I sit in this small, dark room- watching my daughter sleep soundly with only the sound of the breast pump to keep me company. I have spent the last 5 days like a robot. Pump, feed, change, sleep. Pump, feed, change, sleep. Fiona doesn't wake me, I wake her- every three hours on the dot- and go through our little routine. It seems too easy, too boring.
The NICU is an interesting place. As womb like as possible, it's dark and quite. The only sounds you hear are beeps and cries and the occasional alarm of a little ones monitor, warning somethings not right. Nurses juggle 2 to 4 babies, moving from one to the next like clock work, running the same routine checks on each one.
I have been here for 5 full days now with Fiona, and it sadness me how many of these tiny, precious blessings I have not seen parents come and visit. In some cases, baby has been here for weeks, months or even almost a year and the parents can't afford to be here bedside 24-7 any longer. I am so grateful we are out of here in just a few more days.
Fiona is doing great. She is probably the healthiest child in the NICU. No need for oxygen or billy rubin lights, she is maintaining her own body temperature and eating over 2 ounces every 3 hours. I take care of her, the nurses just check on me to make sure I don't need any help. Little Princess sleeps like- well- a princess. That may have something to do with that I am still on pain medicine from the c-section so she gets a nice little dose of percicet each time she feeds from me. The pumping is starting to really wear on my body. I am dying for her to fully switch to breastfeeding, but it is taking some time for her to have the patience for how much slower the milk flows from me then from the bottle. Good thing, though, is that her heart is not over working when she does breastfeed. And I am producing enough to be able to stop the formula supplements all together soon. It is such a rewarding feeling being able to provide her with what she needs. I always regretted giving up breastfeeding after just one month with the boys and as long as I can keep the milk coming, I will keep attempting to get her to the breast.
My little one loves to hold hands. She won her daddy's heart just moments after she was born, when she wrapped her little hand around his finger. And I find her grabbing peoples fingers whenever she can. She held my hands as she laid still for her echo cardiogram the other day, one finger in each hand. I love feeling those 5 little fingers curl around me, her soft, wrinkly skin against my own. (She inherited the same sensitive skin her brothers have and developed these sores on her hands from the tape the used to hold in her iv- I promise, she doesn't have leprosy)
We have had a few visitors since her Birth Day. My dad spent all Wednesday with me and stayed with me through the night. Charlie came up with our friend Amber Thursday, and they brought the boys up with them. It was so good to see them! Only four days away from them, and I felt like they had gotten so much bigger. (Probably because I have been spending all my time with a newborn). They didn't get to meet their sister yet, because we didn't bring them to the NICU. This calm, still enviroment would go into shock with those two crazy toddlers up here. And yesterday, my mom came back up with my sister late in the afternoon. Aunt Shelby doted over her niece all afternoon. Today, I am awaiting the arrival of our friends, Marco and Jaesen, and their baby girl Vivienne. ( Who will be one of Fiona's best friends, of course) Viv won't be able to come up to the NICU, so they won't be able to meet just yet. But Jae and Marco will share their love with Fi.
Its been hard without Daddy here. Not that I have much time to sleep anyway, but I always sleep more soundly with Charlie next to me. Fiona and I miss him terribly and I cannot wait for our whole family to be back together under our roof. Time passes so slowly in the NICU. I'm thankful to have my computer with me, because there is nothing else to do. Fiona and I take lots of pictures- she is so expressive! Her little lips are always pouting and she makes this face where she raises her eyebrows and tries to open her eyes that I adore. Every time I try to snap a picture of it, though, the flash makes her stop.
Other then that, I don't do much. I really only leave our closet of a room to eat and to run down to the Ronald McDonald House once a day to shower. What a great organization to provide parents a free place to rest, shower and eat while their little ones are in the hospital. I'm forever grateful. We stayed here when our son, Gavin, had an out patient surgery a year ago. I prayed then we would never have to come back to this hospital, but everything works out.
Fiona's official discharge day is Monday- one week, in hind sight, is really not that bad to stay at the hospital. And we'll have to do it again when she has her heart surgery within the year. With just two more nights here with her, I am enjoying the mommy/daughter time. Thank you, Fiona, for evening the boy-girl ratio in our family a little bit. My family feels complete.