I have completely lost track of the days. I could not tell you what day of the week it is today nor whether it’s been three days or 30 since the last update. Six and a half weeks into this adventure, the boys are 34 weeks corrected gestational age.
The routine remains exactly the same day in and day out. The routine remains exactly the same day in and day out. The routine remains exactly the same day in and day out.
We park the car in the second or third row of the parking lot. I take off my sunglasses to put on my eyeglasses when we hit the crosswalk leading past the complementary valet and into the Lawrence Hospital Entrance. We walk through the first set of automatic doors and head straight for the second set to our right – you don’t need to slow down, they’ll open right as you think you’re about to smash into them. I immediately prep for the blast of cold air conditioning that cools the hallway. We enter in front of Ambulatory Surgery, pass a set of restrooms and cross one of the hospital’s lobbies. Next to the gift shop are three elevators; we take whichever one arrives first up to the third floor. We then head toward the NICU’s lavender awning located to the right of the elevator bank.
We greet the receptionist with a smile and “hello.” She unlocks the door and we enter, stopping to wash our hands at the sink right on the left. After scrubbing with soap to the length of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star we wind our way past the first door with it’s sign reminding us to be quiet because there are “Babies Developing. Shhhh.” In front of a kiddie table, we pick up the phone and dial Pod B. When one of the nurses answers, we say, “Hi, it’s Jon and Tricia Stream. We’re here to see our boys. Can we come in?”
The door opens and we squirt a shot of antimicrobial gel onto our hands. We greet the nurses as we rub in the gel while heading to the second and third beds (now one pedi-crib) on the left of the pod. I put my purse under their crib and ask, “How are my little guys today?” The nurse tells us they’re doing well. Jon and I set about taking the boys temperature. Destroy screams bloody murder; Search makes grumpy faces. Then it’s time to change diapers. Wipes are located above the pod sink, where we dampen them with lukewarm water. Diapers are stored in each kids respective corner. As we pick up the muppets to feed them their bottle, I ask the nurse what their weight is.
We’re all ready to come home. The nurses warned us when Search and Destroy first arrived that time would likely mess with our emotions in this precise manner – although time passed by so quickly at first, it will start slowing down interminably as we approach our homecoming date. We are currently looking at 2-3 weeks more – but at this point, it’s all up to the boys.
Search and Destroy seem equally ready to come home. In fact, they have overheard us speaking about the three big criteria and decided to let the nurses know they’re ready. Destroy has made it his personal mission to permanently remove his nasal cannula. My poor little guy currently has a large red welt on his cheek because of his vigorous removal methods. I assumed that ripping the tape off his face would make him cry. It did not – he just gave us all a sly grin. Every time we swaddle him, we’ll see his little hands sneak out of his wrap and covertly grip at his wires.
“Well you said we couldn’t come home until we were off our oxygen tubes.” Destroy was just speeding that process along.
Search knows he needs to be taking all his meals from a bottle. So when I told him how proud of him I was because he was such a good eater, he took it upon himself to take out his feeding tube. “Look Mom, all done!”
They’re just trying to help out the doctors. And slowly, but surely, they are making great strides. It just seems like forever right now. Today, Nurse Jennifer let us know that we’ll likely see a huge difference between week 34 and 35. And Nurse June think they’ll likely graduate in about two weeks. (And Nurse June doesn’t take any backtalk from the boys. They WILL progress under her care. Period.)
Each day our routine remains the same. I just need to remember to take a step back and remind myself that we weren’t even supposed to have met the munchkins yet. They’re still tiny babies – even if they are rapidly approaching merely “small” as opposed to tiny.