Monday, August 11, 2008
Oh yeah...somehow I forgot about the Olympics!
One of the hardest things about having your baby in the NICU is trying to figure out how to come home without her. How often do you visit? How long should you stay? How do you get your life going again in this weird in-between stage, when you have a baby...but you don't really have a baby?
For the first time since she was born, Steph and I decided to spend the evening at home resting, instead of going up to visit Avery. Emotionally, that's a hard thing not to feel like we are somehow abandoning her... but she keeps showing us with all of her improvements, how much she really doesn't even need us at all. By the time she comes home, she'll probably be making us dinner and taking care of US!
So, we had visited her that morning already, and she was doing great. I got to change her little diaper, and do her vitals. Yes...I do get a little thrill out of finding that she soaked that miniature pampers, because that says her body is up and running like it's supposed to. And when I stick that thermometer under her little chicken wing, it's always a shock to see that someone as small and fragile as she looks can keep her body temperature at 98.6 like it's no big deal.
They are slowly taking her off of the IV formula (which I just call gatorade, because it's neon yellow and is full of the electrolytes my little champ needs to fuel her machine!), and replacing it, cc for cc, with mom's milk. They have these amazing machines that drip each of these into her little picc line (basically a little tube that's run into her arm that acts like and artificial vein) over a given period of time. The pride that hits me each time I find out that they have increased her milk .5 cc's is not unlike that of a father who just heard that his little girl just creamed the other kids in the school spelling bee :)
So, Steph and I are sitting on the couch up at her parent's (who have been so kind to let us stay with them for the past few nights...as they are more of a halfway point between us and Avery...it's so hard to be so far away from our little girl!)... and we get to watching the Olympics. If you can imagine, we've been a little busy and haven't caught many of the events at all, even though we both love the Olympics. Just to calm our worried parental hearts, I call up to the hospital to get a quick update from the nurses.
As I hung up the phone, I looked over at Steph and the family intensely watching the men's 4x100 swim relay... which was shaping up to be quite an amazing race, and my mind flashed back to the day Avery was born. I had just left the operating room, following the crowd of nurses racing towards the NICU to get Avery all measured and hooked up. I'll never forget watching the Doctor take out the certificate and writing down the baby's birth-weight as I stood there in amazement. Stunned, I walked the certificate back to the OR, and with Stephanie still laying on the table being stiched up, I presented held up the paper, and pointed to the blank spot before "lbs"...now filled in with the number 1. Our little girl had come out fighting in a lower weight class than we ever expected!!
The men's relay ended spectacularly that night, with the US team beating the French at the very last moment. I am sure there were cheers ringing out all the way from Beijing across the ocean and across the country as history was made. As momentous and remarkable as that may have been... at that moment, I don't think any great Olympic achievement would have been as incredible to me as what the nurse had told me on the phone when I called to check on our baby that night. Avery had filled two diapers....and still hit the 2 lbs mark!!
The world's eyes might be on Beijing...but ours are fixated on a sweet little heavyweight, curled up all cozy in her isolet... making the headlines in our hearts!!