If SCBU was fraught with mixed emotions and sadness, rooming in was sheer elation. It marked a very significant point in our journey: 1. home time and beginning of my true journey of parenthood and 2. the first private moment with Wriggles since the very first moment of birth, (which to be honest was not great as I was trying to speak to emergency services whilst administering CPR whilst holding her in the crook of my arm still attached via umbilical cord in a state on intense shock).
The nurses had tried three times to leave Wriggles in air to test whether she was dependant totally on the oxygen. Unfortunately she was, and her sats would dip to worryingly low levels quickly without it. And this was without energy consuming activities like feeding! So the oxygen tanks were ordered and on Saturday 13th November, exactly two months old, I moved in to the parents flat with my overnight bag and a jittery sense of excitement. It was bizarre but just what I needed. Being on our own was bliss. It was such a relief to be able to cuddle her for as long as she would tolerate, feed her on demand and say whatever I wanted without someone listening it. And best of all, it was how I imagine! I fell in love even further and it confirmed that my deepest wish was to have my baby with me forever. The weekend went smoothly and on Monday we were officially signed out and free to go! I was slightly nervous; being a mum in hospital was one thing but home with no one to ask advice of right away was another. Plus she was on oxygen, increasing SIDS risk and everything had to be super-sterile as the risk of germs to a premature baby are well, risky, and even more wobbly to one on oxygen with Chronic Lung Disease.
I think unstrapping Wriggles out of the carseat in my flat is possibly one of my proudest moments to date. It officially marked the end of SCBU and the beginning of complete Independence. I kept expecting the hospital to ring up and say there had been a mistake, but of course they didn't. Everything felt such a novelty being at home.
Later that day, one of the community nurses came out to check we were settling in fine and to go over any questions about the oxygen cannisters. Someone would visit twice a week to check her sats (to ensure they were 94% and above) and weigh her weekly to make sure that she was still growing at a suitable rate, as having weaker lungs meant that much more energy was diverted into breathing rather than being a baby. Wriggles settled in very well. So well, she rapidly went for a nap. Seeing her in the moses basket, dwarfed, was a lovely moment. It was so homely and cosy, and no-one had wanted to take her temperature and count her respiratory rate for at least 24 hours! Oh dear. That meant it was down to me.....