Going Home

The nurses have been calling the first 72 hours the honeymoon period,
during this time they get a good feel of how the babies are going to
adjust to life in this world.

Hailey’s bilirubin level is high so they have started phototherapy to
help with Jaundice. Jaundice isn’t normal, but it is very common. I
think both Brianna and I had it as a baby. They put a protective eye
shield over the baby’s eyes to protect them from the very bright
light. Hailey looks like she is sunning at the beach.

They have also began feeding Hailey breast milk 5 mL at a time. That’s
about a teaspoon for all you non-converts.

They have determined that it is safe for us to hold Hailey. We get to
hold her two times a day. We can only hold her for 30 minutes while
she is in phototherapy.

We are leaving the hospital today around three. It is a very emotional
time. It seems that all of the people on our floor are leaving with
what seem like really big babies, but they are only three day old

Several people came in to prep Brianna for discharge, there are papers
to sign and instructions to be given. At three Sanna and Elizabeth
took all of our belongings to our house so we wouldn’t have to deal
with them. Brianna and I went up to NICU (pronounced as /nick-you/) to
see Hailey one last time before we go home.

The ride home was very quiet, Brianna cried from the time we left
until we reached her our house. I helped her out of the car and took
her upstairs to lay down. The dog and cats were very excited to see
us, they have had a strange and lonely week themselves. Brianna and I
tried to rest for a while but found it was too difficult so we began
to arrange the mess that has become our home. The kitchen and dining
room tables were filled with Christmas gifts, important hospital
papers, baby gifts, flowers, and assorted junk that just needed to be
put away.

We re-opened the Christmas gifts to see what we got. We opened most
things on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the hospital but we
couldn’t remember what was in the bags and boxes. There were a lot of
things for Hailey which she will need very soon. It was a very good

We found that putting up the baby clothes wasn’t a good idea. It was
just too depressing to go into Hailey’s room and try to put away all
of Hailey’s things. We closed her door and put away all the other
items instead.

One of the people who discussed discharge with Brianna and me was a
NICU lactation consultant. She told us that it would be hard to get
more than one trip a day to the hospital because of Brianna’s
surgery. She said it would be a good idea to try to minimize travel in
order to speed Brianna’s recovery. We planned on returning to the
hospital on Sunday but decided it would be better to go back that
night to see Hailey under better circumstances.

Returning to the hospital turned out to be a good idea. Hailey was
breathing room air when we arrived and I got to hold her for almost an
hour. That little baby can get very heavy and your arms get very tired
when trying to hold her. The task is made difficult by the vast array
of tubes and sensors attached to her body but the joy is well worth

After I held Hailey the RT, which I guess is a respiratory therapist,
came in to reattach all of Hailey’s tubes and wires. They glue a strip
of hook and loop, a.k.a. Velcro (TM), just under her nose. The tubes
for the CPAP then attach to hook and loop to feed air into lungs
through her nose. This causes her stomach to also fill with air so
they insert a tube down through her mouth and into her stomach for
ventilation. They also use this tube for feeding. The tubes from the
CPAP are attached to a hat on Hailey’s head with safety pins and
rubber bands. Only the hat isn’t really a hat, its a small section of
the cloth they use to cover casts on broken bones.

Since the RT would have all of the tubes off of Haley’s face she took
off Haley’s hat and let us get our first look and picture of the baby
the way she was supposed to look. She is so pretty. This one thing
made the day perfect and improved the ride home and the day.