Ivy is doing really well. She was extubated on Monday the 22nd, after a very restless night for Cory and me because she would set off alarms every time she would breathe over the respirator. Which was often. They were still very cautious about us holding her, and had told us Friday, but we got a surprise OK on Wednesday the 24th. Her PICC line broke, I think on Wednesday night, so they had to remove it and give her an IV in her left hand instead. Then yesterday (the 27th) her chest tube was removed, which was huge because it was painful enough that they had to give her morphine. (In her baby book, on the page that says "What Soothes You," I included morphine. Heh.)
She was also able to start feeding yesterday. She is doing an ok job taking the bottle but it takes a long time and it's a little nerve-wracking, since our discharge date and her NG tube removal date is contingent upon her being able to take a certain amount of milk by mouth. (If she doesn't take it by mouth, so far, it goes down her NG tube.)
I was also able to start trying to breastfeed today. It was a failure in terms of her actually latching on for more than a second; she cried for a couple of minutes and fell asleep. But in terms of introducing her to what's going to feed her later, I suppose it worked. We get to try twice a day from now on so we shall see how she progresses.
She also pooped for the first time today. We changed her when her grandparents were here and we all crowed when Cory did the big reveal. It was funny.
I'm feeling better as well. I'm able to walk a little faster and the bleeding has subsided a little. Milk production is good and getting better. Emotionally it's still a roller coaster every day - sometimes I'm elated and sometimes I feel terrible. It usually corresponds with whatever is going on with Ivy's progress, but overall I'm sure the terrible is because of hormones and that I just want to go home. We have only just begun learning what Ivy is like as a "real" baby rather than a drugged, in-pain baby, and I'm a little overwhelmed at everything going on. I'm trying to cut myself some slack but sometimes I can't quite get there. I feel like a bad mom, that I can't believe I thought things like breastfeeding and knowing what's making her cry would come naturally and perfectly to me. Even things as simple as we can't have food in the NICU makes things hard. A lactation specialist called me yesterday and I asked what kinds of foods I should be eating for breastfeeding. Thinking I was at home already, she said "things like salmon and avocado and almonds," none of which (besides the almonds) are available in the cafeteria downstairs and none of which I can eat with any regularity unless I want to go out to the room where we store our food, have a few, and call the nurses to let me back in twelve times a day.
I'm also worried about how much money this is going to cost us, even though most of it will be covered by insurance. Of course there's nothing else that we could have done, this was a life-saving surgery, but I'm not looking forward to that additional stressor in the future.
I look back, though, and can't believe it's been ten days already. I know much later I'll look back on this hospital stay as having been a tiny little drop in the bucket of our lives together, but for now the enormity of it is sometimes hard to deal with.