Today was a hard day. It was Andrew’s first day at work today so both of us did our visiting on our own. This was the first time I had visited on my own. And I realised that it is quite difficult. There is no one to discuss things with or distract you from the machines.
Andrew visited in the morning on the way to work. He was happy with Eva, she was quiet and content. By the time I got there she was needing to go back underneath the phototherapy light for jaundice. This time I could actually see the yellow tinge in her skin. As soon as I saw Tori (the nurse) wheeling the light in my heart dropped. Although I realised that Kangaroo Care was only if she was stable I was so looking forward to it again today. Of course it didn’t happen.
Eva’s breathing wasn’t so good in the morning. She had been having oxygen via her CPAP machine overnight and this continued today although a small amount. I noticed that she was having short periods where she would forget to breathe. This seemed to me to be happening a lot and was making me upset. I really watched the machines more without Andrew there. Tori tried to reassure me that it was fine. At the round later James, the Consultant, pointed out that full term apoena (stop breathing) alarms are set at 20 seconds which he counted out to show me how long it was. He said this is a normal pattern of breathing for babies and is accentuated in pre term babies. Eva copes better on her front so she is prone lie most of the time now. This is common for babies like her.
The whole NICU was very busy and noisy today. One of Eva’s alarms was going off all the time for a slightly fast heart rate and the baby next to her was alarming too. It made the place feel very hectic. They also had sick babies and appeared short staffed.
Eva had a repeat ultrasound scan of her brain today. They routinely do this on Day 1, 3 and 7. On the first scan she was found two small bleeds in the sacs that hold the spinal fluid. These have not changed and they do not expect any further change. They will continue to do a scan weekly. This is all normal for babies of her gestation.
A volunteer arrived with a guitar and played for Eva and I for about 10 minutes. It was lovely and a slight distraction from the beeping machines. It made me realise that I could sing to Eva when she is in Kangaroo Care.
I decided that I needed to leave and have some space. When I spoke to Andrew he realised that I was upset and asked me to come and see him for lunch. This was a wonderful thing as I probably would have had pity food like hot chips had I been on my own. Andrew is being so incredibly wonderful and looking after me well. He even baked chocolate pudding and banana bread last night. Andrew had a busy day at work and saw me for lunch then saw Eva after work so he didn’t feel too isolated today. Andrew is lucky with the support he has received from his work.
I ended up staying late at the hospital because I wanted to change Eva’s nappy but had to wait until a nurse had time to turn her over for me. It was ok but tiring listening to all the beeping. I saw the midwives for the last time today so they have discharged me from their care. They were very impressed with my expressing which seems to have boosted since the Kangaroo Care yesterday. I guess it will slow back down again. We brought home Eva’s tiny blood pressure cuff and she had a new one today.
I spoke to one of the other mums today. Her little boy Reuben is 10 days old and very sick. He was born with his bowel on the outside of his stomach. He has had multiple operations to repair/reinsert the bowel. Yesterday he was better and more alert but today he seems to have picked up an infection so they are very worried about him. Reuben parents were told to expect him to live for 48hours so every extra hour is precious to them. Now we understand why we have never seen them smile. We realise how lucky we are that Eva has a healthy body to start with.
I am wondering if I can claim pregnancy brain up until Eva’s due date. I have been known to put things in special places but I really outdid myself last night. Andrew was attempting to gather all his belongings ready for work when he realised he couldn’t find his keys. We searched for 30 minutes in the usual places and anywhere else he could think of. Suddenly, I don’t know what reminded me, I remembered that I had put them in the cutlery drawer! Luckily we were able to laugh about it!
I know there will be good days and bad and that today actually wasn’t that bad but it’s hard all the same. I think it will be better when I am in the routine of going without Andrew.