We woke up with the driving need to see our daughter. Wow – that parental bonding is something fierce! Our awesome new night nurse got her bed changed, got rid of the mouth feeding tube (now in her nose with the cannula) and took out her IV! She’s getting enough fluid from breast milk apparently, so she doesn’t need it again until the PDA medication starts. They put a little bow on her head (with Elmer’s glue!) and lowered her air flow a bit – all to say that when the brand-new official parents showed up, she looked healthy and happy. 🙂 As an added treat, Lexie the night nurse did foot and hand imprints and put together a scrapbook page for us and one for the birth parents! They seem so much smaller on that big piece of paper.
We also want to send a special shout-out to the advising NICU moms, especially Becca Fradin. You keep us sane, calm(er) and laughing! I shared the vampire comment with the nurses and they all nodded sagely. We are so lucky to commiserate with you and hopefully applaud your children’s progress as we root for our daughter. Just hearing from you brightens our day, so keep it up!
I know some people have commented on how open this adoption is, and I think the birth mom put it best: when they made their birth plan, they counted on 2 days in the hospital to say their goodbyes and then assumed she’d disappear from their day-to-day world. Having her in the NICU here for months changes everything, as they worry about her and she’s so close. While no one could have predicted how much we’d like each other or how early Tess would arrive, I think we all feel that this shared time works out best for everyone. It isn’t hard at all for us to share Tess with another set of parents, as they’ve (kindly) made it abundantly clear that we’re her forever parents – even before the papers got signed. The NICU staff had the same reaction; would this end up being drama or were those four people really getting along? I didn’t know an adoption like this was possible, and it’s been such an incredible experience that it gives me faith in Tess’ future. How could a kid with this many people watching out for her get anything less than a wonderful life?
On that note, now the everything’s official, that cute young couple you see in our photos are Kat and Spencer, the birth parents! We are huge fans of theirs, to put it mildly.
Tess is getting her IV for drugs right now. It’s a bummer, but will be better in the long run to catch it now. aside from that, she seems pretty comfy and happy right now. Her labs look great and she’s hanging in there on the high-flow cannula. Here’s hoping this isn’t too traumatic, although they warned us the feisty babies express their displeasure at being hungry!
I’m watching Dave hold Tess for the first time. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen – her tiny hand curled around his thumb! She looks so cosy and relaxed when she’s in our arms. It’s unimaginable that at some point we’ll be able to hold her whenever we want. You can sadly hear the air rush through her tiny cannula – so much air she refuses to close her mouth! She’s getting better with the pacifier though, because we use it as a cork.
We came back to the House early tonight, right at shift change. Dave ran into the office with our adoption day hand/footprints and showed them off to the managers! Well, it was like magic. Suddenly, the people who run this house (that we’re never in because our hospital is so far away) were exclaiming over our little girl and sharing in our joy at having her in our lives. They copied our scrapbook page to hang in the hall of kids, and it suddenly felt so right for her to be there! As Dave said, why shouldn’t we celebrate the good days? And guys? So far, almost all days with Tess are good days. 🙂
You’re now part of my morning routine:) The kids wake up, we come downstairs, get some milk, turn their show on, and check on Tess.
Elijah had to be taken off all feeds a few times durning his stay. The main reason he was in the NICU longer was for these awful grass green residuals after every feed. We could never get past a an ounce before his tummy let us know it was unhappy. So they would put him back on IV nutrition again. Then the would slowly introduce formula (thought milk allergy, so no breast milk), he’d do okay and get used to the food, even try the bottle, then the residuals, and they’d take it away. Oh how he would cry when he knew it was feeding time and he didn’t get any:( They used the term NEC a few times (I hope you never hear that awful term), a scary preemie intestine illness, but thankfully his guts just needed to mature longer.
Oh, and the bow is gorgeous!
Thank you for taking the time every day to write these posts! I love seeing her progress. You guys make a beautiful family!
Also – A friend of mine was born at 26 weeks and basically weighed exactly the same as Tess – and she’s now a happy and healthy nurse 😀 She sends her good wishes too, by the way!!
+1 to morning routine comment from Andrea. I’ve got you on Reader so I don’t miss anything.
Honest question dave, how did you keep from sobbing like a baby when she was on your chest? srsly… I’d be very mushy.
(eeehhem)… who says I did?
Yeah, I sobbed like a baby just seeing pics of Tess on Dave’s chest. As now-seasoned NICU photographers I’m sure you’ve figured out how to capture the pics without the ugly face crying. 😉
And for the record (you can tell your NICU nurse friends this) my priority for placing an IV is:
1 – NICU nurse
2 – Phlebotomist
3 – Male nurse (I don’t know why, but thy seem to have the nack
4 – Me (Because I swear I could get a successful stick in 5 or fewer pokes that it seems to take the general ER nurse or peds floor people)
And if they teach you how to place the NG tube you’ll have more experience than any GI clinic nurse.
Okay, I have an assignment for you. Time to decorate! I know she probably can’t see worth a crap right now but you all need to Exteme Isolet Makeover for Tess! Line the sides of her cage with photos of extended family, the dog, your home. Sports fans? Get your team mascot in there, too. For god’s sake get her some personal blankets…nothing you’ll freak out if they get trashed or stolen, but something besides those godawful hospital issue ones. Even if they can’t go over her at the moment they can be used as shades for the cube or burp cloths or lap blankets.
And you better not procrastinate because you’ll have more homework tomorrow.
Next homework assignment:
(See? Better not procrastinate!)
Buy a keepsake item…something she can keep for life like a durable teddy bear. Take a picture of her with it every week from her birthday until NICU discharge, then every month until 1-year, and then yearly on her birthdays. It’s mind-blowing how quickly they grow and how much they change during the first year. Quick! You’re already late for the first week photo!!!
You’re a riot. We’re not quite to the point of decorating the isolette as we still need to see in to take care of her (armhole access only), but when she’s slightly less ‘new’ we’ll do our best. Not my forte! They gave us a teddy at the hospital, and while she can’t touch it we’ll do the hold next kangaroo session. I love that idea!
LOL, Becca! I love the homework:) We did some decorating, brought pics of us to put in their isolettes, I had this framed angel that I cross-stitched for my grandma (who died the day the kids were born) that we put on one of their shelves, and of course, a few stuffed things from the grandparents found there way on the shelf. Oh, I almost forgot, we brought a bunch of kid’s books to keep there, so we could read to the kids. Now when we read those same books they feel so much more special. “Goodnight Moon” is one of those:)
Maggey and Dave,
I LOVE, LOVE the picture with the two of you in your NICU parent badges. So proud. It nearly tops the pictures of Tess peaking out from Dave’s hospital gown with her little hot pink bow. Give her as much kangaroo care (i.e. skin to skin contact) as you are allowed . It’s SOOO good for her. And you too.
Oh—and I second Andrea’s praise for Becca’s homework.
You know we will! We’re each allowed an hour or so a week right now. It’s a lot of stimulation for her. They’ve told us at some point though she can have an hour a day – can’t wait!!!
Great ideas, Becca and Andrea. Grampa Dan and Gramma Rose will be bringing some little things for her when we come up there. Sing lullabies to her too!
The decorating homework is less about decorating and more about marking your territory. It shows everyone from nurse to doctor to student to janitor that this baby is not just another tiny baby in the sea of premies. She’s not a crack premie. She’s precious and special. Mark your territory!!!!
PS – you can usually include stuffed animals if you put them in a plastic bag.