So I woke up today with a huge bag of mixed emotions. I have been cleared for discharge- which is great. However, it means leaving Sam behind- which sucks. The entire day I have been flipping between excited and teary eyed. It seems so improbable to just walk away from the hospital, leaving Sam. I know he is in the best possible place for a little man. He has the best nurses, the best care, the best of everything... he just doesn't have his momma down the hall. Of course, there is Irene. She is going to love having me at home again- and it will go a long way to making her feel safer and her life stable again. I guess this emotional pendulum will just swing back and forth for the next few months while Sam stays at Alta Bates and gets stronger.
Before I was going to go anywhere, there were few things I needed to take care:
- Talk to the lactation consultant about pumping and storing milk over the next 3 months
- Talk to the social worker about - everything
- Hold Sam
My need to talk to the lactation consultant had been pressing on me since I gave birth. Some of you might recall that I had supply issues with Irene. I was terrified that this time would be the same or worse, so I wanted to make sure that was not going to be the case. Well- as I learned over the weekend and even today, supply is not an issue. Holy milk production! I am getting the same amount of milk out now that it took a month to build up to with Irene! I had new issues this time. [TMI WARNING] All of the pumping had caused huge blisters on my nipples and even made one nipple bleed. When I asked the nurses for a breast pad to protect my poor nipples, they had nothing. Luckily my nurse pulled a MacGyver and cut a maxi pad in half and taped it to each breast. Nothing says sexy like a hospital gown + percocet sweats + maxi pads on the boobs. Obviously a stop at babies-r-us on the way home was a must!
Each preemie family is assigned a social worker to help them navigate through all the medical, technical and emotional challenges that will be thrown at us over the next three months. Our social worker, Misty, is great. Her sense of humor is a perfect match for us. She has been fantastic about directing us to good resources as well as helping us learn the ropes of the NICU. Talking to her is a big help. Misty will also be the one in charge of setting up our weekly team meeting with Sam's doctors and nurses where we can ask all of our questions, talk about what is in store for the next week, get a report on how he is doing, etc. Misty will be a big part of our lives for the next 3 months.
Of course, the best even of the day was when I was able to hold Sam. This time, the nurse set us up to do a skin to skin hold, where Sam was placed directly on my chest with no blankets between us. The second he got there, he reach out his little hand and started to rub my chest. Believe me when I tell you this turned me to a big pile of mush. Nothing has come close to making me feel so at ease in a long time.
Here are today's pictures:
And now for your video moment of zen - loving recorded by Peter after I sent him back to the hospital at 10 pm to check on the baby: