Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Beep Beep Goes the NICU

I went upstairs to the thirteenth floor yesterday morning to visit my friend I met on our antepartum blind date.  She's working her way to milestones:  28 weeks--so close, 30 (she's planning a deep breath for this one and I'm planning to celebrate with her), 32...34.  Hearing about Tootsie's progress at 32 weeks is heartening for her.  Hearing that she has no contractions nor leaking fluid is heartening to me.

Seeing her reminded me of the simpler times, pre-baby and awaiting her arrival in the hospital.  I had contractions, sure, and my vital signs were checked more often, but I also read four novels, drew pictures, stayed almost ahead of the email curve, and returned phone calls.

Now I am like any new mother, determining the feasibility of a shower tomorrow morning between feedings, pumping, diapers, my own meals, and communicating with the outside world. And I even have nurses helping me (and baby) out.  And three meals delivered if I want them.  Little babies require big changes.  Also despite being a little baby, what a huge presence.

Yesterday's accomplishments were successful insertion of the PICC line (which will stay in for the duration to deliver antibiotics), an ounce of weight gain, and temp droppings in the isolette (she's regulating her own body temp better and better).  Encouraging signs!  My own private goal for Tootsie and myself: be home before Big Sis's birthday on the 29th, with time to take the girls back-to-school shopping as I promised.

I really started missing the elder sisters in a visceral way this week; finding their clothes they left behind at my sister's house made me pine for them.  They're having a wonderful time with their cousins, who are like siblings to them, but Big Sis is putting all her anxieties and fears and sadnesses into missing our cat.  We've had some teary conversations about Koshka, our new house, and mutual missing of each other.  Little Sis, on the other hand, seems to be weathering it all pretty well.  I cannot wait to hug them. On Saturday they fly here with my sister-in-law, and I am looking forward to them all meeting Tootsie and her big eyes and pretty funny and admirable spirit.

I went out to dinner with my sister and her husband and his mother, for whom the NICU brought back many memories; 32 years ago she delivered my brother-in-law's brother at 28 weeks.  He thrived and is a smart, successful, and happy man.

We had a lovely Italian meal on Beacon Hill (yo!  Seriously quaint part of the city!) and then I returned "home" to feed my little bug into her full-tummy reverie.

Thanks for the milk, Mama!

In the Family Waiting Room earlier I overheard a dad (whom I'd spotted intermittently) as he talked on the phone.  I heard him refer to the "unexpected helicopter ride" after his wife went into "early labor" and that he "almost lost [his] wife, too."  I heard mention of suitcases and friends' couches, so I suspect they're not close to home, either.  The conversation made me gulp.  So many people going through so much.

In the NICU there's the baby's story, the parents' story, the siblings' story, the life-on-hold story, and the story of the life temporarily abandoned.

Tomorrow I plan on the elusive shower, a visit from an old friend from New York, and the possibility of attending a NICU family support group meeting.

It's also Day 7 in the 21-day antibiotics count.  After which, as my brother pointed out, there's the possibility of parole.

Have a great day, friends!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Oh. I mean, oh. I saw the pic on Facebook (I’m shamefully bad about visiting FB, but grateful to have wandered onto it to find you there). I bustled right over to your blog. What did I miss? So much. I’ve spent the last hour catching up with your life and the unexpected winds that have you anchored in Boston. Your strength is phenomenal, Jenny. Can’t help but think that your optimism through all of this is what has your deep, dark-eyed baby in such a pink and responsive state of being. What a strong little bug! And what a lucky one to have you. You are surrounded by love and support because that is what you yourself emanate. I am in awe of you. Really. I hope that you are healing and being good to yourself. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do from this distance.