The other day as we were singing in church I saw a dad holding a little girl in a white dress and a big pink bow on top of her head and tears just welled up in my eyes and it was like the floodgates had opened. Uncontrollable tears just started pouring down my face. Lawson looked at me and put his arm around me and without saying anything he knew these were Adeline tears.
It’s been awhile since I wrote about Adeline, not because I don’t want to share her story, but it’s hard to sit down and write without tears welling up in my eyes. But I’m going to try and pick up where I left off.
Two days after Adeline was born I was discharged from the hospital. We just had this life changing event, yet the only thing I was carrying in my hands was a couple bouquets of flowers. Adeline had a room at home that we so carefully put together, yet she was in the NICU for an unforeseen time. This was going to be our new normal.
We timed the drive to be 18 minutes without traffic. I was pumping and would have to get up in the middle of the night and pump in her empty nursery wondering what she was doing. I would call her nurse to get her nightly update; I wanted to make sure nothing had changed.
Lawson had to go back to work and I was on maternity leave with no baby at home. I would spend my mornings with Adeline. We would do kangaroo care in between her assessments: that’s where you hold your baby on your chest to help with bonding and development for preemie babies. Adeline loved it.
One of the times Lawson was visiting us on his lunch break, Adeline’s nurse insisted that Kangeroo Care wasn’t just for mom’s. Lawson already had a hard time holding Adeline because to him she was fragile and connected to monitors. The nurse handed Adeline to Lawson and unbuttoned his top button and had him place Adeline on his chest. This was about the time that Adeline was only a two week old (33 weeks) and her eyes got soo big because she was so confused who this person was she was cuddling with because it definitely wasn’t her mommy! It is still one of my favorite pictures.
I would pump then leave to eat and come back in the afternoon. I’d hang out at the hospital for a few hours, then head home and wait for Lawson to finish work and we would go back to see her until her bedtime, which was around 9. Making and eating dinner was now a foreign thing. Most nights we would just resort to picking up something on the way home because we didn’t want to miss time with Adeline.
I would say our favorite parts of the day was when night shift started, because this was the time we would see how much she weighed and every 2-3 night was bathtime! The little things that parents with a regular baby take for granted are the very things that NICU parents cling to. Every bath time, diaper change, and every ounce gained seemed like one more step closer to having our girl home with us.
From the beginning there were 3 things that determined when Adeline could come home.
- She must be able to maintain her body temperature
- She must be able to drink all her bottles
- She must gain weight and maintain it
So we would literally praise every ounce she drank and every ounce she gained.