Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your first 5 weeks

Dearest Luci your first 5 weeks of life were spent at the Hospital Metropolitano, in the Intensive Care Unit. I was at the hospital for the first five days as well, because of an emergency hysterectomy that had to be performed after the C section.

Once I was discharged (which I tried to delay as much as possible) the inevitable happened and I had to go home. Without. You. 
This was one of the single toughest things I have had to do in my life.  And it did not get easier with time. 

The ICU had strict rules. Only your Daddy and me could visit, which upset your sister a great deal. She really wanted to meet you. On top of that, visiting hours were restricted to 9am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm for no more than 30 minutes at a time. 

The hospital is about 30 to 40 minutes away from our house, so I would leave in the morning and spend the day there. I would arrive 20 minutes before each visiting hour to pump milk for your meals and then we would get to be with your for short intervals.  I filled the time in between visits with literature about Down Syndrome, Premature Babies and every condition your doctors told me we had to watch out for. 

Here we are in terapia kanguro. 

During the first week I learned all of the staffs names. Every day I brought treats for the morning and afternoon crew. Ten days later, I knew most of the nurses personal stories and was already spending most of the day inside the ICU. No more visiting hours for mommy! I was allowed to bathe you, change your diapers, feed you through the tube, sing to you and hold you for most of the day. 

Still, leaving you every afternoon was heart wrenching. I walked back towards the car feeling completely spent. As I drove down to the valley, I thought  about how you were barely bigger than a 20 cc syringe and were being pricked, pinched and handled by so many people on a daily basis. All of this, in a sterile environment, full of beeping sounds and the construction noise of the major renovation that was underway in the hospital.  All alone in your little incubator. 
My eyes still swell with tears as I write this.
I would come home and walk into your beautiful nursery, look at the empty crib and say a silent prayer.

But then it was morning. And as I went up the mountain again, I thought about you. About how well you were coping. How you were growing. How active you were getting. How you started recognizing my singing.  How deeply you slept on our chests. Then, I would find myself speed walking towards the ICU,  excitedly anticipating the time I would spend there.

It was a roller coaster ride and this family loves roller coasters (as we explicitly stipulated in our marriage vows).

Meanwhile, on the home front, your Grandma and Grampa were lovingly taking care of your sister. Which afforded me and your Daddy peace of mind and left Julis with some very fond memories of picnics, basketball, bike riding and boardgame playing.
I do not know what we would have done without them. We are all very lucky to have them.

You progressed really well and three weeks into your stay at the ICU you were regulating your body temperature on your own, so you were moved into a crib. You were still tiny, as evidenced by that chupo which covers most of your face.  
I brought you some musical toys and placed some images on both sides of your crib for visual interest. 

Not long after you had been transferred to the crib, you overcame an infection which took everyone by surprise. From one hour to the next your activity level dropped considerably, your skin turned a bit gray and your breathing was difficult. The doctors moved quickly to identify the culprit, gave you antibiotics and just as quickly as it came, it left. By the next day your color was back, your were active again and you had your usual pink coloring. 

Now, all you had to do was start eating on your own and having seen what you had been capable of already, I just knew you would be coming home soon.

Your sister knew it too. She drew this map for you. 
So you could find your way home. 

One day before you were to leave the hospital, we were told you had anemia. Which is one of those conditions that can happen with premmie babies.  In the womb, mommies produce red blood cells for babies and when babies arrive early, they have to wait to be able to produce their own red blood cells. 

So the thing to do was to pump you full of new red blood cells, which should hold you over until you could do this for yourself.
Luckily this did not delay your coming home.

On October 27th we finally brought you home. I was as happy that day as the day you were born.
And your sister finally got to meet you.

Today I am grateful that you willed yourself into this world. 
That you had the strength to make it out of the ICU.
And for everything that has happened since Sept 21 which just makes this day so much sweeter.

Welcome Home baby girl. 

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