Week 7: Margot and the ride home.
Most mornings we get a call from the neonatologist with an update on Margot’s progress. We are informed of stats such as weight, feeding amounts and frequency, medicines, upcoming exams and a general update as to how she is doing. Last Tuesday, I answered the phone expecting the usual update. To my surprise, Dr. B was calling not only to update us — but to give us 24 hours notice that we would be rooming in at the hospital. Although we knew this day was coming, we were caught off guard. As a friend of mine who also had a baby in NICU put it — “So yesterday I couldn’t unplug the lines to walk around the room, and now you want me to take her home?!”
In what felt like a few days (but was actually closer to 2 weeks), Margot progressed from receiving all of her food through a nasogastric tube to taking the “full volume” of 8 preemie-sized bottles a day. There were a few hiccups along the way. Preemies have difficulty pacing when eating, and because of that she had a few spells of low oxygen and/or low heart rate during feeds. Fortunately she figured things out pretty quickly. We also had to learn how to feed her while looking out for these issues, so that we can pace her when she just won’t stop chugging long enough to take a breath.
Margot also moved from an incubator to an open air crib a day or two before being discharged. It was such a surprise to walk into the room and see her out in the open.
Before leaving the NICU with Margot, we were able to stay overnight with her in the room across the hall. That way if any issues came up, help was nearby. It was so odd to have her all to ourselves, even more strange to not have her hooked up to the monitors, and downright scary to go to sleep that night. Probably some typical parent fears, just amplified by our history and her stay in the NICU.
The night was uneventful, except for lack of sleep. 😴
Margot was discharged the following day, January 5th, exactly one month before her due date. Just shy of 7 weeks old, weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces. It was an emotional departure. Since I was admitted in early October, I’ve been at East Jefferson as a patient (or mother of a patient) every day except for 9 or 10 days; same goes for Matt. Whatttttt?! That’s a long time. So on one hand, incredibly ready to go home. On the other hand, so very attached to the phenomenal MFM, L&D and NICU staff, who helped us survive (literally) the last 3 months.