NICU Day 15: This Sucks

It’s 2:47 AM. I’m sitting in the dark watching a nurse bottle-feed my baby milk I pumped for her. She doesn’t know I am watching. We are on the futon behind a “privacy” curtain. It doesn’t really block that much. I’m sitting in the dark acting unaware for Hubby’s sake because he is actually getting some sleep for a change. I am pumping. While someone else feeds the fruits of that never-ending labor to my little girl.

She thinks she’s being nice by not waking us for the feeding and letting us sleep. The girls are getting one bottle per shift (once during every 12-hour span), but they just weren’t awake and rooting (showing signs of hunger) during our awake hours during this shift. Everything she’s done is, I’m sure, correct, but it makes me nervous. Is she holding her tight enough? Can she see if she’s choking when it’s this dark? Is she patting her too hard when she burps her?

This sucks.

***

(In the morning)

It turns out those bottle feeds went pretty well last night. Little Bit took 16 of her 32 mL, and Munchkin took her whole 30 mL bottle!! That’s good progress because Munchkin has been a little behind Little Bit in the eating department. LB is a better eater, and Munch is a better breather. Our attempts so far to put her to breast or bottle have only been mediocre.

I wish there was a way to explain how intimidating it is to do certain things with these babies simply because of their size. They are SO tiny; when I try to breast feed them, I am terrified of suffocating their minuscule faces with my mountainous breasts. They have reached a size I never saw coming. Most days, I just don’t wear a bra because I don’t have one that fits. It’s summer, so there’s a lot of “built in bra” nursing tank-tops I can get away with in this setting, but they definitely don’t offer any support.

***

(evening)

This afternoon, we went home for the 2nd time since the girls were born. In the car on the way there, I cried while Taylor Swift’s “22” was playing, of all songs! I had a pouty-stomp-my-feet-cross-my-arms minute where I was jealous of the carefreeness of the speaker in that song. I wasn’t envious of being 22 and not having children, of course, just of a mindset that wasn’t constantly plagued by some worry. I haven’t had that feeling in so many years…

I had my dad drop off our dog on their way to the hospital, so we could see him for a little while. He was so excited when we came in, and I was so happy to see him, but I also felt SO guilty – for not having seen him so much over the past few weeks and because I knew it would be such a short visit, and he’d have to go back to my parents’. The first 20 minutes in the house were depressing. I saw our What to Expect book and got really depressed thinking of all the weeks and chapters we would never get to have our Saturday Morning Readings of because this HELLP Syndrome has robbed us of the end of my pregnancy and the girls of a normal start to life.

After I got over my initial moping, I enjoyed being home. Even though we were changing out clothes and taking baby clothes and I had to pump, I found it distracting. I love our house, and I miss it. I felt such a mixture of emotions. I wanted to see the girls, but I didn’t want to go back to the hospital.  I looked at my bed; I didn’t dare lay down on it. The futon and recliner are only sleep-able because my body has forgotten what a real mattress feels like. For the first time, I honestly entertained the thought of whether or not I could (emotionally) spend a night at home, but I felt guilty – like it would make me a terrible mother if I spent the night away from the girls. I know there are parents who have to because they have other children at home, etc., but that’s not our case. We don’t have any other children, and my parents have the dog. So, I should be with them. I want to be with them. I also want to be at home. 

I just want it to be time to bring them home, I guess…

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