Today was a bit of a whirlwind. Started out with rounds, and the plan remained unchanged. Then it was feeding time, and right as I’m about to start feeding Riley, the home O2 rep called me and asked if he could come back to Riley’s room and give us our O2 supply and explain how to use it. So there I am feeding Riley a bottle, praying she doesn’t have an issue because I”m not watching her at all, as I’m trying to watch the guy demonstrate how to use the O2 device. Never too early to begin multi-tasking I guess. I think I got it down. We’ll find out…
Riley was wide awake after her feeding, and she was sitting on my lap, with her bright eyes looking up at me, making a variety of facial expressions, and the next thing you know…SPLURT! Riley’s first “on-person” explosion. The Riley stench took over immediately, so I went to change her, and low and behold, there was poop all the way up her back, basically up to her neck. Good God child, how did that happen?!?! I decided to just strip her on the spot and give her a washcloth bath, because she was pretty gross. Following this stinker episode, I asked some of the NICU staff if they would be willing to keep her, and we actually got some offers;)
The bath went ok. Like I said, I decided to just do a washcloth bath instead of the tub bath because I needed to do something quick and easy, and I plan to give her a good bath once she comes home. Well, she hated it. She was pretty fussy and gave some mean looks after it was all over. I gave them right back, and I explained that she did this to herself. I don’t think she understood.
The nurse and I came across a revelation during the next feeding. Where has the nipple shield been all my life? Without getting into too much detail, lets just say a nipple shield is basically a sombrero for your nipple (I know you probably won’t be able to look at a sombrero the same ever again, but I’m sorry, that’s what it reminds me of), and it mimics a bottle nipple, and sometimes it makes it easier for babies to nurse. Well it sure worked for Riley Mae. It was the missing link. With the nipple shield, it was like we’ve been doing this whole nursing thing for months, and she was pretty satisfied afterwards, taking only an additional 25 cc’s from the bottle. Some success. Finally.
So last night was my final opportunity for a good night’s sleep, and I ended up not sleeping well because my mind was racing. Thoughts of what still needs to be done, questioning if I’ve remembered to do everything, daydreaming about what it’s going to be like to have Riley home, etc. The reason last night was our final chance is because tonight Ian and I are “nesting” at the hospital. We’re sleeping in a room down the hall from the NICU, with Riley in our room. It’s sort of like a night of transition that’s offered to NICU parents, and we decided to take them up on that offer, since this kid is going to be our responsibility starting tomorrow. These are the same rooms we stayed in during the first week of Riley’s life when we were too afraid to leave the hospital. It’s weird how everything has come in full circle, and we’re right back where we were….but now Riley is breathing on her own, and she’s a chubby, happy, pretty darn healthy baby, and we’re a day away from taking her home with us.
As we were sitting in our room, and Ian was feeding Riley (yes, he had his first bottle feeding experience tonight and it went great), Riley’s BFF nurse came to the door to say goodbye. It was an emotional goodbye, as it’s obvious she cares deeply for Riley, and she also bought Riley a Dr. Seuss book and had it signed by many of the NICU nurses who cared for Riley during her 74 day stay here. How amazing.