by somtamfetcher (12 Posts), Sun Jun 27, 2010 03:52 am
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. As a new dad of twin preemies myself born at 32 weeks, I can share some of your emotions. I also sympathize with the distance issue. Our twins were born in Thailand, and the rules here are substantially different than in the US. So while I am allowed to visit them and stare at them through the glass, I am not allowed to interact with them.
This is similar although not exactly the same as your situation being an hour and half away from K'Lynn. Don't worry too much if you are not able to spend time with her in the NICU. There are thousands of babies born all over the world whose parents can not spend time with them in the NICU, and they all turn out just fine. Be grateful for any chance you get to spend with your daughter before she comes home from the hospital. Some of us didn't get introduced to our children until they were discharged.
We brought our son home 3 days ago after 18 days in the hospital. Our daughter is still there but progressing nicely and we expect to have her out in about 4-5 days. That makes our son being discharged at about 34.5 weeks and our daughter should be home at about 35.5 weeks. Both of them have sailed through their time in the hospital with no difficulties at all. From what I have read, these are pretty typical numbers for preemies without serious complications. These numbers seem to be largely independent of the extent of prematurity. There are simply certain reflexes that are not developed before this time.
It is dangerous to assume anything, but I would say you have a high likelihood of taking your daughter home during this time frame if there are no complications. Possibly earlier if you can handle feeding through a gastric tube and your doctor agrees.
In the mean time, don't beat yourself up. Kangaroo care and spending hours in the NICU is great if it is possible, but it is not an absolute requirement for a healthy child. Your daughter will be home soon enough, and my wife can attest to the fact that you will not sleep at all for a few days when she first arrives. Take the time now to get mentally and physically prepared.
As for sleeping, we are using a blanket on our bed between the two of us, and have no plans for anything more sophisticated. If you have alot of money you can spend thousands of dollars for a typical nursery setup, but results from millions of families globally show that it won't make any difference to your child. We have so far spent exactly $30 on a second hand car seat, alot of donated second hand clothes and a few bottles, and about $20 so far in disposable diapers. That's it.
There is nothing more comforting than looking over at night and being able to visually see your child breathing. You will constantly worry about them during the first few days. My advice is keep her close, and don't let her out of your sight.
One other thing. You should start pumping your breast milk if you haven't already and freezing it. Even if you can't physically go to the hospital, you can ship it there frozen in a box with dry ice. It'll keep just fine, and there is nothing better for the child. Even if the doctor's decide to use formula, your milk will keep up to 3 months in the freezer. You can give it to her when she comes home.
Congratulations again. It is such a treat to hold their small hands and realize that they are your children. No greater pleasure in the world.