Warning!!! VENT/BITCH/GRIPE alert!!!
We left the hospital at 10 p.m. tonight, our stomachs growling. Neither of us had eaten dinner. So here we are at 11 p.m. eating sandwiches at home and looking at pictures of Lila wishing we were looking at her in person. We are so over this routine.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been essentially living at the hospital for the past 150 days. Well I’m finally starting to lose patience in this whole “process.” I just want my daughter home and I want her home NOW!!! They say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. God, if you’re listening, I don’t know how many more days of this I can handle!!!
Parenting under the watchful eye of the nurses has its benefits when it comes to being a first-time mom, especially to a preemie. But when you’re as independent as I am, most of the time you just want them to leave you the hell alone so you can take care of your baby. I keep telling myself how blessed we are for getting the opportunity to enjoy Lila while she’s in the hospital, but parenting under the hospital protocol and the nurses’ schedules is for the birds. No matter how many amenities they add to the room, or how many days in a row I wear my sweatpants, nothing about this situation feels like home.
The biggest heartache is being told when I can and cannot feed my baby. Lila is on a three-hour feeding schedule, whether she’s awake or not. Even if she shows feeding cues an hour-and-a-half before her scheduled feeding time, I can’t feed her. It’s the most hideous feeling in the world to not be able to feed your baby when she’s hungry. Mess with a mother’s natural instincts and see how long she plays nice. I finally got permission to nurse her between feedings, which she really has no interest in anyway. Breastfeeding frustrations? That’s an entirely new post for a different day.
Once feeding time finally rolls around, I cross my fingers and hope that Lila will take a bottle. She’s taking about half of her feedings by mouth — not good enough to go on an “ad lib” schedule. In other words, eat when she wants to eat. Because of Lila’s lung disease and prematurity, bottling is hard work. Once we get started, there’s no doubt about it, she wants that bottle. She gets a little too excited and might cough or gag at first. But then she usually gets everything coordinated and does pretty well. That is, if I’m allowed to continue bottling her. Some nurses — again, most are great — will stand watch over my shoulder and the first moment that Lila has a desat (her heart rate or oxygen level drops) they take the bottle from me and the bottling session’s done. She gets the rest of her feeding through her NG tube. I don’t like being watched like that. I’ve fed her enough times to know when to stop, what to do, etc. I know my daughter well enough to know that it takes her a bit to get into the feeding and when the nurses take away her bottle at the first little cough, they’re taking away her chance to prove she can bottle, thus prove she’s ready to come home. Besides, the nurses sit 10 feet away and I’ll holler if I need them. Some of them make me feel like I’m incompetent and that’s not a good feeling to have. There’s enough of that emotion floating around as a new mother anyway. I know there’s reasons for everything they do in the hospital. I really do know that. And Lila’s care has been exceptional. I’m just saying it’s a crummy way to have to take care of your baby.
Life is overwhelming right now. The time I spend at the hospital is more than a full-time job. I run home in between visits to take the dogs outside, do a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes. Don’t ask me the last time my floor was mopped. Boxes are stacked upon boxes in my dining room as we chip away at packing up all of our stuff. The pictures and decorations have been taken off the wall. Not exactly the homecoming environment I envisioned for my baby.
On one of Tyler’s days off last week I dragged him along with me to Babies ‘R Us for a major shopping trip. Half-way through the trip we both questioned, why exactly did he come? Combing the aisles for the perfect diaper bag and bottle nipples, lets just say it wasn’t really his thing. But then I realized I needed him for shopping cart reinforcement! I think we finally have most everything we need. And here’s the photographic proof that moving to a bigger house is an absolute necessity!
Finally, I’ll leave you all on a happier note with a sneak peak from our impromptu photo session tonight with Auntie Meg. Look at those eyes! I think she looks like her Daddy!!!