Day 4: September 20 (Melissa goes home)

September 22, 2010

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:

  1. Talk to the lactation consultant about pumping and storing milk over the next 3 months
  2. Talk to the social worker about - everything
  3. 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:

Napping before our cuddle. Notice the chin strap. Top help regulate his breathing, he is on a canula. It only really works if you keep your mouth closed- something he is not very good at. So, chin strap.

Mom trying really hard to burst out crying

The Zen of Sam holding

Skin to skin contact

Still happy, even after our cuddle

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:

Wow, luckily there’s no picture of this mom trying not to burst into tears (especially since I failed). I love these sweet pictures and will enjoy watching the journey for Sam as he makes his way home as well. In the meantime, sending you lots of love!
The Pitts'
Hi Odum-Harris’! Bertito and I were thinking of y’all today (I took today off as I will be taking clients on a fieldtrip to the Academy of Sciences on Saturday). Chris told me we started helping with meals so I hope we got you something good tonight. It is great to see Irene so interested in her younger brother. She will be a good Elder. If you get any tingling out of the blue, it is from our prayers and good vibes coming your way.
Hi Pitts’! We had a lovely dinner tonight. Thank you. Irene is interested in her brother, but I am not sure she fully gets the impact he is going to have on her life. She’ll learn 🙂
If the pumping pain/issues continue….try Earth Mama Angel Baby (Booby-Tubes and Natural Nipple Butter). The Booby-Tubes are gel-free breast pack made with a 100% organic cotton shell and filled with all-natural flax seed. Use warm or cold. LOVED these!
Also these babies are a must have MotherMates Hyrdogel Discs. Keep in the fridge!
TMI: I slept in a lot of crazy hot/cold things and slathered things up (really thick) and used both disposable and wash breast pads….just switched it up. But my one breast leaked quite a bit more (like a dripping faucet) at the cry of another baby…even on a commercial.
For me blisters, cracked and bleeding were super rough and par for the course (almost wanting to throw in the towel daily). So I took it day-by-day…and thinking back no idea when it subsided (thinking about 6-8 weeks). Also I had 2 pumps (left one at work and one at home so my train commute wasn’t impossible with a laptop, pump and milk). LOVED-LOVED the hands-free Medela at work. Looking back would have had two of these instead. Oh and took Fenugreek and Milk Thistle….could be helpful for extra storage. We found these storage bags (our local lactation consultant out east) that had wire….made it super easy to pump store bc you could attach to the pump and not spill anything. Happy to call where we purchased these back east of you like…just lmk. Any questions call, email or text.
Thanks for the tips Susan. I will check these out. My hope is the blisters will go away after a week. I am lucky in that they do not hurt, they are just not pretty!

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