little dog and took a nap.

At around 7pm, my mom, Amy, Coral and I went to the hospital together. Our nurse, Amy, said that they had recently removed Olivia's umbilical line and put a new peripheral IV in her foot. She has TPN/ Lipids running into this IV (this is a type of nutrition). IV starts are stressful and Olivia was now asleep, so she suggested that we wait to hold her until her 8pm cares. Our nurse turned off the bili-lights and removed the little mask covering Olivia's eyes so we could look at her face for a few minutes, then she covered her eyes and turned the lights back on. We just sat and stared at the baby. Every time she moved or stretched- we oohed and ahhhed like we were at a spectacular fireworks display. We were mesmerized.

At 8pm, our nurse, Amy, had me take Olivia's temperature under her arm and change her diaper. As she prepared to let me hold her, Mark, his mom, Nan and Larissa arrived. Our nurse asked that we keep the number of people in the room to 4 when the baby was out, so Mark took all the kids to McDonald's for ice cream cones. Our nurse got Olivia's feeding ready- she is getting 8 ml per feeding. She put a little of the milk into a syringe and gave me a sterile Q-tip. I squirt a bit of the milk onto the cotton and put it in Olivia's mouth. She opened her eyes and sucked. We gathered around. As her tummy filled up, she settled back to sleep. We watched each moment, each movement as if we had never seen such a thing in our lives before. Ireane said if everyone had a baby to watch- nobody would need a TV.

Our nurse made sure we were settled, then she closed the curtain to the hallway as she went to check on her other patient. I rocked Olivia- gently touching her face and hands. Every now and then, Olivia would open her eyes and look around. Everyone was gathered around me. I stood up and I passed Olivia to my mother... who passed her to my sister... Olivia started to cry as Amy held her- I told Amy to stop pinching her. Her cry sounds like a little kitten meowing. Amy gave her back to me and when Olivia settled, I put her in Ireane's arms. My mom said she is happy to see that I learned to share :) Ireane told us a story about her grandmother who was born prematurely- before hospitals, NICUs, or any of this fancy equipment. They put her in a shoe box, by the fireplace and fed her milk laced with mashed potatoes and a bit of whiskey. She lived into her 90s.

As each of us held her and rocked her, again we talked about how amazed we are. Today, her weight is stable. Her respiratory status is stable and she is on room air. She occasionally needs BlowBy oxygen when she is stressed- like when they put the IV in her foot. She is breathing well. They are feeding her donated breast milk. (Thank you, breast milk donors!) This feels bittersweet to me, because I have always breast fed my babies and I wish I could now... At 35 weeks gestation, babies develop the ability to eat on their own. There is a lot for them to coordinate and learn- sucking, swallowing, breathing. This takes time. Natalie was born 4 weeks early and needed help with feedings, too. Nurses were watching for signs of narcotic withdrawl that was expected to show up 24 hours after birth- Olivia shows no signs of withdrawl at all.

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is though nothing is a miracle.
The other is though everything is a miracle."
-Albert Einstein

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