What a surprise! We arrived at the NICU for our morning visit to find that Charlie’s girlfriend Carolyn was waiting for us to get there so she could give him a tub bath! This was surprising because baths are usually reserved for night nurses but Carolyn knew how much we loved seeing Lily’s tub time last night so she decided that Charlie and his roommate Ethan would get baths today.
And the shock of all shocks: he didn’t hate it! We were told that most boys hate their first bathtub experience but Charlie’s reaction was more shocked than anything else. Carolyn lowered him into the tub and by the time his legs and his butt were submerged he had his arms out to his sides and a confused look in his eyes—and he stayed just like that without moving for about three full minutes! He had no idea what was happening!
Carolyn added an extra touch to the bath. She filled the tub with warm water and then added a little soap. She then ran a tube from the oxygen pump into the water so the bath got very bubbly, just like a hot tub! I don’t know how Charlie felt, but we both thought it looked very relaxing.
Just like with Lily, Brooke got to help soap Charlie up and rinse him off. We each got the chance to prop him up and rub his back and give him lots of kisses. I can’t put into words how nice it is to feel our babies flesh like that and be able to do these “normal” parental things with them. It makes us almost able to forget how tiny they still are.
Not to be outdone, Lily’s nurse Amelia decided that we would handle her bath time tonight. Since she just had a full bath yesterday, today was more of a sponge bath, which is more normal. This sort of bath is usually done while still in the isolette, but Amelia brought Lily out and put her on a normal bed under a heating lamp. This enabled us to more freely access The Bug.
And once again, Lil’ put on a show for us. This time I got to pat her down with the wash cloths and rub lotion all over her body. My parents got to see her performance and were quite excited to see tonight’s Lily Show.
What’s been extra nice for us these last two days has been how much we’ve handled Lily and Charlie ourselves. Amelia showed us where to hold Lily and how to pick her up and cuddle her and then we did it ourselves. And we lifted and moved Charlie during his bath time and while cuddling him. We’re by no means independent, but we’re slowly learning how to do more of their care on our own. This is something that’s especially important for us to do because I’ve realized lately how timid we’ve been about lifting them and handling them without supervision.
Dr. Hiatt talked to us briefly today both a couple big steps for Charlie. First, he’s going to be starting a course of diuretics tomorrow. The idea is that, for whatever reason, diuretics can help lung development and help a baby ween off the nasal cannula. He’ll either be able to take the next step in his breathing by changing from the high-humidity nasal cannula or he’ll be able to breathe without the help of a nasal cannula at all. Annaleigh went right from the HHNC to room air so there’s a chance Charlie can do the same.
The second big step for Charlie is his bottle-feeding. Charlie’s nurse Sue (she’s sort of the tough big sister of the nursing staff) decided to try him on the bottle a few nights back. He took a mouthful of milk and then sat there with it in his mouth until Sue rubbed his throat and he swallowed it, thus showing that he wasn’t ready. Dr. Hiatt decided that he can start trying the bottle more regularly sometime this week. It will be a slow process once it starts though; they will give him one feeding each day with the bottle until he gets the hang of it, which could take a while. But the thought of Charlie taking a bottle is really, really exciting for us. We can’t wait to be able to feed one of our babies!
Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day at the NICU. I’ve been very fortunate in that the babies were born two days after school let out, so I’ve had the last two months to spend all my time with them. (Let me add an addendum to this and note that I would obviously rather the babies still be happily in the womb right now—they’d be 35 weeks tomorrow—but since that didn’t happen, at least I’ve been off from work for all this time.) School starts up again for me on Tuesday, so tomorrow will be the last time I’ll be able to visit in the morning and again at night. I’m going to enjoy the day and get in some extra cuddling. With a little bit of luck, this reduced visitation schedule will only last for a few weeks because the babies will be home!
Charlie and his girlfriend Carolyn as she brings him to his bath tub
This is how Charlie sat for about three full minutes as he was trying to figure out what was happening. We all spent that time laughing uncontrollably.
Seriously, could he look any happier? He's got two women giving him a bath. 'Nuff said.
After his bath, Brooke dressed Charlie in his "I'm Bananas Over Mommy" outfit. She just loves it and I think he does too.
Lily doesn't know why we keep bothering her.
My dad took this picture and I nearly cried when I saw it. It was so nice to be able to hold her and feel her warm baby skin against mine, but when I saw this pic and saw that she seemed happy... well, I like it.
Lily seems somewhat board with all of us admiring her. We stare at her lovingly and are fascinating by every movement she makes; she yawns at us.