Being 3 weeks early certainly presents it's challenges for a little girl but I had no idea how many we'd face. After her first day in this world, Olivia had many visitors from new grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and even a great great aunt. Needless to say, we were all thrilled with the arrival of the first baby born in this generation.
Because Olivia was born cesarian, I was already told that I could not be released to go home as quickly as most new mothers. After a couple of days, I was in my zone with the help of the nurses in the hospital. They would bring Olivia from the nursery to me in the wee hours of the night to feed her. During the day, she'd spend the whole time in her little bassinet next to my bed or in my arms. Man, this was pretty easy being a new mom.
Probably after 3 days, things started moving a little faster now with doctors coming in and out of the room to visit both me and Olivia. The pediatrician started noticing that Olivia's skin color had a yellowish-green tint to it. She was jaundiced. OK, that's normal. Nurses would take her for a few hours and put her under a special light in an incubator. This minor set back would mean that we would not be discharged as originally thought. Now, it's day 4 and Olivia is still jaundiced PLUS she failed the carseat test. The carseat test measures the newborns oxygen saturation levels as they are seated in their carseat. Erick had previously brought in our new carseat for this test and to hopefully take Olivia home with us. Olivia's oxygen levels dropped so leaving the hospital wasn't going to happen today. However, I am scheduled to be released today.
I am very calm and pretty much have no reaction. I'm not sure this is processing in my brain as the pediatrician tells me that due to the jaundice and the carseat test failure I can go home but Olivia must stay in the pediatric intensive care unit tonight. I still have no reaction. Minutes later, the news hits me hard. I'm on the phone crying to Erick then to my mom. Again, this is not how this was supposed to happen. Leaving the hospital without my baby was the hardest thing that I have ever done....... so I thought.
The rest of the day is a complete blur...... I am now home and Erick is doing laundry for me. I am not allowed to do a lot of steps because of my stitches and our laundry room is in the basement. Our bedroom was located on the third story of our house, our bathroom on the second level, so we set up an air mattress in the empty room located on the second level of our hose next to Olivia's bedroom for me to sleep.
I had no baby to feed but you can't tell my breasts that. I set an alarm clock to wake me up every two hours so that I could pump.
The next morning, we awoke, showered (I think), and went to Babies R Us to buy Olivia some new clothes because although we had a ton of adorable newborn clothing, nothing fit our little 5 1/2 pound peanut. We bought her some premature baby clothes. One in particular that I remember buying was a pink and while one piece with a butterfly on the belly. Oh, and those tiny socks couldn't be any cuter. We also had to buy premature diapers. I kept one to one day show Olivia how little she once was. I have a box that sits on my bedroom dresser that holds that little diaper, hospital wrist and ankle bands that both Olivia and I wore, empty bottles from when the nurses fed her while she stayed away from us that one dreadful night and her little pink cap that they placed on her tiny head after birth.
We arrive at the hospital and rushed right over to the incubator where she was "baking". The nurses say that she's doing well and the jaundice was subsiding. It's now game time. Time for the ultimate test...... the carseat test. Can she pass it? This time, we are present for the test. I'm not sure why we weren't there when they performed it the first time. One of the nurses handed Olivia to me and I, oh so carefully, set her into the carseat, which looks like it could swallow her whole. She was hooked up to the oxygen saturation device and we wait....... Olivia looked up at all of us with those blue eyes as we stared down at her without breathing. She passes! Now, I can breathe.
We sign all of the discharge papers and listen carefully to the instructions and walk out of the hospital, put Olivia in the carseat base in the back seat of our JeepCherokee, and drive home. I sat in the back seat hovering over her and giving Erick a play-by-play of her every move, even if she was sleeping.
Home at last, home at last, Olivia is home at last. Our journey as a family can now begin.