Saturday, July 10, 2010

In my arms

My Hgb was 6.8 this morning, so my doctor ordered 2 units of blood. My mom and Amy brought me lunch from Noodles and Co. right before the first unit went up. I showed them my incision and staples before we ate (it's just a nurse thing).

My nurse knew how much I wanted to go visit Olivia, so when she was flushing the first unit through the tubing, she set the pump for a couple of hours and I climbed into a wheelchair and we headed to Children's NICU. My nurse asked me to push the wheelchair and walk part of the way, but I decided to do it on the way back because that floor in the tunnel runs uphill from Abbott to Children's and downhill from Children's to Abbott. I let my mom push me on the way there. Yes, she noticed the uphill part.

When we got to the NICU, our nurse, Kim, was on break, and another nurse, Linda, was caring for Olivia. We washed our hands, opened the small doors on the isolette, and reached in to touch her. Linda explained the most comforting way to touch a premature baby is to just lay your hands on her, letting her feel that you are there, but not causing overstimulation to her sensitive skin. We were told, babies Olivia's age sleep about 22 hours a day and are only awake for short 6 minute intervals at a time. Linda told us that Olivia is doing well. She is breathing room air now, only occasionally needing BlowBy O2. She has a feeding tube in her nose that goes into her stomach and she is being fed every 3 hours. We surrounded the isolette, each of us laying our hands on Olivia... resisting the irresistable urge to run our fingers across her face or hair or arms... each of us lost in a sense of awe.

Linda stepped back into the room and asked me, "Would you like to hold her?"

"Yes." My mom and sister helped position my wheelchair- happy tears dripping here and there. Linda reached into the side of the isolette, arranging tubes and monitor cords, speaking softly to Olivia. With skilled hands, Linda gathered up this tiny baby and put her into my arms. Olivia is so small, so light, so beautiful. Linda gave me tips for holding her, then she turned down the lights. When Olivia heard my voice, she opened her eyes.

Mark, Natalie and Larissa walked in and peered into the empty isolette, then realized I was holding Olivia. After everyone washed their hands and got to touch her, Linda tucked her back into her little nest and we walked back over to Abbott together.

Nan and Larissa shared all the things they have been doing with Grandma Ireane and Uncle Steve- swimming, garage sales, church. As promised, I did push the wheelchair through the tunnel- downhill. Now, a dose of Lasix, a trip or two to the bathroom and another unit of blood. Then, maybe a nap:)

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