Monday, May 18, 2009

Growing and Getting Stronger

The next few weeks were spent just fattening up, and trying to get feeding established. I was still pretty determined to breastfeed, despite the drs tell me she wasn't going to get the hang of it. But we kept persisting. Basically, I would express first (to slow down my milk flow) then give her a bit of a breastfeed, while monitoring her sats. If they got below about 60% we stopped the feed and finished off with a tube feed. She was also having thickened bottles as well. They wanted Samara to stay in hospital until she was having no tube feeds. This seemed a bit ridiculous considering how many kids out there are tube-fed. So we had a meeting with the drs, speechie, lactation consultant, transfer co-ordinator, nurses etc, and they agreed to let us take her home on tube-feeds. Over the next week I was to learn how to put them in, test they were in the right place, what to do in an emergency etc.

The Royal wanted to transfer us to Redcliffe Hospital, but I wasn't happy about it. All the research I had done didn't leave me very confident that she would get the best care there. Also, at RBWH, they have a parentcraft room. It is like a mini motel unit, where parents can spend a night or two with their baby before going home. If I transferred to Redcliffe, rather than parentcraft, I would have to stay in the maternity unit with Samara. I really didn't want to be put back in hospital, where I would have to spend a couple of nights in a room with 3 other mums and their healthy full term babies, when I had a sick pre-term disabled baby who I was learning to tube-feed. Emotionally I just wasn't up to it. They tried to get a Social Worker to change my mind, and I was all ready to go and see the Psych I had been under for depression/PND and get her to back me up. But thankfully they realised I wasn't giving in, and we got to stay!

Finally, on December 5 (Christiana's 14th birthday) we got to come home. One of the rules in the nursery, is that the only people (apart from the medical people of course) allowed to touch the babies are parents and grandparents. Needless to say, it was a long, long wait for her sisters who weren't allowed a cuddle for those first 2 1/2 months! You can imagine the joy (and the fights!) when they were finally allowed to hold her. Here is Mahalia having her first cuddle that day.

Life at home quickly settled into a routine of express, breastfeed (I noticed that she could cope for longer if I was laying on my bed, so would try that once or twice a day) or bottle feed, and tube feed. By then it was time to start the cycle over! But I was determined that whatever it took, I was going to do the best I could to give her a good start.

She was a very sleepy baby, and it took a lot to get her to wake for feeds, but this is where it was a real God-send to be able to tube feed her if we needed to.

Going into hospital in August, and being in air conditioning for so long, it was a massive shock to come home in the middle of a Queensland (read hot and humid!) summer. Some days, the only thing I could do to cope was take several cold showers! I tried to get out for a walk each day, but I would come home on the verge of passing out! We are blessed to be living right near a beautiful beach, and if we were lucky, there would be a nice sea breeze blowing. Here's a couple of pictures of our beautiful part of the city. Suttons Beach, above and the Sanctury Cove Lagoon to the right. The Lagoon is a big free public pool that is absolutely gorgeous! (so long as you don't use the toilets!)

Our new home was (is) a lot smaller than we were used to. 2 and a half bedrooms for 6 kids + Michael and I! By the time you count all the baby gear, it has been a real squash. But, it's a roof over our heads, and at least we live in a warm climate so aren't stuck inside all the time. Speaking of warm climate - we don't have air con here. A BIG problem when it's the middle of summer. Before long (and with a lot of pleading)Michael went and got a portable air conditioner. It wasn't the most efficient thing in the world, but at least I felt like I could breathe.

Apart from the heat, it was great to be home. I finally got to meet some of our lovely neighbours who Mahalia had made herself known to! We are truly blessed to live in a street with some of the nicest people! I think that it is almost worth being this squashed just to be living in this location!
And, that's the story of our homecoming. Later I will put up some more pictures......

1 comment:

  1. I will not be jealous of your amazing beach...I will not be jealous...

    Oh. Wow.

    Anyway, your poor girls, having to wait sooo long to hold their baby sister! I bet they still fight over her!