I tried to stay in bed for as long as possible but the interruptions were just too many. I last visited Eva at 6am and was going to wait for Andrew to arrive for the next visit. The fire alarm went off which meant that all the patients in the ward had to gather at the nurse’s station for a headcount. It was rather awful standing there watching everyone with their sleeping babies in a cot. I want one of those!!!!
I had virtually decided that I wanted to stay in hospital for as long as possible so that I had access to Eva 24 hours. Andrew arrived very upset as it had all just hit him at once. He wanted me home and really seeing as I had no physical need to stay I decided that it would be nice for Andrew and I to be together to offer each other support. We lay down and held each other as the many emotions ran about us continuing our tears, relief and frustration.
When we got down to see Eva Chris the nurse said that she was wondering where we were! She’s great, very honest and kind. Little Eva was lying there none the wiser that we were there staring lovingly at her little body just willing her spirit to be strong. Chris got straight into getting us acquainted with Eva and her needs. She showed us how to change her nappy and told us it was our turn next time. Also we got to hold her up so that Chris could change the sheet underneath her. What an amazing feeling for us both to hold her up and gauge what 790g feels like!
At the ward round Pam was again pleased with her condition and the doctors and nurses all spoke fondly of her, which was nice. Later in the afternoon the registrar Magda had a good chat with us about what lies ahead from here. She said that often there is a 48-hour honeymoon period where the baby holds her own and then she may deteriorate. It was nice of her to give us this advice. Magda also explained some of the medical terms and explained what tests they had done so far. Magda also said that she loved the name because it reminded her of Eva, the character in the film, Walle-e! (must watch it sometime)
We had Eva baptised by Fr Cavan McGuiness, the hospital chaplain today. Michelle and Scott were able to be here. It was a lovely simple ceremony. The staff gave us privacy by closing the curtains and bringing a screen around us. Eva didn’t like the water at all but didn’t cry out loud. The Catholic in me does feel much more relaxed that she is ready for anything now! Michelle took our first family photo. Not of course what we pictured during pregnancy but a photo symbolsing the start of something new.
I was discharged from the ward this afternoon. A doctor reviewed me but no one really knows what the infection was that send my blood results off. In the UK the community midwives are meant to follow up with you daily when you go home so I will see them tomorrow. I arrived home and went to bed to try to sleep. Instead all I could do was to lie in bed and sob. I just couldn’t believe that I was home without a baby and I wasn’t pregnant anymore! How could this possibly be happening? How was I possibly going to leave her at the hospital numerous times a day? I did feel much better once I calmed down, I guess I had been building it all up for the past 5 days and the release was quite a relief.
In the evening we returned to NICU to visit our beautiful daughter. We had a great chat with nurse Claire. She spoke to us about the emotional side of having a baby in NICU and encouraged us that we will learn what is right for us. There is no right or wrong and sitting here 24hours a day will not help Eva or us. Claire told us that we could phone anytime we like, hourly if we desire. This was certainly reassuring. Claire talked about us touching Eva in the right balance, not too much or little. She taught us containment holding. This is where you put two hands in with one on the head and one on the torso with light pressure. This provides a sense of security and comfort for Eva. Stroking and patting is just too much stimulation for a baby this size to cope with.
A new baby was admitted overnight last night. A boy weighing just 550g born at 24 weeks. Eva looks relatively huge compared to him! It’s very hard to be there and not to wonder what’s happening with the other babies. Its impossible not to look when alarms go off. Each baby and family must have such a story to tell. We haven’t met any other parents yet.
At the evening ward round Laura, the overnight doctor who had cared for Eva the night of her birth announced that she rather liked to call her “Eva the Diva” as she has such a fighting spirit! Laura even thinks that there may be a red tinge to her hair, which is perhaps why Eva was stroppy with her when she was trying to intubate (put breathing tube down). It’s really comforting to hear the doctors speaking so positively about her.