Letter To My Babymama

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.

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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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9 Responses to Letter To My Babymama

  1. Anne Brackett says:

    Greetings from the frigid cold.

    Greetings from the frigid cold. That picture is absolutely adorable. Perfect picture for a poster calendar. How precious..Love to all Mom

  2. Linda Angell says:

    It is so wonderful that you get to spend some alone time with Nyana, Don. The bonds that the two of you develop now will last a lifetime. You are an incredible father already and Nyana is so very fortunate to have you as her Dad. The “tummy-time” picture is so precious and it is now going to become my desktop picture.
    Reading your reminisces makes me marvel at how far you have all traveled these past four months and how we have all grown, emotionally and spiritually, thanks to Nyana.
    Love you, Don
    Mum

  3. Lynn Duncan says:

    Well if the two Grandmas above didn’t have sweet tears reading that post, and I’d bet big money they did.. I sure did!

    There is no doubt that Nyana will be coming home already SO bonded to both of you, so much more so than had she just come home when Karen did. Not that you’d wish any of this on any of you, but so much good has come out of it nevertheless.

    Sweet thoughts, sweet picture.

  4. What a nice post.. you too are an inspiration to me 🙂

  5. Olivia ♡ says:

    Awe, I loved reading this. Even though I have a massive headache I HAD to read the newest post, lol.

    Beautiful picture of her! And great post, Don.

  6. Tamara says:

    Like Olivia I had to read the new post! I actually snuck downstairs to the comp last night while making a bottle. LOL.

    It’s amazing how the little things stick with us, in years I’m sure you both will hold these memories dear. You both are inspirational, I can’t wait to see how Nyana’s personality grows. I am sure she will have a brilliant one.

  7. Biscottiii says:

    Sweet, Donners! I must say, every picture of Nyana, she sure looks like her Dad. But she she sure looks like her Mom when it comes to awareness & determination, little girl is going to take the storm when it comes to computers (I’m betting!!!) and blow the storm off Microsoft etc.

    Hang in there Karen, Donnors and Nyana! We’re all rooting for you.

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