Emilia chose today to finally give breastfeeding a good go. She was able to latch on properly and actually managed to get some milk out and into her mouth. She still gets fed through her NG tube; however, this is one step closer to her taking all her food orally and coming home.
Mom continues to pump milk for Emilia, much to the dismay of Lauren’s nipples. They get so sore after pumping that she can barely have a shirt touch them, even with liberal use of various nipple-creams (who knew those existed). I’ve taken the liberty of doing some research and have found a product called “Pumpin Pals”. I know, it sounds like a bootleg version of Arnold’s classic Pumping Iron. Anyway, they are a type of flange which fits onto the breast pump and allows Lauren to theoretically lean back so she’s not so hunched over. The other benefit, supposedly, is that is disperses the sucking over a wider area. Hopefully it helps her out.
Last night before we left, as she usually does, Lauren got a bit emotional about leaving Emilia behind. Even with her connected to all the monitoring machines there is still this fear that something will happen when we are not there. It doesn’t help when her eyes are open around the time we are leaving. I’m not sure how much she understands about her world yet but I cant help but think she gets lonely without us. To look into your child’s eyes, have her stare right at you with nothing but innocence, and still have to leave is akin to that first drop on a rollercoaster. We know we can stay overnight here but the chances of getting a decent sleep are nil. Until Lauren can breastfeed the best thing we can do is go home and make sure Lauren is rested for the next day. Right now we have a schedule where we come in the morning and leave at about six in order to walk the dog and prepare for the next day. This time period gives us lots of time for kangaroo care, and cuddle time, as well as ensuring we can take care of some responsibilities at home.
Leaving your infant in the NICU while you go home comes with a hearty helping of guilt. I’m a bad parent, I should be there, what do the nurses think, what do my friends think? All of these questions weigh on you, despite the fact they are largely baseless, and erode what is already a fragile state-of-mind. There has been lots written and discussed on this topic online (just try a quick search and you’ll see the amount of differing opinions) but I’ll offer my two cents for other parents who find themselves in this situation: there is no right answer. Just do what is right for you. Love isn’t measured by how much time you spend with someone fretting and stressing in a hospital room. Eventually you will be together 24/7 so make sure you’re as mentally and physically ready as you can be to give the best care you can when that time comes.
Tomorrow I go back to work so there is a good chance my semi-daily posts may be reduced to once a week. I’ll do my best to chronical Emilia’s journey for everyone but maybe I’ll get mom to do some guest posts!
Thanks for reading!