J thinks this is the funniest prank call ever. I tend to feel sorry for this poor woman. I mean, I know nothing about cars, and all of these things were obvious to me!
Just checking in after an absence of a few weeks. I have a good excuse...really!
I had a baby. That's right. Grace came early (born 1/30/2009, due 3/29/2009)! It's really a long story, and I will get into that with some back-filled posts when I have more time. Right now, it's off to the NICU for me to be with my precious little angel.
Today is the fifth day you have been a part of the outside world. You continue to grow and reach milestones daily. I am blessed to be a part of your journey.
Today your Dad got to hold you for the first time. I have never seen him so terrified. The entire time he held you, he was worried. He was concerned for your body temperature and kept watching the temperature on the monitor in your room. I told him that if you were too cold, the nurse would not have allowed him to hold you. He kept trying to cover you up better. Finally, he got so nervous that I had to go get the nurse to put you back in your incubator.
He asked the nurse about your temperature. "It's fine," she said. "The temperature monitor is not even hooked up."
I guess that we are typical nervous first time parents. It is difficult not to think about how fragile you are since you are so small and you have so many cords attached to monitor you.
I wait for the day when we can hold you without the help of the nurse. I want to be able to sit and rock you in the chair in your room. Right now, I sit beside you all day. You may not even realize that I am there, but I want to believe that you do. I gaze at you and memorize each of your features. I talk to you and sing to you. I cannot wait for the day when we can bring you home.
It is an amazing privilege to see my daughter grow each day. Every day, with every breath, she is a living miracle. Each day she grows stronger. Her tiny little system continues to function well. We are so very blessed.
Today, she got to spend time without the lights. We call it the beach because of the little sunglasses she has to wear under the light. It looks like she is laying in a tanning bed or on the beach.
She will not get to completely forgo the lights yet. But, this is a step in the right direction!
Today my milk came in.
All throughout my pregnancy, I had planned on breastfeeding my baby. I did the research, and I determined that was the best decision for both of us.
The hospital is all about breast feeding these days. As soon as I got home yesterday, I received a phone call from the other NICU doctor. He wanted me to sign a release that would let the hospital feed my baby with donor milk. Don't get me wrong. I do not have a problem with donor milk. I think it is wonderful in most cases. But, could you give me a chance first? Is it too much to ask? My baby came 8 weeks early and not by her choice. I think my body needs a minute to catch up!
J does not understand the pumping pressure. He thinks if I become a pumping nazi that I will automatically produce loads and loads of milk.
What he does not understand is this - pumping is hard. My body is physically exhausted and uncooperative. I have really struggled with this over the last few days. I missed the class on how this is supposed to work. Even then, I doubt seriously they cover what you are supposed to do when your baby is too little to attempt to feed outside the incubator for any significant amount of time. According to the lactation nurse, babies do not really even learn to suck for another couple of weeks - at week 34 to 36.
Anyway, today my hard work paid off and I produced enough milk to feed Grace. The NICU nurse jokingly told me that I had been visited by the milk fairy.
The milk fairy may have come last night, but she certainly did not get chase away her older and meaner sister - the hormone fairy.
I am really struggling with having not having Grace home. I spend the entire day at the hospital. Everyone else around me is all over my nerves. Since I am so physically weak, I am bombarded throughout the day with people telling me what to do. I keep telling several of these people in particular to just let me do my thing, and I will catch up.
Example? J is trying to be helpful in nagging me to call about adding Grace to my insurance. I cannot get in and out of bed without doubling forward in pain, but yet it is suddenly imperative that I call the insurance company and be on hold for 6 hours? I think they can wait a couple of days. But, J and the rest of the helpful group of people around me disagree. And they win.
I can already tell that my recovery is going to be very slow. And I know people are trying to help. A part of me appreciates their intent. But I need time, and no one wants to give it.
Dear Grace,Today the least anxious person to get out of the hospital was discharged.
Leaving the hospital without you was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I was miserable. I stared out into space as the volunteer helped me in the car and we drove away. Then I cried.
The road home looked unfamiliar to me. I was not sure if places had actually changed or just me. It turns out it was me. I was miserable. You are my life now. When you are not with me, everything seems wrong.
I am in physical pain from the surgery now. It will take me a long time to heal because of all the swelling. I am not sure that I recorded it here, but during my last month of pregnancy I gained over 20 pounds. That is more than I had gained in all the months prior put together. I have already lost a lot of the water weight.
My physical appearance is ghostlike, even though I look much better than before you were born. I look like a train hit me directly in the stomach. My arms are a covered with a mixture of deep blue, purple and black bruises. The stretch marks that I tried so hard to avoid by pursing a healthy pregnancy cover my stomach. However, I have made progress. My fingers are now defined again instead of big balloon hands.
Your Dad managed to get me in the house, where I sat around until he was finished with work. Then, we drove back to the hospital to see you.
It may sound strange, but the hospital felt more like home than my home did. Your Dad agrees. He said that his first night spent at home without us just felt wrong. We have learned through this that home is not where you live - it is where your family is.
Our home will not be home until you are home.