Uneventful is good, right?

Anna's feeling good this morning after another restful night. Frankie seems less hellbent on escape, and the only things Anna's really suffering from at the moment are boredom and a sore ass. After the stress and anxiety we were feeling at this time last week, it seems strange to be enjoying these placid moments together, she reading a magazine, me beside her, quietly pecking away at the keyboard. Anna's doing so well that I'm going to venture out this morning for a haircut. She's going to enjoy an hour or two alone for the first time in days. We couldn't have gotten this far without the love and support of our family, but I think she's going a little nuts from the constant attention. Anna's a fiercely independent woman, and she's used to getting plenty of time to herself, so she's having to adapt to letting folks take care of her. As for me, I'm having to rein in my overprotective tendencies. I sometimes have to remind myself that she's not made of glass, and that the situation isn't as delicate as my paranoid mind would like to imagine. Then again, the risks aren't entirely in my imagination.

We finally talked to a doctor from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit last night. He answered our barrage of questions and gave us a much better idea of what that experience is going to be like. It sounds like we'll have very little contact with Frankie for the first few days as they stabilize him and assess his situation. That's going to be hard on us, because the focal point of our birth plan has been to spend as much time as possible with Frankie after he enters the world. At Seton Northwest, the hospital at which we'd intended to deliver, the newborns stay with the parents from the moment they're born until mother and baby are discharged. I kind of assumed that every hospital had a "nursery," where babies are lined up in neat rows, tucked into identical bassinets, identifiable only by a tiny sliver of a wristband and a pink or blue skullcap signifying gender (or, as Judith Butler might prefer, signifying biological sex). We liked the idea of getting to monopolize Frankie's time for his first few days on the planet, but now it appears that isn't going to happen. While we're more than a little disappointed, the reasoning seems pretty sound: the goal of the NICU staff is to keep premature babies as quiet and calm as possible so that they can continue to mature and avoid complications associated with high blood pressure, elevated by excitement. So, if it's in Frankie's best interest, we're willing to suck it up and restrain ourselves. Luckily, those first few days will coincide with Anna's recovery from the C-section surgery, so it will be easier for me to focus the bulk of my attention on her, and for her to focus on recovering so that we can be there for Frankie when he really needs us. After the first few days, we'll be able to increase our contact with Frankie, and when he's sucking and swallowing, consuming mostly breastmilk, and able to maintain his body temperature without assistance, we'll be able to take him home. That could take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on his progress. In the meantime, we get to worry about spontaneous brain hemorrhages, blindness, and a couple of other random catastrophic occurrences that translate into a survival rate for 30 week old babies that's somewhere between 75 and 99%. Neither of us have really thought about the fact that survivability is still an issue, but it is. We're not out of the woods yet, but the doctor was quick to point out that the low end of that percentile figure applies primarily to babies that don't have access to NICU facilities. In this hospital, the survival rate for 30th week newborns is in the upper 90's, and only a rare few of those suffer any significant complications. On the whole, the news from the doctor sounded positive, and we actually felt reassured by the visit. This will be tough, but we've resigned ourselves to what's ahead, and we'll do whatever's necessary to bring Frankie home safe, happy and healthy. That's what parents do, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that 30th month or week?

12:28 AM  
Blogger Critical Mess said...

um, yeah, weeks, not months. thanks for the heads up.

7:07 AM  
Blogger dirtyweekender said...

Anna had better get used to all this attention for when she gets famous.

7:47 AM  

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