Friday, May 10, 2013
In celebration of Poppy's first birthday, we went back to the NICU today to deliver gifts. We had done it before. I bought some preemie outfits and put them in a gift bag with this photo montage:
I dropped Rosemary off at daycare this morning and then Poppy and I took the long drive to St. Louis to meet Daddy up for lunch. After lunch, Daddy had to go back to work, but Poppy and I continued further into the city until we reached the hospital where both she and Rosemary were born.
The sense of deja vu that accompanies these visits always gives me the chills. Memories just washed over me: finding a spot in the parking garage ("I made it back to my car in the parking garage, sent Senpai a text asking him to take care of dinner, and then.... I dropped my chair back and took a nap."), using the elevator ("We laughed it off when the elevator took us to the basement, and then the sub-basement, but no one laughed when it stopped and the doors didn't open."), waiting in front of the NICU doors. Those memories seem like a lifetime ago... until I'm back there and it all comes rushing back. There were some changes, too. The bridge from the garage to the hospital that was under construction last year is completed. The roundabout to the back entrance is completed. With these projects done, the garage is metered again and no longer free (boo....). A new project that I hadn't seen started before is a beautiful waterscape descending from the front entrance to the back. I hope I get a chance to see that when it's done.
Inside the building, the hallways were blocked off by new nurse stations and locked doors. I told the lady at the first station that I had gifts for the NICU, and she pushed the button to open the automatic doors. I walked a bit and avoided the next station by turning right to arrive at the NICU doors. I picked up the phone and told the receptionist that I had gifts to deliver. The doors swung open.
This part lasted for only a moment. The receptionist was new, not someone who recognized us, so there were no happy greetings and no calling of free nurses to the front for a visit. I just told the guy, "It's this baby's birthday today. She was born here and stayed in the NICU, so we're celebrating her birthday by bringing preemie outfits for you." I handed him the bag and then walked out.
It was all rather anti-climactic.
I decided to go to the cafeteria to see if they had any chocolate pudding for me to indulge in (it was my favorite lunch treat; I made quite a few facebook posts about it). I was happy to see plenty of dark pudding cups lined up in the cold case, but then I realized I couldn't afford one, haha. I had always eaten with a nursing mother voucher before! I was full from our lunch out with Senpai anyway, so it was probably for the best that I didn't further stuff myself with unnecessary treats.
Not sure what to do next, I thought Poppy and I might go to the picnic tables outside where I used to eat. As we worked our way out of the cafeteria, I was thrilled to run into the lactation consultant who-- out of a group of three-- was the one who worked with us the most. It was a very serendipitous encounter.
The LC, Becki, was so thrilled to see us. She remembered Poppy's name and even recalled some details of her NICU stay, "She was one of those babies who did so well and then just conked out. Do you remember that? Around 36 weeks." Yes, I remember now. Becki loved hearing that Poppy breastfeeds so well, and further delighted in the fact that Poppy refuses to take bottles, "It's because you worked so hard at it. You did that." I did what I had to do. Everything that went wrong with Rosemary, I did the opposite for Poppy. I wish I had known better when it was Rosemary's turn, but there is nothing to be done about that now. It still makes me sad, though.
Becki took our picture to show to the other LC's and then we said our goodbyes. Poppy and I continued out to the courtyard.
We didn't stay outside for too long as the weather was cold and dreary. Making our way back through the cafeteria, we had another chance encounter with one of Poppy's NICU nurses, Kim.
After that, I let Poppy wander wherever she wanted to go.
The seats in front of the elevators...
and the stairs.
Poppy received many complements from passersby: She looks like Strawberry Shortcake! She's such a doll. Does she know how cute she is? They're all true.
We ended our visit with a walk through the gift shop. I bought Poppy a stuffed animal for a birthday gift, and I bought myself a bottled frappuccino. I didn't get my chocolate pudding, but no day at the hospital would have been complete without a vanilla frappuccino. I bought the place out back in the day! Overall, it was a lovely visit. I'm very glad we did this.