I think the hardest part about going over and writing about everything that happened is sorting it all out in my head. It’s all so much a jumble of worry, fear, and guilt. I know guilt is a weird one, but it’s one that a lot of preemie moms, especially micropreemie moms. It’s this awful feeling that my own body betrayed me. I feel like I should have done something differently. I feel bad that I wasn’t able to nurse. I know that I don’t need to feel this way and that we did the best we could, but it’s the little thoughts that creep into my head. It’s nice though, to be able to sit and organize it all in my brain.
Early on in her stay she got an infection and they had to transfuse her blood. They gave her 2 ccs of blood. I wish I knew how much blood was in her body overall at that point. It would be interesting to know. After that though, she really rallied. She began putting on weight and growing steadily. They did her weigh-ins around 11pm and I or my boyfriend would call to get her weight. I was to the point where I couldn’t sleep until I had it. Most of the nurses were pretty understanding about it.
The hardest part was leaving her alone. I was always worried if she was lonesome and if she was getting enough attention. It didn’t matter that I saw nurses going in and out of rooms giving all sorts of care and affection, I wasn’t there. No matter that she was asleep and growing 80% of the time. I felt like I was missing things. The first time she wore clothes, I wasn’t there to dress her. Her first little bath was someone else. I took up doing her care as soon as I was allowed. The first bath I gave her was nerve wracking. They put a little bowl of warm water in the isolette and I would wipe her down with a soapy gauze wipe and then dry her down with another and massage in baby oil. The very first time I honestly panicked afterwards. I kept my cool during, but after I was a mess. She only weighed 2.5lbs.
I know we were fortunate though, so many micro preemies are in the NICU longer than she was. We were there 73 days and it was awful. She gained weight fairly quickly though, and even started bottle feeding sooner they expected. Sh had a tube from her nose to her tummy for the majority of her stay. I honestly, cannot express how much easier it was made by how amazing our nurses were. I don’t know how they do it. Four days a week in 12 hour shifts taking care of vulnerable babies, some that don’t make it is a job for people who are basically heroes. If I cried, they listened, if I was afraid, they reassured me, and they were constant sources of encouragement. There were a lot of times that I just sat with her and cried. I did kind of a lot of crying there, I’m not going to lie about it.
It was the beginning of October when the doctors started talking about GOING HOME. There were a few things she needed to be able to accomplish before she could go home. She needed to weigh more than 4.5lbs, she needed to go 5 consecutive days with out a drop in her breathing or heart rate, she needed to be able to sit up in her car seat without having an event, and she needed to be taking all of her food by bottle. It was so frustrating because she really took to the bottle right away. She was really happy to be in control of her own eating, I think but it was hard work. She was trying and sucking but it was too hard and she started having heart and breathing events. They cut back on it and gave her another week before trying again and HOLY CRAP was she eating. Finally we had a go home date. November 2nd. She passed the car seat test with no issues. Our baby was coming home at 4lbs 6oz in preemie clothes that were too big for her!
So this is it, this is the last of the hospital posts I’m gong to do, I want to get on to the parts where we are living. I don’t think you can have that without this though. This the baby that was a little over a million dollars in covered hospital bills and another $78k out of pocket. She’s worth every penny.