Day 82 – Saturday January 31st 2009

We are at day 82!  I wonder will we be in here for Day 100?  Today has been a very relaxing family day hiding in our own quiet room.  It’s almost like being at home.  Andrew says it is much easier to cope with having our own space.  Andrew put together a crib given to us by one of his work colleagues and it is sitting by the bed ready for us to come home. 

Eva has feed erratically today with 1 good feed and 2 average feeds.  Overnight she was really unsettled from 4 -6.  I was wishing we were at home and Andrew could take her.  It was the first time she has ever been it total darkness.  In the end I propped open the bathroom door so that she had some light but that didn’t help.

I spoke to Mum and Dad this morning, which was lovely.  I have left the building 3 times today even though it is cold.  The staff are very encouraging of this time out.

This morning there was a beautiful red/pink sunrise over the City of Bristol.  On Monday when Ruth and Bob arrive it is forecast to be heavy snow.  The heat wave and bushfires in South East Australia have made it to the BBC World News.  We hope that you are all keeping cool and hydrated.  It’s impossible for us to imagine 45 degrees at the moment.  We are thankful that Eva will be warm and safe in here with this cold snap coming.

Day 81 – Friday January 30th 2009

Today Eva and I moved into a single room with an ensuite shower and toilet – a rare commodity in the NHS.  It is so quiet and calm.  This is the first time in 11.5 weeks that Andrew and I have been with Eva by ourselves!  How strange.  Of course I could be asked to move if another mother needs the room which is fine with me.  The staff are being very kind to us.

Today we had a discharge planning meeting with the Registrar, Community Neonatal Nurse, Midwife and the Community Health Visitor.  The idea of this meeting is to discuss as a team what needs to be achieved before Eva is discharged into the big wide world.  Basically the summary was that Eva needs to be breast feeding exclusively, out of a hot cot for 3-4 days and with two consecutive weight gains before we can leave.  A very vague timeline for that is another 2 weeks but it is all up to Eva.  Laura, the doctor, thinks that maybe on Monday we can go to the next step on the feeding regime. 

Of course Andrew and I are disappointed but realistic that the longer we are here the more likely it is that it will be a successful discharge.  Thus with this news we were moved into the single room.  I am pleased about this mostly for infection reasons.  I felt that there were lots of visitors including children who could be carrying bugs into the 4 bedded room.  The staff also encouraged me to get out daily and for Andrew and I to have dinner dates which we are tonight.  Andrew is getting really tired of fitting in work and visiting the hospital.  This past quarter of a year has disappeared for us.

Laura reviewed Eva today.  She stopped her potassium and commenced her on multivitamin and folic acid.  These are medications that she will go home on.  They are keen for us to learn how to give these. 

Eva has been doing really well with her feeding the past 24 hours.  She is now sucking consistently instead of me having to wake her up to encourage her often.  I love breast feeding and really enjoy that intimate time with her.  I was starting to hesitate about whether breast was too hard for her but the staff insist that bottles are just as hard.  Eva weighed 1.780kg today which is a relief. 

Overnight the lovely night nurse, Jo, had Eva all night except delivering her to me ready to be breast fed!  I was really appreciative of her care.  Jo said I needed spoiling as we have been on a long journey.

Day 80 – Thursday January 29th 2009

Today was a little traumatic for the ward but not for us don’t worry. Today the woman who has been opposite me for a week had her baby taken away by social services.  This woman was an IV drug user and her baby who was 2 weeks old was withdrawing from whatever substance it was.  This baby had a very desperate cry and was inconsolable for most of the time.  The woman was here with the baby to see if she could manage.  Obviously the staff had fed back that she wasn’t coping.  I really don’t know how anyone would cope with a baby that screamed like that.  Of course the woman was distraught and although I know it is the best choice for the baby I felt for that mother who desperately needed that child for someone to love.  I gather her partner is in prison and her two other sons are in foster care.  It was a sad situation but one that happens often up here I gather. 

Today Eva asked very politely for a breast feed when she was due for a tube feed.  Upon seeking advice from the midwives I put her on the breast and she had a feed.  This is a good sign but we have to be wary not to rush her as well.  Her feeds overnight have been good with solid feeding instead of me needing to wake her during the feed. 

Eva wriggles a lot when she sleeps.  I keep having to check with the staff that this is normal not a sign of Eva in pain.  I worry that it is her reflux causing her discomfort.

Eva had blood tests today as a weekly check.  All is the same although her haemoglobin is a little lower.   She is still having glucose drops in her mouth before her tests, which does relieve some of her discomfort.

Eva had Tori as a nurse this morning who took Eva for a tube feed to give me a rest.  Actually I think it was just Tori’s excuse for a cuddle!

I headed out for a walk again today and enjoyed a coffee stop.  It is nice to see the greenery.  We are heading for a cold snap of days 2-3 degrees so I probably wont go out then.  A stark contrast to the weather at home.  I spoke to Gram this morning who had survived the highest overnight minimum on record of 33 degrees!  The days here are getting longer which is nice to see.