|In January of
2005 my wife (the Lovely Melanie), 30, and myself (Stu), 33, found that
after five years of marriage we were going to become parents, and both
sides of our family were terribly excited, since we
were the first of our generation to start a family (but we figured
30-odd years of just messing about, getting drunk and having a good
time was probably about enough!)|
The baby was due at the very start of October, so although we were nervous we thought we had plenty of time, and we even managed to sell our one-bedroom flat in south-east London and buy another one with more room and a garden - all ready for the new arrival...
As it turned out things weren't to go anywhere nearly as smoothly as we'd expected - and we expected things to be a bit difficult, just because of all the things we'd heard from other people about pregnancy and parenting being quite stressful; rewarding, but quite stressful.
Melanie woke me up at just after midnight on Tuesday 14th June. She had
quite a lot of "water" leaking out and running down her leg. We both of
us knew this wasn't a good sign so we jumped into a taxi (thank you,
Crofton Park Cars, for arriving so quickly that night!) and went to our
local hospital, University Hospital Lewisham. We sat, blinking and
yawning and very scared, in an empty waiting room for about an hour
before we were seen by a midwife and doctor.
Now, normally this means that you'll be giving birth within the next 48 hours, but, as the doctor explained, since the Lovely Melanie was barely 24 weeks into her pregnancy we were at pretty much the outer limits of survivability for a baby. He explained the that the survival rates for 24-week gestation babies was significantly less than 50%, and that even if the baby did survive there was a very real possibility of "other problems" later on.
I can't even begin to get across to you how we felt that night. All I can really say is that that was one hell of a long, dark night.
glimmer of hope we had was that the baby might not actually be born
yet. Babies can survive in the womb without all the
amniotic fluid to cushion them. It's a far from ideal situation but
they can and have done so. And every day the baby stayed inside Mel its
chances of survival increased quite significantly - at roughly 1% every
day. If, the doctor told us, the baby could hang on until 26 weeks then
the survival rates were above 50%, if it stayed in until 30 weeks then
survival rates were over 90%. The bad news was that in roughly 8/10
cases of the waters breaking this prematurely labour would begin within
48 hours and the baby would be born.
Well, our luck
eventually ran out after two and a half weeks.
She was rushed, terrified, into the operating room and I was sent out to wait on my own in the room she'd spent so much time in. And, do you know, I surprised myself with how calm and philosophical I was about everything. I thought about the worst that could happen - losing both my wife and my child - I faced that possibility and...ignored it. Simply put it to one side and refused to even contemplate such an outcome. It was a nice day, I was on the third floor and I remember looking out over the rooftops of Lewisham, and feeling frightened but detached. I read my book for a bit, phoned family to tell them what was happening and drank some Diet Coke. It was very strange - a real "eye of the hurricane" type situation.
After roughly an
hour (it felt like a longer, but not much longer)
the surgeon came in.
And here's where it finally hit me.
"It's a girl," he replied.
And that thought lit up my brain, like a great shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds. That's really what it felt like: a beautiful, radiant beam shining into my skull, a fierce, all-encompassing joy. I smiled rather weakly, as I recall, thanked him and he left.
NotesThis "blog" began merely as a means to keep friends and family updated of Millie's progress without me having to answer endless well-meaning but enormously time consuming telephone calls. I'd had the website going for about three years, mainly archiving my science fiction book reviews, but also giving me a bit of space to get a few things off my chest now and again. Little did I know it was going to be so vital to us in 2005...
And that, pretty much, is where our story begins.
The original, unaltered Millie blog follows
by caesarean section to the Lovely Melanie and myself at Lewisham
Hospital at 8.47am on Thursday 30th June 2005 - Millie Harriet Carter.
What with all the panic and haste of the last couple of days I've been almost too busy to think, however, it suddenly struck me on Friday - 'I'm a dad' - and I nearly (I kid you not) fell over. I suspect this is why so many old people walk with a stick - the sheer amazement of seeing that their so tiny and defenceless children have miraculously grown up into enormous, beautiful adults might hit them again at any second and knock them to the floor.
Milestone #1 - Millie gets to hear her first
song by the Divine Comedy (albeit sung rather badly by me) - Songs Of
Millie's a week old today and still going
strong, as you can see from these photos of her outside the incubator
with the Lovely Melanie.
The Lovely Melanie's been discharged from
hospital now and is back home (after some, ahem, occasionally a little intense wrangling with St Thomas' bureaucracy, who made her discharge rather
like doing the Hokey-Cokey...), but she'll obviously be at the hospital
every day, as will I, and as will Millie.
I had a wonderful moment yesterday: whilst crossing Westminster Bridge, completely oblivious on my way to see Millie, the Red Arrows suddenly and completely unexpectedly flew overhead, trailing red, white and blue smoke! Turns out we'd only gone and won the bloomin' Olympics for 2012. Oh, good.
If you're really hardcore here is a roughly 10-second
video clip, and here is a one-minute clip; both are of Millie with eyes open, looking
around, and were taken on Sunday afternoon.
They've moved the feeding tube from Millie's
mouth to her nose now, which you'd never think would make much
difference but - as I hope you can see in the photos and the video -
Millie's now looking much less like an alien (or, as I confess I
thought, like Stripe
the gremlin) and much more like a baby. There was some tape
holding the feeding tube on her chin which made it look very pointy,
and with the tube and the tape gone she can pull some recognisable
expressions and open and close her mouth much more easily. Coupled with
the fact that she's now opening both eyes and waving her arms in the
air like she just don't care, it's a wonderful sight.
For the irredeemably visual amongst you here are two new pictures taken on Sunday -
Thanks to a few more people are due, too.
At the risk of perhaps being overly optimistic about Millie's chances (she's still got a long way to go before she's home and dry - that should be emphasised occasionally), we took the plunge today and registered her birth with "The Man" (i.e. Lewisham Borough Council). So the cold, clammy fingers of authority are even now tap-tap-tapping the name "Millie Harriet Carter, 30/6/2005" into computers across the capital.
In return I was given a "basic" birth certificate. Quite what good the "basic" birth certificate actually is escapes me for the moment, because we have to pay £3.50 for a "full" one if we're to get Millie a passport. Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead here, but what exactly is the point of the "basic" birth certificate then? It's rather like being given, say, free travel on the trains but having to pay to open the doors...
Still, on the plus side, we got a voucher for free stuff from Boots. We have to fill in a questionnaire detailing everything except our shoe size, but then get some as-yet-undetermined goodies. Whoo-hoo!
This sounds a bit cynical of me, doesn't it? Sorry - I was actually quite moved to come away with even the "basic" certificate officially acknowledging the birth of my lovely daughter. To see her name in print on a nice piece of watermarked official foolscap shouldn't make any difference, but it's another part of her introduction to the world, another piece of recognition that she's here and she's real, which, with her stuck in hospital for a couple of months yet, means a lot more to us than to most new parents.
I say "stuck in hospital" but the Lovely Melanie and I have to thank the nurses and the doctors of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St Thomas' Hospital, who have been taking truly excellent care ("care", not "treatment", is the word) of not only Millie, but also her parents, too. Huge, massive, ginormous, grateful thanks to all of you - if we ever win the lottery then you're all of you going on holiday to somewhere very nice indeed at our expense!
Good news today (Thursday) is that Millie's
topped her birth weight for the first time. It's a little known fact
(is it a little known fact? The Lovely Melanie and I certainly didn't
know it) that babies lose weight after they're born
- something to do with the redistribution of fluids in the newborn
body. Millie was born at 690 grams (1lb 7oz) and quickly dropped down
to 650 grams (that's almost 10% of her bodyweight lost!), then she
levelled out and has been slowly gaining weight ever since.
Other news, is that Millie's being moved
from St Thomas' Hospital back down to Lewisham Hospital where she was
born. St Thomas' badly need the NICU beds and Millie is still,
technically, a Lewisham gal.
Friday, and even as I write this Millie
should be packing up her troubles in her old kitbag ready for the
journey down to Lewisham.
Update on the weight issue, as well (if Millie's anorexic in later life we'll know where that started, won't we?) - Millie's well over her birth weight now, and is on course to top two pounds some time in the middle of next week. The Lovely Melanie says it sounds a bit "desperate" to celebrate Millie weighing two pounds, but I don't think so, and I'll fight anyone who disagrees. Grr.
And finally, a big shouty "thank you" to Claire Pearson and her gentleman admirer, Rob, for the lovely present of practically a whole drawerful of "small baby" clothes. Some very good fashion choices there, you guys, so thanks very much. Ditto Tania & Ben - the clothes are beautiful. Many thanks also to Jill, Sam and Oscar for the beautiful flowers, and to Roger, Lynne, Nikki and Christopher for the very cute rattle.
Pictures from Sunday 17th July. Sorry it's been a whole week since the last lot.
Millie's now safely lodged in Lewisham Hospital, where she seems to be very happy. Certainly her weight has now reached 800 grams (as of Sunday morning - that's just over 1lb 12oz), and she's taking a feed of 4.5 millilitres (or Millie-litres! Ha ha!) per hour. A "feed" is a tiny amount of her mother's milk, taken straight into Millie's stomach by the tube you can just about see going into her mouth. She's also got an intravenous line going into her leg that's giving her extra nourishment, because Millie needs to be taking a hefty 5mls of nourishment an hour if she's to grow up to be a big, healthy baby, and when she can take down and digest a full 5mls per hour she gets the IV line taken out of her leg, which is good because it's another potential avenue for infection removed.
Taking the full 5mls by mouth will be a morale-booster for us, and it means Millie's stomach is working just as it should do. The amount of milk they're putting into her stomach has been steadily going up by 0.5mls a day (although it's been up and down, what with the wind and the move to Lewisham) but because Millie's so small and her stomach is so underdeveloped it's frankly something of an achievement for her to be taking any nourishment at all by mouth, let alone the full 5mls she needs - who's a clever girl, then?!
A quiet day yesterday. Sometimes there just
isn't that much to write about.
Now we are two. Two pounds, that is. Millie now weighs 920 grams!
And she's not only broken that
psychologically important barrier, she's also had the "long line" in
her leg taken out.
And speaking of infection, following an all-clear from any of that malarkey they're also going to be taking out the needle in Millie's arm today (I know what you're thinking - "How can such a tiny scrap of humanity have so many needles in her? Where do they find the space? How do they find the veins??"). That one was kept there to allow them to administer drugs whenever necessary without having to stick more needles in, and once this has been taken out then little Millie will be free of needles for the first time since she was born. So that's another milestone right there.
Again, we're still far from home-free yet, but all of this is very very good news for Millie. I mean, good grief, even her mother says it's "encouraging", which must mean it's stupendously good news, because the Lovely Melanie has been steadfastly refusing to see the bright side of almost any Millie news...
We've been getting so many messages of support from all over the world - our thanks to all you lovely people out there following Les tribulations de Millie. The membership cards are in the post, I promise, and the "I'm A Millie Maven" badges with them. ;-)
No new weight figures, Lewisham don't
measure it every day, but fingers crossed we should reach a remarkable
one kilogram today or tomorrow...
Yesterday was something of a fidgety day for
our little girl (though not, in consequence, as "fidgety" as it was for
the Lovely Melanie). It was nothing serious, I think, just a general
dissatisfaction with the accommodation, the nappy-changing and the room
service ("Milk, milk, bloody milk - do you not have anything else,
woman?!"). But if a little bit of grizzling is the worst we have to
deal with before Millie comes home then I'll be a happy happy man
I was going to take some more pictures, but Millie had a load of gummy milk round her mouth - that stuff can be the devil to shift without really annoying a tiny baby - and wasn't looking her best, so I thought I'd try and get some tonight when not only are Nan and Gramp Carter coming up from Swindon, but so, for the first time, is Great Nanny Carter! Let's hope Millie has a more agreeable time of it today because that gummy milk's coming off regardless, my girl!
4 generations of Carters
More thanks...to my
godmother, Pat, for the beautiful soft blanket and the cuddly dog, both
with "Millie" embroidered on them - I seldom get excited over cuddly
toys or "bed linen" but these are lovely - thank you! And, in fact, to
everyone who's bought Millie something and gone blatantly
unacknowledged here - thank you!
There are some more photos I could put up on
here, but I think I might save them for later in the week.
The doctors also think Millie might be able to come off the C-PAPP for good in a few days time. The C-PAPP is a machine that blows air up Millie's nose to help her breathe, like a ventilator but not breathing for her, just with her. Millie currently spends roughly 2 hours with it up her nose to every 6 hours without it (and she hates it - I mean, really obviously hates it!), but if she carries on doing as well as she is then she might be left to breathe entirely by herself. But we'll see. She's still very small and breathing by herself is still relatively hard work for her.
No posts about Millie's weight for a few
days either. It actually went down by about 30
grams, which was obviously worrying. The doctors said this wasn't
unusual and was nothing to be worried about: it was most probably
caused by the switch away from the long line to being fed milk
completely by mouth; this uses up energy to digest the milk, and with
Millie still being so new to digesting milk it wasn't something to get
concerned about unless it continued.
It's officially official - Millie's now 1020
grams! That's 1.02 kilograms or 2lbs 4oz!
Great-auntie Jenny came up with Gran and Granddad Fisher last night and brought some very cute baby clothes with her. Millie's still not wearing clothes at the moment - not because she's particularly a free spirit, but because the temperature within the incubator is kept very constant, so clothes are unnecessary and would get in the way of the doctors and nurses. Give it another 8-10 weeks, however (fingers crossed) and she should be appropriately attired (although it'll be a good few months before she'll fit into the little "Anarchy!" t-shirt I bought her...)
Just time to mention some non-Millie news -
that of me DJing at a club in Brixton in September ("Irresponsible
father, call the Social..." I hear you mutter...)
The whole thing's only for a laugh, really -
reliving past glories, catching up with some old friends, etc. But if
your dancing trousers will take the strain it's from 7pm till about
2am; entrance isn't free but will certainly be less than a fiver. I'm
doing about a 45-minute set around 8.30, before the "proper" Poodle
Chaos DJs come on and do their thumping techno thing.
No Millie news to speak of yet today, although I have my camera with me in order to get some pictures of the Unbearable Cuteness Of Being that follows my changing her nappy in the evenings...look out for those tomorrow - or maybe not for a few days, since we're moving house on Friday and that's going to throw everything to hell for a while. Wish us (and Pickfords) luck!
The nurses also told her that although
they're not actually planning to move Millie to the
"least-intensive" care ward just yet, if there was a sudden influx of
sick babies into her ward ("fairly-intensive" care) and they
desperately needed some space then Millie is the one they could and
Just realised, I haven't mentioned that
mainstay of the baby-life here yet - poo.
With clothes by "Claire & Rob"
Nice to know the Millie-pic bonanza kept most of you happy while we've been moving house. Not all of you though - some of the more impatient out there were demanding to
know what had happened while we were packing, moving, waiting for
previous occupants to leave our new home, opening boxes, resealing
boxes of books, opening more boxes, resealing more bloody boxes of
bloody books, having a quick cry, opening more boxes, resealing boxes
of toy robots, opening "one last bloody box before I give up and go to
bed without any supper", going to bed without any supper.
Millie hasn't been quite as well as usual. She had rather an unsettled weekend, very very
fidgety and a bit unhappy, plus her oxygen saturation levels (the
amount of oxygen she's managing to actually absorb) have been a bit
unsteady. Not very unsteady, it's not really
anything to get worried about, but Millie's normally very good on this
particular front, and the doctors have been trying to figure out what
could be causing it, given that all her other readings are fine, that
she looks well and is putting on weight at a gallop (yesterday (Monday)
she was 2lbs 11ozs - which I forget in grams, I'm
Other things which helped mitigate the
stress of the move were our very very very very good friends Nik, Mike, Inge and Si, without whose help we'd probably
have ended up with a bonfire of books in our back garden to put those
of the Nazis to shame.
Slight change of plan in the Millie world today - hope she wasn't too confused when Dad came in to see her in the morning and Lovely Mum didn't get there till lunchtime. We were having a new washing machine delivered today ("sometime between 7am and 7pm" - mm, thanks for that military precision, Servis) so someone had to wait in for it. Which meant I got to see Millie in the morning, change nappies and catch the doctors on their rounds, for a change.
Not quite as good a news as usual (again): Millie's still desaturating occasionally (which means a drop in the amount of oxygen in her blood). Not badly, not seriously, but she keeps doing it, so the doctors are running a little tube to her nose to give her oxygen directly. They suspect the desaturations might be due to the level of oxygen in the incubator not being high enough (Millie's still very small - just 2lbs 13ozs as of today - so she's still working quite hard just to breathe at all). The incubator has higher levels of oxygen than the outside world, but they think this might not be consistent enough, since we have to open the incubator doors to change nappies, clean Millie, turn her over, etc., all of which let the oxygen out. So they're putting her on a bit of direct oxygen to see if this sorts out the desaturation episodes.
It feels like a step backwards, tubes back
on Millie's face, help with breathing, and all, but Millie's still
eating well, still gaining weight and looking more lovely with every
passing day, so I'm not overly worried, rather just
a little disappointed. Fingers crossed that she'll be off the direct
oxygen sooner rather than later, eh?
Yes, more pictures. Note the new nasal prong; Millie's oxygen levels are still a touch erratic, but as you can see she was in fine form yesterday.
And we're seriously looking at breaking 3lbs at some time over the weekend now, which would be double her birth
weight - definitely something to celebrate!
Now, if we can just get these oxygen saturation levels sorted out...
Now we are three...
Anyway, doctors at Lewisham are very happy
with Millie's progress - they say that if the slight problems with her
oxygen saturation levels were symptomatic of anything more serious then
there almost certainly wouldn't be the impressive weight gains made by
Millie. The oxygen saturation issue is by and large resolved now -
Millie's levels have been so good that they actually reduced the amount
of oxygen she's being given by one notch on the machine.
I also get the impression I'm being toyed
with by Argos. We still have no internet at our new home yet so we went
to our local store on Sunday to order some sorely needed furniture.
After queing for 20 minutes (I kid you not, but this was in Catford so it's not that surprising) I am told
by a surprisingly polite chap that they 'don't deliver to that
When I get home, the phone is dead.
Millie's now 1.5 kilograms (that's 3lbs 5oz
- but 1.5kgs sounds better, I think).
The Lovely Melanie has just texted to tell me that her eyes are absolutely fine. We thought they probably were, since Millie definitely does lock her gaze onto things, but it's nice to be sure.
One thing we've noticed is that Millie's really really filling out now. Two days ago (Sunday) we took a look back at all the photos we have of "The Millster" (as her mother has taken to calling her) and were a bit shocked at how small, wrinkly and bird-like Millie looked way back in early July. The changes in her - certainly for us, seeing her every day - have been so gradual that we unconsciously assumed Millie hadn't changed that much in the five and half weeks since she was born.
But she has.
If you scroll down to the pictures at the
bottom of this site you'll hopefully see what I mean: these days Millie
looks like a baby, albeit one looked at through the wrong end of a
telescope; whereas back then I remember looking at her and thinking she
was absolutely lovely, but now, looking at those photos again, she
somehow manages to look even more raw and scrappy and fragile than I
This just in via text from the Lovely
Melanie at University Hospital Lewisham - 'No real Millay
news. No real weight gain, everything as yesterday. Fast asleep.'
What can I tell you? Another slow day at the
And not only do we have our phone working at
home again, so if you've phoned us recently and we haven't bothered to
pick up the call, or get back to you, it's because the phone was
knackered, not because we hate you. Probably.
Finally, some Millie news to really sink your teeth into and taste the red blood of progress coursing down your smeared chin!
Well, where to start?
And as if the miracle of the
clothed-baby-moving-into-a-cot wasn't enough, Millie was also
breast-fed for the first time yesterday.
So the Scooby-doo theme didn't need to be sung once yesterday.
So I remain, probably more than ever, having gotten through the most difficult period of my life without any "spiritual" aid, a godless heathen. ;-)
As to Millie, she remains very much fine. She's actually lost about 20 grams of weight since the weekend, but the doctors say that's to be expected as she's burning more energy keeping herself warm now she's out of the incubator. Expectations that she might need another blood transfusion about now have also come to naught, as the slight anaemia she had has also cleared up, and there's now serious talk of getting her off of oxygen altogether and then moving her to the somewhat-intensive care ward (and the next move from there is home!)
And Millie continues to look as beautiful as her mother; albeit, a little bit smaller.
As if that wasn't enough, the doctors have
even mentioned "going home" for the first time!
In about two weeks they'll begin looking seriously at Millie coming home, all other things being equal. This is a bit of a shock, and means we'd best get a move on sorting the house out (we're still living mostly out of boxes), but wonderfully heartening news. :-)
Next big hurdle is getting her to feed,
since at the moment she has a tube going through her mouth directly
into her stomach which is giving her all the milk and stuff she needs.
For her to come home she needs to be able to feed for herself...so
that's the next big hurdle.
Oh, I hate decorating... :-(
If you'd said, one - Room D...you'd have
been wrong. Millie was in Room D, the fairly-intensive-care room until yesterday, but she's not there any more.
Which, I should stress, doesn't mean we're a booking a taxi from University Hospital Lewisham back to Forest Hill just yet. What it does mean is that Millie's just biding her time in there until she's big enough and well enough able to feed so that she can go home. Personally, I think that's probably a good month away yet, possibly a little longer, but I think it's safe to say we're talking weeks rather than months now. It seems hard to imagine taking her home and not spending hours of every day in hospital. After all the unpleasantness of these past two months (because that's all it's been, unbelievable as it seems to us) we can get back to living something of a normal life, not too different from the way we were before.
I think it's going to be very very strange, you know.
But, we're still slowly making the
changeover to feeding by mouth, rather than by tube. Millie's still
taking the majority of her feed by tube, however she now only gets it
every three hours, to try and accustom her to a "feeding time". She is
also beginning to take milk from a bottle. We've tried her with the
breast (well, I say "we", the Lovely Melanie has) but Millie's still a
little bit too small for that, although she has enjoyed it when placed
in the right place...
What else? Well, Millie now weighs 3lb 12oz, and has...how can we put this? let's just say that the muscles in the lower parts of her digestive system are remarkably well-developed. When we've been changing her in hospital she's managed to spray wee from her cot almost to the middle of the ward; and we don't even want to think about the incident with the other stuff...
So everything continues to go as well as could possibly be hoped for, and I'm seriously starting to think about the more practical aspects of bringing her home, rather than staring off into the distance and thinking wistfully about having our little Millie at home...
Oh, and there are unlikely to be any picture updates for a few more days while we finish decorating, putting furniture together and trying to remember exactly where all those funny little leads fit in the back of the computer! But expect a Millie bonanza when we do get it all up and running once more.
Millie is taking to the new feeding very very slowly - she seems to almost get the hang of taking a bottle into her mouth, sucking and then swallowing, but tends to forget the exact order these things should go in, or she just plain forgets she has a bottle in her mouth. At the moment she does better with her Dad feeding her (which I'm secretly quite pleased about), but we've only been trying for a couple of days, and fully expect Millie to get the hang of it all of a sudden (as she does with most things) very soon.
Millie was 3lbs and 14 ozs yesterday and
still going strong, so she'll almost certainly hit 4lbs sometime over
the weekend! As well as that, she's had all of her monitors removed,
the last one (on her foot) went on Wednesday night. The only trailing
wire now is the feeding tube from her nose, but even that will probably
be gone by Monday as Millie's just about mastered the whole feeding
rigmarole. The nurses want to keep that tube in until she's
consistently been feeding herself for another two days, as it can be
very tiring for such a small baby, and Millie can sometimes benefit
from saving the energy involved in gulping down a whole bottle of milk,
and having a wee sleep instead.
26th August (still)
Sorry to interrupt the Millie news flow, but I really really dislike the Standard, and this is simply one more reason why...
The most worrying thing was having her mother standing over me going, "Careful she doesn't get cold! Oh, watch out you don't drown her. Oh, make sure you don't stick a rusty pole up her bottom!" Et cetera et cetera. I pointed out at least four times that I wasn't a complete idiot, but it didn't make a blind bit of difference. ""Oh, careful you don't accidentally take her out of the hospital, fly her over to China and expose her to bird flu, thus precipitating a global pandemic!"
But that aside, the bath was a lovely
experience - Millie cried when I first put her in, but she soon got
used to it and just looked absolutely amazed by the whole experience.
I'm sure I had the same expression on my face, too. :-)
Then, of course, it was feeding time again.
This took a bit longer than usual, mainly because the poor little mite
was exhausted from having a bath and being absolutely amazed. She's on
four-hourly bottle feeds at the moment (mostly her mum's milk but still
given via bottle), which is a step up from the last few days when she
was on three-hourly feeds. They're seeing if she's happy moving to four
hours and using the bottle exclusively, instead of the feeding tube
which is still up her nose. However, we were told if she can take all
of her feeds via the bottle for a whole 24 hours then the tube can come
out of her nose; then a nurse happened to casually mention that with
the tube gone there wasn't really any reason why Millie couldn't go
home "next week".
And what I keep thinking is that I'd like to
be able to do something like in one of my stories,
and go back a couple of months, just to tell us back then that
everything was going to be all right.
Sorry, had to stop there for a minute to cry.
Wonderful wonderful news, but also a bit
sudden - especially considering we were once told (many moons ago) that
Millie was "extremely unlikely to go home before her due date" - the
same due date that's still a whole month away...
If you can't wait that long (like us) then here are some pictures of Millie completely au naturelle...
As for Millie, I'm home briefly this evening to grab some dinner, pick up some things and update this website before heading off to Lewisham Hospital one penultimate time. Tonight and tomorrow night the Lovely Melanie and I are "rooming in" there, which means we get given a little private room with a bed, and Millie comes in with us, to be looked after by us and only us, unless something goes wrong. It's meant to teach us how to look after Millie, but I think it's a waste of time; we've been "looking after her" for weeks now - we've got far more experience of nappies and feeding and comforting and carrying and cleaning and general baby behaviour than the parents of any common-or-garden newborn baby have, and they get sent straight home, so I'm at a loss to understand why we should have to go through this rigmarole, as it's, frankly, a pain in the ass.
But on the plus side, Millie's had eye-tests and two vaccinations - she cried at the first (BIG!) needle, but only yawned when the second one went in - she's nothing if not a brave little girl, we knew that, but she's also quite a cocky one, too. She also, finally, hit 4lbs today. Hooray!
And now I have to go to the hospital - the next update will probably be on Friday or Saturday, when Millie's home - did I mention she's definitely scheduled to come home on Friday? Barring something unpleasant happening, that is, so fingers crossed one last, final time, eh?
The only minor bit of drama was when the
Lovely Melanie went out to do some milking after the 7pm nappy change,
leaving daddy and Millie alone in the room. Everything was going quite
well - Millie laid on my chest while I watched TV and ate some
Minstrels - until she got hiccups. After about 10 minutes of (very
cute) hiccups I thought letting her suck on her dummy might help, and
it seemed to, so I reached for my phone to get a picture of a contented
little hiccuping girl...
We're still on course to go home tomorrow sometime. Hopefully it'll be in the morning as I'm just about finished with the whole staying-in-hospital project now, and am itching to get started on the living-at-home-as-a-family project.
And did I mention, I start my long-delayed
paternity leave from tomorrow - two weeks (at £100 a week - the
absolute bog-standard statutory legal minimum in this country), and
then immediately followed by a week of holiday (at full pay, thank
goodness!), so no work for me for three whole weeks! Huzzah!
Oh, my goodness, yes. It's carnival time
here in south-east London!
2nd September (continued)