I know everyone’s experience in the NICU is very different, but I wanted to share what a typical day looked like for us. These were the days when Lily didn’t have any specialist appointments or procedures scheduled. We were very thankful to live only about 5 minutes from the hospital she was at so we could get there quickly if needed. I was also able to go home at night and get a somewhat decent sleep (other than getting up every 3 hours to pump! Not fun!!) So, here’s what a day normally looked like:
8-9am ~ Arrive at hospital to be in time for rounds. Some days rounds would take forever, depending where they decided to start on the ward and how many really sick babies there were in the NICU at the time. New babies would also take a bit longer. So some days rounds were right at 9, other days they wouldn’t get to us until the afternoon. I would miss rounds some days, but I really tried my best to be there so I could hear first hand what the plans etc. were for Lily. I liked to be able to talk to the Doctors. They were really good at explaining treatments and care plans to us. The nurses were also great for translating some things into plain English!! (I learned a lot of new medical terminology during our hospital stay! Ask me what Periventricular Leukomalacia is)
8am ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump/cuddle time!! I’d cuddle with Lily for as long as possible. Usually a few hours. This was my happy place <3
11am ~ Repeat!
12pm ~ Lunch time. I’d go have lunch at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Surrey Memorial Hospital most days. That place was a God send!! It was so nice to chat with other parents who were there. We could all relate to what the other families were going through! It was a nice little “break” from the hospital. I’ve been so blessed to have maintained friendships with some of the parents I met there.
1pm ~ Run home to walk the dog. Do a few things at home, mostly getting the nursery ready! Or shop for Christmas presents (Lily was born in October, but in the hospital until December ~ here’s her story) The odd day I’d get in a nap, but that didn’t happen often. I would usually miss the 2pm feeding time for Lily, but the nurses would always take care of that. They either did the tube feed when she still had her NG (nasogastric- tube from nose to stomach) tube in or give her a bottle when she was able to take oral feeds. Even when I started breast feeding, Lily would take a bottle, so that was kind of nice. Especially when we got home and my husband could take some feeds!
3pm ~ Hubby, Pete, would get home from work and shower quickly.
4pm ~ We’d usually get back to the hospital around 4pm. Pete would often get his cuddle time in then. He worked super early, so he found if he waited until after supper to have his cuddles, he’d be so tired he didn’t enjoy it as much.
5pm ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump. Pete would go to Ronald McDonald house and get our dinner ready. I am so thankful for a husband who cooks and so grateful for all the people who provided us with meals while Lily was in the hospital. We had a steady stream of meals from friends, family and our church. It was so great to have one less thing to think of.
6pm ~ Eat dinner. We’d usually try to be back in Lily’s room around 7pm
8pm ~ Change Lily’s diaper/take her temp/feed/pump. Quite often I would cuddle Lily again for a while.
9pm ~ Head for home. 4am wake up comes early for Pete!
So, I was usually at the hospital for over 12 hours. Once Lily started breast feeding on demand I stayed overnight in her room at the hospital (all the rooms in our NICU were private), there was a couch that pulled out into a bed. It was actually decently comfortable too! I did that for probably the last 3 weeks before she came home.
I thought that being in the hospital I would have all this free time, like I’d be able to crochet and read. People would bring me magazines, but I hardly got around to touching them. Seriously, living on a 3 hour feeding schedule, plus having to pump after each feed, I had very little free time! A whole feeding/pumping session would take over an hour. Then we had to do it again 2 hours later! I got so used to this schedule, it’s like I did it in my sleep some days (and I probably did some days I was so tired!)