Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bath Time!

Day 8.

Kaia is over a week old! She's already lost weight and then regained it and has surpassed her birth weight. The report I got at 2 in the morning last night said she was 1610 grams. As a nurse, I remember parents always wanted to know this information whenever they would call after bath & weigh time. I never understood how exciting it was to hear that your teeny tiny kid had gained weight.

I also got to do her bath all by myself the other night. I told the nurse I was comfortable with taking her off the CPAP and washing her myself and she said " me if you need anything!". YES! So here are pictures of my first time bathing Kaia. The tape on her nose is protection against the CPAP prongs. I left the tape on as it's a pain (and expensive) to replace.

You can really see her 'dolicocephaly' in these photos. It makes me a little sad that she doesn't have a round head. I don't want other people to see it and think she's funny looking or wonder 'why is her head shaped like that?' We understand that it's a badge of honour...she wouldn't have a head shaped like that if she hadn't had such a fight in the womb, but still it's not 'normal'. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm betting throughout her first year. We will just have to become a fan of hats.

I am also understanding what people mean about 'postpartum hormones'. We decided to go to Babies R Us the other morning to buy Kaia a few cheap blankets that she can use while she's in the hospital. As a nurse, I would feel so bad when parents would bring in these beautiful and obviously expensive blankets to wrap their hospitalized babies in...because we would inevitably spill stuff on them, or drop them on the floor...or (whoops) lose them in the bowels of the hospital laundry system. So I wanted to get some of those cheap receiving blankets that while soft and nice, could be replaced if lost.

Well, I cried almost the whole way to Babies R Us. We have driven past that store SO many times, wistfully wondering if we'd ever get to shop there for OUR baby. We went in only once during Aidan's pregnancy 'just to look', before we knew things were already going wrong. We hadn't been back since. It was truly lovely to do something 'normal'.

Of course, I find my babylostness affects so much how I am viewing Kaia and our experiences with her. Not in a bad way, but in a much more 'aware' way. For example. On Monday, when I was still in the hospital and after they had switched Kaia to BiPhasic, the nurse was happy to let me hold her. A big production is made of 'holding'. It's a lot of effort to get those preemies in and out of their isolettes. A chair needs to be found for me to sit in, a blanket needs to be brought for Kaia to lay on, tubes and wires and need to be gathered and placed 'just so'. It takes a few minutes.

So while all this was going on, I looked over to Kaia's neighbour baby. He is obviously a lot smaller and therefore a lot sicker than Kaia. He's on the 'jet' ventilator and 'swings' in terms of his oxygen sats. His monitors are always ringing off. His mother was sitting beside his bed. She was looking over at us and watching the kerfuffle going on around me and Kaia. It was her face that did me in. She looked SO sad. Exactly the way I remember my face felt last year after Aidan died as I watched other mommies. Sad, disappointed, jealous, wistful. It was like looking into my past. I wanted to say to that woman "I TOTALLY get it...I really do! I'm sorry seeing me hold my baby makes you sad. I hope yours gets bigger and better and healthier and you too can have this experience one day." But there are no guarantees that she will. I mentioned it to Brian afterwards and just the way he said "I know", I knew that he had seen her the same way I did.

What was really upsetting was that two days later the baby was gone from that spot. As soon as I noticed the lack of binging and bonging from the monitors, and looked over and saw him missing, I started to cry. "Oh No!" cried my poor babylost heart. So even while I was stroking my living, breathing baby's hand I was crying, thinking of how sad that other mother might be right that instant.

Then a miracle (okay, well it was more of a coincidence) happened. One nurse walked over and asked another "where did the baby go that was in this spot?" pointing to the spot where Kaia's neighbour had been. Another nurse answered "oh, he went to (other hospital where I work)...he'll be back tomorrow".

You mean he's not dead??!!! That mommy's baby is still binging and bonging, only in another NICU? HURRAH!

While it wasn't great news that he had gone to the hospital where I work as it likely means he needs surgery, it was such a relief. My suspicion is that he went for a PDA ligation, in which case, hopefully he will be able to get off 'the jet' and start to improve in terms of his oxygen needs and O2 sats.

Maybe soon that mommy will be holding her little "binger" with a lot less "binging" and a lot more happiness.

I hope so.

If you've had a baby 'after', did you find yourself a lot more aware of your good fortune than you might have been otherwise? How so? Did any situation occur to make you feel especially 'lucky'?


  1. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your beautiful daughter. I am so glad that Kaia is getting stronger and BIGGER! Reading the middle part of your post about the baby boy broke my heart but I am glad that he will be back to being neighbors with Miss Kaia soon!! Keep growing, baby girl!!

  2. Oh, she's so cute. I honestly don't even notice the shape of her head. With the tape on she looks like a little piglet, it's adorable. I, too, am glad that the baby is still hanging in there. I've never lost a baby past 8 weeks, but I couldn't imagine seeing them there one moment, and not the next.

  3. So adorable! What good news that she is gaining weight too. I'm happy for you that you were able to hold her and give her a bath. It must be an amazing experience. Continuing to keep you guys in my thoughts and hoping for her to continue to get big and strong.

  4. Love the photos! Go mama giving her a bath.
    (you're such a NICU nurse leaving the expensive tape on!)
    I did always hate pulling it off too bc it seemed to bother her so much but so did diaper changes.

  5. your post also reminded me of that sinking feeling when a baby was moved.... we left MSH for SK during the serratia outbreak of '07. We had all been seperated as much as possible and I didn't get a chance to exchange contacts with a few of our compatriots. I never new if our neighbours had survived and seeing them at the picnic the next year - alive and thriving- was one of the most moving experiences of our lives.
    So so hoping you are into the level 2 soon and on the road home.

  6. She's so beautiful and it is SO exciting to hear the weight gain. I used to get on the phone as soon as I thought that weigh time might be over!

    So glad you got to go and buy Kaia some of those lovely blankets at Babies R Us. I'm sure you will be making many return trips!

    I think I've seen the look you describe on the face of the neighbouring baby's mother. Because, after G died, I was still in the NICU for a long time with J, I think I saw it a lot. I think I even manage to occupy both positions simultaneously after G died and I was allowed to hold J - like the part of me that was grieving G was sad and jealous of the part of me that was with J? Argh that sounds completely insane!

    I used to have loads of experiences with disappearing babies and panic about what had happened to them. It was always a great relief when they often reappeared having been away to get a PDA ligated or similar. You mean he's not dead??!!! That mommy's baby is still binging and bonging, only in another NICU? HURRAH! Exactly how it feels!

    Thinking of you and your little girl and wishing you all the very best breathing and weight gain-y vibes I have xo

  7. Thank you for the pictures and the update! She is so beautiful and I'm so glad you've been able to hold her and give her a bath.

    My heart started beating wildly when I read that other baby wasn't there and I started to imagine what that Mom is doing right now. So relieved that he is at the other hospital and will hopefully be back soon.

    I don't have postpartum hormones, but I have early pregnancy hormones. I saw some girls Irish dancing last night and got emotional thinking of how I just might see my child doing that someday.

  8. Kaia is such a beauty, I just love her sweet face. I am glad you were able to bathe and hold her. Very exciting to hear about the weight gain too!

    I look forward to every update. I will continue to pray for strength and healing for both of you.

  9. sweet! Hopefully your experience as a NICU nurse will allow you a few "special benefits" with Kaia, as her nurses can see that you know what you are doing. That was a hard thing for me - sometimes it felt like I had to prove that I was a decent parent and that my husband and I could be trusted to do the routine care for our baby. It was heartbreaking to even lose the chance to do a diaper change when that was one of the few interactions of the day. But our constant presence and good interactions with the nurses paid off - by the time our baby was discharged, the notes on his chart said "Parents do ALL care" - and we did and were much happier doing it.

    I don't have experience with a previous loss, but I did spend a lot of time thinking about the other babies and their families in the NICU and imagined what their outcomes would be. We were always aware of our good fortune and still are...

  10. Love the pictures and that you're getting more opportunities to do things for your little girl. We definitely cherish our time with Ian after losing Lily and even though it's hard having him in the NICU for so long I think her loss has given us perspective on how much worse things could be and allowed us a patience that we might not have had otherwise.

  11. Love the pictures - look at all that beautiful hair! She looks like the sweetest thing.

    Remember how after you found yourself a part of the babyloss world you kinda had to find your "new normal"? Well, I've discovered that you have to find another "new normal" with a rainbow baby.

    I know everyone who becomes a parent has to find a new routine and groove in life - but I think there is something a little extra we babyloss moms have to adjust to once our rainbow babies get here. Our experience as parents of living children is not the same as most people who become parents. Babyloss "colors" parenthood - I'm several months in now with my rainbow baby, and I still feel hyper-aware.

    I look at my little boy and am so grateful he is here. Almost six months later, and I still can't believe my good fortune.

    I am glad Kaia is doing so well! I pray and pray that the day she can come home with you is soon.

  12. She looks adorable, and nobody cares about the head shape really, babies are so incredibly cute that we don't really pay attention to variations like this. I am so glad that she is doing well.

  13. I wouldn't worry about her head shape. I'm 44 and I still have a long narrow face. People have all different head and face shapes and sizes and you've been thru so much to know what's really important; not her head shape, but her good health,right?

  14. I really didn't think anything of her head shape. They come in all shapes and sizes. She is such a beautiful baby girl! I'm so grateful she is doing well! You will all continue to be in my thoughts.

  15. I guess I don't know much about baby head shapes as I think she's lovely! How fantastic you gave her a bath!!! And I'm glad the neighbour bub is still bining away somewhere else. I hope you're feeling well physically too. Look after yourself.

  16. She is beautiful! Thank you for the update!

  17. Kaia is beautiful, and honestly, I don't see anything wrong with the shape of her head. My daughter had a football shaped head, it was more oblong than round like her twin brothers, but it's fine now, no one ever noticed or said anything about it.


  18. Kaia is just gorgeous!! I don't think her head looks different at all, and look at all her hair!!

    Evan was my "rainbow baby" after my loss. I begged my Dr. to induced my labor because Abram was a rather large baby. Luckily she listened to me, he had some complications due to the meds they gave me and I had an emergency c-section because of it. I feel tremendous guilt for putting him through that but my Dr. said I would have never delivered him naturally and if we had waited until his due date, he may have been stillborn. Those words just scares the shit out of me.

    I feel very blessed that both my boys are healthy and made it to the other side. I have been pregnant 5 times. I know I am done having kids, I don't think I can take the stress again. lol

    Take care of yourself!!!