This has been a very wonderful, very hard week. I suppose every new parent can say that, though. It’s 5:38 a.m., and I just finished pumping a little while ago. I need to rinse out the pump collection kit. I might try to grab another little bit of sleep, then I have to eat some breakfast. In less than two hours, I have to go back to the hospital, where I will spend the best, most surreal part of my day until about 7 p.m. Then home to eat, pump, and sleep. Then back again.
Little Boy is doing really well. He spent a while (I’ve lost track of time, so everything is “a while”) with oxygen via CPAP, then went to a nasal cannula, then off altogether. He had some digestive challenges – apparently he hadn’t realized that he couldn’t both be born and keep his umbilical cord – but he’s absorbing food well now and nursing like he was born to do it. Which, y’know, he was. At one point he had a positive Staph culture, and that freaked me the hell out, but the doctor is 99% sure it was a contaminated sample, as there have been no other indicators of infection and no word on the follow-up test (apparently they only tell you if it’s bad?). He was a little yellow yesterday, so they’ll be checking his bilirubin this morning, but I’m hoping his excellent milk-sucking skills are enough to stave off the jaundice. He is a mellow, philosophical fellow, and has taken everything completely in stride. As much as one who can’t yet walk can take things in stride, at any rate.
Little Girl is also doing well, though she is smaller and has her own set of issues. She is also off the oxygen, but still has a nasal cannula blowing pressurized air up her (tiny!) little nose. She has had some jaundice, and is spending some time in the infant tanning booth (I guess she’s a real L.A. baby, after all). She started out with a really good latch and an enthusiastic suck, but her blood-oxygen levels were dropping when she nursed, so now the only time she gets supplemental oxygen is when she’s put to the breast. Over the last 18 hours or so, she has started refusing to nurse at all, and I think it’s because her nasal membranes are irritated from the cannula, and she’s trying to breathe through her mouth, which of course she can’t do very well when that mouth is full of nipple. I just figured this out last night, and I’m going to run it by her doctor this morning. Little Girl is a woman of strong opinions, and has declared herself very peeved about the whole thing.
I’m too exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to link to explanations of all of these terms, so please do your own Googling.
The babies are both absolutely beautiful. Little Boy looks like a real baby now, while Little Girl still has the skinny-monkey preemie look about her – she was born nearly a pound lighter but half an inch longer than her brother. No definite word on when we’ll have them home, but the doctors and nurses have been very reassuring that all of these breathing/feeding/tanning issues are common with 36-weekers, and they are not worried about their long term well-being.
As for me, I am very sore, very emotional, very tired, and my feet and ankles are swollen to the size of tree trunks. I didn’t manage to have my homebirth, or my vaginal birth, and my babies are maybe a little undercooked, but I am happier than I can ever express to have them. Now I just can’t wait to get them home.
Whoops. So much for getting more sleep. Off to scarf down some eggs now.