08 May 2011

Mother's Day Eve: a NICU transmission.

I write to my family every night to update them on how Tee is doing - here is my message from last night.

Tristan looked like a baby burrito when I came in today - he was swaddled like usual but he looked funny. Like, haha funny. He was facing the door I come in and his eyes were wide open! I picked him up and sat down in the glider and told him about my day. He was in a very good mood. He shot me a mouthfull of spit-up and then started grinning at me. Smile, smile. So I took a picture and wondered what was so funny. Then we got news - moving day. They sent us to Trans-nursery...transitioning babies. Big boys and girls, not littles anymore. There are an elite six spaces for cribs in trans-land. It is silent. The littles aren't around making all their beeps, dings, and toots. No whirring machines. Just an occasional beep here and there.

I read somewhere that preemies have a hard time adjusting to silence when they come home and that white noise helps them. I've been prepared to do that for him, but I guess this new nursery will help. It's been closed for a long time, but they just re-opened it. ...so far, I'm not a fan. I miss Bay 1. This could be because I hate change, or it might be because trans is a little close for comfort. It's crowded and my neighbors are typical West Philly types. I wanted to cry I was so upset in there. I chose the spot in the back corner so that we wouldn't be by the door in the already small space. This nursery has big windows above the cribs that look into the well baby nursery. I suppose we're all close enough to being discharged that they think it won't be upsetting to look into the well babies' room. It's like looking into an alter-universe like when I come to the hospital and have to talk past the maternity pick-up spots. Now I look at the well nursery, and it's like the kind you see in movies. Parents and guests peering in, taking photos while the nurses show off the well babies. If they were to adjust their focus and look back just a little farther they'd see the halfway house of babies - not well, but not as unwell as before.

I'm so sick of the hospital.

Today was our seven week mark.

49 days.

Approximately 80 miles of walking.

12 gallons of milk transported.

Countless amounts of laundry.

Dozens of silent tears shed.

Silent smiles when I remember or look forward to something good.

Back and forth, back and forth.

2 fountain sodas from Wawa, my new you-made-it-through-another-day treat.

Hundreds of songs from my ipod.

Days when I'd call for my cats.

Days when I didn't call anymore.



Walk, walk, walk.

Sunday marks 37 weeks gestation.

If he'd been born tomorrow he would have been full term.


They used to be a Cabbage Patch Doll.

It's odd they made a doll after something so serious, isn't it? and that at one point I cuddled my Preemie without a care in the world, but 20+ years later I hold my preemie gently, afraid he might break.

I got annoyed with the security guard today. For seven weeks I have walked past him and said hello. Today he decided to hassle me when I went by...ma'am, ma'am, do you have a pass? I held up my wrist. still with the ma'am, ma'am. I spoke, holding back sobs as new mommies rolled past me with slippers, gowns, flowers, balloons, babies, all headed out to cars for a Saturday drive home on a beautiful spring day. "I have been coming here for seven weeks now. You've seen me. I say hello to you, and you say it back" "Do you know how many people we see?" Yes, yes I do know how many people he sees. However, I knew he knew who I was. Do you know how many 5'10" girls with tattoos and dark brown pig-tails he sees? in the same outfits because I only have a few that are post-pregnancy compatable for NICU? I suppose he was having a bad day, too. They tell the secretaries to be extra patient and kind to us because we're nuts half the time and they're the person we see first - after the security guard that is.

Half nuts.

I don't know if I'll see much of the secretaries anymore. We can get to the halfway nursery via the labor and delivery entrance I  entered seven weeks ago today. One of the secretaries gave me a pad of slips for compliments. I have several to fill out for above and beyond jobs.

Yes, we are in the final stretch.

YAYYYY! people cheer, but I don't feel like yayy. I feel...well, one minute I feel one way, another the next. So, yes, sometimes I feel yayy. No matter what, though, it's still the same. "Hi Miss Woods, yes, Tristan's good. He's been a little bit naughty today, yes, he had a little brady, but he brought himself back up!" That's a mish-mash of what I hear every day, twice or thrice a day. Late morning call, in-person visit, late-night call. He's doing everything on his own time, just as the nurses and doctors told me he would. He's moved, but really we're no closer to the door than 12 hours ago.

22 days until his due date.

The size of a watermelon...

Remember when he was a seed? an orange, an eggplant, a papaya?

I feel scared. Right now he's tucked in, safe and sound with his nurses 24/7. He's a tiny little boy who seems less fragile in his NICU world...but will seem even tinier and more fragile in our rickety apartment.

His custom wrap is being made. I finally ordered it from babyhawk.com. It was 100% different than the material I'd chosen while pregnant. Now that I have met him I chose something that fits his personality better - all of ours, as a family :) It's been the one thing that I've wanted for him - to him, for us, from us. Gift money.

Brandon and I shift things around here but there isn't a place to put anything.

Tonight I took pictures of the mess, because the mess is really all wonderful, heartfelt donations and one day it will just be a memory and I'll want to show Tristan how much people thought of him...how much strangers gave him. That's a beautiful, happy thing!

One day we will give in return. 

Today Tristan weighed 5 lbs and 5 oz.

Today was the last time he will be weighed daily.

Diapers now go in the trash, not set aside for nurses to weigh each gram he eliminated.

From now on I nurse him and he eats an unknown amount.

Life on the outside doesn't revolve around grams.

He'll still have the same nurses and doctors.

Crystal had him tonight. She's the nice nurse who made a glorious card for us when all I asked for were his handprints.

He got a bath, had his bottle, and didn't have any bradies. Don't be fooled, though! he had a few prior to shift change.

We'll just go with it...all on his own time.

Before I left him tonight, I rested my head on his body and we looked at each other eye-to-eye like we do each day. I breathed in his scent and he looked right at me except for when he'd blink, blink. I whispered him secrets and well wishes for the night. He smells so good, like a sterile hospital baby, but my sterile hospital baby because that's our detergent. He let out little baby sighs and he told me to wish his Grandma and Gramma a happy grand/mother's day. He loves and misses you both, and I do, too.


With love,


on my

first mother's day

and last



  1. Beautiful! Happy Mother's Day to you tomorrow :)

    (I feel like I'm writing this from the future!)

  2. Thank you............from the future! and same to you :)


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