Thursday night Christopher went to the NICU, and found Benjamin without a C-PAP. He still has a nasal cannula for oxygen, but it’s nice to see his face. No C-PAP also means he can start to nurse. Friday I spent 10 hours in the NICU. I attempted to nurse him four times, at 9 am, noon, 3 pm, and 6 pm. He was able to latch and even to get some milk, but it wore him out quickly and his O2 sats dropped enough that they had to turn up his oxygen a bit when he was attempting to eat. Because he didn’t do that great, I went home and slept. I was going to try and buy a bra but I couldn’t bring myself to go shopping so I just went home. I got home just in time to give Megan and Gavin goodnight kisses, and Christopher and I spent an hour or two just holding hands, exhausted.
Yesterday was a rough day for both Christopher and I. The kids have had runny noses and Megan has been coughing. Thursday Gavin complained that his ear hurt (once) and yesterday morning Megan woke up and said hers hurt, as well. So Christopher had to take the kids to the pediatrician. Dr. Wisman said they both had an ear infection and prescribed 10 days of Augmentin, which we were happy about because they’ll still be on antibiotics when we bring the baby home. Christopher is sick with a cold as well, and trying to fight it, because he doesn’t have time to be sick.
In between feedings yesterday, I decided I really needed to get my prescriptions for pain meds filled. The nurse who discharged me from labor and delivery told me I could fill them at the hospital outpatient pharmacy, and I could walk there. I found someone at the hospital who was walking that way, so I walked with her.
Twelve miles later, I made it to the pharmacy. Turns out, it was in a separate wing of the hospital and it was very far away. Curse the nurse who told a woman who had a baby two days ago she could walk to the pharmacy.
I waited in line to get a number. When my number was called, I dropped off my prescriptions. The lady told me it would take 30-45 minutes to get them, so I decided to head back to the NICU for Gavin’s next feeding and come back later. I went to the information desk and asked to get a wheelchair transport back to the NICU. The lady told me there was only one guy working and it would take a while. Instead, I could catch a shuttle back to the new wing of the hospital and get a wheelchair there up to the 7th floor. She told me to wait in a chair for the shuttle. Ten minutes later, she said, “The shuttle’s here.” I got up, walked outside, and the shuttle took off. I chased it down a few steps, waving, but it was gone. I walked back inside, and the woman said, “Another shuttle will be here in 10 to 15 minutes.” I burst into tears.
Now, I’m not normally a crier. In fact, Christopher says the last time I cried was right after I had Gavin. But combine a baby in the NICU, a 17-mile walk to the pharmacy, a lack of pain meds, rock hard engorged breasts, lack of sleep, and good ole postpartum hormones, and you’ve got a winning combination.
I decided that since I had to wait, I might as well wait in the pharmacy and try and get my meds. When I walked into the pharmacy, I was full-on sobbing. Thirty people looked up at me.
What happened next was straight out of “Dateline NBC: What Would You Do?” Twenty-nine people looked away. One women, with a toddler in her lap, immediately jumped up with concern. “Are you allright?” she exclaimed. “What can I do to help you?” I said I was okay, just overwhelmed, I just had a baby and he’s in the NICU and it was a really long walk to the pharmacy and I was trying to get my postpartum pain meds and a ride back to the NICU. This kind woman jumped into action. First, she got me Kleenex and gave me a hug. Then she offered to get me something to eat. Then, she found someone and asked if they could get me a wheelchair, and they were able to without much trouble. But when the wheelchair attendant got there, he said he only did transport in the old building and couldn’t take me across the bridge to the new building. So this lady flagged down another guy pushing an empty wheelchair, and he said, sure, he could take me to the NICU. I got in the wheelchair, because my meds weren’t ready yet and I wasn’t going to pass up a ride to the NICU, and this lady asked the attendant if he could wait until my prescription was filled. He said sure, he had a few minutes. Then a lady came from behind the pharmacy counter and said she’d take care of me. I paid my copay and walked away with my three prescriptions, and got wheeled back to the NICU. All because, when I had a meltdown, a complete stranger hopped up and took care of everything. I took an ibuprofen, a Percocet, got a cheeseburger, and felt much better. The rest of the afternoon was pretty low-key and I left the hospital at 7 pm.
This morning Gavin climbed into bed with us at 5 am, of course. He was raring to go at 6:30. I told Christopher to go back to sleep in the guest bed and I turned on cartoons for Gavin. Megan was in bed with us by 7:15 and I made myself get up at 7:30. I pumped, fed the kids breakfast, and showered and got ready for the NICU. I left the kids in my bed watching TV. I’m sure they were entertained for several hours (they love that “cool” shows like Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake are on Saturday mornings) and hopefully Christopher got some good sleep.
I arrived at the NICU in time for the 9 am feeding and Benjamin did pretty well. I think he got just about a full feeding, and except for some choking at the end, did pretty well. It’s 12:10 now and he’s starting to wake up. I’ll probably take his temperature and change his diaper and try, try again. It’s going to take a few days for him to get the hang of it, but since he’s on antibiotics for his non-existent infection until Tuesday, he may as well take it slowly.
Update: The noon feeding was just okay. He managed to nurse for about 5 minutes, then 7 minutes, but I couldn’t keep him awake long enough for a full feeding, so they are giving him another 35 cc of breast milk through his NG tube. We’ll try again at three.