Today I got to hold E for the first time. And T met his baby brother for the first time. My heart is so full.
The day started off a bit frustrating. D had spent the night at the hospital last night and this was the first morning since E was born that I had to get T ready for school on my own. As I mentioned in my birth story, getting him ready can sometimes be a challenge. And with trying to find time to pump this morning on top of everything, I was running late. And then T threw a tantrum and wouldn’t get dressed. And then I left his backpack at home and didn’t realize it until I was pulling up to his school. When I finally walked into the NICU and saw D, I burst into tears. I think it’s safe to say I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.
Thankfully, the day quickly got better when we got the news that they would be removing E’s umbilical catheter today, which means we would finally get to hold him! They did that around 11, and then my parents came to visit and we had lunch together in the cafeteria. By 2 p.m. we were ready to do our first “kangaroo care.” It took two nurses to carefully remove Emmett from his isolette and transfer all his wires, but when they finally placed him on me, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. I ugly cried for a good 15 minutes, all the while trying to hold back heaving sobs so I wouldn’t disturb him. It’s amazing how something as simple as holding your baby gets taken for granted unless you’ve ever given birth and not been able to do so for five days. After a while I was able to calm down and just focus on Emmett. He was very content – I’ve never seen his breathing or his heart rate so regular, and his oxygen saturation levels went up so high they were able to turn his machine down to 21 percent – which is what you and I breathe. Emmett slept peacefully on my chest for almost two whole hours, occasionally waking and craning his head up to stare at me. And I was able to close my eyes and drift off to sleep as well. It was pure heaven. I would have stayed longer, but I had to pee! They have no problem letting us hold him as long as we want, but only want to get him in and out of the isolette once a day since it’s such a big ordeal. Note to self: drink less water tomorrow before doing this again. I’ve been trying to hard to stay hydrated for milk production and it backfired on me today!
Around 5 p.m., D went to go pick up T from daycare and brought him back here to meet his baby brother for the first time. This morning I had tried to explain to him that baby was no longer in mommy’s belly, but because he came so early he had to stay in the hospital for a while so the doctors could help him get bigger and stronger. He seemed to accept this explanation, and thankfully he has no idea babies come into this world any other way. But we felt it was probably best for him to get to see Emmett in order to really understand. He was amazing. We had told him he needed to be quiet, so he kept whispering “Hi Baby Emmett.” D held him up so he could see into the isolette, and every time we would set him down he would ask to be picked up again so he could see. When I got home later, all he could talk about was Baby Emmett. I think it’s safe to say he’s infatuated. As long as E stays healthy and T doesn’t pick up anything from school, we’ll probably plan to have him visit frequently. I think it will be good for him to see him growing and getting stronger.
Unfortunately, while D was picking T up, the alarm on E’s PICC line kept sounding. And when the nurse went to flush the line, she couldn’t. She said it was most likely a kink or a clot in the line – either way we’d have to remove it, put the IV In his hand back in, and redo the PICC tomorrow. So T’s visit was cut short since they had to remove the line right away. D took him home and I stayed behind to make sure everything went smoothly. It was pretty hard to watch them have to stick him in his hand, and then remove the PICC. Honestly, the worst part was ripping off the tape that was holding the line in place. He cried quite a bit and his levels were bouncing all over the place, after being so calm and steady most of the day.
Once he was finally calm, I went home so I could put T to bed, and then turned around and came right back here. I’ll be staying here tonight. D is actually going back to work tomorrow so he won’t be here much of the day, though he may stop by for lunch. I think his plan going forward is to go into the office a couple days a week, but try to work from here the rest of the time. I’m still figuring out what to do with work, but will likely take a little more time off and then either go back, or work remotely until we’re able to take E home, and then take the rest of my leave. I definitely don’t want to use up all my time off while we’re stuck in the hospital. So much of this is far from ideal, but we’re figuring things out as we go.