Day 80. Wow. Well, I think Tess can tell we’re running out of steam. She passed her first 24 hours on stage 4 feeding and also passed her carseat test with flying colors! The only downer is she lost 5 g, so i don’t think the day counts. She has to take everything by bottle and gain weight. We’ll see! We are begging for this nurse to stay with us for the next few nights. She seems to work miracles! Natasha gave Dave some great feeding guidance last night that will hopefully help moving forward. Feeding a preemie is not fun, and no one warned us! Tess has the breathing-sucking-swallowing down; it’s the pacing and stamina we cringe at. She gets so sleepy, poor thing!
We’re at the point that ‘going home’ has two connotations: the awesome “we miss our family and bed and lives and will finally get them back!”, but also the “OMG we’re surrounded by professionals and are still taking in all they have to teach and are you seriously going to let us out into the world with this beautiful baby?!” it’s confusing and exhilarating to think the time is nigh.
I’m glad it’s the weekend, as we’re totally shot and needed some breathing room. Normally we keep working, and I might tomorrow, but I think we’ve decided that Saturday needs to be Saturday this week. That means when we’re with Tess we’re totally focused on her, and when we’re not we’re goofing around! Video games, coffee, sunshine…It’s a luxury.
Well, Tess is clearing the food hurdles by a hair, then collapsing in exhaustion. We’re thinking she won’t make it straight through and are wondering if we should NG tube feed her one meal so she can rest up for the marathon. Karyn put that choice in the hands of a wise and unbiased nurse. We’ll see what happens tonight.
I think our NICU-itus has abated slightly as the reality of leaving sets in. Tess was so sleepy this afternoon I didn’t even attempt skin-to-skin. I held her, fed her and burped her, but mostly let her sleep. That’s hard too! Serious self-control. Eating takes up a lot of energy, so we’re disturbing her as little as possible while she adjusts. Because she’s a micropreemie, they said stage 4 will be 72 hours instead of 48 – so we make sure she’s really, truly ready to eat from a bottle. Mom said Grace, my niece, was ready for potty training when she started pulling her diapers off. Well, Tess has pulled out her feeding tube so many times they decided to leave it out unless she needs it again. This means our baby is cordless, aside from the monitors! At this point, whether it’s Monday or Friday or next Monday, we still know we’re doing our last lap. We can make it across the finish line!