Friday, February 27, 2009

She's Home!

We brought her home yesterday afternoon and things are going well. Thank you everyone for all your support!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Close, but No Cigar

Yesterday, we got the big news that Lexie might be able to go home today. What?! Today, you say?! Holy crap, we need to run out of here and clean up the house, finish putting together the bassinet, clean off the changing table, install the carseat, and omygod what else...

Today, Steve and I headed in there, Lexie's "going home" outfit and carseat in hand, nervous and excited to bring our girl home. But Lexie had other plans, spending the day sleeping almost nonstop, barely waking up to eat. And she didn't eat enough to get the OK to leave.

On the bright side, she passed her "car seat challenge."

We suspect the sleepiness was due to her Synagis shot last night. It's not a scientifically known side effect, but all babies are different, and *something* was causing her to be out of it.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the big day. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, Steve and I went out to dinner. It might be a while before we can do that again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pump Room Soundtrack

The NICU provides a pumping room for NICU moms who spend a lot of time with their babies. It has its own culture and etiquette, which I won't get into here. It also has its own radio, which is worth mentioning for the sheer inappropriateness of much of the music.

Some songs I've heard while pumping:
Black Dog, Led Zeppelin
Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues
The Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd (seriously)
We Will Rock You, Queen

The last one was the most jarring. I mean really.

Today, I finally heard what I deemed an appropriate song for the environment (the chorus, at least) -- Red Rubber Ball by Cyrkle:

And I think it's gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over now,
The morning sun is shining like a Red Rubber Ball.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

36 Weeks

Today Lexie reached the equivalent of 36 weeks gestation. This had been the goal when I checked into the hospital in November -- getting the pregnancy to 36 weeks. Obviously we didn't quite make it.

Last week Lexie was moved to yet another "step down" room for babies who just need to learn to eat and grow. It happens to be on the 6th floor (the regular NICU is on the 2nd floor). And it happens to be within spitting distance of the hospital room I lived in for so many weeks. Every day I see my old door at the end of the hallway. It's always closed. Inevitably, I've been thinking a lot about an alternate universe in which I am still behind that door. In that alternate universe, today I walked out the door on my own and headed home to wait out the rest of my pregnancy, instead of being quickly wheeled out, terrified, heading to the labor and delivery floor many weeks too early.

But things continue to improve in real life. Yesterday Lexie's feeding tube was removed. That's not entirely accurate -- it would be more accurate to say that Lexie pulled out her feeding tube again. And her doctor decided not to replace it as long as Lexie continues to eat enough on her own. So far, so good. She looks like a regular little baby now without the tube taped to her little face.

In other real-life news, we just received our copy of Lexie's birth certificate as well as her Social Security card. She's not even supposed to be born yet, and already she's just a number in the eyes of the government. Welcome to the world, kiddo. We're so glad you're here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pumpin' Ain't Easy (NICU Mother Theme)

As you know, I've been spending a lot of time working to produce enough healthy food for little Alexandra. It's a struggle for NICU moms, because our babies aren't with us -- the hormones don't quite kick in the way they do when you're with your baby 24x7. Plus, one of the most common tips, "think about your baby," is more likely to stress you out ("I wonder how she's doing ... I hope she's not crying ... I hope she's gaining weight ... I hope she doesn't feel all alone ..."), especially in the early days when you can't even hold your baby, than it is to create happy warm babymom feelings.

Anyway, as an outlet for my frustration (and yes, I've talked to the lactation consultants -- I'm working it out), I came up with this interpretation of a hiphop classic.

Pumpin' Ain't Easy (NICU Mother Theme)
[With Apologies to Ice-T]

NICU mother's in the house...
Grab yo' phlanges

Pumpin ain't pumpin ain't easy woman [repeat 4X]

Take a look at me, everything I wear's stretched out
Pump baby, I can't see my nips with the lights out
This is how I do it, pumping milk really blows
NICU mother baby, and it's a heavy load
Step back, hater make a little room for my hose
Slippers on my feet, hope the milk really flows
Baby is the reason all the real pumpers know that
NICU mother puts pump to breast
She got no chance trying not to get stressed
I pump on the right and I pump on the left
If you don't dig the pumpin I could really care less
Increase my supply, increase my supply baby

Pumpin ain't pumpin ain't easy woman [repeat 3X]
Pumpin ain't pumpin ain't easy...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lexie Update

I've been spending all my time at the hospital, pumping (ouch), eating, and a bit of sleeping here and there, so blogging has taken a backseat for now. But I wanted to post a quick update for anyone who's still checking in.

Alexandra now weighs 4 pounds, 13 ounces. She'll be allowed to come home once she can eat all of her meals on her own, instead of getting too tired with the bottle and needing to supplement with a feeding tube. She also needs to keep breathing steadily during those feeds -- right now, when she gets really tired of all the exertion during a feed, she sometimes starts breathing shallowly or forgets to breathe for a little while. (This causes what is called a "desat," in which her blood oxygen level starts to decline.) She needs to go a week without a major desat. She had one yesterday, so as of now the earliest she could come home is the 23rd. That said, the clock keeps restarting on the 7 days, so we haven't begun a real countdown yet. Maybe if she gets to 3 or 4 days without a desat while eating well then we'll start to get excited.

People keep telling us "get some sleep now!" As if we're sleeping soundly all night long. I'm pumping regularly, which seriously interferes with my sleep schedule, and to tell you the truth, you don't sleep very soundly when your baby's in the NICU. (This is why NICU parents are given a special phone number to call for an update anytime, day or night.) I know people are just trying to think of something to say, but they really don't fully understand what's going on.

Hopefully it won't be too much longer until Lexie comes home. I'm looking forward to staying in the house all day long with my baby. And to being awakened regularly by her little lungs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nine Weeks in Exile

Now that I'm out of the hospital, the time I spent there seems like a vague bubble interrupting my life. In a normal life, a lot happens in nine weeks. Think about what can happen through nine weeks at work. Projects start and end. People start new jobs and begin to become one of the gang. Workplace dramas arise and subside.

Over nine weeks, Fall turns to Winter.

Relationships can begin and end.

Fortunes can be made and lost.

And in nine weeks, a tiny baby can be saved.