So, they discharged me from the hospital on Thursday, but they decided to keep Valerie for a little bit longer, because she is still pretty jaundiced, and her bilirubins keep going up in spite of two bili lights and a wallaby pad. They continue to let me nurse her, so my life has begun to revolve entirely around the feeding of my baby. I don't have a hospital room anymore, but they are allowing us to hang out in an education room with a few couches and chairs, so that I can feed Valerie every three hours. Once she is done eating, I pump everything she missed so that there will be milk to get her through the night. Then I eat something to replenish my resources, nap if I can, and then it's feeding time all over again. After her 9:00 pm feeding, I go home, pump at midnight, three, and six, then head back in to the hospital to start all over again. It's exhausting, but when it's the only thing you can do for your child, you put everything into it. When they wouldn't let me feed her yet, I poured all of my frustration into pumping, and my milk responded quickly, and I think I am now producing enough for twins, and I'm not sure what Val is going to do with it all when I finally get her home and don't need to do double duty anymore. I really love nursing her, though, and she is latching on like a pro, now.
Okay, enough about milk, although frankly, it's a fairly accurate depiction of my life right now if 98% of this entry was about milk.
I should have been keeping better track of all of her progress, and I will make an effort to from now on. They took her off the nasal cannula on Wednesday morning, then took her off the IV on Thursday, I believe. By the end of the day on Thursday, they had removed her from all of the monitoring stuff, and moved her over to the well-baby nursery, although she is still under the care of the NICU nurses. The rapid breathing issues that they initially checked her into the NICU for seem to have completely resolved.
As of today, Valerie's bilirubins were up again, so I won't be taking her home tonight as I had hoped. They are shooting for Sunday, now, which means two more days of hanging out in the education room. On the bright side, they started bringing her to me today, so that I don't have to nurse her in the nursery anymore, which has been nice. Her jaundice was at its worst this morning, but I really think it had improved a bit by this evening. They tell me that the main thing is for her to get as much fluid as possible so that she can break down the bilirubins and pass them out of her body (or something along those lines), and although I am extremely resistant to supplementing, I do want her to get better. So, we've reached a compromise, and they let me nurse her first for at least half an hour every feeding, then they will supplement with my pumped milk if she seems to need it. I'm not entirely happy with this arrangement, but at least she is getting my milk only, and not formula or IV fluids. After this afternoon's feeding, Jeremy watched through the nursery window as two different nurses tried to give her more milk from a bottle, and she wouldn't take more than a few drops, as if to say, no thanks, I got plenty from Mama already. I was very proud of her. They tell me she has had a dirty diaper with almost every change today, which means she is getting plenty of food, and hopefully, it also means that she is finally breaking down some of those nasty bilirubins.
Okay, enough talky, on with the pictures...
Skin to skin time with Mama in the NICU, 1 day old
Valerie under the bili lights, sporting cool shades, 2 days old
Valerie shows off her big mouth, 2 days old (Jer and I both think the little velcro tabs for the bili-shades make her look like Geordi La Forge)
Valerie naps after nursing, 2 days old
Big Daddy Fingers and Tiny Baby Toes, 2 days old
Valerie with her proud Papa, 2 days old
My beautiful, yellow baby, 3 days old