Today I thought I'd share some excerpts from a keepsake diary we wrote in while Popette was in the NICU to give you an idea of what the days are like for a NICU parent. While most days were repetitive, such as dropping feeds off, watching monitors, and talking to Popette. It was the days when we got to have a cuddle for the first time or when I gave Popette her first sponge bath that made the visits to the NICU even more special.
The pages in the diary are addressed to Popette.
Day 1: The day after Popette's birth
Today Nan, Pop and Daddy visited Mummy in the Acute Care ward. Nan and Pop gave Mummy a small pink bear, and a card with a 'baby girl' balloon for you.
Later that day Mummy was moved to the Maternity Ward and taken down to the NICU to visit you for the first time, where Mummy & Daddy named you.
During the day you were visited by Mummy & Daddy, Nan & Pop, Uncle N, Aunty K and cousins.
Mummy received some beautiful flowers from Daddy, and your Aunties & Uncles.
Mummy started expressing milk for your feeds.
Daddy came to the hospital early to spend all day with Mummy and you. Some more relatives and friends visited us, and you received some lovely presents.
Mummy and Daddy felt sad that you were born premature, but are happy that your progressing well.
Mummy visited you at 3am as she felt upset and couldn't sleep. Mummy felt so much better after seeing you!
The nurse took Daddy's wedding ring and placed it on your wrist! It looked like a bangle!
Mummy & Daddy love you very much and can't wait for you to get big and strong so they can take you home.
Daddy came in again for the day. We visited you a couple of times, each time bringing down lots of milk for you to have at your feed times.
Mummy & Daddy learnt cares from the nurse looking after you. Mummy helped clean your face and bottom, take your temperature and change your nappy.
Mummy gave you your first sponge bath where she got to wash your hair. Daddy then helped Mummy change your nappy. It was Mummy's last day at the hospital so she was really upset to be leaving you, but happy she was going home with Daddy.
Today Mummy & Daddy had their first cuddle with you! One of the nurses took you out of your crib and placed you on Mummy's chest, then Daddy's chest where we had skin-to-skin contact.
Today you were off CPAP# for 3 hours and given 4 mils of Mummy's breastmilk at feedtime*.
Mummy & Daddy had a cuddle with you, then Daddy read you the 'Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree' little golden book.
Mummy & Daddy were happy to hear that you had put on weight (1144gms) As of 2pm you were off CPAP for 40 hours.
Yay off CPAP for good!! You passed the test and have been taken off it for good. Mummy had 'Kangaroo cares' a skin-to-skin cuddle with you, which she enjoyed very much! You're now on 8ml feeds every 2 hours.
Last night the central line was removed from your foot as you no longer required the supplements in the black bag, and you were taken off the caffeine for increasing heart rate and blood flow to stop sleep apnoea from occurring.
Mummy & Daddy dropped off some milk, and spoke to the dispatch nurse about transferring you to the hospital near us so we would be closer to you, and we wouldn't have to drive so far to see you (40 minutes each way).
Mummy & Daddy were surprised to hear that the hospital had a bed available, and that you could be moved there today! While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Mummy & Daddy did your cares and read you a story. Mummy then went with you in the ambulance (your first car trip!) to the hospital with Daddy following behind in the car.
Popette was in hospital for a total of 50 days, once she was moved to our local hospital (less than a 15 minute drive from our home) I didn't keep up with the journal as I found myself spending more time at the hospital.
#CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure
^*feedtime and cares - is performed every 3 hours and was the only time we are able to change Popette's nappy, give her a bath as well as have her removed from her crib to have a cuddle.
Feedtime consisted of a tube inserted into Popette's stomach through the nose, and was mostly a mixture of breastmilk and formula, as I wasn't always able to produce enough breastmilk.