If Ash had been born yesterday, he would not be in the NICU. Of course, we wouldn’t have these past 12 days with him, and I wouldn’t give those up, even if it meant having him home with me now. Hmmm… on second thought… well… I don’t know.
Yesterday I brought some of Ashland’s clothes in to the NICU for him to wear. I’ve been putting this off until now maybe because in some way this indicates a sort of semi-permanence: he’ll be in here long enough to where he needs a suitcase of sorts. Or that the NICU is his current home.
His preemie onesies fit him almost perfectly, except the long sleeves are a little short.
Ash’s NICU neighbor has been there since mid November, and she’s grown out of all her Preemie and Newborn clothes. She was supposed to go home yesterday, but then had a sleepy feeding day the previous day, so the NG tube went back in, and there’s no more talk of her going home. Yesterday I overheard her father talking to the doctor, “I feel like she’ll be a teenager by the time we bring her home.”
Sometimes I wonder about this whole NICU thing. The babies are on such a schedule, every 3 hours it’s feeding time whether they’re hungry or not, awake or sleeping. If they’re awake, the nurses will try to give a bottle. If they’re asleep, they just give them the pumped breastmilk via gavage through the NG.
I know I shouldn’t question all this. I mean, after all… what do I know about preemies?
Last night was a tough night for some reason. Partly because I overheard that snippet of my neighbor’s conversation and started worrying whether we will be dealing with the same thing a month from now. Partly because of some insurance stuff we’re dealing with. My hospital stay was in December, so we hit our out-of-pocket max and our deductible then. But now that Ash is in the NICU from December til now, we’ll have to pay that again for 2009. It’s like getting double-charged for a gallon of milk at the grocery store, except that it’s costing us an extra $10,000 instead of $4. Our health care system is so f-ed. We have learned a valuable lesson from this experience: Don’t have a baby in December or January. Plan on having a summer baby.
We were both stressed and exhausted by the time we got to the NICU yesterday for the 5 o’clock feeding. I was feeling proud of my milk supply as I pulled the bottles out of the cooler… I had produced an ounce to two ounces more at each pumping than in the past. Of course, I’m spending more time at the pump than before, am taking multiple supplements, am trying everything the lactation consultant advised. And then the nurse looked at my bottles yesterday and asked, “Have you spoken to a lactation consultant about your milk supply?” I nearly started crying at that moment. I held them off for another hour or so.
Actually, I don’t remember what exactly triggered my tears, could have been that I don’t like the nurse he was with yesterday, or that Ash fell asleep after refusing the breast and taking 30 cc’s from his 50 cc bottle, or the desperate tone in my husband’s voice as he tried to get our son to finish his bottle. “C’mon Ash, just a little more. We want to take you home.”
Eh, it was probably the hormones.
On a brighter, slightly narcissistic note, I was able to button my pre-pregnancy jeans yesterday.