This is my fourth day back at work and Lauren’s fourth day with Emilia at the hospital by herself. Emilia is doing great; she has continued to gain weight and as of today is at a whopping 4.1 pounds! For a few days we thought she might be gaming the system, holding in giant bowel movements until after her weigh-in’s like a boxer trying to sneak into a higher weight-class, but it seems like her gains are legitimate. Her caffeine has been stopped to see how she does remembering to breathe on her own, very important, and they are starting to wean her off of the human milk fortifier.
Although she’s a bit of a superstar it will still be awhile before she can come home. Lauren tells me that the earliest for overachievers is 35 weeks development (so another week for Emilia) but in our case she still hasn’t gotten the hang of breastfeeding yet. Emilia will root around when she starts to get hungry, and open her mouth when the nipple is presented, but she tires herself out pretty quick and decides she would rather sleep than feed. I’m hoping that over the next week or two as she gains weight she will build up the strength to feed fully and eventually make the journey home.
It was a bit of an adjustment returning to work. I had to depend on Lauren’s updates via text message to see how Emilia was doing but I knew she was in good hands. Cold hands true, but nothing can be perfect. Other than that the transition hasn’t been too bad. I go to the hospital after work and we spend an hour or two there before heading home so I can get my baby fix.
Lauren has been getting some help from the lactation consultant (I can’t help but wonder at what the qualifications are. Do they go to a Lactation Academy? If so, is there an underground lactation culture that has been hidden from us all these years?) at the hospital on how to make things easier for Emilia and in the process herself. The combination of throbbing nipple-pump pain, hunching over, and trying to cradle a thrashing preemie requires skills I am ill-equipped to advise her on. They gave Lauren a few tips and a bigger flange for her breast-pump which may help her out until our “Pumpin Pal’s” arrive.
Yesterday was Lauren’s birthday. I took the day off to stay home and bake a cake (Yes, I am a man and yes, that does take all day). One of Lauren’s friends was nice enough to hang out with her at the hospital while I baked. Once I was done I headed over to the hospital where we had some guests over for cake at the NICU before going out for dinner. Lauren picked a vegetarian restaurant, which I’m ashamed to admit, was actually delicious. It was a bit disconcerting that something named after the Lord of Hell was so easily disguised as meat though (check out Seitan on Google).
I think the day went pretty well all things considered. It will be fun next year when Emilia gets to partake a bit more in the action. She made a few grunts but I think she was otherwise oblivious to the festivities. Oh well, a party isn’t a party without someone pooping their pants in front of the guests.
This weekend will be a busy one. If the weather cooperates there may be a visit from a Grandma and some Aunt’s which will be fun. I’ve also been assigned to the basement-storage relocation unit for the household which means I’ll be dragging things out to the garage in preparation for some upcoming renovations.
Our friends and colleagues continue to be awesome with the support of gifts for Emilia, food, and just general help with odds and ends. You know that part in the old Grinch movie where his heart starts to grow? Yeah, that’s me. I feel quite touched by all the good wishes and I hope I can pass on this spirit of generosity and goodwill to Emilia as she gets older. Knowing her mother, who sometimes is the embodiment of empathy and emotion (seriously, who cries when they throw out a sock because it will be lonely), I’m sure Emilia will grow up with more than her share of good naturedness.
Thanks for reading,