As Gwyneth grows older and stronger, and now that she is out of contact isolation and I can touch her again, it is becoming easier and easier to spend more and more time with her. But, that means I'm spending a little less time with Tricia.
Usually, this isn't a big deal. But, my favorite time to go down to the NICU is late in the evening because I'm usually one of the only guests down there, and everything just seems a little more quiet and peaceful. And, usually Tricia's favorite time to have me around is late in the evening when she's beginning to settle down for the night, wanting to talk and snuggle (as best I can with my gown and gloves).
Tonight, like most nights, I headed down to the fifth floor to check in on my baby girl. I told Tricia that I would just be a few minutes, wanting to just say goodnight and take a few pictures before helping Tricia fall to sleep and then pulling out my cot and going to sleep myself.
Gwyneth is becoming more and more lively, and seems to be spending a little more time awake these days. And, she's beginning to already learn that an empty stomach is an opportunity to voice her opinion about things, with her tiny, raspy cries. Tonight, just as was about to head back upstairs, she decided to wake up and let us all know that it was time to eat.
I just couldn't leave her while she was crying, and her nurse was busy helping another baby and mommy, so I stuck around for about 45 more minutes, talking to her, holding her pacifier in her mouth and trying to help her find a comfortable position between the red-faced cries (and getting a few photos, like the one above). All the while, glancing at the clock and knowing that Tricia was wondering where I was.
I finally pulled myself away, as her nurse was finishing up with the other family...I could still hear Gwyneth's faint cries through the plastic incubator as I walked out of her room.
I had a few tears myself, feeling guilty both for leaving my baby girl and for being gone from Tricia much longer than I had promised.
By the time I finally got back to Tricia's room, she was just falling asleep, with the lights out and her fan on. I missed the opportunity to be with her, not knowing how many more nights I might have to talk and snuggle and watch her fall to sleep.
And, now, here I am, wondering how I'm supposed to be a good Husband and Father at the same time when I'm rarely able to be with both of my girls at the same time...