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Obligatory Baby Posts, Pt. 3: Home Care

When our doctors told us that Lulabelle would have to stay in the NICU for 14 days, my heart sank.  I had already used up half of my allotted time off from work just trying to help Stephanie recover at the hospital, and now I was going to have to spend the other half not raising my daughter.

Well, good news came to us right around when Lula turned one week old.  Apparently I look smart enough to do things on my own, because the doctor heading up the NICU determined that we could take Lulabelle home and administer the rest of her antibiotics on our own.  Hooray!  We can actually have the baby we just had!

The only catch, of course, was giving her the medicine.  The staff told us that a delivery person would be around to drop off some medication and provide us with training on how to administer her medication through the PICC line in her arm, and after that, we would be on our own with the baby for the first time.
Turns out that was a real Good News / Bad News situation.

On the one hand, having Lulabelle home was a terrific relief and a joyful moment.  On the other hand, we had to deal with a pile of obtrusive medical equipment.

Y'see, apparently her antibiotics are of some special type that can't be injected directly all at once.  I'm not sure of the exact reasoning behind it - I'm going to guess it's because she's tiny and her system was still fragile - but the point is that each dose of antibiotic had to be administered over the course of about 50 minutes via a portable pump.

....aaaaaand she had 5 doses a day.

Add to that the time it takes to flush out the PICC line (which had to be done before and after every dose of medicine) and you're looking at about 5 hours of time, minimum, that had to be budgeted each day to give Lula her medication.

In theory, we could go about our business since the pump was battery operated, But realistically?  Carrying that pump around while it was tethered to the baby by twenty inches of tubing screwed into a fragile line that we were warned could easily slip out if it was pulled too hard meant that the baby had to be anchored to roughly the same spot for the duration of the pump's work.

Ever have to disrobe a vomited-upon onesie and pull it up an IV cord while a baby screams at you for an hour?  I guess that's my snotty way of saying that this pump was a pain in the ass.

Having to give antibiotics to Lulabelle for that week felt like some kind of compressed parenting class / boot camp.  Our days were planned entirely around the pump and we had to very quickly become experts at feeding, changing diapers, burping, and general baby soothing with one hand, since the other would invariably be occupied by the pump or pump-related activities.

Fortunately, this madness only had to last until this past Monday, at which point the final dose of Ampicillin was administered.

We'll get to put all of this behind us now and move on to the next stage of having a baby, which is basically just having a normal baby.  But I want to make sure I have this experience on record.  That way, fourteen years from now when Lula's being a brat and acting like we're bad parents, I can forward her the URL to this blog post on her future-brain-linked-computer and say, "You see what we did for you?  Don't be ungrateful."

That's right, Lula.  You know what you did.  Apologize to your mom.