Haley is doing so well! Yesterday they moved her from the open bed to the "isolette", which is supposed to be more comforting to the baby as it better resembles a womb. You've all seen one - it's the plastic dome with the hand-holes in the sides to reach in through. They had told us she would be moved to one, but it still surprised me when it was yesterday. While in the isolette she needs to be under the billirubin lights ("Billy Lights" as they say) to keep jaundice under control. This also means she can't be held as often or for as long. Do you hear that? That's my heart breaking a little bit...
When I saw her yesterday after she had been moved to the isolette, it was a bit overwhelming. It looked a lot scarier than it really is. She has to wear protective "glasses" over her eyes so she doesn't over-expose them to the billy lights. It's as if she has her own private tanning bed. It made me sad to know she couldn't just open her eyes and look around as she has been doing. It also made me sad to know I couldn't just lean down and give her a kiss. I can only touch her with my hands, unless I happen to stop by at the right time and can give her about 30 minutes from under the lights. While all of it really is good news for her and her health, I couldn't help but get choked up about seeing her in that plastic tent. Yesterday I got almost 40 minutes of kangaroo care time, and when the nurse helped me put her back in the isolette she said, "Awe, her hand left a little indentation on your chest." It was the sweetest "sleep mark" I've ever had. Much cuter than when a pillow leaves lines on your face.
They turned her oxygen down again and she is weaning off of it faster than they anticipated. Usually they turn oxygen down to wean once every several days or so - yesterday they turned it down twice in one day! She only has one or two settings left to possibly be on. I went in last night to help bathe and change her, and she pulled her oxygen tube out from her nose - twice. The nurse laughed and said, "Sometimes they wean themselves...." She had also pulled out the tube in her mouth that went to her stomach. She is a little ornery about the tubes, but who can blame her?
The nurse turned off the billy lights and took off her eye protectors. I watched and helped her bathe Haley. Bath time is not a favorite for little Haley. I reached in and held her tiny little hand and she looked at me and stopped fussing. The nurse said, "See? Mommy's right here for you, you're okay." I couldn't talk, but I wanted to repeat exactly what the nurse had said. Instead I just let tears fall because my little girl is so stinking precious and stopped fussing for mommy. After bath time, I took the tiny diaper - really, the smallest diaper I've ever seen - and laid it underneath her while I removed the dirty diaper. She had peed - is it weird that I thought her dirty diaper was incredibly adorable? I cleaned her off and put the clean diaper on her and she didn't fuss a single bit. The nurse had me take her temperature under her arm, and I said, "Oh she won't like this will she?" "No, none of them do." was the nurse's reply. I laid the thermometer under her arm, placed my free hand over her, and she laid there as still as could be. Not one single squeak. She just turned to watch me, and put her hand on my finger. Instead of fussing, she pulled out her oxygen tube from her nose again. Those tubes don't stand a chance against her strong little grip!
I loved every second of helping. She watched me the entire time, even though I'm not positive she can actually see me. Those big eyes were locked on mommy, and I couldn't have thought it sweeter. I kept telling her how good she was doing and how much I loved her. She squeaked in reply. I love her squeaks. Squeaky Squeakerton. We got her cleaned and weighed and the nurse ran assessments. She had actually gone up in weight from yesterday - around 10 grams. I hope she stays on the gaining upswing! She still is right around 2 pounds 12 ounces, but I imagine soon enough she'll be over 3 pounds.....then 4.....grow, Haley, grow!
We put her eye protectors back on and got her re-situated under the billy lights. I sat in a chair and they lowered the isolette. I cupped my hands over her and held her for about twenty more minutes until it was time for the nurses to report and for me to pump again. I told Haley I loved her and that I would be back to tell her goodnight.
My parents had arrived in town and Brent took them and introduced them to their granddaughter (while I pumped) earlier in the evening. When they left the hospital before I went to bathe Haley, they took most of the stuff from my room, since I'll be discharged today. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have them here and to have their help while I recover from surgery (I'm doing good - trying to stay on top of the pain, but doing good). But most of me wishes I was still sick and not improving so I could stay in the hospital longer and only be right across the hall from my little miracle - not across town.
I did go back in after pumping and tell her goodnight and snuggle my hands on her for a bit. She smiled as she slept - it was the cutest thing I have ever seen. She has such long feet, too. I couldn't stop touching them, or her tiny little toes. I can't wait for the day she's kicking off booties, and grabbing her toes.
I pretty much haven't stopped crying since about 9:45 last night, save the four hours of sleep I got. Haley is getting amazing care, and she's doing amazingly well - and I know all of this, and praise God for it. I just want to be with my baby. And yes, I can come visit any time and for hours at a time if I want....but still. I get to go home and she doesn't quite yet. It's going to be a long few weeks for me.
I've thought about going back to work - at least part time - while she's still in the NICU. That way I can take more time after she is released to come home. If you could pray for a decision in that regard, and that if I do go back to work, I can handle the circumstances of having a semi-normal life while my daughter works to build one....that would be swell.
So late this morning when they give me the a-ok and boot my butt out of here, it's going to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And I'm going to cry a lot. I would appreciate your prayers for strength and peace - that I can pull myself together. And keep praying for little Haley's incredible strength and improvements - she has blown me away with how fantastic she's doing. And with how stinking adorable she is. My little squeaker.