I enter the front doors of the women's and children's center. "Hello, heading back." I say to the front desk clerk. They know what I mean by those few simple words as I have now seen the front desk staff many times. The buzz me back into the maternity wing. I pass by the desk where I sat in a wheel chair that one Wednesday where Eric gave them our insurance information.
I head to the NICU, I push the button. "***** Mom here to see my baby." I say. The NICU staff all know me now too, but this is a formality and for securtity and you definitely can't be too safe with these little babies. "Good morning" I say then make some small talk while signing in.
I then head over to the sink. All jewelery off, grab the scrub brush and scrub and wash my hands and arms up to my elbows for three minutes, just like a surgeon. Srcub, scrub.. I need to remember to put lotion on my hands when I leave, they are starting to get raw. Eric has a system that he uses when he srubs in now, mine changes a little bit every time. All clean; head back to see my little guy.
I take his temperature, complete his oral care and change his diaper. He likes to poop while I am changing his diaper, seems to be his new favorite game, so I always make sure I have the new diaper already underneath just in case. Finally get him all changed and then it is my favorite time. I get to hold him and once a shift (every 12 hrs) try to nurse him.
I know people have different opinions on nursing and for some it just does not work... but to look down at that little guy who is completely dependent upon others and to see him latch on, even if just for a few minutes....well there is something truly spiritual and wonderful about it. After we try nursing for a while they hook up his feeding. His food slowly goes through a tube through his nose right to his stomach over a hour period. I hold him this whole time as he peacefully sleeps in my arms. I love watching his chest rise up and down while he sleeps. I love hearing his little grunts and groans. I gently rub his head. I put my finger into his hand. His hand tightly grips around my finger, his entire hand only covers the very top part of my finger. Even though he is so little he is so perfect, everything in it's place, everything just right... just so so small.
After that hour I gently put him back in his bed. I get him all wrapped up and say goodbye, I will see you later little guy... this is always the hard part. I head out, sometimes to leave the hospital, sometimes I go eat lunch just to come back for the noon care... but my heart is never far from this place. I call it my home away from home away from home. They are caring wonderfully for Ryder, but I will be more than happy to say goodbye to this place.