Dad’s Day Off

Dear Babygirl, Munchkin, Chub-Chub, Princess Sunshine,

Dear Nyana,

Your mother and I are sitting in the Parent’s Lounge at BC Children’s Hospital, you’re less than a hundred feet away – through three walls, a bathroom, hallway, and reception desk. We just sat in on your morning rounds, where all the doctors and nurses come by to assess your progress and plan out your week ahead. I took the day off of work today, and this is the first morning rounds that I’ve sat in on since that first one on the day you were born. It’s about quarter after ten in the morning and your great-grandmother is on her way for a visit.


It’s been three weeks since that first day and a lot has happened. Although your weight has been up and down, you still haven’t gained too much overall – you’re still only about 100g over your birth weight. However, you look so much different now than you did then. Your ears aren’t fused to your head anymore, your eyes are opening more often and for longer periods, your skin is less and less flaky each day, and you’ve graduated to the big syringe of milk.

It’s been a rough couple days for us lately. Your progress is still normal and considered “typical” by the medical staff here, but your mother and I have been facing our own set of challenges and staying positive is not always as easy as it once was – especially after a morning like today, when we’re told it would be best to just not handle you at all. You’ve had a rough night and your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are having a hard time balancing on their own. In short, your lungs are still not behaving as well as they should be – and your time on the oxygen machine needs to come to an end before it starts to become harmful to you. The docs want to start you on a small amount of steroids today to help your lungs along but the thing you need most right now is rest. So no touching, no soothing, and especially no taking you out for long walks on the seawall.

But all of this is…typical.

Is it also typical then, to get irrational pangs of irritation and frustration when I see a happy baby in a stroller? Or when I see a pregnant woman, full-term, still outside and waddling down the street with her husband and a pair of smiles? Even seeing a mother here in the NICU that is successfully getting milk for thier little one can be grating. I know it’s not their fault that things are going normally for them, as much as it’s not our fault that things are not going normally for us. But it can be hard to keep that in mind and stay positive. It’s hard to keep in mind that outside these walls there is a normal world that is ticking right along. These days I really don’t care much about that and when I have to endure it in between visits to the hospital it can make Daddy a little crazy sometimes. Is that typical? When your whole life shifts and suddenly things that mattered to you one day are so inconsequential the next? I suppose it is typical, given these circumstances, but knowing that doesn’t neccessarily make it any easier.

Your great-grandmother just left. She had a wonderful visit and now feels rejuvenated with her Nyana-meter all topped up. You have that effect on people – profoundly positive – and can instantly turn anyone’s bad day around; you can soften even the edgiest of moods. Trust me, I have experienced it myself first-hand. In mere seconds, I have gone from being an angry mess to drooling fool, completely lost in the blissful softness of your hair or your nose or your shoulders. You have the ability to wipe away a crappy day and replace it with hope, love, and wonder.

I’m going to go in and stare at you now for a little while. I’m going to forget for a few minutes about the world outside, and time is going to slip by so very quickly. Whenever you open your gorgeous, tiny, big dark blue eyes, I will try to be right there for you to see. Any time you stretch your little arms and fingers out, I will try to have my own finger right there for you to grab onto. We’ll be right beside you today, hanging on to your every breath. Our little Babygirl, Munchkin, Chub-Chub, Princess Sunshine.

Our little Nyana.

Looking up at Mum

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About Donners

Thirtysomething father to The Royal Princess of The Sunshine Brigade, a 27 week preemie who survived 222 days in the NICU. The Queen and I are still crazy in love, and life in Vancouver's West End is getting back to a whole new normal that we've always been waiting for but never knew we would get quite like this.
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4 Responses to Dad’s Day Off

  1. Kaili says:

    This entry might be one of the sweetest things I have ever read. Pure love. And yes, totally typical feelings. Especially not caring about what’s going on in between visits and the detachment from all the “normal” stuff.

    She still looks incredible! Perfect and healthy looking- just little.

  2. Chantal says:

    Oh my goodness! After ‘meeting’ you through Facebook and now meeting your husband and precious little girl through this blog, every time you two write, it makes me cry! Your little girl is the sweetest thing that helps brighten my day when I’ve got those ‘baby blues’.

    I am certain that everything will work itself out perfectly for you. Please know that there are so many out there rooting for you and Karen and little Nyana.

  3. Rebekah Hiebert Murphy says:

    A friend of mine sent me the link to your blog because 7 1/2 months ago I gave birth to an 1.75 lb baby boy at 25 weeks + 5 days. I’ve read your posts and although it’s getting easier to ignore the less pleasant memories and experiences that having a micro-prem bring to a family, reading about someone who is experiencing many of the same things I did brings it all crashing back. It sounds like you have support from others who are sharing your experiences in the NICU and that is great. I don’t know how many people you know that have been through the micro-prem experience and are already on the other side . . . that is a relationship that can be helpful as well. We get a lot of encouragement from people who have no idea what we’re going through and although they truly do mean well, sometimes they manage to say all the wrong things . . . they don’t know what it feels like to watch your baby battle for her life. If you don’t need any more support that’s awesome. But if you do want some connection with someone who has been there and came through the ordeal relatively unscathed (depending on your definition of unscathed) please feel free to contact me. I’m going to assume since I had to submit my e-mail address that, although it’s not posted in your blog page, that you might be able to see it when you log on? If not you can message me through Facebook.

  4. Mrs. B says:

    Thanks for the comment, Rebekah! I love hearing stories from people who have been here before. It gives me hope for Nyana.

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