Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 36: Light at the end of the tunnel

Tody was a huge day! After a long wait we finally have been given a discharge day!!! They can come "home" on the 18th as soon as my Snuza apnea alarms arrive by FedEx. I know it isn't set in stone, but I'm so excited anyway that this NICU journey has a visible end in sight. I rapidly dove into my to do list and took care of the following:

1. Told my husband to arrange a flight for Monday the 24th to Delhi and to get packing and pre-order the DNA kit. I found out today we should have ordered it a month in advance to be safe because they are used to keeping them stored there for folks like us.

2. Emailed the US Embassy in Delhi and set a CRBA (citizen report of birth abroad) appointment for Thursday the 27th at 10:30 am. I had the hotel print out the appointment confirmation because you have to bring it there.

3. Emailed the DNA specific embassy address to let them know the DNA kit is being mailed and to set our DNA collection appointment (cheek swabs) for the same day as the CRBA.  

4. Emailed my husband's cousin to book flights to Delhi on Monday the 24th from Anand for Mom and I and two babies, and help us ship our less necessary luggage there.

5. Booked the large room with the double and a single bed for the nanny from the 18th-24th and let them know when we'll be checking out.

Tomorrow's to do list is important as well. I've got to see Dr. Hitesh to do a money exchange for Mom, but also to book a good nanny and make sure Manju re-signs the contract and we get the original before we leave. Later I'll also have to make sure to get passport photos done by Karan photo studio below our hotel, but they come to the room and bring the pics back in an hour or two so that should be cake. When the babies are discharged and I get Dr. Kothiala's records and a letter that they are okay to travel we should be good to go!

But the day wasn't done there. Vivek had a very big day. His 2nd testicle dropped! Hopefully this means no hernia worries, but Dr. Kothiala can't be sure until she checks when he is crying...but she says he never cries. But this definitely means no worries about testicle extraction procedures, which don't sound fun.

Dr. Kothiala said she thinks that Tara looks like her grandmother! She also his having a cardiologist come in and just double check her heart for me, since I want to be sure the hole is closing up and so minor as to not be a problem.

But Vivek wasn't done yet. The eye doctor came and re-evaluated after the 15 day waiting period. Tara had stage 2 ROP (see previous post) in her right eye while her left was 1 and both of Vivek's were stage 1. So we thought if anyone needed laser surgery to halt irregular vessel growth it would be her. Wrong. Her eyes stayed the same over those 15 days but his both progressed to stage 2 and weren't stopping on their own. So he said the sooner we did laser surgery the better, and I agreed and said today was fine with him if could be arranged. The cost was only 11,500 rupees. I'm sure in the US it would be thousands.

Plans were made and he was packaged up in the carrier after much fussing over by the nurses and Dr. Tipica. Then he ventured out into the world for the first time with me carrying him and Mom carrying his bag of essentials and the nurse Daksha following along. We took a tuk-tuk about 2 minutes away just past Dr. Patel's to Dr. Amin's eye surgery center. It was a bouncy ride but it didn't seem to bother Vivek much, who was taking in the fresh air and napping. I was beyond wierd to see him with no wires attached out in the big world. I wanted to form a force field around him to keep him safe, and I'm sure I'll feel that way many times throughout my life. It was surreal but exciting to see him on his first big adventure, and made me even more excited for when I get to take him with me forever.
Nurse Daksha and our precious cargo

When we arrived he attracted much attention, though fortunately everyone kept a safe distance. I got my first taste of showing off my baby boy to strangers. While we waited Vivek decided to fill up his diaper and stink up the waiting room. That's my boy! Fortunately this was something Mommy anticipated and I tucked some diapers and wipes in a baggie hidden in the carrier seat.  Daksha changed it for us, but seem perturbed that we would be stuck holding a dirty diaper for a over an hour and seemed to want me to take care of it. Like most of India there were no obvious trash cans. I temporarily stuffed it in the ziploc baggie and hid it beneath the carrier. When we finally were called into the waiting room the Dr. had his back turned and I saw a wastebasket and went for it. Daksha got a bad case of the giggles when she saw me do it.

I had wanted the nurse to be allowed to stay with him, but they kicked her out too. Mental note: Next time you are in a waiting room while doctors are doing something to your child, do not sit in the chair closest to the room where you can hear him scream and cry. It was hard, but refused to let myself cry though Mom did break down halfway through her prayer book. I think Daksha kept chatting with her in Hindi to keep her distracted. I knew crying meant he was okay, and it was mostly him crying because he was being held down and his eyes were being held open. He did not sound happy in the slightest. They gave him a 10 min break in between eyes and let me hold him, and I'm not sure if that was more about comforting me or comforting him. 
View from the waiting room. Relief of ancient eye surgery with a dude being held down and a big stick poked in his eye adorns the wall. Not comforting at all.
Either way it was over in a grand total of 45 minutes and we had him packaged back up then settled in the NICU before I knew it. Vivek should not have any ROP vision problems now and is snug as a bug in a rug resting up. He'll probably not open his eyes for 24 hrs due to swelling and will have eye drops 4 times a day, but otherwise he is good as new. I wanted to stay and give him his next bottle and cuddle, but I know he probably needed to rest and they seemed to want us out of the way because a critically ill baby with a ventilator was brought in. We left him to sleep, and since Mom and I are a little worse for the wear so we both had some ice cream after a hard day. 

I just hope I can sleep now that I'm so excited that we have less than a week until I don't have to say goodbye.

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