About a month or so before Little Man was born I pulled out the car seat, took its cover off, and washed it. I washed all sorts of clothes, and generally got things ready for him to come home.
Maybe the second to last day he was in the NICU, when they were just monitoring him to make sure he kept breathing on his own and everything was okay, I had gone in to feed him and just be with him for a while. The nurses encourage the moms to do as much for their babies as possible, and I was just loving being with him and being his Mom. He had done the typical breastfeeding baby poop during nursing, so I got up to change his diaper. He was my first boy, but by now I had already learned to cover his little guy so I didn't get a golden shower. I had the old diaper off, new one underneath, another covering his unit, and I had hold of his feet, holding them up above his head so I could wipe his tush.
That's when I learned the unit isn't the only thing you need to keep covered. I also learned there really is such a thing as projectile shit. A mustardy, brownish yellowish stream shot straight out of him three feet away, spattering the incubator containing a tiny but growing twin baby (thank God she was in an incubator and not an open crib) and everything in between.
I think I said "Shit!" Well, duh.
I was mortified. You'd think I never changed a baby before. It took two entire boxes of hospital wipes to clean the place up. The twin baby's mom and grandmother were there - thankfully, they simply laughed and then watched me clean up (a little help would have been nice, but I understood why they didn't). We sprayed everything (except Little Man, of course) with some sort of disinfectant, I got him cleaned up and safely diapered, and nursed him again. I told myself I would always be better prepared than that.
On the actual day he came home, the nurse in the NICU had to give me this long questionnaire/debriefing before we were allowed to take him home. I sat and nursed him while the nurse asked all these questions. I told them later they need to revise their questionnaire - they kept asking things like "Are you comfortable changing a diaper? Do you know how often you need to feed your baby?" I told them they need to have the first question be "Is this your first child?" and the second needs to be "Is that child safe/healthy/still alive?" and if those answers are No and Yes, respectively, then you should be able to skip the next, oh, say 40 questions or so and get only the specific questions related to the care your child needs. It was interminable. Little Man nursed and napped at least twice each while this was going on. They also wouldn't let older siblings in the NICU unless they were over at least 12, so BigDaddyFish was out in the waiting room trying to entertain Trout this whole time - no easy feat with a kid one month shy of her second birthday.
Finally we were finished, and it was time to go. I got all his stuff packed up, and then went to load him into the car seat. I got him in the seat, comfortable, and pulled the strap over his head (at that time the standard was still a three point harness, not five) and latched it. It looked weird. I went to finish, and realized why. The chest strap was missing. Just, gone. I had apparently not put it back on the seat when I washed the cover.
So much for being prepared.
I had to get BDF's attention, and then send him and Trout home to find the chest strap. I was sure it was just still on the floor in the basement where the seat had been, so I figured it would be a quick, maybe 1/2 hour round trip. I'm slow sometimes.
I stayed with Little Man snuggling and nursing him, but then one of the times when the doctors do their rounds came along. Parents have to leave the NICU at this time, so I told the nurse I would be in the waiting area so I could be found if BDF came back. I waited, and waited, and waited. About an hour later, I went back to the NICU and knocked on the door. Apparently, BDF had called while I was gone and said he couldn't find the chest strap, so he was going to go buy another car seat.
He only knew of one store to buy a car seat, and this was after their closing time. In fact, it was about 8pm. The nurse had directed him to Target, Walmart, and Toys R Us - I just hoped he made it in time.
So we waited. And waited, and waited. Finally, about 9:30, he shows up. I am freaking out at this point. Trout is a sleepy, grumpy mess, and I figured the hospital was going to make us wait til the next day to take him home. BDF walks in, grumpy as hell, and hands me the chest strap to the old seat.
It seems he bought another seat, but decided to install the base from the original seat in the car, since they were both Graco and compatible. When he put his knee on the base to push it down to make sure it was tight enough, the seat made a strange rattle. The chest strap was in the base of the original seat.
So, I put the seat together, and we went home. Oddly enough, we all slept quite well. Little Man only got up to eat once.
We donated the other seat to the crisis pregnancy center. When Little Man outgrew his old seat, we got rid of it. When Sunny was born, we bought a new infant seat with a five-point harness.
I will be washing it in the near future. I will be certain to make sure all the pieces are put back where they belong. Anyone want to take any bets as to what I forget this time?