The lactation consultant said we might be able to start breastfeeding this weekend. I think that would be absolutely amazing. She also said not to get discouraged because breastfeeding might be a two steps forward, one step back thing. Sort of like NICU. That really rang a bell with what feels like has been going on. We definitely see progress, but there's also been times which have felt discouraging. In any case, today was definitely a two steps forward day:
WE GOT TO HOLD THE BABIES!!!
Bridget got to have her first air trial (3 hours without the CPAP) and Christopher got to continue his trials. (He didn't have one yesterday afternoon because he had had an episode of apnea--he forgot to breathe, which is not uncommon. But still bothersome) In any case, Bridget started off in kangaroo care on my chest and Christopher started on Dave's chest.
We have been asking for Kangaroo care since they were born. Kangaroo care is basically skin to skin contact between a caregiver and a baby. It has been linked to less time in the NICU, more breastmilk, and greater bonding between the caregivers and the babies. We have waited until they have been off the CPAP since that is supposed to be a bit easier.
For me, when they put Bridget on my chest, it was amazing. She snuggled up under my chin and all of a sudden, I felt a bolt of oxytocin run throughout my body as much as if I had received an IV. Oxytocin is that feel good hormone that women get while breastfeeding. This was the first time I've felt oxytocin without breastfeeding and it was obvious and amazing.
And I got to see, smell and interact with my daughter!! She has hair too!! And she is so cute. Her face is so, so pretty. No curly hair for her. She's got Dave's hair. And I got to smell her beautiful baby head. Baby's heads smell so good and it was the first time I got to smell hers.
Then Dave and Christopher settled in beside Bridget and me. I got to see Christopher's hair, too! It's just like Bridget's. They are going to have thick, dark hair like Dave's side of the family. After a while, I realized I really wanted to hold Christopher, too. So our NICU nurse moved all Christopher's wires and snuggled him on my chest alongside Bridget.
Oh. My. Lord. They immediately snuggled their heads together so that their eyes, noses, and mouths were nearly touching. My oxytocin increased even more and I might as well have been stoned. I also felt like the three of us were reunited. Bridget, Christopher and Mommy together again for the first time in 5 days. And I'm telling you that having them both on my chest, I have absolutely no idea how they both fit in my ute. Yes, that was a big ass belly. I just didn't realize it until they were free and on my chest. (Yes, there are pictures, but Dave has the camera at home taking pictures of the amazing work that is going on at the old house. Lots of stuff is happening around here)
Christopher and Bridget stayed on my chest for another 30 minutes and then they got back under their billi lights. I came back up to my room and pumped double the amount I've been pumping today. So I vouch for the increase in amount during kangaroo care.
And yes, I'm still in the hospital. My blood pressure remains really, really high and they want to work on the dosage. Depending on what happens tonight, I could be in for another night.
This was by far the best day we've had since the babies have been born. I, of course, have more to debrief on including people's expectations that I must be really happy to have them out of my belly already and also pumping instead of breastfeeding. However, I'm starting to snore and I'm still awake. I think I need to go take a break.