A couple of years ago when I was still very bitter and angry about my infertility, I used to roll my eyes when people said that having a kid in the NICU is hard. I know. I'm a horrible person. But all I could think was, "Maybe, but it's better than not having a kid at all."
Which is true. I can vouch for that now that I've experienced it. But it's still difficult. Frustrating. Exhausting. There are great days, and then there are terrible days. Days when I feel completely inadequate as a parent because I can't comfort my child. Days when I feel frustrated because I have to ASK for my child's status updates instead of being told.
Baby K is only allowed to wake up eight times a day for her feedings, medication, and diaper change. Which means that we can basically only hold her eight times a day. If she wakes up, it counts against her in her evaluation to go home. If she gets too fussy, it counts against her. Things that people are able to do with their newborns, I'm not. We get no playtime. No time to be awake with each other.
I know that everything the doctors and nurses do is for her own good. It's so that she can get better and come home soon. But it doesn't mean I don't wish things were easier.
Hopefully those easier days are right around the corner. The doctor said today that if she continues to improve at the rate she's going now, she will likely be discharged in 10 to 14 days - a huge upgrade from the original six-week time frame presented to us. Of course, it's all based on how well she does each day. It's hard to look too far into the future.
As hard as it's been here in the NICU, I can't complain for a second about the level of support we're getting from family, friends, and the hospital. Whether it's gift cards to restaurants, care packages sent to our room, donations for K's medical expenses, or just visits, the love we've received is overwhelming.
And at the rate she's improving, I think K's feeling that love, too.