Sorry for all of my babbling—it seems as if all I write about is my daughter (and how much I worry about her). But maybe it's therapeutic.
That said, the State of the Amy is "meh". While she had drunk quite a bit in the early hours of the morning and again at nine, and while the nurse was satisfied with her drinking yesterday evening, today when I was there, it was as before: she slept through everything and didn't drink.
They made some ultrasonograms of her head to see whether everything was there and in its proper place, which it was. The doctor who had done this told us that if everything went fine, we could expect to have her home "beginning or middle of next week"—if I understood correctly, they want to keep her for another couple of days just for observation, and then decide whether she can be released. (The tape that was written during the night was unspectacular, apparently, by the way, and it seems that she hasn't had another occurrence of "screaming herself away".) I believe she wanted to see the child gain some decent weight before she'd be let go, though.
And that's really the crux of the matter, perhaps. It was past one and more than four hours after her last feeding (that we knew of), but she didn't show any signs of wanting to wake up properly. Maybe a half-lifted eyebrow exposing the white of the eye (which looked pretty scary, as if she's blind or something), but that was it. Even when we changed her nappy, she didn't wake up or react at all.
I carried her around a bit and we tried to get her to nurse anyway, but she wasn't very coöperative. So I held her for a bit while Stella went to pump some milk so her breasts wouldn't be so full.
When she came back about ten or fifteen minutes later, Amy wasn't much more awake, though she did latch on a couple of times and suck for maybe thirty seconds before falling asleep again. (She'll have to practise opening her mouth wide and taking in lots of breast when we go home: she wasn't too good about that.) When I weighed her afterwards, she'd gained maybe a gramme. Big whoop-de-doo.
Oh, that reminds me: when I got there, I found a dummy ("pacifier" to you Leftpondians) in her bed, which didn't make me too happy. I took it out and looked for a nurse; when I brought it to her, she asked whether it had fallen down and I said no, I simply found it in the bed, and I'd prefer that she not get a dummy, and asked her to make a note to that effect on Amy's file. (To my surprise, I did find such a sticky note "No dummies, please" on her file when I looked a bit later. I hadn't expected them to actually pay heed to my request. Though I think I just told her no dummies and then five minutes later asked for an actual entry on the file.)
So anyway. Stella wasn't too happy but didn't think that Amy was going to have anything to drink anytime soon, so she put her down in her bed and told the nurse that she could be connected up to the monitoring equipment again. He suggested that we go outside for a walk or something, and he'd take care of her. We said that we were planning on going home for a bit anyway and he said that was fine, and noted down Stella's mobile phone number in case of emergencies. He said we should be back by half-past seven or eight (when the next feeding time would be?), and if she cried before that, he'd take care of her. (Stella has more than enough milk laid away, so I expect they'll use that.)
When we got home, Stella had a shower and started a load of laundry, and prepared the kitchen sink for me so I could wash up—pulled me away from writing this entry, she did. But while writing down my thoughts and worries and concerns may be therapeutic, she's right that something has to be done in this household and I'm the one who'll have to do his share.
She also expressed some milk by hand since her breasts were feeling really full and she didn't want to wait until evening.
So, hmm. Not sure what to do. Offering the breast every two hours seems to be a mere pipe dream at this stage; heck, even every four hours doesn't look as if it's going to happen. I mean, we can offer, true, but if she sleeps the whole time or only wakes up long enough to swallow five times, that doesn't help a lot.
And the nurse said that if she kept acting so droopy, he might have to get her blood bilirubin levels tested in case she's developing jaundice. Another woman in the room said that maybe Amy was jealous of the other newborns in the room: they all got to lie under the phototherapy lamp and she wanted her turn, too. Feh.
Though Stella said that would actually be a good thing: because if that's what's causing her problems, and the lamp will take care of it, then she'll be more active afterwards and drink better, which is good.
She said she reckoned she'd bottle-feed Amy while she's under the phototherapy lamp, though, since she needs more liquids then due to the heat and the stress, and she's simultaneously weakened by the experience, and may not have the strength to get all the milk she needs from the breast.
Speaking of heat: it really is quite hot in the NICU, as I noticed today when I was there for a bit longer than the previous days. And if a thermometer I saw in the window (attached to a part of a heating bed that was there for some reasin) was accurate, it was 30 °C / 86 °F.
Suggestions on how to proceed are welcome, but I really don't see right now how we can go through with the orthodox approach of "nurse early, nurse often, and only from the breast" with the way Amy is acting right now.