2002-12-28

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 newborns.

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 Christmas.

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 it.

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.

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