Life in the NICU is really unlike any other place. On one hand, everything is so medical and sterile. Everything is done according to procedure and an official doctor’s order has to be put in for anything to be changed. On the other hand, as the doctors make their rounds they are discussing things like spit up and wet diapers. To be honest, it’s a nice place. The nurses are (mostly) sweet and the doctors are extremely friendly. Everyone offers to answer questions, bring (somewhat) comfy chairs to our baby’s bedside when we arrive, and even get us bottled or ice water.
With Lydia, I noticed a bit of a progresion. The first week in the NICU was a whirlwind, so busy and exciting. The second week, we fell into a routine and it was almost (I did say almost) fun going to the hospital each day to get our updates and hold our baby. But by the third week it wasn’t fun anymore. No matter how sweet the nurses or kind the doctors, all those runs back and forth to the hospital got old.
In the NICU, your whole life is put on hold. Your schedule revolves around Baby’s eating times (every three hours). You go back and forth to and from the hospital, returning home only for meals and sleep. You don’t keep up on anything that isn’t necessary. You boil your activities down to the most important: washing dishes and clothes, cleaning the bathroom frequently enough so that it doesn’t grow mold, and paying bills. Everything gets done efficiently or it won’t get done at all.
Last night I hit the same wall that I did during Week 3 with Lydia. Yes, there were overwhelming moments in those first couple of weeks. This is a different kind of hard, a long sad hard. We miss Abby when we’re home. I’m just a little down most of the time, and really down some of the time. Even when I’m holding her, I’m wishing for “normal”.
Abby is doing well. Yesterday a physical therapist looked at her left foot, which has been turned inward since she was at least 20 weeks gestation. So now during each “hands on” time we or the nurses do some “exercises” rotating her foot. Today Abby had some blood work done which came back mostly normal, but her sodium levels are low. So she’ll be getting a sodium supplement added to her feedings probably for a couple of weeks at least. Her weight last night was 1320 grams, down from 1330, but the nurse was also using a different scale, which probably accounted for the difference. Overall, she’s just eating and growing with no major concerns.
It’s still hard.
I know that God is still good. I know that Abby won’t be in the NICU forever. The time will go by quickly for everyone else. (But it would probably not be best to approach Dan and I in a couple of months and comment on how quickly the time passed) I know that suffering is used for good in our lives. But it’s still suffering. It still hurts. We’re still hoping and trusting and hanging on, but we still miss our baby.
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.