Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sister Love

This morning (well before 'quiet time'), we went to the hospital to see Olivia. Due to space, we don't stay long when we have Natalie and Larissa with us.

Larissa kept saying "I just want to squeeze her." I am hoping she meant 'hug.' We talked about gentle hands and arms. Larissa is not used to being all that gentle, with sisters anyway. Natalie is pinched on a regular basis. Sometimes, Larissa puts Amore into our laundry basket that has wheels and gives her rides through the house. Amore doesn't seem to mind.

Olivia was born one week ago. Today, she is up to 18ml per feeding through her NG tube. She is still getting TPN/Lipids (IV nutrition) through the IV in her foot. Our nurse said, once these current bags are empty, they are planning on discontinuing the TPN/Lipids altogether and taking out her IV. Olivia is interested in sucking on the milky Q-tips and a pacifier, so soon we will be able to start feeding her with a bottle. Once she is eating enough to grow, she can go home.

I have a bassinet set up next to our bed. A bouncy seat and swing are ready. I have washed blankets and preemie gowns in Dreft. Amore has claimed them all, even a stuffed animal that I hid between the mattress and the headboard. I held this stuffed animal as I slept, then I brought it to the hospital to leave with Olivia, so she would smell her mother (and probably Amore) nearby. I will start bringing receiving blankets to the hospital to wrap around the baby. I will bring them home to Amore, so when Olivia comes home, her smell will be familiar.

I remember bringing Larissa over to my parent's house for the first time. She slept in her carseat, as we brought her inside. We didn't draw any attention to her, setting the seat on the floor and sitting nearby. Soon, the dogs and cats were sniffing. 'What's that?' They looked at us, 'Look what we found!' They were curious and interested, ever so sweet and gentle. This smell was familiar. If the baby moved, they were surprised and would back off. I pet them as I held her, inviting them closer. They would look at her and sniff, maybe give her a kiss. The baby was accepted as one of us. When we would leave, we often found a cat napping in her carseat or snuggled in her blankets.

We always introduce new babies in this way to the animal members of our families. Every baby is welcomed by a wet nose, a purr, a sniff, a wagging tail, a song,...
and, if Larissa has her way, a ride next to Amore in the laundry basket :)

Larissa and her cousin, Terran, and Amore.

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