December 17th turned out to be a big day, even though we didn’t know it at the time. Once again, Audrey was extubated and put onto the CPAP. We waited for the news that she was having too many spells and needed to be moved back to the ventilator. But it never came.
The next evening, after some strong encouragement from Marianne, the parent resource nurse, we attended a Christmas party sponsored by the Linden Fund. If I recall. we made the decision to save a bit of money on food (NICU parenting is extremely expensive). It was one of the best decisions that we could have made.
Certainly, the food was great (a full turkey dinner), and helped to provide a tiny bit of normalcy to parents facing down their first Christmas with their baby in hospital. But the best part was that they invited NICU graduates. We watched kids walking around the room, talking away, who had once struggled to survive in the same place Audrey was now. And we talked to parents, some with stories much scarier than ours. We walked out feeling encouraged, at a time when it was feeling like it would never end.
Since she was on CPAP, Audrey was declared stable enough to hold. But Geoff had a cold and was scared of infecting her. Finally, on December 21st, he got to hold his daughter.