That title got your attention, didn’t it?
Well. It’s true. Abby lost a whopping 5 pounds yesterday… Dr. Saul called to tell us we could FINALLY detach her from the heart rate/apnea monitor!!!! (The machine itself weighs about 5 pounds.) Merry Christmas to us!
That’s right, folks! Last night, Abby slept through the night for the first time EVER, without her wires. It was liberating for all of us.
I can’t tell you just how much this means to me and Anthony. Abigail has had no less than 2 wires attached to her at all times since the day she was born. In the beginning, it was far more than 2. It was closer to 9. As she got better in the NICU, it gradually made its way down to 3 – stuck to her with hospital grade “lead” stickers (the wires are called “leads” in the NICU). The only time those wires ever came off was to change out the stickers. They even stayed on in the bathtub. The day we brought her home, we had to switch her from the NICU monitor to the Life Care monitor for our home. This was the day she went from 3 wires to 2. She was wire free for 5 whole minutes that day, and it was the first time since her birth that had happened. Here at home, it’s been the 2 wires, day and night, since August 24th. The only time they came off was during bath time – so for maybe 20 minutes every 3 days. And she certainly has never slept even once without some sort of monitoring system attached to her body. Ever.
It’s been a day we’ve been patiently waiting for. I will be the first to acknowledge the blessing this little machine has been. When we brought her home, it was truly a God send. It very literally helped Anthony and I to save Abby’s life more than once. It did its job! While Abby was definitely well enough to come home from the hospital, she still had Apnea of Prematurity. She just wasn’t far enough along, developmentally, to always remember to breathe when she was asleep. And there was more than one occasion where she did actually STOP breathing in her sleep. That monitor alerted us to the problem far before Abby was ever in real danger. Because of the monitor, we got to her in time, every time. And every time, I said, “I don’t know what we will do without that thing.” It brought a relief and a peace of mind that made it worth its weight in gold.
But I will also be the first to tell you that inside that blessing was a curse. The monitor weighs about 5 pounds. The day we brought her home, it actually weighed more than she did. But now, here she is, 11+ pounds, plus a heavy diaper bag, plus a 9 pound baby carrier, and oh yea… that dang monitor. Just one more thing to carry. The beeps were EAR SPLITTING. A high-pitched screech that still makes me jump when I hear it. And in the last two months, 9 out of 10 of those beeps were false alarms. The two wires were connected to her sides under her upper arms by a foam band that went all the way around her torso. Those wires ran several inches past her feet and then plugged into a “Y”connector, which then connected to a very long wire (about 5 feet), that then connected to the machine. And oh, the battle I had with that stupid wire! Most of the time, I was cursing it because it was too short. It kept Abigail, and therefore me, tethered to one location most of the time. But then, when we would pick up the machine to move it, and her, it somehow became far too long. It dragged on the ground and tripped everyone from the person carrying her, to the people walking with us, to even the dog on occasion! And the kids (her cousins) couldn’t be expected to remember about the wire – so they would trip on it. And then, Abby herself would get tangled in it, too. It would get wrapped around her leg or her arm or both. We had to get creative with clothing her – threading the wire through pants, always making sure it came out through the snaps in her onsies, securing the wires with the Velcro strap of her diapers, couldn’t dress her in anything with a zipper… stupid, stupid wire!
I really could complain about the darn thing for hours. It scared people. It made us nervous. But if I’m honest, Anthony and I were a giant ball of nerves last night without it. We finally got to experience that “first night home” the way everyone else does. Is she ok? Can I go to sleep? What if she needs me? What if, for some reason, even though she hasn’t had an apnea episode in almost 2 months, she chooses TONIGHT of all nights to have another one, just because we took the darn monitor off? The pressure is immeasurable, and I considered pulling an all-nighter, just to be sure. But Anthony said no. He and I said a prayer and he reminded me that if God had gotten us this far, He was going to get us through tonight.
Abby slept for the longest she has in a long time – hitting the 12 hour mark for the second time in her life. I actually woke up before she did for once. Anthony and I looked at her, sleeping (and breathing) away. We’d made it. *SIGH OF RELIEF* Anthony looked at me and asked if I’d gotten up at all through the night to check on her. I admitted that I had. I sheepishly answered, “Yea. Once.” I nodded my head in his direction to ask him the same question. He looked at me with that “don’t worry about it” face, and said, “Yea. Twice.” She’d gotten checked on 3 times through the night with no issues and I knew then that we truly don’t need the monitor anymore.
As I’m typing this, she is asleep in her bassinet by our bed. She will sleep there for about another month before we move her to her “Big Girl” crib and reclaim our bedroom. I’ve checked on her twice in 2 hours, and Anthony has once. And I have no doubt in my mind that it will be her cries in the morning that will wake me up. Because, other than the “Corrected Age” thing, we finally have a totally typical baby girl. 😀