Week 1 in the NICU with Miss Emerson Claire

We have officially made it through our first week of Miss Emerson Claire Allen's life, and slowly the ground is meeting our feet and we are able to take this curve ball life threw in stride. She is doing phenomenally well, each day having tubes and wires removed, becoming more independent. She is now taking a whole ounce at every feeding (still being fed through a tube). She will remain in an isolette for a few more weeks but all-in-all doing better than we had anticipated for being born at just 29 weeks. I can't believe what a whirlwind of emotions the past 7 days have been, and how supported we have felt from our friends and family as we embark on this new chapter.

Our New Normal: Well it is 7a.m. and I am just finishing up another pumping session, about to take the dogs out and get Grace's breakfast ready... and I just returned home from 2.5 hours at the NICU with sweet Emmie who is doing great, we did a great 90 minute feeding (through her tube) and skin-to-skin session while I also weighed her (almost 3 lbs now!), took her temperature, changed her diaper and got her dressed for the day (hello hot pink gowns and oversize bow hats!) While the 4am departure time is exhausting, I am quickly falling in love with the new routine, savoring the quiet time the two of us get to spend before the rest of the world wakes up.

Spending time at the NICU has become far less scary, I am now getting to know all of the incredible nurses and doctors- so many of them mothers themselves. As the week progressed, many of the machines were removed, making "Station 10" - Emmie's "room" a second home. When she has a Brady and the alarms go off (which is happening about 2-3 times over the 90 minutes I am holding her) I come close to having a heart attack - I am not sure I will ever get used to that feeling of knowing her heart is stopping but at least I am now educated on the signs to look for and how to handle. Grant and I were at the NICU the other night when a newborn was rushed in with his father, blood fresh and doctors surrounding - I could see the look of fear in Grant's face as he relived those first twenty minutes of Emerson's life- a time that feels like decades ago now, thought it was just one week. 

All modesty has gone out the door as I am now spending hours upon hours on end pumping  and doing skin-2-skin with an audience of other families and hospital staff. Heck, on the way to my dad's 60th birthday dinner, I even had to subject my poor sister-in-law Simone to me pumping in the car while she drove... I have always considered breastfeeding and pumping an intimate event, but a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do...

I miss my friends a lot. Between pumping 7 hours a day, being at the hospital for 3, 2-hour feeding sessions and trying to get as much QT with Grace - i have to admit that even though surrounded by people constantly, I feel lonely. My friends have been amazing checking up on me, I just feel lost not having the time or where-with-all to actually connect with them right now. I haven't seen anyone in a few weeks now as the week before I wen't into labor I was feeling so crummy. The house renovation is a whole other project that has been time consuming and going well (we put down the new wood floors and had them stained yesterday and I am absolutely in love). When the long days feel hard, I have to admit that stopping by the new house- a place where we will have our family all together one day soon, makes it worth it. When that day finally comes in January, a part of my crushed heart will be whole again. This next week is sure to bring its own set of challenges, but I am truly looking forward to continuing to grow in the right direction and celebrate our daily wins with Emerson growing strong ... along with Thanksgiving, my 31st birthday and the celebration of our Anniversary. When it rains, it pours, huh? I couldn't be more grateful...