Emilia is coming home tomorrow!
Last weekend it was suggested by the nurses that Lauren spend the night. According to the night shift Emilia was waking up more during the night now and seemed to be hungry. Lauren packed up her stuff and dutifully headed to the hospital to be with Emilia only to find a baby who had no interest in breast-feeding. The plan was to move Emilia to semi-demand for her feeding; her food would be delayed by a half hour to see if she would wake up and demand some (hence the name, genius). In reality this consisted of Lauren being woken every two hours by the nursing staff, not Emilia, who asked her to try feeding Emilia who, in turn, wasn’t having any of it. The end result was a lot of frustration.
The next morning we decided to reset. Lauren expressed some of her frustration during rounds and the staff apologized for pushing her to stay too early when Emilia wasn’t ready. We both understood where they were coming from; Emilia has been doing so well and the staff only wants the best for us. While they only wanted to help us get home as soon as we could it was just a bit too soon and somewhat discouraging. We decided that Lauren would return home for the night and if Emilia got feisty the nurses had permission to try bottle feeding her. This turned out to be a poor choice on our part which resulted in a lot of heartache for Lauren.
The next morning we were told that Emilia had bottle fed her entire feed (around 40 or so millilitres at that point) three times during the night. I saw Lauren`s expression plummet and I knew she was upset. Lauren had expected the nursing staff to only try bottle feeding if Emilia was really asking for it. It was hard for her to believe that in one night there was suddenly such a marked difference in Emilia’s behaviour. Obviously we were happy for Emilia but it was just something Lauren really wanted to be part of when it finally happened, especially since she puts so much work into pumping out all that milk for Emilia.
In any event over the next couple of days Emilia really took off. Her volume of oral feeding, both via breast as well as bottle, increased to the point where her feeding tube was removed and she was moved to a full demand schedule. If she wants to eat she has to sing for her dinner (She chooses the worst songs by the way, seriously; they cut right to the bone). Each time she ate she was weighed before and after to see how much she took. If she took too little via breast she was topped up with a bottle. She’s taken a page out of dad’s book and really packed on the pounds to the point where she is now five pounds in weight!
Yesterday I knew we were closing in on the end when Lauren told me the staff gave her some handouts to bring home and read. I took a look through the papers and there seemed to be the usual new-parent advice: don`t shake the baby, don`t drop the baby, don`t microwave the baby. That sort of thing. Anyway, the booklet was labelled “Discharge Documents” so I knew the time was close. Lauren spent the night at the hospital and Emilia fed throughout with no issues.
This morning during rounds Lauren was told that Emilia would be discharged tomorrow and that she was being taken off her monitors today. When I read the text I`ll admit to a few whispers of moisture taking up residence in my eyes. It wasn`t long before that switched to a mild sense of panic. Where do we put her? Who watches her when we do stuff? I’m a real parent now? No more breaks?
Thankfully Lauren has prepared our house to the brim with everything we need for this particular adventure. While I was fretting over things like blankets, bottles, and warmers she was casually explaining that these were all things she has been collecting over the past few months. Whatever we are missing we will pick up in the coming days using gift cards provided for by our friends’ generosity.
Lauren is spending tonight at the hospital but she came home to help me set up the bassinette and get a few minor things ready like the car-seat and change table. It didn’t take long for the cats to decide the bassinette was a good sleeping spot so there may be new boundaries for them in the near future. I set up our baby monitor which seemed a bit surreal. After all this time at the hospital a simple camera and noise/movement monitor seems a bit underwhelming. Where is the pulse and the respiratory rate? How do you know they’re still alive at all times? I was reminded of when we first arrived at the hospital and the nurse joked about some parents being “crazy” and wanting to purchase monitors for their house. Good thing I’m not like them (insert “The Office” camera look).
When we got back to the hospital Emilia was sleeping in her room. I got to hold my daughter in my arms for the first time in 35 days without any sort of wires dangling from her. I walked her around the room a little bit while Lauren chatted with her sister on the phone, Emilia and I both enjoying our freedom.
After a short visit I returned home to continue getting things sorted and with a task list for the morning. Emilia needs some prescriptions filled prior to leaving the hospital (an iron supplement and more vitamin D) and we still need to purchase some diapers/wipes. The hospital has provided everything for so long I actually forgot you need to buy these things at some point. Tomorrow Lauren and I will use one last free-babysitting card with the nurses to slip over to the store to get our final supplies.
I’ve taken next week off from work so Lauren and I can figure out how to be parents together on our own. I’m sure there will be lots to talk about as make our way through the next few days; I’ll do my best to keep everyone in the loop.
Thanks for reading,
PS – Respect to anyone who knows the title reference.