The day Rebecca came home dawned crisp and cold, about 32°F at 7 a.m., the coldest day of the year so far.
Marline and I weren’t holding out much hope of Rebecca getting discharged today, since she’d been ready to go for at least three days now, and each day the doctor kept saying “I’d like her to stay for another day,” without giving any reason.
At about 9 a.m., Marline called NICU to check on Rebecca’s recent feedings and to see if she gained weight. After getting that information, she started to tell the nurse what time we would come by today to visit our daughter.
The nurse said, “Okay, but, well… I have orders to let her go home today…”
Marline jerked like she’d been bitten. “Really?” she exclaimed, already believing it.
We got there at about 12 noon (because they said they wanted to release Rebecca right after a feeding). It took about an hour for the discharge process. Apparently, the hospital is legally bound by their contract with Similac to mention that particular brand of formula a minimum of 20 times during the discharge process, but at least we got a (another) free diaper bag out of the Similac deal.
By 1 p.m., we were carrying Rebecca out of the building. The weather was nice outside (already in the 70s), so I didn’t bother pulling the car up to the door; we just walked out into the parking lot. After snapping the carseat into place, we drove home (I drove; Marline sat in the back to monitor the daughter during her first car ride).
It was the first time Rebecca had been outside the building, the first time in a car, the first time outside of Temple, and the first time she came to Killeen, Texas, all at 26 days old.
Right before arriving home, we went through the drive-thru at Jack-N-the-Box to get a late lunch for us. We got home, took a couple of pictures, and then Marline had to pump (she was already past time, and dripping inside her clothes). She ate lunch while pumping.
I had enough time to empty the car, scarf down my food, and pull off my shoes before Rebecca woke up at 2:15 p.m. She seemed to be in a good mood, but was looking all around.
I cannot imagine what that must feel like… Seeing something so totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before. Or heard, or smelled, or felt. I changed her diaper, checked her temperature, put her vitamins in a bottle with 60mL of milk, and let her go to town. She took 45mL, which is fine by us.
After she watched football for a few minutes (the end of the OSU-Baylor game), she fell asleep and we put her to bed.
About two hours later, she woke up, ready to breast-feed, just as we’d expected. For two weeks, we’d been trying to tell the doctors and nurses at NICU that breast-fed babies generally eat more often than formula babies (well-documented in medical journals), but they simply refused to try it. Even their lactation consultants agreed with us, but… Again, we assume it has something to do with the hospital’s exclusive deal with Similac.
Anyway, she fed for about 20 minutes. And with Marline’s rate of production, it’s easy to estimate that Rebecca got at least three ounces. She went right back to sleep.