(See Part 1 and Part 2)
But we prevailed. Between countless trips to the hospital and back, playdates, prayers, grandparents' help, giftcards, hugs, texts, phone calls... we made it. We were all a little worse for the wear, but we did it.
We had lots of highs and lows during our stay.
Getting to hold him was the highlight of the first week. Then we picked out and finally agreed on a good name! He was in the incubator for a very long month until he was transferred to the crib - crib day was awesome! When you can freely pick up your baby and change his diapers free of the plastic box? SO good. One still has to fight the accursed wires ... but still good.
I loved putting "real" clothing on him the first time although the aforementioned wires made those cute pants a little difficult. (Preemie size clothing only works well if your child isn't in the hospital.) After the third head ultrasound, when he was deemed brain bleed free - I could've jumped for joy! That was a good NICU day.
One of the best? Watching this girl hold her baby brother for the first time. She waited THIRTY days! And proceeded to surprise us by snuggling with him for an entire hour.
BUT, I hated leaving my girl every day. It's really hard to have a four year old in the NICU when we needed to be quiet or when she needed to go to the bathroom during a pumping/feeding/holding session. It was hard to stay the night (again, leaving home and getting poor sleep) to try to nurse and just have Little Mister decide he was tooooo tiiiired to even attempt a latch.
Days filled with non-medically trained parents (us) trying to figure out what was best for our little guy because even all the "experts" have vastly differing opinions. Fighting with his new pediatrician - whom I thought was a good choice for us, and instead found that this was very wrong. Experiencing extreme reflux that had I not known what it was I might've thought he was seizing. It was so scary. Furious at a nurse for not even realizing a spell had happened until it *might* have been too late.
And that's just a few snippets of our experience. I can't even begin to explain the emotional rollercoaster the NICU affords. It is an experience like no other. We were grateful for his care and his subsequent health but in no way did I like being there.
The best day overall? Day 64. Going home day!!