Warning: rant follows. Feel free to turn away.
One too many people have said how nice it is for us to be in Salt Lake, and how much harder this will be for us at home – like Dave and I are on holiday and relaxing in the mountains. NICU time is not “easier”. As much as we joke about having 150 babysitters, these months have been hard and long. We’re living in someone else’s home under their rules, and we’re only there to sleep or do laundry. Grateful, but that’s how it is. It takes 30-40 minutes to just get in to see our kid, with driving and scrubbing in. Our ability to be with her is limited, and is always more than just hanging out with the baby. Add insurance issues, adoption legal stuff, medical updates, worry, days when she won’t eat or burp, days with test results that just don’t quite make it, expectations dashed… all without the comfort of family and friends around us. We are missing 70 days of our lives as of today. It 100% worth it and we would do it again in a heartbeat for this beautiful daughter of ours! But it’s like being taken out of your life and not knowing when you can get back in. We know that time is creeping closer, but it’s slow. We won’t get a lot of warning. There won’t be a countdown, so we can’t give you one. One day she’ll click on eating and another day her eyes will be mature or she’ll no longer need oxygen – and, like that, we’ll be out the door. From here to there though are many more NICU days, with expectations and hopes and exhaustion. Yes, by the way, working every single day around a hospital schedule to meet our hours, to thank our bosses for their understanding and make sure we don’t let anyone down, means we are not taking great care of ourselves. It’s temporary and we will be absolutely fine, but don’t tell us this is easier. Don’t tell us we will be good parents. We are good parents. Good and tired.
Phew! Sorry. I had to get that off my chest. Back to beautiful Tess. See? I do get mad. (No one I’m related to is surprised.)
Tess is joyfully a feeder and a grower for the most part. Becca, you were right. That is the best way to go through the NICU! Today, she just blew my mind with her fabulousness. People, she’s off oxygen. Off. Completely. Room air! Even through a feeding and a spit up! We’re hoping it’s permanent, but have been warned that she may go on and off for the next week or so. Still, seeing that little face without the cannula is so stunning I’m still in shock. She seemed pretty surprised too! She kept pawing at her cheek, probably wondering where her favorite handhold went. Lol!
One of the most remarkable aspects of long-term NICU time is how just when you think you might scream from frustration, something amazing happens. This morning, I was frustrated to the extreme – hence the rant. This afternoon? Blissfully pleased. Our little girl is growing and learning, and we couldn’t be more proud of her. 5 pounds, 3 ounces!