122 seconds of NICU background hum

After Juniper was born, they kept her in the NICU for a few nights. Because she came out so early, she had very low blood sugar and, later, high bilirubin levels. They gave her an IV with dextrose, then slowly weaned her off of it through a combination of breast- and bottle-feeding over the following days. Sarah and I stayed in a room in the Mother Baby Unit and made the trek down Party Corridor many times each day (Sarah many more times than I).

I don’t know about Sarah, but I found being in the NICU to be a strange combination of comforting and unnerving. There were a lot of rules and for good reason. There were a lot of tiny babies in there, most of them in need of much more intensive care than Juniper. But aside from one lengthy episode where Juniper gave a couple of vein-seeking young nurses a hard time, the staff was totally competent and confidence inspiring.

Aside from knowing where I was and what was happening around me, the sight and sound of the NICU matched my mood there. At night, the room was bathed in a weird purple glow, punctuated with the many flashing lights of various monitoring systems. It was cool inside. Too cool for me in a T-shirt, but not for our little baby lying mostly naked in her heated cart. The hum of the air conditioning covered up most of the other sounds, but you would almost always be aware of some unintelligible nurse murmurs somewhere else in the room.

We were glad to be there, but I’m also glad to be out.