Thursday, 26 April 2012

Is it time for home?

I figured the best way forward was to keep myself to a routine and this structure would help me manage my feelings of loneliness. I headed to the dining room to cook my dinner and I noticed the ladies who were alone and the couple/families together. One family was sharing ice cream with another little boy and I thought how nice to see them sharing. I longed for my best friend's company. I had a quick dinner and headed back to my room. I set my alarm to wake so I could express milk overnight and went fast off to sleep. My routine was to get up really early, have an early breakfast and make it to the NICU for the change of shift so I was there for handover. This is what I did each day. I didn't think that I could make it by myself but I did and it wasn't long until the weekend approached and my husband would return. We spent the weekend together visiting Faith and enjoying having each others company again. It was nice to have someone to share with and talk to. But again the time came when hubby drove off in the distance and I was alone again. Faith was given this big homemade pinkish cat and it was so cute. It folded out into a pillow. I sat it on my bed and it made me feel like I had a little bit of home with me.

The neurosurgeons were happy with Faith's progress and were happy for Faith to go home but the wound was what was now keeping us in the NICU. There was talk of sending Faith to the Children's hospital which would not only mean out of NICU but I would be able to stay with her 24hours a day and care for her. At first I was apprehensive as I would be leaving my safe zone and starting over somewhere else. But the exciting part was I would be able to care for Faith. I could see this as a positive. The babies ward didn't have any available beds so we would just have to wait. The week past and my husband was to return. We also got the news that the babies ward had a bed for Faith and we were being transferred. Wow, how exciting. So just as my husband arrived we were moving to the children's hospital.

It was so different, just like a normal hospital, not like the mother's hospital at all. I suddenly was thrust into the full time care of Faith, for the first time.  She conveniently pulled out her NG tube, so I would be now breast feeding. Wow, what a change. This also brought the challenge that Faith was expected to sleep on her back but she had never done this and I wondered how she would settle. It wasn't possible anyway, as the wound was still serious but it was strange how the nurses just expected her too. The VAC machine was still on and the majority of the nurses had no idea how to work it, it appeared it was up to me. My first night there was a disaster, Faith barely settled and I had had no sleep and by the next morning I was sick, I had caught a cold.

Faith was having bottles when I was not there so I thought it might be best though I felt so much guilt not to stay that next night. I didn't want to give the cold to Faith or any other babies. My husband said that it was a good idea as I needed to care for myself during this time. I felt horrible and felt that they don't know her and how are they going to look after her. The next day, I anxiously ran over there in the morning and was feeling better. As we were past our maximum stay time in our accommodation we had to move out so my husband stayed and relocated our things to another temporary room until other accommodation could be found.  When I arrived, they were using the wrong teat for Faith's bottle and they had lifted the VAC machine above her to sit on the table, it was alarming. The VAC machine is always meant to be kept below the patient. I asked how long it had been alarming for and the nurse said when she had started her shift. They didn't know what to do with it. If it is alarming it needs to be fixed and if it cannot be fixed, it has to be taken off the patient as it can do damage when it isn't working. I was so annoyed. They should have called the plastic surgeons but as it was a weekend they didn't. The plastic surgeons came in unexpectedly and fiddled with it and it worked again but only for a short while and it alarmed again. Oh, so frustrating. One of the nurses realised I knew what I was talking about and so we took the VAC dressing off. I said if the dressing is off and it is just being changed daily this is something that I can do at home and there is no need to be in hospital. She agreed with me and contacted the plastic surgeons. It was the weekend so to get discharged on the weekend is a challenge. I managed to get Faith weekend leave, for us to return each day and we could stay at our accommodation the rest of the time. Our accommodation situation was a mess, it was meant to have been re booked but an error occurred and we had to keep shifting rooms which was tedious. The staff couldn't care and didn't offer a hand.

The exciting thing was we were taking Faith for the weekend, our first night alone with her and no nurses. It felt so strange. We carried our little bundle across to our room and settled in. She immediately had a sleep. So beautiful seeing her lying there. My Aunt and Uncle arrived with a porta cot, this was exciting. Night time came and Faith was so distressed she just wouldn't go to sleep. She wouldn't sleep, she didn't seem to be feeding properly, minutes turned into sleepless hours. We had no idea what to do. We couldn't go back to the hospital as there was no lactation nurses on during the night to provide advice. So we thought the best idea might be to try a bottle, maybe she was confused. So we gave her a bottle and off to sleep she went. Since we had been moved from the mother's hospital to the children's we didn't have that chance for Faith and I to be together to make sure she was feeding ok. So Sunday night came and it was slightly better.

We went back to the hospital on the Monday and got the all clear from the doctors. The plastic surgeons wanted us to come back the following Friday for a wound check. It had also be arranged that we would see a wound nurse back home. But this was true? After 9weeks we were going home! Faith was 6weeks old and we were heading home. It is true, yes, it is. This was the moment we had been waiting for. Praise God! It was late in the evening when we finally got the car packed and the all clear from the hospital but we were off. Homeward bound!

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