The girls are 16 days old today and getting closer and closer to being discharged.
Yesterday was our first tentative release date that came and went with the girls still in the NICU. Last weekend they decided the girls would be able to go home on Wednesday as long as everything went well. Lucy continued to have a few bradycardia episodes but all were brief and self resolved. Then Clara got upset one night and her nurse gave her her paci. She began to suck on it so hard she forgot to breathe and started to desaturate. Even when the nurse took it away she still didn't take a breath until she was prompted to. This bought her a few more days automatically.
Last weekend I continued to work closely with the LC/RN Char. She didn't feel like Lucy was ready to go and she was straightforward about advocating for her to stay. She was off the day following Clara's episode but was glad to hear they would both stay a few more days when she came back.
Char worked 5 out of 6 days in a row and every day we grew that much closer to her. As a speech language pathologist I have a lot of interest in feeding. I was eager to learn as much from her as possible. Even though she has 42 years of experience I was amazed at how she could take one look at my girls and know exactly what they needed.
We started to work on getting Clara to latch without the shield, something I still haven't been successful at without her. When Clara bought herself more time I figured it was ok because it meant more time to work with Char. This was what would make staying there more bearable.
Char was off on Tuesday and despite my best efforts I was unsuccessful latching Clara. On Wednesday she was back and we knew we'd get some more practice. With the first feeding Char told us this was her last day working for a week. With a new tentative discharge date of Saturday it meant this was our last day with her.
Suddenly our prolonged stay didn't seem as great and saying goodbye to my favorite staff member was imminent. I spent all day holding back tears and dreading our goodbye.
We stayed until 5:30 when I knew her shift was over. I told her we hoped to not see her agaIn and that we needed to say goodbye. She came out and gave me a huge hug. The tears started streaming down my cheeks at that point. I thanked her for all of her help and she told me I couldn't cry because it would make her cry. At that point I knew I had to get out of there before I totally lost it. At I walked away I glanced back and saw her saying goodbye to my girls. I heard her tell them she loved them.
I made it out if the hospital before I started sobbing. That night was incredibly rough. I cried a lot more than I had in days. Each time I got up to pump the tears would stream down my face and falling back asleep was difficult. I sobbed and sobbed in Walt's arms until I fell asleep.
This morning wasn't much different but once i got out of the house it really helped. I can't help but cry as I write this. I never thought I could be so upset about saying goodbye to someone.
I plan to write Char a thank you letter and tell her how special she was to us during our stay in the NICU. I don't feel like I can thank her enough. I have her email and contact info but know how busy she is when she's there. I'm hoping we can keep in contact with her.
Now we keep our fingers crossed that we get to bring our girls home on Saturday and that we aren't still there for her next shift.
The world needs more special people like her.