Day 101

Well, assuming I’ve counted right, today was BabyBug’s Day # 101. It doesn’t really carry any significance except that there is now officially a Dalmation for every day she’s been alive, but hey – random milestones keep things interesting, right?

A few words about the PICU. You remember how I talked about the general feeling on the baby floor? The PICU brings this to a whole new level. Generally speaking, when the babies are born in the hospital (or relocated from another hospital), they go to the NICU and they stay there until they leave or until they get too big (usually about 10 lbs – Leah was moved more for logistical reasons). My understanding is that once the babies go home, if they have to be rehospitalized they go to the PICU. So as tense as the NICU can be, there is still a great deal of joy, because it’s full of new babies. Yes, we saw a family lose their baby in the first week we were there, and yes, there are babies there with very poor prognoses. But we have seen a lot of families go home – families who have been there for a few days or a few months – and we have been so happy for them.

The PICU doesn’t seem to house a lot of joy. We’ve only been there for a day and a half but here are my first impressions (we’ll see how accurate they turn out to be over time): The PICU is for kids aged 0 to 21, and it’s a critical care unit, not just a pediatric unit (that’s on a different section of the floor). As far as I can tell there are kids who have cancer, kids who have been injured in car crashes and other accidents, kids in really serious condition. There are rooms that are occupied one day and empty the next and we can’t say for sure whether the change is awesome or devastating. It’s more quiet. There is less laughter. There are more people crying at bedside. Walking down the hall you occasionally see a kid being wheeled on a gurney, with a terrified red-eyed parent trailing behind.

PICU is also more isolating. In the NICU you have five other sets of parents in the same room with you, and I’m not saying you become best friends with every other parent, but there is a sense of solidarity, at the very least. Every baby may have its own issue and prognosis, but on some level and to some extent the NICU parents still share a common experience. And parents do talk and compare notes and commiserate and get to know the personalities of each others’ babies. And we get to feel that joy for each other when someone takes their little one home. At first glance, that solidarity doesn’t seem to exist in the PICU. Everybody’s situation is so different that I’m not sure it could even if we weren’t all in private rooms.

There is also less opportunity to get to know the nurses, since they are situated behind the nurses’ station and not at the bedside of one baby or another. I’m hoping this will become less of an issue as we get more acclimated. I mean, we were in the NICU for three months – that’s a lot of time to get to know people, and a lot of time for people to get to know us. I felt like there were a lot of nurses who really cared how Leah was doing. Some of them would even stop by on their way from point A to point B just to say hello and comment on how much she had grown. For whatever issues we had, there were a lot of good people in there who took good care of our little Bug. I hope we can build a similar trust and rapport in the PICU as well. Don’t get me wrong – I have no complaints about the nurses so far. They have been nice and very willing to help – we just don’t see them quite as often. It’s just different.

Okay – 36-hour observations aside… the Baby Empress has been enjoying her new territory, and she seems happy about the extra time with Mamas. Leah loves to be held and rocked (and bounced and petted and patted and snuggled and sung to), and sometimes that is all that will calm her down when something is making her uncomfortable. In related news, neither of us got much sleep last night. But I hear that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have a new baby. 😉 So yeah – I’m not saying she’s smiling socially yet, but we got a lot of little corner-of-mouth twitches today. What a precious little Bug we have.

And now… pictures.

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I think of Leah every time I see anything with a ladybug on it.

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“I LOVE YOU MOMMY!”

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Don’t stick your tongue out at Mommy!

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I know it’s a blurry picture, but how could I resist those little eyeballs?

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I am SO HAPPY that this kid is actually getting some natural light. She saw her first palm tree today! Through a window and from several stories up, but still! It’s a tree! And LeahBug saw it!

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Pretty in purple: Empress Baby’s new throne.

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Baby’s first bath in the new unit, pre-combing. We are terrible people. In all fairness, we didn’t do this on purpose. We just photographed it. Yep – still terrible people.

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“It’s exhausting being a baby!”

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Getting tucked in

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It’s not easy to catch the little smile-twitchies, but it’s a treasure when we do!

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Tiny hand

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Wittle toesies. Baby toesies are the best toesies.

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And of course baby yawns are the best yawns.

Apparently that last update was insufficient

I think my baby sister might beat me up if I don’t post more.

Baby didn’t get to the PICU ’til 7PM; they were going to move her at 6PM but she had to be fed, and then we had to pack up her stuff. It seriously looked like she was going away to college. It was sad to leave the NICU since we have gotten to know the nurses and it has been good, but hopefully this is just another step on the long road to HOME. The PICU is very different. There are kids of all ages, and it is a lot more quiet because everybody has a private room. Leah has a pretty nice view from her window. Oh, and Leah has a window. Actual natural light! ZOMG!

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LeahBug in her first big-girl bed!!

Empress baby swaps out empires

BabyBug’s first day in the PICU wound up being pretty short – we didn’t get up here until nearly 7PM! I will post pictures tomorrow – tonight we are having a slumber party! It will be the first night we have spent with our tiny empress. She is sleeping soundly – we shall see how long this lasts!

Some big news and some little news

So, big news first: Leah is moving to the PICU tomorrow. Our expectation was always that she would move to the PICU after her big surgery, since the babies generally move from NICU to PICU once they reach 10 lbs. But earlier this week Mandy asked one of the nurses if it was at all possible that Leah might be moved earlier, and approximately one whirlwind later, we were informed that they could move her tomorrow. The NICU has been really full lately and I think they will be happy to have the extra bed – and in the PICU there is a place for parents to sleep, so while we can’t exactly set up camp there instead of at RMH, at least we have the option to stay with the baby on any given night, which would be especially nice on nights when she’s having trouble. This also means that Mandy will be able to prepare for classes and get work done while she’s in the room with the baby, which will be HUGE once school starts again. You can’t use computers in the NICU.

They have assured us that LeahBug will have the same level of care and attention as in the NICU – I guess usually once babies go home, if they have to come back to the hospital they go to the PICU regardless of their age and size. So I’m sure she won’t be the only tiny-tot present. Since Leah is at full-term I don’t think it matters that much whether she’s in the NICU or PICU as long as she has attentive nurses and one of us can be there as often as possible.

It sounds like the PICU is a little bit less rigid in its rules, but we will still maintain NICU rules for Leah – i.e. thorough washing-up before you come in and after you touch your phone, nobody visiting without one of us present, and only Mamas sleeping over. And as always, no visitors who are sick!!! (That even goes for Mamas, as you know).

Second piece of big news: BABYBUG REACHED 8 LBS!!! She is 8 lbs, 1 oz today! YAY!!!!

Smaller news: Mama Lisa has returned! I’m back at RMH today and will see my tiny sweetheart tomorrow, assuming I am feeling okay. CAN’T WAIT!

More small news (but still pretty cool): I entered BabyBug into a photo contest and she is currently in first place! If you are on BabyCenter, will you please vote for her?

Honky tonk classics

I made a video for BabyBug’s fundraising page! I had to use a goofy cover of the background song since YouTube didn’t have the original available for public use. Our friend Faith made most of the original slides to put into an animated GIF, so I made bigger versions, added a few slides, and ta da! Honky tonk LOLBugs.

Still missing my BabyBug

Still not sure what the heck is wrong with me. I’ve had this sore throat since Monday night and it hasn’t broken into a cold yet. I went to the ER Thursday to get IV meds re: my whole ongoing Thing, and also to see if they could take a look at my throat. They don’t think it’s strep or anything, but it’s still SOMETHING so I’m not taking any chances. I went home this weekend to avoid getting Mandy sick (and also ’cause they don’t like contagion over at RMH – can you blame them?). The cats were thrilled to see me yesterday, but at this point I’m old news; at the moment, Lobo is fast asleep and Jeepers Creepers is trying to see what kind of trouble he can get into. He just tried to pick a fight with my bedside lamp.

BabyBug had a visit from her Aunti Staci today after two weeks apart (Aunti was at camp). While Aunti Staci was away, BabyBug sent her, among other things, eight postcards, a pack of white onesies and a box of rubber bands (HINT HINT HINT). Leah got her way and now she’s dressed like a hippie dippie baby. LOVE! Her weight has been at a standstill the past week or so – she was up to about 7 lbs 12 oz, I think, but I think some of that might have been fluid weight and she has lost a couple of ounces because of the Lasix. She’s 7 lbs 9.9 oz right now and has been hovering around there for a couple of days. They may increase her food again soon. She is already up to 70 mL per feed. Other than that, there is nothing new to report, which I guess is probably a good thing. They are still planning to switch out Mic-Key for Mini on the 21st.

Now I shall return to binge-watching “Orange Is the New Black” and leave you to enjoy photos. Yay.

Baby 1
Hippie Dippie Tripped-Out Baby

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Look at this face!

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THIS FACE! OMG. Need to reach into the phone and pinch her little cheeks.

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Together at last!

Would you believe it?

The nurse practitioner on Leah’s surgical team emailed me this morning to let me know, among other things, that when they do the procedure on the 21st to remove the granulation tissue and do another contrast study, they would like to switch out Leah’s Mic-Key button for a different brand which they find is better with kids who form granulation tissue. It’s called a Mini ONE.

That’s right. Her Mic-Key is being swapped out for a Mini. I am not even kidding.

Missing my Bug!

I had a bit of a sore throat today – not sure if it’s from being sick so much or if it’s from getting sick-sick, but I didn’t want to take any chances. So we improvised.

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“MAMA! OMG MAMA’S TRAPPED IN THE LITTLE BOX!!”

Meanwhile… I have another gastric emptying study in the morning. I get to eat a radioactive sandwich. It’ll be my first sandwich in months.

In better news… BabyBug is off of her antibiotics! Let’s hope it stays that way!