Today was the first time I spent any appreciable time in the SCN with Andrea, and it really is a different place from the NICU. Even though most of the babies are on monitors of some kind, there are many fewer alarms going off. To be fair, even the NICU at Robert Wood Johnson is pretty quiet. I've heard from friends who've had similar experiences that sometimes the NICUs are very bright, chaotic places. That was not our experience at RWJ. However, the ventilators and CPAP have very distinctive alarms, and we heard them often in NICU, even when Andrea was not on one of those machines. Babies cannot be in the Special Care Nursery if they're on a respirator or CPAP, so we don't hear those alarms. I have to say, I don't miss them!
A perk for me is that I have a bit more privacy now, when I nurse Andrea. There are curtains that enclose her whole "room". In the NICU, the lactation consultant moved several privacy screens for me, but I felt like I was nursing in a dressing room! With Kenny, I was pretty good at being discrete, but Andrea is still so small, I have more to keep track of in her positioning. It's a relief to have the space to "work", without worrying about exposing myself.
Someone I never mentioned before in any great detail is the lactation consultant, probably because we were so far from being able to nurse. The NICU/SCN has a full time person who is a NICU nurse with a speciality in lactation and breast feeding. She is the resource for medicine questions (i.e., can I still nurse while taking drug x?) and helps moms who want to breast feed make it work with these preemies. With her help, Andrea has done remarkably well. Since there's no way to know how much she eats at each nursing session, after I nurse Andrea, she is given her regular 50 ml of milk. So far, she still eats the entire bottle!
I see my doctor tomorrow for yet another follow up to my incredibly icky wound. Ken tells me that it's too small to be considered a wound anymore, and I should refer to it as a "cut", but that just doesn't work for me :-). Every time I see the doctor, I'm hoping it'll be the last visit, and every time, there's another one. I no longer believe it'll ever be over!
Thank you, as always, for all the love, support, good wishes, meals, cards, gifts, etc. Some day, I promise to personally acknowledge every person who played a part in Andrea's story. I just have no idea when that will be.
"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will."