Tuesday, July 22, 2008

January - coming home

I was released from the hospital on 1/12. I went home with a catheter still in place to be sure that my bladder had plenty of time to heal. It was scheduled to be removed on 1/21/08. I guess they don’t see something like that very often, because when I cam back to visit Samantha, some of the NICU nurses asked Samantha’s nurse “Is that mom STILL in the hospital?”

1/12/08 was also the first day that Samantha was strong enough to take ALL of her feedings by bottle rather than having half or more by tube. And she pulled her feeding tube out halfway through the day, prompting her nurse to tell her that she had better take all of her bottles that day so that she wouldn’t have to re-insert the tube. That afternoon her doctor said that she would be able to go home on Tuesday, 1/15. It was very hard to go home without her, but at least we knew a date for her to come home. And it turns out that being home for a couple days without her was very good for my body to continue healing.

On Monday night, I was SOOOO nervous about taking Samantha home. I had become dependent on having her hooked up to monitors to watch her heart rate and her breathing, and I was terrified that I wouldn’t do as good a job of taking care of her as the nurses had. All of the nurses were very re-assuring, though and told us that we would be just fine. The hospital does have a very cool program for NICU parents called rooming in. So Monday night, Brent and I spent the night in a parent room just outside the NICU and Samantha stayed with us. She was off all of her monitors, but the nurse still checked in with us a couple times during the night and was just a few steps away down the hall, and we could also call from our room. That went a long way toward boosting our confidence. I wonder, do parents who have their baby with them from day one feel so inadequate at the thought of taking their sweetheart home? Or is that a special feeling for NICU parents? Perhaps someday I will be able to answer that question. Or will I not have a true answer because of my previous experience? I may never know that answer.

Something funny happened while we were at the hospital the night before Samantha’s homecoming. I ran into an old friend. Kim had called for someone to prepare Samantha’s security leg band that prevents her from being taken from the hospital. She didn’t need one prior to that since the NICU is secure, but the parent room was just outside the NICU, no longer secure. Anyway, the lady who prepares the bands came into the room and spoke to Kim. As she left, I turned to Kim and asked if the lady’s name is Kathryn. Kim answered yes and I told her that I went to high school with Kathryn and that we were on the swim team together. She called Kathryn back and asked what high school she went to. When she answered San Angelo Central, I came out and told her my maiden name. We hugged and spent a fun few minutes catching up. That was really cool!

Brent only had one day of vacation before his anniversary date at work, January 21, so he took off 1/8/08, but then had to go back to work. So even though he stayed with me on Monday night in the parent room, he had to leave at 5am to go back to work. His mom came to pick me and Samantha up at the hospital later that morning. By the time we were finished with everything there, it was already time for my OB/GYN appointment, so we went straight from the hospital to my doctor’s office. Brent met us there, so he was able to be with me as we took Samantha home for the first time. That made me very happy because I wanted us to all come home as a family, and I got my wish. And so we had a new beginning as a family of three all together for the first time.