So here I sit, on a tall office-style chair with “NICU P3-1” painted on the back, drinking a large skim vanilla bean latte and listening to Aaliyah on iTunes trying to drown out the subtle crank of Nyana’s food dispenser. It’s about halfway through her 9pm dinner, and has been completely passed out for its entirety (just think about that – eating while you sleep and waking up already full? what a glorious experience that must be). She’s slowly waking up now, and by that I mean that her farts are beginning to disturb her…in what looks like a very uncomfortable fashion. She’s sitting at a cozy 25% O2 though, and just had her first beep. A single, solitary beep as she dipped to 87 (she’s back up at 95 now). Your Babygirl Princess Yum Yum is doing very well so far. Looks like your call to switch her back to highflow today was the right one. She’s in a Sleeping Crib Faceplant, and judging by the depth of her slumber I would say she’s loving the change.
It’s Guys Night here at the NICU. Nurse Bean is on tonight – which is weird because he was also our nurse the last time you took the night off. He must think Mum is a delinquent – the only times we’ve gotten him, you’re not around. But that’s OK, at least someone thinks I’m always here. Haha. Future Father In Law is also here, and has had a pretty rough day, pretty rough week. We’ve decided to make the best of it and we’re having some good, clean fun. Just tapped the keg and the dancing girls have been ordered and are en route. Just kidding, of course…there’s no keg. And we’re gambling.
When I went to get my coffee just now, I noticed two couples that reminded me of our early days here. One was having an emotional conversation in the Long Yellow Hall, and the other was curled up on the couch in Second Cup in front of the fireplace. Both got me thinking of our time here, our 120 days and counting. Remember when we used to curl up on the couch in Second Cup? When we needed to decompress halfway through our evening visits? Just taking a break every hour was big for us, to let us breathe a bit and stretch our legs and put our minds on something normal for a minute. Back when all we could do was pull up chairs to the solarium and watch What We Made grow. Now I’m cribside in our own room, listening to music on the same laptop I’m writing to you from, in a quiet room with dimmed lights and colourful curtains. She’s making gurgly, gassy, squidgy noises. Much better than the beep-beep-beep-BEEP of the machines from October.
Remember when we had emotional conversations on that crappy little seating bench just outside of the washroom in the Long Yellow Hall? Tonight the couple I passed was in a much different place than we ever were, having a much different conversation than we ever did, but it got me thinking about all the tears that have been shed on that crappy little bench outside the washroom. Remember when we never knew which one of us would tear up walking back to the bus? And when if we made it the whole length of the hall and were both still dry, it must have meant it was a good night. Except for those really good nights when one of us would tear up just thinking about how awesome she was? Remember how stunned we were…for about two months? We’ve come a long way since back then, and she certainly has.
Remember when the smallest purple soother was huge for her? When she had to open up her mouth wide just to bite the top? Now she’s got a few to choose (chews?) from and she’s almost holding them in place all by herself. Remember when her head was about the size of a standard office stress ball? Now it’s like a canteloupe! It’s huge! Remember those first outfits and how they were like teatowels with a couple snaps – and even those were big on her? Now she’s growing out of clothes before she can even try them on. Or how about those early pictures of her hand signals? The Middle Finger and The Rock-On? Now we’re getting ready to start teaching her baby sign language. Soon we’ll be doing real communication with this little peanut. That’s so crazy to think about.
There are so many (big and) little things that have filled the past 120 days, I could ramble on for days here. From being told by the staff not to open the solarium, to watching the PICC line come out. Hearing her first little squeal on the first day, to hearing her first big yell after being extubated two months later. From expecting an evening cuddle to watching an xray from behind a big yellow cement pillar. I could seriously go on for hours.
It’s now about ten to four in the morning. I had to stop writing earlier because it was time to take Nyana out to play. Her feed had finished, she was needing a change and was just waking up. We had a great visit, alert and awake but chill. Once she figured out where she was and what was going down, she grabbed onto my fingers really tight and pulled them close as she looked around the room, sucking on her soother. And then drifted off to sleep. When I left her earlier tonight, she was drowsy and on her way to Dreamland.
Speaking of Dreamland, you’ve just gone to bed. And I should probably get there too. There were days when we went to bed with the fear of the telephone ringing in the middle of the night. These days, we can sleep a little easier and actually enjoy looking forward to going back to see her tomorrow. And it’s Saturday tomorrow – big family time day! Bath day! Camera battery fully charged day! No CPAP day! Tomorrow is going to be a good day.