Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thank you

A parcel arrived at NICU today: addressed to Maggie and Elisabeth from the lovely ladies at the CWA at Ranelagh. Inside were two tiny wee hand knitted hats. They're perfect.
Thank you. It cheered us up today.
I'd love to know who made and sent them, and yes when the girls are big we will come and visit!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Drip feed Mama

The girls are almost 4 weeks old (Wednesday is their weekly milestone). I have decided that I am a drip-fed Mama. Normally all these exciting firsts would happen within hours of your baby's birth. Maybe it's for the best that I hadn't had the time before their sudden birth to imagine all those firsts, wonder about what it feels like to hold your baby. Feed her. Change her. Clean her. As all of these moments are now being drip-fed to me over the course of this past month.

The longing and excitement of that first skin to skin cuddle. Oh I shed little tears onto their CPAP hats as I enjoyed those cuddles. We are lucky enough to get a cuddle a day now, Rob and I alternate (we're already careful not to have favourites!) I love seeing their little faces up close, especially if they open their eyes. Elisabeth has moved onto hiflow oxygen, which means she just has little prongs in her nose that are taped to her cheeks. She has coped with the change well (no longer requiring the pressure of the CPAP) system to breathe. It also means her head is bare, as they had to wear a cap tightly held on with Velcro with CPAP. Her head recovered quickly from the cap, plumping out from it's wrinkled state. So now, when she's snuggled on my chest I can kiss her soft head covered in a mop of fine dark hair.

Maggie is still a bit more fragile so will be in the CPAP for a while. But I love my cuddles with her just the same!

I see it as a great honour to help with their care, changing messy nappies and carefully putting them back on and rearranging the cables from all their sensors. Taking their temperature under an arm. Gently cleaning their eyes using cotton wool buds soaked in saline or water for around their mouth. Massaging their heads to relieve them from the pressure of the CPAP cap.

The milk expressing has been going well. Rob seems particularly proud and will declare their daily record to anyone who looks even vaguely interested. Probably the most precious moments have been the two times the nurse has put Maggie and Elisabeth on the breast. They are fed my breast milk through a feeding tube, but both girls knew exactly what to do with a nipple. So funny to see and feel their sucking and watch them swallow like crazy. Such a basic instinct, but one that has made me very happy. The breast milk is now being fortified with vitamins and minerals, to help our girls grow. Both have been doing quite well in terms of growth. Elisabeth hit the kilo mark last Wednesday and Maggie isn't far off either. The nurses were keen to tell us about the tradition of the kilo cake, so we duly brought in some Nigella chocolate brownies that Rob had baked to celebrate Elisabeth. They all appreciated it so much, Rob thinks we'll celebrate each half kilo with a cake!

Our life has become quite simple. Visiting the girls, walking the dogs at the beach, eating well, watering and tending the garden (Rob, not me yet), and napping. The 3 hourly expressing regime is enough to keep me occupied! The 3am one especially ensures that we both feel slightly tired all the time. Just in training I guess for when the girls come home.
I struggle to keep up with emails, phone calls and blogging. It just seems to be the last priority, and sleep or baby cuddling will win every time!

So although this isn't the start of motherhood I imagined, every one of my drip-fed Mama moments are treasured, and we delight in them all day, maybe even all week! I am storing these precious memories away, and hope I never forget just how much I anticipated and am thankful for them.
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