I have no idea what the NICU roller coaster is like so I should probably shut my stupid mouth but some of the topics this week like "jaundice" and "weight loss" are bringing back a flood of horrible memories about Josie's first days. I'd almost forgotten what it was like.
When Josie was four months old, teething, and driving me crazy waking up every two hours, I did some googling and found some parents calling the four-month sleep regression the "low point". Eh. It was a low point, but I wouldn't call it THE low point... I think I'd put it at #3 on the list so far, at best.
#2 on the list was the 2-5 week colicky stage. One night Marc arrived home from work at 3am (he DJs) to find me so absolutely broken down, I could barely get the words out between sobs. "SHE'S... (gasp) BEEN... (sniff) SCREAMING... FOR... (choke) THREE... HOURS..." I'd been doing the swaddling/side/swaying stuff I'd read about, I'd put her down and abandoned her to try and regain my sanity... nothing made either of us happy. It was just... a low point.
But it still wasn't THE low point! THE low point on my list was still Josie's third or fourth day of life when we had to take her to immediate care for not eating. That lj entry wasn't public. It was bad. It was a day when we woke up refreshed from a good night's sleep, Jo hadn't woken up hungry very much. She ate some in the morning. But then she just... didn't. We woke her up at 1pm to feed her, but she wouldn't nurse well, so we let her go back to sleep. 4pm rolled around and she still wasn't up and hungry, so we tried waking her up, but she just wouldn't stay awake. She seemed weak. Here's this tiny fragile thing who needs food, but even putting a cold washcloth on her barely got any reaction. There'd been no dirty diapers in almost 24 hours, we'd been cautioned about babies sleeping through more than one feeding... so we packed up and took her to an immediate care place. I was still in awful shape from childbirth, I could barely stand up but there were no soft chairs for me to sit on, the pain just got worse and worse as we waited there. The discomfort, combined with hormones and desperate worrying about the baby, had me crying right there in front of everyone without caring even a little bit.
But Josie was pronounced "okay". She finally decided she was hungry after all and ate, right as doctors were offering to do a SPINAL TAP to test for infection. The worst thing they had to do was draw some blood.
Jaundice is a vicious cycle. It can make a baby too tired to eat, when eating is exactly she needs to beat it. Josie's jaundice (declared "mild") got better when we laid her in sunny windows for 15 minutes twice a day... we should have started earlier. I think I've already decided that if we have another baby, I'm just going to bring it home and bake it like a ham. Okay, maybe not, but some early window therapy certainly can't hurt.
Jo is a baby. Sometimes she drives us crazy, sometimes we can't wait to hold her... that's what "baby" means. But one thing's for sure: she's healthy now. No matter how much I complain about her there's no low point worse than worrying about health. Ever since that jaundice disaster she's been eating like a champ, gaining weight like a sumo wrestler and hitting all the right milestones at all the right times.
@tweetfetus will be like that too... in fact after only a week, she's done with the NICU! She'll be a rockstar. By this time next year I bet she'll be good friends with Josie. And my friend will tweet about the same things we all do... "the drool in my kid's Christmas photo is barely noticeable, right?" or "oh crap she can roll off her play mat now".
That's what time does. I'm glad for it.