Weight: 5 pounds, 11 ounces
Well, as you all know, Abby is now home at last. After so many days in the NICU (82 to be exact) and updates all along the way, it is only proper that I share how the last days in the hospital turned out.
Lydia did turn out to be sick and continued throwing up until Sunday morning. Since she wasn’t allowed to see Abby, Dan stayed home with her and I spent Thursday through Saturday in the NICU. Within 24 hours of surgery, Abby was eating well and keeping everything down. It must have been pretty comical to anyone watching us feed her after so many weeks of constant spit up, because Dan and I continued to “brace ourselves” at each feeding, but now everything stayed in!
Our rough transition to the UofM NICU also changed on Thursday, right around the time we started giving our nurses chocolate. 😛 I got to be with Abby for every single feeding from immediately following surgery up until late Saturday night. Our nurse played advocate for us and talked to the surgery team to find out details about how soon Abby could come home. By Friday afternoon they were all saying it would probably be Saturday morning, and we were thrilled.
On Saturday I waited and waited for the final verdict, but the team didn’t show up. After two nights away from Dan and Lydia, I was more than ready to go home and sleep in my own bed and have Abby right there with us. We were sorely disappointed around noon when the doctors came in and said, “She looks great. We’ll weight her tomorrow and if she gains well she can go home.” I know, it was just one more day, but our hopes were up and we were (like I said) more than ready.
However, the day passed (although slowly) and I went home Saturday night to snuggle Lydia and get a little more sleep. Sleeping with a baby in the NICU means only getting a few hours, but sleeping at home didn’t turn out to be much better because Lydia was sick and kept us up during the night.
Sunday morning finally came and we got the call from the NICU telling us that Abby could come home at last. But Lydia had just thrown up and we couldn’t bring her in. For 11 1/2 weeks I had dreamed about that day when Dan and I would bring Abby home, but it looked like one of us would have to go while the other stayed with Lydia. As it was a Sunday and Lydia was sick, we just didn’t think it would be right to ask someone to watch her.
I was sitting on the couch, trying not to mope, when I started praying. I remember specifically praying, “God, I know this is pretty much impossible, but could You have someone call and ask if they can watch Lydia for us?”. I went on praying for my own attitude and preparing to stay home while Dan went to get Abby. A few minutes later, Dan’s brother Bob called and asked if we would like him and his wife to come over and watch Lydia. It was the only time anyone has ever called offering to come right over and watch Lydia. Out of our entire NICU experience, this was possibly the most obvious direct answer to prayer, from my perspective at least.
Dan and I went and picked up Abby. On our way out we were about to have our nurse take a picture of the three of us when the surgeon who “fixed” Abby’s pylorus and hernia jumped in between us:
By noon, Abby was home and Lydia hasn’t thrown up since.
We enjoyed an afternoon visiting with Bob and Leslie and began our adjustment to having a “newborn” baby at home. All day Abby refused to be put down. We enjoyed holding her but were a little leery of how the night would go. But, as it turned out, Abby knew when it was time for bed because at night she willingly slept in her bassinet.
The first few days have been a little crazy. Our house was a mess from my weekend away and Dan’s weekend taking care of a sick toddler. We were already sleep-deprived. And we had to figure out our feeding routine with Abby. Monday we were out all day at doctor appointments. But by Tuesday we were starting to settle in and even enjoyed a surprise visit from Dan’s dad.
And so, our second NICU journey has come to an end. No, it did not go by fast. No, it was not “over before we knew it”. But, yes, God carried us through. Yes, Abby did come home safe and healthy. And, yes, it is unspeakably better having a baby at home than in the NICU, even with the night time feedings!