If I’m honest, today was equal parts so wonderful and so stressful.
Let me start with the good stuff. Today, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew met Nellie-Anne. And it was so wonderful.
I have always loved being the only girl. I never had to share my brothers with another girl/sister. It was even better that I had an older brother and a younger brother. As far as brothers go, I have it made.
So, today Josh and Jill and their kids, Ryan, Alyssa, and Sophia came out to visit Nell. Sophia is still too young to go into the NICU, but she’ll get first dibs when Nell comes home. The others, however, were able to go in to see our girl.
Josh and Alyssa came in first. This was so special for me. I have such a cool relationship with Josh and I loved seeing him with her.
Here is a side-by-side of him and me when we were much younger and now.
Seeing him hold her and love her made me so emotional. It was exactly how I needed my day to start.
Then, Alyssa got her turn. Nell did so well with her. She relaxed and regulated her breathing. Alyssa definitely did something right when she held her. I love that I got to watch her and her siblings grow up and now they’ll get to watch mine.
Ryan and Jill came in next. Ryan was a little nervous so he didn’t hold her. We’ll have to wait until she comes home for that. But Jill got some auntie time with Nell. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time because Nell didn’t seem to be doing well with me. You’ll hear more about that in part 2 of this post. But she relaxed with Jill and everything was perfect.
That hour with them was everything I needed. We got to spend most of the day with them, too. We went to lunch and spent some time out at my parents’ with them. An absolute perfect afternoon.
When I walked into the NICU this afternoon Bry and I made sure to tell Nell’s nurse that she was going to have some visitors and that they would hold her. I also wanted her to know that we would do as little transfers as possible because I know that’s not easy for Nell.
Bry left to go let Josh and Alyssa in. Immediately, the charge nurse for the day shift ran over and started going on about how we should be limiting traffic and holding because of her health. And how I should just let my niece and nephew in for a quick peek and then my brother and sister-in-law can come in and hold her for a few minutes. And don’t I agree that that’s what’s best for her?
I tried explaining that this was the first time they were meeting her and I wanted them to be able to hold her. Her eyes just stayed really wide like she was trying to intimidate me into not letting my family hold her. I wanted to cry. I held my tongue and just nodded my head. She walked away.
I didn’t tell my family no. Because that’s dumb. I did let my niece hold her because I wanted to. And I told her nurse that I had made that choice. She agreed that it was fine. As long as Nell was stable there was nothing to worry about. So I told her that I needed an advocate because I couldn’t be my own.
Thankfully, everything went fine. But I felt attacked because she waited until I was alone and vulnerable to say all of those things. She knew that I wouldn’t fight back.
On top of that ridiculous bombardment, there were all kinds of alarms and people and medical things happening in the bed next to Nell. That baby was being transferred and I could see that that baby wasn’t doing well. Every time one of that baby’s alarms would go off my heart would skip a beat and I would whip my head towards Nell’s monitor to make sure she was okay. It was a lot for me.
On my way out of the NICU I stopped to say hello to one of the nurse practitioners that spends a lot of time with Nell and is also on the Kaiser transfer team. She asked how I was doing. She must have seen it on my face because she asked me if I was doing okay with everything that was happening right next to where Nell is. I told her that it was a lot for me. And she said something I wasn’t expecting.
“Transfers are hard. And you know what this is like. It’s traumatic. This whole experience is. I can see that this, right here, is a struggle for you. And it’s possible that you have some PTSD from everything you’ve been through with Nellie. You were there when all the alarms would go off. You were there when she was really sick, much like this baby. And you were there when she had to go through a similar version of this. So, don’t feel like you have to act like you’re okay. Because it’s hard. I feel it, too. Go relax and when you come back this will all be gone.”
And she hugged me. It made me feel a little better knowing that it’s okay to still feel that way because it doesn’t go away overnight.
Bryan and I went back tonight around 8:30pm because we knew her feeding was at 9 and she was going to get a bath just before that. We missed her last one and I didn’t want to miss this one.
We missed it.
When we got into the NICU her nurse proudly told us that she was all ready for us. She had had her bath and had been changed and was ready to be held. She had no idea that we had come early to help do her bath. And I could see that she felt bad for it. I did my best to keep my face from showing how upset I was, but it was hard.
I ended up just sitting down to hold her while she was fed. If I’m honest…I didn’t enjoy any part of our visit with her. I wasn’t really getting to do skin-to-skin because she was already dressed and swaddled. I didn’t get to do any of her cares.
I held her through her feeding, but I didn’t really want to. And that absolutely breaks my heart. In hindsight, we should have stayed with her while she slept and then left, but I thought I would feel differently when I held her. I didn’t.
I cried almost the whole time. And I felt bad for her nurse because I could tell that she felt bad, because she had no idea, and we definitely came off as frustrated and upset. We were. A little. But I also feel like we could have handled it better. I ended up calling her once we were home to apologize because they all do so much for us and I never want them to think that we’re going to be ‘those parents’.
So, I apologized for coming off that way. I thanked her for loving our baby girl. And I asked her to make a note on Nell’s board that Bryan and I would like to be there for bathtime from then on. She was very kind and said she completely understood.
Today has been weird. I didn’t like it. And I don’t want it to happen again. This isn’t a fun place to be. But I also understand that we will have good days and bad days. Today just happened to be both.
Please continue to pray for our family. Pray that Nell keeps getting bigger and stronger. And pray that Bryan and I can get through all of this with our sanity.