If you haven't already, you need to catch up before you read this post by reading this one, this one, this one, and this one :)
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House, bundled up and walked over to the hospital to spend the day with our girl. We made it there before morning rounds so we could meet one of her doctors and talk a little bit.
But first, we had to get some snuggles in :)
There are two doctors that rotate in the NICU and today we were meeting Dr. P. He was a kind man who took time to review her file and talk about her original diagnosis and his prognosis.
One thing we hadn't yet heard about her is that she had pneumonia. She had passed the meconium before she was born and had aspirated some of it. They did a scan and saw it was in her lungs and started her on a ten day course of antibiotics the day she was born.
We also asked specifically about the facial features they were concerned about that could mean a certain diagnosis. He said, "Well, as you see..." then he paused. He gazed at her little face, looked at her chart, looked at her again, and said, "I don't know what to tell you except that this little girls facial features have changed since she was born. Um, I guess we will just have to wait and see how she develops...but she looks great!"
Dr.P. talked to us about how she looked the first four days of life (before we got to her on day 5) and how miserable she seemed. She had just had her feeding tube removed before we got there and was now sucking from a bottle like a champ, but before that, she was rarely being held. They described her cries and how she would cringe when she was touched. It was such a vast difference from the cuddly, hold-me-all-day baby we were now snuggling. It made me hurt for her and made be want to shout at the same time how good our God is to heal her so dramatically so quickly. They thought she would be on the feeding tube for another week...but she wasn't. They thought they would have to keep administering a certain medicine to her for another two weeks...but they had stopped. She didn't need it anymore. They were saying that she could be in the hospital two or three weeks...but now they are saying, unless something changes, she can be discharged as soon as she finishes her 10 day course of antibiotics.
We stayed with her all day, except during shift change when we would either grab a bite to eat in the cafeteria or hang out in their cozy atrium at the hospital.
Ben and I would sit in front of that fireplace and make our calls to home. Talking to family members and taking advantage of the hospital Wi-Fi to email Ethan pictures of his sister.
When we would go back to the RMH at night, this guy was always on the front porch to greet us. I have to say, I absolutely LOVED this place. But that is a whole other post in itself.
Our daughter's birth mother wanted to meet us at the hospital. The agency social worker wanted to meet us and sign some paperwork as well. We were all going to meet at one time, but when the social worker was there, her birth mother called and asked if she could come later. The social worker had driven three hours and needed to get back to Fargo, so we said we were ok meeting with her alone. The hospital social worker agreed to facilitate the meeting.
When her birth mother got there, she first said she wasn't sure if she wanted to see our baby, but maybe just meet us. But she decided that she would come into the NICU and meet us there. We allowed her to have some time by our daughter alone before we introduced ourselves, so we made our way to the back of the NICU out of sight. After a few minutes, the hospital social worker told us she was ready to meet us.
I have to say, this was the 2nd time I was meeting a birth mother and my stomach was in knots.
She was very kind to us. She wanted to know that we wouldn't be away from the baby too much while she was in the hospital and that we would take good care of her. She told us a little about how she came up with the name she gave her at birth and about her other children. She asked that we let her hair grow long and not cut it as long as we could. We told her about our son and that while we recognize that this was hard for her, we were very honored and blessed to have the opportunity to raise her daughter. We told her about Ethan and that he was so excited.
The afternoon shift change was about to happen, so we had to make our way out of the NICU. We grabbed some lunch (at 3:00pm) and then went back up to spend the rest of the evening by our daughter's side.
The next day was more cuddling, watching, and smiling. Still so very hard to believe we were actually here...
She was 5 pounds and 11 ounces at birth and was 6 pounds 2 ounces when we arrived to her at day 5.
She was gaining weight at an impressive rate and was filling her diapers just like se needed to.
Looking back, we thought she had so much hair! And she did, but now she has so much more that this amount looks so small!