What a bonus, Jessica slept just about all the way through on Monday evening! She’s been quite niggly for the last week or so, particularly during the evening, something that can either be attributed to a side-effect from her shots (states so on the packaging) or perhaps just because of the unbearable heat and humidity we have endured over the last little while. Anyway, we put her to bed after a good feed late evening and come morning when the tell-tale hunger cries began emanating from the nursery, we were quite surprised to see that it was already past 05:00 in the morning! Score! :)
By this stage almost everyone who needs to meet our little princess has done so, and this weekend was certainly no exception in terms of visitors. Friday night saw us hosting Karl and Trish for a Come Dine With Me dinner right out of the top shelf cook book (home made buns, chutney chops, home made soet koekies, home made ice-cream brownie sandwiches – you get the picture!), followed by some hilarious Blur racing bouts on the XBOX.
Having enjoyed her bath (well possibly enjoyed it), next up is Jessica versus the Aqueous cream as Chantelle does her best to smear it all over that tiny little body!
Bath time is a rather soapy affair for little Jessica and mommy Chantelle – while Daddy stays firmly stuck in the wings, trying to get as much info into his thick skull so that he can handle the job next time around!
Captured another video moment for the fans out there, this time of the oh so professional Mommy showing me how one washes a red head baby girl’s hair. Needless to say, I didn’t pick up on all that much considering I was far to busy taking this oh so professional video footage! :P
So it is Chantelle’s 30th birthday today, not the best day of the week to celebrate one’s birthday I know, but hey, what can one do about it after all?
Originally, the plan was to go big – hire a spit braai king, fire up the music and have a proper party befitting a 30th celebration… which of course didn’t quite happen thanks to the rather unexpected events over these last couple of weeks.
Though, as the time has quickly passed since Jessie’s unexpected arrival 3 weeks ago, Chantelle’s recovery has been far quicker than what anyone could have imagined and so it was late last week that I suggested to her that we slap something together to celebrate her birthday on the weekend preceding the actual day after all, in lieu of the cancelled big bash.
Which of course translated to a Saturday of frantic ingredient shopping, loads of baking and of course, accelerated gardening and house spring cleaning.
Saturday 20 November can go down as another good day for little Jessica, with three bits of good news coming through.
First, she is now up to 1.5 ml of Chantelle’s milk per hour, with a decrease in the amount of artificial nourishment that she was being fed via the IV drip. Her stomach also appears to at last being clearing up, though for now she is still being fed the milk via the tube leading straight to her duodenum. Second, she has picked up a further 60 grams according to the records and finally, she’s being weaned off the CPAP oxygen assist, meaning that for the first time we got to see her without that great big pipe taped to her nose! :)
By all accounts, our daughter is doing well, and of course this does Daisy the world of good to hear. And speaking of Daisy, Steri and Stumpie are still doing a sterling job of producing milk, seemingly going for broke at the moment, attempting to fill each and every plastic little bottle we can throw at them! The loan of Andri’s electronic pump is proving to be an absolute boon, and Daisy has been religiously sticking to her rigid schedule of prompting Steri and Stumpie into action every few hours! (Though I think she might kill me if she knew I was typing this and posting it to the web!)
As for our visit with her on the day, it was first preceded by Dean’s Big 30th Birthday Bash Brunch, held at the delightful little Groenland Winery off Bottelary Road, where we joined all the friends, the Stapelberg Clan (boy is my little Godchild big already – almost a year old now!) and the rest of Dean’s family to enjoy some catching up, celebrating the big 30 and take in a rather interestingly different and enjoyable breakfast together!
Of course, this great big get together was only the prelude to the day, because from there it was straight to the hospital, where Chantelle got ready to kangaroo with Jessica while I buggered off to do our neglected grocery shopping at Zevenwacht Mall. It was a pretty awesome experience for Chantelle to hold little Jessica without the CPAP pipes attached, because for the first time little Jessica’s face was completely open, eyes taking in everything around her, ears listening to all the sounds and the cutest little button nose enjoying the smell of Mommy’s skin.
Of course, this closeness to little one also excited Steri and Stumpie, meaning that Chantelle was forced to cut short the kangaroo session lest she flood the whole NICU in milk! ;)
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is my beautiful, long-legged swimsuit model-wannabe is doing just fine, making for one very happy Mommy and Daddy team!
(Oh, and Chantelle is doing just fine in case you were wondering :P)
Day 6 (Friday 19 November) marked the first day of both Chantelle and I operating out of Gordon’s Bay, meaning that for the first time we couldn’t just walk around the corner and say Hi to Jessie every five minutes!
After a nice shower, we confirmed that Chantelle’s outer wound is pretty much all healed up now already, and so with just the pain to deal with, Mommy has jumped straight to work on expressing some milk to take with for our dribble monster’s consumption.
In terms of the milk generation, Chantelle’s boobies are continuing to do a magnificent job, producing up to 70 ml after a 20 minute session, with this number increasing exponentially with each and every expressing session!
As for Daddy, I’m busy juggling as many balls up in the air as possible, taking care of the household chores, looking after Chantelle, working for Touchwork and of course acting as chauffeur for my incapacitated (in terms of driving) wife.
We visited Jessie in the afternoon, and the good news is that my little dribble monster’s heart condition is now resolved, with the hole successfully closing up after the medicine ran its course. The other good news is that they have upped the amount of milk they are feeding her, now giving her 1 ml every hour, though still via the tube that runs directly into her duodenum. Another plus is that her stomach content is showing signs of clearing up, so it shouldn’t be too long now before she can receive her nourishment via the correct channel. Oh, and we learned that CPAP shouldn’t be necessary for too much longer either.
I abandoned Mommy to do her sitting with Jessica on the chest thing, heading off down the street to go visit the two now great grandmothers and show them the pictures of little Jessica for the very first time. Needless to say, this caused great excitement and we ended up enjoying a long visit, just the two grannies and I.
Back at the hospital, I did manage to have Jessica pried off Chantelle’s chest and placed back in the incubator, before making the long trip home where I dutifully scolded Chantelle for not sleeping more during the day.
Still, day 6, successfully passed! :)
Thursday 18 November, Day 5 of Jessica’s journey marked the end of Chantelle’s stay at Kuilsriver Hospital. Finally the medicine had started kicking in and Chantelle’s blood pressure was showing signs of coming down nicely. Doctor Albertyn was happy and as such had no more reason to keep her under observation. Of course, in terms of pain, Chantelle isn’t quite yet a happy chappy, but it is now manageable and she is able to move about a fair bit – be it with a grimace on her face for most of the time!
I of course was excited at the prospect of extending my caregiver stint by bringing her home to me, and of course as with most things, I jumped the gun and raced through to the hospital in order to surprise her and take her home…
… which needless to say, kind of backfired on me! Why? Well on arrival, she informed me that the hospital had stated that she could stay as long as she wanted to on the day, as long as she left before midnight, meaning that this new Mommy was certainly not going anywhere in a hurry!
Of course, this translated into a lot of Jessie lying on Mommy’s chest time, doing both the world of good. Jessica is still doing well, still on 21% oxygen via the CPAP, still on all the medicines, but at least now finally getting in some of Mommy’s precious milk, via a tube that skips her stomach (where the problem lies) and heads straight into the duodenum.
As for progress, our little girl has managed to gain 50 grams at last, putting her now at 1.43 kg, meaning she has now made up for that initial 20 grams that she has lost since birth.
In other words, everything is still on track and going well with our precious little dribble monster!
As for Chantelle, I did eventually pick her up later in the evening, and successfully separated her from our darling daughter. Now is the time for as much bed rest as possible for her inner wound to close up (the outer wound is already pretty much fixed up!), meaning I gave her just enough time for a quick takeaway supper, before ushering her straight to bed to get some much needed sleep.
As for myself, I continue to be pretty exhausted, making it particular tough now that I am officially working again – albeit from home thanks to my boss’ magnanimous generosity!
Day 5, successfully passed! :)
Jessica’s fourth day of living in this great big world with us went a lot better than the previous day. She had a good night, coming through without any hassles, her jaundice is beginning to show signs of receding nicely, and she appears to be responding just fine to the medicine she’s been receiving to deal with that common open heart valve issue found in premature babies, though this will only be fully confirmed once the course is finished and they can conduct the necessary scans.
Aspiration is still a problem for her though, so she hasn’t been receiving any of Chantelle’s milk just yet, gaining fluids and nutrients entirely from a regulated drip at the moment. Her breathing is nice as stable, and she’s back down to normal oxygen levels via the CPAP machine.
So in other words she’s still doing pretty well considering the circumstances.
As for Chantelle, her healing continues unabated and slowly but surely she is becoming more and more mobile, though still in quite some pain. In terms of milk production, my Daisy is currently shifting into high gear, and it is great to see the amount of milk she expresses literally increase almost exponentially with each and every session!
And me? I continue my vigil and role of supporting cheerleader next to her bed at all times – except for when I nip out to see Jessica of course! :)
Visitors are still flowing in freely, and yesterday we entertained a surprise visit from Terrance and Andrea, Andy looking absolutely fabulous as she heads into the last month of her own pregnancy. Monty and Cheryl continue their daily visits (as well as acting as unofficial courier from Bellville for Olifant Pootjies), coming in twice to support Chantelle yesterday .
Outside of Ilke and her newborn, no other new entries have come to our ward, and so we’re still enjoying relative peace and quiet in our particular little curtained fort. Chantelle’s blood pressure is at last showing signs of coming down, and that bodes well considering she is being discharged later today.
(Unfortunately for her though, the swelling of her feet haven’t yet decided to play ball).
And now for the most important update of them all.
Yesterday marked the first day that Chantelle was allowed to sit down and hold Jessica against her chest, skin to skin, just like mother and baby are supposed to. Needless to say, this was the moment we had all been waiting for, and you could literally see the joy creep over Chantelle’s face as she received Jessica and sat there, motionlessly cradling her daughter on her chest and soaking up this momentous occasion.
And Jessica behaved like an absolute angel, just lying there and not triggering her alarm even once. Chantelle must have sat there for just under a hour, before her pain became too great and she had to return Jessica and make her way back for some more bed rest. But the motherly instinct has now properly been awakened and has literally exploded into life – which is going to make coming home all that much harder for my Chantelle because now she won’t be able to see little Jessie every five minutes any more.
Nevertheless, my beautiful daughter is doing fine, my wife is well on the road to recovery and our journey to Jessie’s triumphant homecoming is that one big step closer! :)