So while I was confident in the doctors and nurses, I think sometimes that being a health care provider myself, having seen all the ways things can go wrong, knowing what can all go wrong, sometimes it isn't good. Sometimes I think it's better to be naïve and not know what all can go wrong. But I knew that there was nothing I could do at this point other than pray and believe. I had done the best I could growing this baby, keeping this labor away for a few extra days so she could grow and get those lungs opened up. I had prepared myself for a few days now, trying not to let my mind wander and trying not to look to Google for risk of seeing thousands of scary stories. I had to focus on our daily goals, which every day was "stay pregnant" while I was on bed rest. This baby was going to come and together we would face whatever the next chapter brought us. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
So when I got to hold little miss Gianna for the first time before they whisked her away to the NICU, we still hadn't decided on a name. Cora and Gianna were our choices. And so I looked at her and asked her, "Do you want to be Cora?" and she laid there with her eyes closed. So I asked "Do you want to be Gianna?" and she opened her eyes and looked right at me, I swear right into my soul. So I handed her back to the NICU nurse and said "Her name is Gianna and I love her very much. Please take care of her." The Nurse Practitioner said "She is a beautiful Gianna, she looks strong so she'll do well" So they took her away to the NICU and Josh went along after making sure that I was in good hands and stable. I still had to finish up with my own doctors, get cleaned up and transferred to the postpartum room before I could follow her to the NICU. I also knew that upon admission to the NICU, they would be poking her for labs, and an IV, and I knew that my fragile state could not handle seeing her in pain like that. So I was okay waiting a few minutes to go.
When I got to the NICU she was still on CPAP and Josh was holding her. She had had her labs drawn, her feet poked for blood sugars, she had been stuck 3-4 times for an IV which was in her left hand. She was hooked up to some Dextrose to help maintain her blood sugar until she got a few feedings under her belt. She was also getting IV antibiotics until they received back the results of her blood cultures as being all negative.
|Admiring my sweet little girl and her tubes|
|Miriam and Joseph with the poster they made for their sister|
|I don't think she's ever looked at a birthday or Christmas present with more excitement in her face than this expression|
|Holding her baby sister for the first time|
|He was only interested because Miriam was holding her :)|
|snuggle time, and a glimpse at her 24guage IV|
In the NICU I started reading the Little House on the Prairie series to her like I did for Miriam when she was nursing. Having her hear my voice and the inflections and rhythm of language is very good for a baby's developing brain and since she listened to my voice for the last 34wks, I want her to continue to hear me and feel my presence. I introduced her to the Baby Beluga song that I am sure she will hear frequently from her big sister. (And sure enough, since we've been home, whenever Miriam senses that Gianna is about to cry, Miriam starts singing Baby Beluga :) )
Tuesday we had to start some phototherapy because her bilirubin levels were rising.
She didn't seem to mind sunbathing too much. I was discharged from the hospital Tuesday and was then faced with the decision to stay with Gianna in the NICU rocking chair all night or go home. I had been away from the older kids for a week now and knew that I should probably take advantage of the excellent and capable nurses who would be watching over my little girl at night. So the next few days I would go home for dinner with the kids, then head in to nurse Gianna and come back to put kids to bed and then get a few hours of sleep (interrupted by a midnight pumping session of course), before heading back to the hospital around 5am to get Gianna her breakfast and check in on morning lab reports.
|so tiny, yet so perfect|
Friday we had more snuggle time and they discontinued the phototherapy. We rechecked her Bili level Saturday morning and while it was still elevated, it hadn't risen much without the therapy so the neonatologist gave us discharge orders. She spoke to us about how impressed she was that Gianna, at only 34wks and 6 days, was doing so fantastic and holding her own. She said that we have a very strong little girl and that she couldn't have done a better job in the 6 days she spent in the NICU. So we loaded her up and brought her home!
|sibling love :)|
Joseph 22mo, Gianna 1 wk, Miriam 3yr 5mo
|sunbathing to decrease bili levels|