July 17, 2013

day 7.

I woke up at 2am this morning in a little bit of a panic. After yesterday I was almost convinced that more things would go wrong with Ruthe while we were away from her. So I did what any first-time mother would do - I called the doctor.

In our case, though, "calling the doctor" means I called the NICU and asked to speak to Ruthe's nurse. Who was standing right by her. He told me she was fine. She had been fine all night. No changes. Pretty boring. [I think that NICU nurses are the only people in the universe who can tell a new mom that her baby's "boring" and get away with it.]

I slept much more peacefully after that.

I got to the hospital at 8am again, to see my baby and talk to the cardiologists. Unfortunately, since Ruthe's doing relatively well, she's kind of their last priority. The doctor today did tell me that their goal is to get Ruthe's surgery scheduled for next week, and that they'll do both parts of the hybrid procedure at the same time.  That was it.  Quick and easy.

Ruthe has a new nurse pretty much every couple days, if not every day.  It just depends on the schedule in the NICU.  The last two or three days we had the same two nurses for the day and night shifts, and that was really great.  They knew Ruthe and her history of being a little stinker, and they knew us when we walked in, so we got a wave or a thumbs-up or some acknowledgement if they were busy and couldn't talk to us for a minute.  Today we had two new nurses.  I'm sure it's hard working with so many different babies and their parents and families from one day to the next, but so far all the nurses have been really good about updating us on Ruthe's status and treatments and keeping us well-informed when something beeps or they start doing something we've never seen.

Alright, I know everyone just want to know what's going on with Ruthe, and none of this other junk, so here you go:

She had a great day!!  When I got to the hospital, the nurse and one of the NICU doctors gave me the run-down of how she was and what the plan was for the day.  They were going to see about taking her off the jaundice lights, since her numbers were coming down.  They would take out the arterial IV in her belly-button, because she didn't really need it anymore.  They would probably start feeding her breast milk through her feeding tube.  AND, if all that went well, I could hold her.

I'd kind of stopped getting my hopes up about holding Ruthe.  Mostly because the disappointment is worse that way, but also because if I focus too much on it I start bawling.  So I just let them say it and nod my head.

Everything went really well.  They did all the things that they wanted to and she handled it all like a little champion.  Now that she's getting my breast milk I really need to get on my A-game with this whole pumping thing!

No more superhero mask!
See that dressing on my belly? No more arterial line!
 [Feedings are not picture-worthy.  They also only take about seventeen seconds because she doesn't get very much.  But it goes into her stomach through the orange tube in her mouth.]

I was exhausted by the time my mom came to get me at 1pm.  Maybe because I didn't sleep well, and maybe because I shouldn't really be standing for that long less than a week after major surgery.  But either way, we had to go and I wasn't totally depressed that I hadn't had a chance to hold Ruthe yet.  I think the day-nurse wanted to feel more comfortable with Ruthe's behaviors before he took her out of the bed, and I don't ever want her nurses to be uncomfortable with anything!

Once we got home and I'd eaten a stupid healthy salad for lunch I went to bed.  I took a three-hour nap, and it was fabulous!  When I woke up it was time to get ready to head back out to the hospital with John.  I saw my dad in the living room and he said when he stopped by to see Ruthe, she was a little fussy, but they'd just pricked her foot for a blood sample.  That's one of the drawbacks to taking out her arterial-line, they don't have free access to blood anymore so they have to prick her poor little feetsies for it.  :(

Lots of wires to tangle her toes in!

John and I showed up right after the shift-change, like always, and the night-nurse was so great.  She was working on one of the other babies so she just let us do our thing talking to Ruthe and stroking her head.  [Her head is the only part of her body that we know is always safe to touch.  Sometimes when we go for her hands or feet she gets really mad at us for disturbing her slumber.  But she likes to have her head rubbed.  But now that I've said that, tomorrow she's probably going to hate it.]

When the nurse came over to us, John cut right to the chase and asked if she'd be OK with me holding Ruthe.  She didn't seem to have a problem at all, she just said he needed to do her assessment, but that she didn't see a problem with that.  And guess what?  That's exactly what happened!

I spent almost the entire time we were there holding my sweet little baby nugget!  It was the best visit I've had to the NICU so far.  I may have insisted John take more pictures than necessary...

I didn't ever want to give her back, but I needed to pump.  So I switched places with John and spent the next twenty minutes wishing I could just nurse my baby nugget.  But I think the respirator might have gotten in the way...

John's not on drugs in these pictures... and he does actually enjoy holding Ruthe... he was just really tired.  He wakes up around 5 to get ready for work and then I make him stay up so late to be in the NICU as long as I can.  He's my hero.


  1. Oh this post made me cry!! So, so happy you got to hold your baby nugget!! :) and btw... I don't mind reading all those little details!! ;)

  2. So there is something about having a baby that makes your tear ducts spring in to action five thousand times easier than they used to. And I'd be lying if I said they weren't springing when I saw the picture of you holding your babe. So sweet! Good job with the blogging. Keep it up. We're all thinking of you and your sweet new family.