It's day 3. I've been pumping around the clock and not getting anything. Hailey isn't eating and she's losing weight. She's lost 6oz and now only weighs 2lbs. She's not as lively as Hannah and Emily. She doesn't like to be touched or bothered. I haven't been able to hold her yet. I just know that if I can hold her and show her how loved she is that she'll be just fine. People underestimate the power of touch. I spend a lot of my day in the NICU changing diapers, feeding and changing bed linens. I have 3 babies here and I'll be taking care of them myself for their entire stay. I learn quickly how to take off and put back on their leads. I learn about the care around the umbilical IV and I learn how to change the smallest diapers in the world. We actually have to fold over the preemie diapers because they're too big. I learn how to weigh them on the scale and feed them through the tubes. And Pete & I spend as many hours as possible doing Kangaroo care with Emily and Hannah.
Late in the night on day 3 I get 1/2 cc of milk. It's not much - much it's all that's needed - I just know it. I put this tiny little bit in a syringe and bring it right to the NICU. "It's for Hailey" I say. And they give it to her right away. The next morning I'm thrilled to find out she digested it. I get more and more milk as the days go on and for a few days it's only for Hailey. She seems to be digesting the breast milk just fine as opposed to the formula. Once I start producing enough for all 3 of them - they will only get breast milk during the day and supplemented formula for 2 feedings during the night. It's day 5 and I'm being discharged from the hospital. I'm actually ok with this because I know my babies are right where they need to be for the time being. Although Pete and I leave to go home but we only get as far as Target to buy them some preemie hats before turning around to come right back. I miss them already.
We work out a good routine. Pete and I come in to the hospital together in the morning. I stay all day with the babies while he goes to work. He comes down at lunch and visits and then after work we stay a few more hours so he can visit some more before going home for the night. I find a room where I can lay down and sleep for a while if I need a break or when I need to pump. Most of the time I'm in the NICU holding, talking, changing, feeding, bathing and thinking. My mom and Pete's mom are there often which is great because it gives me a break.
One thing I learn very quickly is to avoid eye contact with other parents. They have sick babies here in the NICU. Pete and I do not. Our babies are healthy and we're just waiting for them to grow. For some reason this is hard for other people to take in. A mom said to me "how is it possible that you had 3 babies 2 months premature and there is nothing wrong with them?!?!" She was angry. I was left with nothing to say except "I'm sorry your baby is sick - I will pray for her." I never asked "how are you today?" or "how's he/she doing today?". Quite frankly - I don't care. All I care about are my 3 babies and taking care of them. I walked into the NICU one afternoon to see an entire team of doctors 'working' on a baby. My mom said "I wonder what's going on..." and my reply was simple "I don't. I don't care. I'm just thankful it's not mine." And at that moment in my life that was true. As heartless as it sounds - that's what was running through my head. I'm sure I said a prayer for that baby - although I don't remember. I just remember being so thankful that MY babies were healthy. My goal was to get my babies to the point where we could all be home as a family and never look back at that place ever again. Some people keep in touch with their doctors and nurses that were involved in their babies deliveries. Not me. I'll say "Thank you" on my way out the door. It's too hard to live that over and over again. Even writing this blog has become a chore because this is a place I never wanted to revisit - not even in writing.