We left off with Grace being in the NICU for basic observation and Ian and I still in the delivery room trying to relax.
We were moved to a postpartum room at 1 am, on Sunday, April 3rd, and shortly after that we got permission to have me wheeled to the NICU.
We were buzzed in and weaved our way through isolettes and heating tables to the back of the room. There our little, baby girl was in an isolette. She was hooked up to tubes and had monitors on her. I asked if I could hold her and was told I couldn't, because she wasn't stable enough.
I won't beat around it, I was shocked. Ian had just come and checked on her an hour before hand. She wasn't hooked up to things, she was only on a heating table, and he had been able to hold her, no problem at all!
I fought back emotions as I reached through the holes and touched her sweet hands and told her how much I loved her. We weren't really sure (and still aren't) what went wrong in that hour, but her respiratory rates were high and she was on some IV antibiotics (still not clear what that was for, since they told us that she definitely hadn't inhaled into her lungs the meconium.)
We said good-night, headed back to our room, and had a restless night. Ian slept alright on a mattress on the floor, but I was sleeping in half hour increments as nurses came in and out to check different things, ask permission for Grace's medical care, and as I battled with the emotions of having given birth and not being able to take care of my baby.
Around 9, we began to get up and get showered. My doctor, who wasn't there for the birth, stopped by our room to check on us and answer some questions we had about the immunizations they give in this country.
By 10:00 we were on our way to the NICU and this time we were able to hold Grace! I wish I had gotten a picture during that first time holding her, but I was a little preoccupied with loving on my baby. We got to try nursing and then we headed back to our room.
Ian ran out to get food, as there is no food services in this hospital so we would have to provide our own meals. I rested and ate when he returned, then had a family from our language school come visit us. Right around 2:30 we returned to the NICU for another feeding. Our friends A and K arrived at the hospital for a visit, so Ian went to pick them up in the lobby and take them to our room while I finished feeding Grace. Right as I was finishing, the fourth or fifth nurse came in to check on how Grace was latching on and feeding, and she told me she was signing off on Grace's papers so that she could come to our room!
I thought that would mean a couple of hours until we'd have her with us, so I headed back to our room and just 10 minutes later they wheeled Grace in! Her respiratory rates had stabilized and they were able to finish some of the IV meds so she was cord free. Our friends stayed for a little over an hour then headed to a mall to pick us up dinner. We enjoyed our evening alone with our daughter and were so excited to finally have her with us!
Our night was restless. She spat up for several hours and I was very unsettled by this (as she seemed to be spitting up more than she'd actually eaten.)
Nurses came in about every 30 minutes or so to check me, my blood pressure, my temperature, give me medicine, check on our breastfeeding, tell us we weren't wrapping her up enough (they like to have a TON of wrapping on babies,) check her temperature, check her blood pressure, or administer more IV meds.
It was a long night.
Monday, April 4th rolled around and we spent the morning hanging out in our room. We had a visit from our friend L and her daughter M and they administered Grace's last dose of IV medicines then took out her IV port in her hand that had begun to cause her some pain. The doctor told us he was going to discharge us both right then, but that we would have to return in the morning to have several blood tests run on Grace (to monitor the amount of medicines in her blood stream and to check for a thyroid issue.)
Seeing as we live across an international border from our hospital, and that Grace wouldn't have a passport for several months, we wanted to eliminate any trips across the border that we could, plus avoid the stress of returning on that long drive with a 4 day old. We looked into it and found out we could opt to stay another night, and since our insurance company had given us a cash advance to pay for the birth, we had enough to cover the costs.
Tuesday night was a little better, with Grace having some gas issues from about 10 pm until 4 am, but we woke up excited to know we were heading home. Ian went out in search of food for us while I began packing up our gear and while the lab techs came in and drew blood from Grace. Ian took care of all of the paperwork, we had a final consultation with our nurse, and then we were out of there a little before noon on Tuesday, April 5th!