So Mary Louise has arrived at Tulane Lakeside Hospital. We were actually asked to leave the NICU when she was on her way - ha - the nurse said that they have the policy that all visitors (including parents) must leave the NICU for all admits - even if it is the parents' child that is being admitted. (does all of that make sense?). So my big beef with this NICU (as I seem to have become quite the NICU / hospital connoisseur these days) is their ridiculousness about closing the NICU for any reason at all and for at least twice as long as need be. So today for instance...their shift change in the morning is from 6 to 8:30 am, then the doctor does rounds - through 3 sections of NICU from what I can see - and we are not able to go in. Rounds have taken anywhere from 2 and half to 3 and a half hours in the days since we've been here. So, typically, I can't see David until at least 11am. Today, there was an admit so I couldn't see David until 1:30. Then, at 4 we had to leave again for Mary Louise to be admitted - even though I told them that she had just left and wouldn't be at their facility for another 1 and half to 2 hours. ha - what a racket!
Anyhow, after Mom and I were booted for Mary Louise to eventually be admitted, we went to lunch down the street from the hospital. We were driving back and I was picking up the phone to call the NICU to ask if Mary Louise had arrived as she was supposed to be there soon. I happened to look 2 cars in front of me to see an ambulance with a turn signal on going in the direction of the hospital. My mom said, "I wonder if that's her." The strangest feeling came over me - I swear the car drove itself into the hospital parking lot and my heart pounded as I watched a tiny baby being carefully unloaded in a big plastic incubator in the ambulance bay. My mom yelled, "Heather, that's her!" It was as if I had blocked out the fact that she really was coming here until that second. I started running towards the ER doors and to the elevator we had come down with David when he had his surgery. I thought,"I know they have to use this one." I stood there like a crazed animal waiting to pounce (ha - what I thought I was going to do I have no idea, but my feet would not move from the elevator doorway.) The nurse and 2 ambulance crew members brought Mary Louise around the corner from a hidden hallway and I rushed up to the incubator and just stared - I wasn't even breathing. I must have looked insane. The nurse was so startled that it took her a second to say,"can I help you?" I barely glanced at her and said quickly,"I'm her mom." It was all I could do to keep it together enough not to open the incubator and snatch her up in my arms. She was beautiful - like a tiny china doll. I must have been convincing with my hard stare at Mary Louise because without another thought the nurse said,"ok, you can ride with us in the elevator if you'd like," then added," she did just fine - slept the whole way," and smiled. I watched them head to the NICU and waited in the hall while they got her settled. It was then that I realized I hadn't taken a proper breath in awhile and sort of hyperventilated and burst into tears.
My mom burst out laughing later at the scene I'd made. I suppose I could have been anyone - and I wonder what the nurse was thinking - "that crazy momma has been just standing there waiting all day?"
So, now I'm an ambulance chaser - and I continue to be my own source of comic relief in this crazy crazy blip in our lives.