“What I can’t wait for is taking Oaklee on walks with me… that day will be so nice when it comes.”
Three weeks postpartum and our lives are kind of a blur. When I try to recount these days, even referencing my journal, it’s majorly statistics – statistics that most normal parents don’t monitor quite so closely – that I remember. Oaklee weighed this much. Oaklee eats this much. Oaklee’s been on the CPAP this many days…
We’d begun to find our groove in the track no one wants to take, navigating yet another long term hospital stay. We were getting through each day simply to get through each day. Our constants were work, hospital, home and pumping.
I changed my work schedule so I was working half of my part time hours of one of the two part time jobs I’d had before Oaklee. 12 hours – 4 days, 3 hours each morning.
After work, I’d go home, eat lunch and either head up to the hospital or run as many errands as possible before heading up to the hospital with Kevin after he got out of work. There was no down time. I’d spend my “free time” prepping three or four meals that we could pack up and take to the hospital, working on putting together our nursery or running our usual errands. How I longed to even just take the time to go for a walk.
Amongst the running around, I was pumping for 15 minutes every three hours and washing pump parts every. single. time. I loathed washing pump parts. I’d get up in the middle of the night to pump the milk for the baby I could not breastfeed, the one who was not even at my house, and wash my pump parts at 2:00am. It was a tether in a time I couldn’t afford to be tied down because I needed to be in three places at once.
Every minute not spent at the hospital was packed full of as much purpose as possible so we could spend as many minutes as possible at the hospital.
We were numb, shut down, single-minded.
I often get asked how people treated us during this time, but I wonder how I treated people during this time. I was not myself. In every way, I was an extension of my sick daughter. She was the only thing I cared about. She was above my schedule, my relationships with others, even my need to take basic care of myself.
Never have I lived my life more on the go, more determined to get through each day, more bull-headed than I did during this time.
I can’t tell you what was going on outside of Area 11 of the NICU in July of 2017 – if there was breaking news or inclement weather – but I can tell you exactly how many milliliters of breastmilk Oaklee was taking.
Oscillator –> Ventilator –> CPAP –> Feeder Grower –> CPAP
In the stats:
Birth weight: 2lb, 12oz
Last known weight: 2lb 13oz (7/15/17)
Gestational Age: 30 weeks, 5 days
Days in the hospital: 22
Sets of visitors to see Oaklee: 20
Days on High Frequency Oscillator: 2
Days on Ventilator: 1
Days on CPAP: 15