This morning Charlie opened his eyes for the first time, and I swear he looks like someone took a shrink ray to my 91-year-old grandfather, Freddie. He has the cutest little face; his mouth is always open and he loves to make the sucking motions. He has a minor heart murmur, but the doctor didn’t seem particularly concerned. His major issue right now is the fact that he just stops breathing sometimes. He’s getting breathing help from the BiPAP machine, which forces oxygen into him about half the time (he breathes an average of 61 times per minute and the machine is usually set to 35 times per minute, meaning he’s doing it on his own about half the time).
Lily remains the smallest of the group. She actually needed some extra blood today so they gave her some of my brother John’s blood that he came and donated earlier in the week. We were told to expect Annaleigh to need it first, but Lily apparently wanted the first crack at the new blood. But she’s geting breastmilk through her feeding tube and digesting it without any problem, so that’s a good sign. They may actually increase the amount of food she gets, which will help her add some weight.
Annaleigh calmed down a bit today and they were finally able to get the central line into her. That was a relief. Unfortunately, she’s still so covered up from theBiPAP tubes and feeding tubes that we can’t see her face that much. She still hasn’t opened her eyes because they’ve been covered by the foam eye shields that she wears because of the warming jaundice lights.
Well, we’re home. We’re now a long 45-minute car ride from our babies. Most people are thrilled to leave the hospital; Brooke fought with all she had to stay, and was hoping to get a fever or an ulcer or something that would force them to keep her for another night; alas, it did not happen.
Brooke has been in the hospital for two weeks; I’ve been with her there since Saturday afternoon. As you can imagine, we’ve accumulated a LOT of stuff. Luckily, my mother-in-law used the “I’ll help you pack up” excuse as a cover to come up and see the babies, so we had some much-needed assistance. After we packed up the car, Brooke and I went down to say our tearful goodbye to Annaleigh, Lily, and Charlie.
First we talked to Charlie. As we were about to leave, he had another episode in which he stopped breathing. It was only his fifth one today, as opposed to over a dozen yesterday, but seeing it immediately before leaving him was extra hard. And then, as we were about to walk away, he raised his tiny right arm up through opening in the plastic warp that surrounds his bed and he used his hand to grab on to Brooke’s finger—he looked like he was reaching for Brooke! While we’re sure it was just a coincidence, it made us both break down in tears.
Lily was no easier. We were already worked up from Charlie’s antics, and Lil’ Lily decided to make it even harder to leave. She has been sleeping pretty soundly during that entire visit, and just as we said “goodbye baby, we love you,” she raised her right arm up as if to wave goodbye! If I weren’t there to see it I wouldn’t have believed it. These babies couldn’t possibly be waving—heck, they can’t even focus their eyes on anything beyond a few inches from their face—but it was as though they were saying “see ya later, mom and dad; we’ll be fine.” Well, Brooke and I must have looked quite pitiful as we were leaving.
Annaleigh’s goodbye was less dramatic but more personal. As we were telling her we were going to miss her, her nurse came over and asked Brooke if she would like to rub some Aquafur lotion on her skin. I got to do it yesterday so I know just how fragile and bony her flesh feels. Brooke was thrilled to have this last physical bonding with our little girl.
But we’re home now, with plans to drive back up tomorrow (maybe more than once). We’ll be spending our summer there, so if anyone knows any good New Brunswick restaurants or malls or other time-killers, please let us know.
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