Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 27-29: Bouncing back

So I've taken a few days off from blogging, mostly to have some time to deal with the news that my Mom is not coming. I'm feeling more upbeat today and feel like writing again. I tried to go to The Chocolate Room for the first time to drown my sorrows in chocolate, but it was closed for 2 days so it wasn't meant to be. So today I went to the Jungle instead, though the tuk tuk drivers seem to know it by "Hungry" that is on the sign. I drowned my sorrows in chicken tikka and kachumber salad and got a slice of a delicious bluberry cheesecake from the bakery outside. Yum! I found out that if you have your driver wait for a return trip (which you should if you are going to the Jungle or as far as) it is 150 rupees, and in the conversation to establish that they keep asking me "1 horse or 2 horse?" I have no idea what horses have to do with it, but somehow he wound up waiting for me. For the first time since I've been here, I think I ate too much.

Vivek raising the roof when he heard Dadima was coming
Tara smiling resting up for Dadima

But now it is only 2 days until my mother-in-law gets here! Getting the room cleaned up and prepped for company as well as babies eventually. It has been pretty lonely here except for little chats with my NICU buddy Petra and her mother. There are two new couples here that speak English, but I haven't said hello yet. But the staff at the buffet breakfast automatically make me the same breakfast every morning without me having to order since I'm “Norm” around here. Someone else named Amy emailed me and got here a few days ago for an attempt, so I emailed back and maybe we can get together for lunch.

Vivek's Dr. Evil impression

Sleepy girl

A little bit of news for Tara...her hemoglobin got low, as did Vivek's but not quite as low. It was just slightly above the normal range, so they gave them iron drops/ iodine to help their systems catch up and their bone marrow naturally produce more hemoglobin. So if you come in and find a substance that looks like brown blood leaking out of the side of your babies mouths, don't panic! It's iodine in an oral suspension they drop into their mouths. The only reasons I didn't panic are that everything in the NICU that has scared me turned out to be something I was just ignorant or inexperienced about, and it was just too brown for blood and looked more like betadyne. Hemoglobin level decline is common in preemies, and all babies actually. Dr. Kothiala explained this method avoids blood transfusions, and that all babies are born with fetal hemoglobin and it takes over a year for the body to produce “adult” hemoglobin.

Tara also had a stuffed up nose and it was making her have more difficulty breathing and feeding. They cleared it and she felt much better. I asked Dr. Kothiala how I will know to do that when I have them, and she said you can see the crust on the nose and it is pretty obvious when feeding them. I have two suction bulbs ready to go!

Yesterday I fed Princess Tara and Master Vivek, and both went better. Today as well, but I let Suvarna finish one of Tara's feeds where she wouldn't suck at all. Tara is still pretty difficult and wants to sleep and brady and desat, but she just needs time to get better. I'm not as determined to overcome the hurdle of me feeding her and being as good as the nurses, and instead focusing now on letting her overcome the hurdle and become better at it. I let the nurses feed her or finish a feed I start happily, and I'll just feed Vivek or hold them like only a Mommy can do.

The most exciting news is that Vivek is 1500 grams!!! This is a huge milestone according to all the doctor's and nurses, though I'm not entirely sure why. Tara is just under but still gaining at an appropriate rate.

I've started having nightmares again, and this time it is about having them home and being inept. No surprises there...just a continuation of the dreams I had before. The first one the babies were cleared to be discharged, and so the nurses took them out of the isolettes and put them in a box and stuck them on a shelf to make room for more babies! I came in and was panicked and didn't know what to do with them.

The second dream I kept sleeping through them crying and when they needed to eat, and I would wake up and one would be missing. In every dream I find it exceedingly difficult to make a bottle full of formula, but in the very last one I succeeded in about 20 minutes after having to rummage through a box of dozens of plastic containers that were very, very similar to the bottles but slightly different and wouldn't work.

Ramdom complaint: the glass on my iphone cracked. Fortunately it is a long one across and barely noticable, and should remain stable until I return to the states to fix it.

Only other thing worth mentioning was an interesting side conversation I had with Dr. Kothiala, where she explained the technique behind the saree I was wearing. I had considered it one of my more plain ones and probably my least favorite until I found out how much work goes into it. She told me how in the small villages they take the silk and use small beans (dal) and put it in the fabric, then tie a small string around it making the bean wrapped in the fabric with a tight tie behind it. Then they dye it and it makes a small white square where the string is, since the fabric is originally white. They repeat the process depending on how many layers of color and what color squares they want. It has to be complicated and tedious work! Below is a pic of the process, where when the fabric is stretched the strings will snap and fall off along with the tiny beans. Then you see the end result.

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