We have a baby daughter! It’s been 4 days waiting and now she’s finally here. It’s quite surreal.
Our baby is this tiny thing in the middle of a humidicrib covered with bubble wrap. Honestly it is just so weird to walk in and see your child underneath something you would use to pack goods. Also it covered her from head to toe. Isn’t plastic a suffocation risk for babies? Well not for a premmie baby. Chris the nurse explained to us that it is a great insulator to keep the humidity close to her body in the air pockets and it’s clear so they can keep an eye on her.
Eva’s crib is just inside the door so when we walk in and have to wash our hands we can just peek at her. There are 8 cots in NICU all with babies of various gestation and illness. It’s a noisy place with alarms and monitors constantly going off. We both expected her to be dwarfed by the amount of lines and tubes however we found her to have hardly any lines. She had an ET tube in her mouth for breathing, NG tube in her mouth to empty her stomach, saturation monitor on her foot, temperature sensor on her other foot and under her back and an arterial and venous line through her umbilical cord. I was delighted to hear that the umbilical cord lines are used for a week which means that she wont have to have lines in her arm just yet.
Chris gave us two information books and really talked through all that was happening with Eva. Chris then told us that we could open the porthole and touch her! My heart leapt with joy at the thought of actually feeling her skin. We didn’t imagine that this was a possibility on day 1. We gingerly put our fingers onto her hands. Wow!
Andrew went home with Michelle and Scott who arrived again from London. This gave me a chance to rest. I realise though being a patient is never very restful as someone always interrupts. Pam Cairns, the neonatal consultant (senior doctor) came to visit me and just casually sat on the end of my bed. She gave me lots of positive information about Eva’s condition so far. The one thing I distinctly remember is her saying that statistically girls have a better survival rate than boys. Also she discussed Eva participating in a trial regarding oxygen saturation and a decision had to be made within 12 hours of birth. Pam told me that the composition of my breast milk is different due to having a pre term baby. I found this absolutely amazing, I am in awe of God’s creation of the human body!
Andrew caught up with work colleagues for a quick coffee which he found very therapeutic. Of course he was very proud to show off photos of Eva and share his excitement at being a new Daddy!
Every day at 2pm there is a ward round involving medical and nursing staff where each baby’s case is discussed in detail. We are able to be there when Eva’s case is discussed but must be out of the room the rest of the time. The ward round made me feel good as they kept saying positive things about Eva’s condition. Pam decided that Eva was breathing well enough to be extubated (breathing tube removed) and to commence CPAP. This is a machine that gives continuous positive air pressure allowing Eva to breathe on her own with minimal assistance. We were explained that her lungs are like a new balloon and at first blowing it up is difficult. If there is enough air to keep the balloon slightly inflated it is easier to blow the balloon up. For this she has a mask over her nose held in place by a tiny white cap.
We are just amazed how casual the staff are with her. They just pick her up without the fragility I imagine is needed. Of course they do not hurt her they just are used to babies being so small. Helen (from work) and Michelle and Scott came to meet her. Helen wondered if we had considered the name Poppy seeing as she was born on Remembrance Day. It was nice to start introducing her to the world!
Overnight I visited every 3 hours when I had expressed the tiny 0.2ml of breast milk. I’m not sure if that was a good thing. I felt pleased to see her even if it was only for a couple of minutes but then I would go back to my room and be sad without her. I was staying in the postnatal ward upstairs. I found it hard to hear other babies crying throughout the night.