... where the heart is.
Well, I'm home. Have been for almost 24 hours now. The hospital takes its 24-hour discharge policy pretty darn seriously. And really, I slept better in my own bed than I ever would've there.
But a big chunk of my heart is not here with me.
Charlotte is staying in the NICU for now, and I know it's the best place for her. She is receiving around-the-clock monitoring and exceptional care. Wish that made it easier to leave her. Makes me a little weepy just thinking about it now.
Knowing her gestational age and small size, I expected a NICU stay. Most importantly, her symptoms are all typical. She's healthy but immature. Her systems - respiratory, digestive, nervous - are being required to take care of a lot of things that my womb should be providing for another 3-4 weeks.
She's still having a tough time regulating body temperature, but the nurses just moved her from the heated incubator to an open bassinet. This will give her the chance to provide her own heat ... along with help from three swaddle blankets and the tiniest sleeper I've ever seen. Hoping for good news tomorrow morning. The problem is that providing her own heat also uses a lot of calories.
The feeds are getting better (suck, swallow, breath is a tough combination) and she's taking a few more mL each time. I am doing my best to pump a milk supply into existence. In the meantime, she's drinking high-caloric formula in order to off-set the calories burned during a feeding - as well as whatever meager amount I pump. She cannot afford to lose any weight ... so far she's only lost about 2 ounces.
So CJV needs to take in enough calories to gain weight ... but those calories also have to help her stay warm and give her the energy to effectively feed. Seems like a lot to ask such a sweet, little nugget.
CPV and I visited with her for two hours this morning, and Grammy came back with me during NHV's naptime. I am trying to maximize my time with each of my girls. The nurse insisted that I don't come back for a third feeding today. She wants me to rest, pump every three hours, and "take advantage of the most expensive babysitting money can buy."
Now I am counting the hours until the morning feed when I'll get to hold my baby again.