Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving towards Acceptance

I've been thinking and writing a lot lately about my desire for Maddy to come home from hospital - but after a lot of discussion with practically every NICU pediatrician, I realise that it's not going to happen in the near future. And I think that it's a lot "healthier" for me to come to accept it (at least in part, even if I still disagree in principle) than to fight it so much. I don't want to be so stressed and upset about it that it hinders my ability to be a good mum to both my girls.

Anyway, I've been thinking - maybe I need to try other ways to get what I want... I'm not going to change the hospital system here, as much as I think it's pretty horrible. I'm not going to be able to magically extend the visiting hours, or the people who are allowed in and the people who are not allowed in. So I need to be a bit creative...

One thing that I REALLY want is for Lana to be able to meet Maddy - maybe I will ask the doctors if I would be able to take Maddy out into the waiting area so she can meet her sister. I know that they are pretty likely to say no, but I also know that there's not really any medical reason why she couldn't - and I can always ask at least... (and I think I know which one is the softest, so I'll ask him!!)

Another thing that I am a bit afraid of is that Maddy will have trouble bonding with us after she is released, particularly if she is there for another few months. Yes, she sees me every day but only really for about 1-2 hours. Bernard can't get up there every day because if he did, he'd never see Lana as he'd be getting home after her bedtime. One thing that we are planning on doing is making some audio clips of us reading stories, maybe try to get Lana to sing a few songs or something like that, and then the hospital can play them when we're not there. 

Maddy already has two toys up there that we will bring home with her - hopefully she will notice and when she does come home, she won't feel "out of place"... 

Maddy's NICU stay isn't like a premie's NICU stay, even though that both are often around 3 months long. For a premie, they are still so busy still developing that they don't do much interacting and responding etc (I guess - I've never had a premie, I've just observed the other babies around Maddy...) - but Maddy really needs that stimulation. She loves looking around and responding to things - I don't know if she recognises faces yet, but she definitely will while she is in there. When we visit her, I try to spend most of that time holding her and talking to her, and I love that I can now bath her, even though I still feel pretty clumsy (for Lana, we had a bath which had this kind of hammock in it so we didn't have to hold her so awkwardly, she could lay half in the water supported by the hammock thing. Wet babies are so slippery!!) We need to bring up some books to read to her - we haven't done that yet, but we've talked about it.

Anyway - I want to find creative ways of helping her to know that we're her family... any suggestions? Please leave a comment or email me!!


  1. I love the audio clip idea! Easy to do too! When we were in the NICU, I saw other babies cribs decorated with photo's of their family members for when the parents couldn't be there. Video clips might be good to if you have a video camera and a portable player. Some moms have slept with a their babies special stuffed animal for a few nights to place their scent on it and then gave the animal to their babies to have with them, this also works with blankets or even the babies clothing. Babies recognize scent and audio best at first. I think the idea of having Maddy meet her sister is a great and I hope that they will allow you to do this! When we were in the NICU only three people at a time were allowed to visit, and we were restricted to just immediate family only including our daughters grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. My older kids also had the chance to meet her but we did this at the local hospital before being moved to the NICU at Childrens. I'm not sure if we were able to have our kids come and visit while she was in the NICU, I have a feeling that the answer was no. Anyways, I hope you get some more ideas on how to keep Maddy close even when you are apart. This is tough, but this too shall pass! Many hugs to you and we are still keeping maddy in our prayers!!!

  2. First, she will bond to you. My son was adopted and didn't meet us until 14 mos- and he was able to bond. It was work, but it can happen.
    When you are with her touch her as much as possible. Get as much "skin to skin" time as possible. Also, focus on eye contact and speaking as much as possible so that she continues to hear your voice a lot.
    Voice/pictures and items that will transition from the hospital to home will help. Also, any blanket/book/stuffed animal/toy that can be in both places will ease her transition and help with bonding. I don't know if you can do this- but if you can wear a particular scent (like a certain lotion) when visit then she will recognize that scent and remember you by it. When she comes home wear it all the time- that will remind her that you are familiar. That might not work in the NICU though.
    I love the pics of Maddy. She is adorable.

  3. We also made recording of us reading books and sounds of us just hanging out and talking/playing - normal sounds he would hear if he were at home with us. The books were good because we would just read him the same ones when he came home : )

    We put photos up of us and of his brother - ones with just a close up our faces so it would be large enough for him to see.

    We also brought our own swaddle blankets and clothes from home so he would know the smell of home.

    The time spent in NICU seems long but looking back, there is a silver lining, that we had time to be able to transition slowly to our new life. I had a newborn but was still getting a full nights rest, T had a long time to get used to the idea of having a brother and really couldn't wait for him to come home, and I had a chance to cry about all that was happening and recover from surgery without having to care for the baby 24hrs a day.

    Hang in there!!!