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5 Months!

My baby boy is 5 months old.

My baby boy is 5 months old.

This has been a very, very exciting month, so I’ll just jump in.

I’ll start with his ‘stats’ — He is 14.5lbs, and just shy of 24” long. He fitting comfortably in 3-6 month clothes, and size 2 diapers. His average bottle is between 5-6 ounces. I can still remember when I celebrated him taking 5 milliliters! I’m so impressed and proud of this little man. I know that I am incredibly lucky to be his mom.

Smiling all the time!

That smile and those arms!  

Other things this month:

I’ve noticed new hair growth. I’m sure he’s been growing it for awhile, but it’s long enough now that I paused to examine it. It’s soft, fluffy, and light brown. It’s actually a lot lighter than my husband or my own hair color, but I’m sure it’ll darken as he grows. So cute!

We also purchased a bumbo seat. We were told NOT to buy this by a physical therapist because it was just a ‘container’ that did nothing for development, but I disagree. When we started using it he lasted 1-2minutes before his strength would begin to waver and he’d lean over. Now he lasts 15-20 minutes. We get nervous about it, so we are never more than a few inches away while he’s in it, but we love to give him the time to practice strengthening his muscles.

In the bumbo.

In the bumbo.

We’re also given him more opportunity to work on reaching for things, but as of now he isn’t doing that consistently. He’ll push his bottle/pacifier away, and he’ll sometimes grab at toys and our hands so I know he’s got some coordination… But he’s not reaching out for things outside of his reach like other toys or us just yet. He did find his feet, and has grabbed and held on to them a few times. That’s exciting and progress. We’re getting there! His easter basket has a couple of things to help with this! I’ll do a post about that soon.🙂

He is still not rolling over from front to back or back to front —- BUT! He is SO. CLOSE. I swear, he rolls over to his side and realizes if he puts any more force behind it he’ll be on his tummy (and he HATES tummy time), so he stops. Speaking of tummy time, he isn’t pushing himself up in a full arch from the floor, but he is now lifting his head with much more control and looking around. That is huge progress from last month.

 

His St. Patrick outfit, and you can see him holding his head up. :)

His St. Patrick outfit, and you can see him holding his head up.🙂

SO. CLOSE.

SO. CLOSE.

Another cute thing is that he has really started to interact with us. Last month it was more he was fascinated with his environment, this month he’s interacting with it. He loves to ‘talk’ back to us, be read to, etc. We are loving this!

Also, this month somehow, and someway… Our little man has started sleeping through the night. What?! It came on suddenly, and we didn’t really change anything about his routine. At night he was sleeping longer at a time, 4-5 hours instead of his regular 3-4, and then those stretches kept expanding over about 2-weeks till he was sleeping 8-10 hours. Now, he sleeps 8-10 hours straight 85-90% of the time, and the days that he doesn’t sleep through the night is because…

He’s teething! My poor baby boy.😦 He started stuffing his hands into his mouth and drooling a ton. That lasted about 2 weeks and then the discomfort kicked in and he morphed into a cranky baby. Now, my boy is not an ‘easy’ baby.  I mean… he isn’t all smiles all the time, but he’s always been easy to soothe when he was upset…. Teething changed that.

Now, he’ll cry for 30 minutes or longer and nothing we do works. We’ve bought at least 6 different ‘teethers’ and he hates all of them: The keys, the cold hand, the rings, the pacifier-looking teether, gum massagers, our own fingers, etc. He wants nothing to do with any of them. We’ve been alternating with tylenol and homeopathic teething tablets because nothing else soothes him. Right now his gums are just swollen and we see some white, but no breakage just yet. We know this won’t last forever, but it is definitely hard to see him upset and be powerless to soothe.

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Hands in the mouth at all times.

This month I also went back to work, and my husband has taken over as the primary care giver while I’m working. I love my hubby, but he had it too easy while I was home because I always wanted to be the one that took care of the baby. He always offered, but I usually declined because 1. I wanted to do it all 2. I felt like I had to do it all. First time mom naïvety?

I wish I had given him the opportunity to do more while I was home because he’s really had to go from 0-60 fast. I take full responsibility, because every time the baby was crying I would take him, every time he needed a bath I gave it, etc. —Because I wanted to, not because he wouldn’t. Sorry, I’m a type-A control freak and the NICU left me wanting to make up for lost time.

Regardless of all of this, he’s done great. We are incredibly lucky that he’s able to work from home and stay with the baby so we don’t have the expense of day-care. He also sends me pictures during the day and my coworkers love them as much as I do.

That about sums up month 5! It’s been exciting and great and I’m so in love with my tiny human. Every day is full of new challenges and new experiences and I am soaking all of it up!

He loves bath time! *I promise, he looks serious, but he's usually grinning.

He loves bath time! *I promise, he looks serious, but he’s usually grinning.

This kid is standing practically unassisted.

This kid is standing practically unassisted.

We live in KY. Big blue nation.

We live in KY. Big blue nation.

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4 Month Old Update!

Sleepy baby!

Sleepy baby!

This has been a big month for baby boy.

We have officially said goodbye to size 1 diapers, and 0-3 month clothes.

His size 2 diapers are a little big, but they never leak so it’s better than being too small. The 3-6 month clothes fit decently, but they are little big. He is 23.5″ inches long, and 13lbs 4 ounces long– So he’s hanging out around the 50th percentile for his adjusted age, and is making improvements in ‘catching up’.

We are waiting to introduce solids until he is 6months old adjusted, which will be around the time we go back for his 6 month shots and well baby visit. I’m both excited and terrified for April to get here.

He is still behind on many of his milestones for his ‘actual’ age. He can’t push himself up from the floor, grasp objects, or roll over. We’re supposed to be giving him tummy time to work on it. He HATES tummy time, so out sessions are usually brief. However, we have been doing baby exercises to help him gain upper and lower body strength. I have noticed some improvement with his endurance during the exercises, but not with his tummy time. I was really stressing out about it, but his pediatrician isn’t concerned. She told us that crawling is actually not considered a milestone anymore, because many babies skip crawling and go straight to talking.

He stands very well with minimal support. I’m basically just helping him keep his balance and he’s doing all the work. He really seems to love that.

We are still sleeping in the fisher price rock n’ play because he still needs the incline to help with his severe acid reflux. He can’t sit up on his own, or roll over so he’s still safe sleeping there. We still only swaddle at night. He’s been slowly working one of his arms out during the night, so I anticipate losing the swaddle soon. He sleeps from 8pm-8am, and wakes up to eat every 3-5 hours but goes right back to sleep. He takes 2-3 small naps during the day, and one 2-3 hour nap. The only problem, is the only way he’s taking that 3 hour nap is if I get him to sleep in my arms (like, completely asleep), and then lay him down. At night, I can lay him down when he is only 10% asleep, and he’ll go to sleep on his own, but not during the day.

He has started to get interested in his surroundings. He loves watching the TV. He also doesn’t like to be burped against my shoulder because he wants to look around.

Speaking of burping, he’s eating between 3.5-4oz 8 times a day. Now, his formula is mixed to 24kCal/oz, so he’s not ‘starving’– I assure you.😉 Also, he’s still a once a day pooper. You can seriously set your clock by it because it’s so regular. We’ve been reassured on many occasions that as long as the consistency and color doesn’t change– he’s good.

He tolerated his 4 month shots decent. He doesn’t tolerate his RSV vaccine as well. My guess is it hurts more, because he cries for several minutes after that, but only for a minute or two for all 3 of his others. Poor guy. Good thing is he is almost done with the RSV shots because the season is almost over.

Also, we’re only a week in his 5th month, and I can’t wait to write that update because some big things have happened! haha.

Those cheeks!

Those cheeks!

2

I got the job!

This mama accepted a full time RN position today!

It’s on a floor with pre-op and orthopedic patients–both of which I’ve had experience working with. My #1 choice would have been a labor and delivery unit, but this unit is a good second choice. I’m very happy with it!

My interview was so laid back, and the tour of the unit was great. I took my drug test today, have a physical Friday, and another physical next week. After my background check comes back, which is usually 1-2 weeks, they’ll schedule my orientation.

I am a little apprehensive because it is a night shift position, but I’m sure we’ll fall into a routine at home so I can maximize the time I have with my boy. The good thing about nursing is full time is 3 separate 12 hour shifts. So I’m off 4 days a week. I am scared and excited, but so ready to get my career started.

I’m so thankful my husband is self employed and can stay home with our boy full time. I’m so thankful his mom is retired and lives close by. I’m so thankful to find a full time position with great benefits (better than our private insurance!). I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help provide for my family. And I’m so thankful to start my career.

I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and finally it’s happening.

I’m a wife, mom, and a nurse. I am truly fulfilled.

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My husband took this picture after I got back home.❤

 

4

My first job interview!

You heard me ramble about nursing school, graduation, and NCLEX. Now it’s time to use the two letters behind my name: Ashley, RN.

I started putting feelers out and applying for a few positions a week or two ago. I had originally planned on waiting until we were home for 12 weeks. We’ve only been home 9 weeks, and I honestly didn’t think I would get an interview so quickly. I got the call on Friday, and my Interview is at 10:30 in the morning. The good news is if I am offered the position I feel comfortable going back to work now. He’s 4 months old, doesn’t need the tube feed anymore, and we have a pretty decent routine going on.

My husband is great with him and is excited about being a stay-at-home dad. It’s also amazing that his mom is retired and lives just a few miles away so I know she’ll lend a hand if he needs it. Having family close was a big reason we decided to move here in the first place. I know it will be an adjustment, but I’m ready to take on the challenge and help my husband provide for our family. I’ve basically been out of the work force for a year and that makes me nervous.

I applied for about 6 positions at this hospital. When she called and gave me the date for the interview I asked which position I was interviewing for and she said that I was interviewing for a med-surg position, but that she had openings all over the house. That sounds promising.

What is making me more nervous is this interview!

I have an outfit complete with shoes and accessories.
I’ve been picking my friends brain– She’s been a nurse for a few years, and has been a fountain of information.
I’ve been reading interview questions and practicing answering without using my go-to filler ‘um’.
I’ve got my resume, references, and letters of recommendation printed.

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, but this is my first ‘big girl’ job interview and it’s got me so nervous. I know I give a good interview and make a good first impression, but the buildup is the worst part.

Fingers crossed! I would love to get a position at this hospital.

3

3 Month Update!

Three Months!

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I can not believe that our little rockstar has been here for 3 months! This has been a great month for him. ** We have an appointment with a NICU graduation clinic next week. It’s a service connected to his NICU where they monitor premature infants through their first years of life. So after that I will post another update about how he is doing.

Our biggest achievement this month is that our boy no longer needs his NG feeding tube. After a week of consistently taking his total volume by mouth, and exceeding his goal— It’s official!

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Finally NG free, and getting ready to go to grandma’s house to watch the UK Basketball team (#1 in the nation!) play.

As of yesterday we learned that we can feed him on demand. Previously we had been keeping him to a 3 hour schedule so he could really master eating. It was hard because during the day when he’s awake and alert he’s hungry about every 2 hours— You try keeping a hungry baby at bay for an hour! Then at night I would have to wake him up every 3 hours to eat because he sleeps so well. Now his pediatric surgeon is comfortable with us feeding him on command, so that means we can feed him more during the day and let him ‘sleep through the night’— We haven’t really had a chance to try this just yet— but I was excited to get the news!

This month was also huge in terms of his development. He’s so much more alert and interactive. He has officially masted the social smile. He loves to have his cheeks lightly tickled while you make eye contact and talk with him; he lights up every single time. He also has started to notice his toys. I lay him on his play mat and he looks at the animals and loves when I make them jingle. I also have a toy that goes across his car seat handle and it’s been great for the long car rides. Before now he really only focused on lights. He still loves to look at lights, but I’m loving how much more he’s getting interested in other things.

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Look at that baby smile!

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Hanging out on his play mat. He loves it.

He has also really strengthened his neck muscles and nearly has full control of his head. He loves to look around, and isn’t always content just being snuggled close to us. It’s so sad that he’s already starting to outgrow that, but I love seeing him enjoy his surroundings. He finally got a real bath, and he loves relaxing in the water and looking around.

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A picture from his first real bath. 12.31.14

He still loves to be swaddled, and we just went up to the large size in the summerinfant swaddleme. His others still fit, but it was a snug fit. He’s got plenty of room to grow in his new ones. He still hates having his diaper changed, and being dressed after a bath. We’re still sleeping in the Rock n’ Play because he needs the incline, but if he starts doing better sleeping through the night we might be making the transition to his crib soon. **With a device that will also keep him inclined.

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*A little blurry. Hanging out in his rock n play.

He is still in 0-3 and 3 month clothes. His carters brand sleeper outfits are starting to get tight in the length, but we’ve still got some time before I need to upgrade him to 6 month. — However, as soon as he’s ready he has So. Many. Clothes. in the next size up. I got a little panicked because he was starting to outgrow his clothes and we didn’t have much in the next size… So I may have went a little crazy shopping. Crazy as in… I just about purchased every single thing Target had in 6 months that was seasonally appropriate. On top of that we received a very large tote of his cousin’s old clothes. So!

He tipped the scales at 11 pounds 5 ounces, and is 21.5” long. Up 5 pounds 14 ounces, and 2.75” from birth.

He is going through a major mama’s boy period. Sometimes when he’s upset, no matter what my husband does for him he can not be consoled. All I do is pick him up and he instantly calms. I’m not really sure what that means, but it’s so sweet. I’m enjoying it because I know it will be short lived, but I admit it’s making it bit hard to get some sleep. This past month I finally started accepting help that I had previously (vehemently) refused. So when I’m feeling really worn down and my husband tells me to take a nap… I try to enjoy it, but when I hear the baby fussing I have to go calm him down. I hope he starts to take to being away from mommy better soon, because I’m starting to job hunt.😥

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I love taking pictures when he’s sleeping.

We now have a pretty loose schedule. It’s hard to ‘stick’ with it because when we visit my husbands family everyone wants to hold him constantly and he falls asleep… And it throws off his night. Loosely what we have going on is:

I’m with the baby between 8pm-4am, and then my husband stays with the baby from 4am-noon (although I usually get up around 10am.) He’s been eating at 2-5-8-11. Our day ‘starts’ with the 11am bottle. I’ll change his diaper, dress him for the day, and feed him. Then we have about a solid 3 hours of good alert time. After his 2 o’clock bottle he usually naps for an hour or 2. He wakes up, eats, and has another period of alert time. Before his 8pm bottle I’ll dress him in his pajamas, and we’ll eat, be swaddled, dim the lights, and our nighttime routine begins. He sleeps pretty much through the night except when he’s up to eat, but around 5am he has another period of alert time until his 8am bottle and then he’ll sleep.

We started using the sound machine and it has really improved his sleep! I’m able to clean up the kitchen after I lay him down around 8 without him waking up, and his sleep is deeper and more peaceful. Before he seemed to sleep very lightly and was easily disturbed. So thank goodness for the sound machine.

I know I am forgetting things, but this is the bulk of how the last month has been. I’m excited to see what this next month will bring. Each month it gets better and better.

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My sweet baby boy.

3

Nursery Tour – Baby Boy’s Peek-a-Boo Monster Nursery

Finally getting around to doing a nursery tour. I never got it ‘perfect’ but I like it so far. We spend a lot of our time in here: rocking him in the recliner, playing on his floor mat, changing him, etc. It’s almost perfect, but of course…

Things I want to do but haven’t done:

  • Finish his alphabet wall. I already purchased the letters from ETSY and they plain birch wood. We planned on having them painted at the baby shower that never happened, and I just haven’t had a chance to paint them. They will go above the recliner. As soon as things ‘settle down’ I’ll get that done.
  • I need to clean out his crib, but he’s currently sleeping next to us in his Rock n’ Play– So that’s not such a big deal at the moment. His great grandmother bought him a moses basket, but unfortunately he can’t lay flat most of the time, so we took some pictures of him in it and plan on giving it away soon.
  • I also plan to get a bookshelf of some sort. I had wanted one from IKEA, but it is much too large for his room right now. Maybe once we outgrow the need for his rocker/recliner I can put one in it’s place.

IMG_2017This sign is hung on his nursery door. My son is named after my husband, and this sign was my husbands from when he was a boy. I love how many things we have from when my husband was a baby. This just adds an extra special touch to the room.

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This is the view from the hallway into my son’s room. His theme is ‘peek-a-boo monsters’– Blue, Brown, and Green.

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The dresser slash changing table is positioned between two small closets and directly in front of his window. There is a small antique rocking horse to the left. It used to be where the diaper genie is, but we’re pressed for space so I had to put it there.

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A close up of our changing area. We were given the changing pad cover as a gift. I use a diaper changing station and a wipe warmer. The sides hold some up and up lotion, diaper cream, and baby powder. The little robot plush is from a friend, and the dinosaur was from my mom. It plays music and baby boy loves it. I also keep hand sanitizer handy.

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The first two drawers. The left hand side is all of the misc. things everyone collects. The right hand side holds socks, bibs, hats, and burp cloths. I need to get some of those IKEA drawer organizers badly, but the nearest IKEA is 2.5 hours away. We had planned a trip there before he made his appearance, but his early arrival derailed those plans.

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The second row. The left drawer has his outfits that he currently fits into, and the right drawer has his sleepers that he currently fits.

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The last row. Left side has extra blankets, sheets, changing pad covers, etc. The right side has his onesies, and shoes.

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Here is his crib. He’s not sleeping in it right now so don’t stress about all of the things inside of it. We’ve got all of his stuffed animals, and a moses basket that my husband’s grandma gave us. *Our son can’t sleep flat, so we took some pictures of him in it and we’re looking to give it away. The right side you can see his closet door.

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This is his ‘weighing station’ — We needed to weigh him daily so we purchased a baby scale. It’s positioned over two totes. The bottom tote is 6month and up clothing. The top tote is full of clothes he’s already outgrown.😦

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Opposite of the crib is the rocker. It’s a lazyboy recliner and it’s super comfortable. The table is something my mother in law found at a flea market. The afghan was made by his grandmother, and we love to cuddle with his boppy pillow and blanket and relax. I’ve got the video monitor on the table, because currently our son sleeps with us. So if he’s laying down while I’m folding clothes or something I’ve got easy access to it. The lamp is part of his theme. In the background we’ve got the packn’play/changing area/basinet that we don’t need, so I’m giving it away as a baby shower gift. I just need to wrap it.

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This is the closet where I have his extra diapers, wipes, and his next size up in clothes.

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This closet has a little bit of everything. Mostly things we won’t need for a long time. His toddler bed rail, his 6-12 month clothes, and a lot of other odds and ends are in here. I’ll organize it eventually.

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This is where I plan to put his bookshelf eventually. The ‘basket’ is currently being used as a dirty clothes hamper, but will eventually house his toys. And his carseat.

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Just another shot of the room, and our dog. It’s a small space, but we’re making it work. *I leave the floor mat out because we use it daily. He absolutely loves it!

 

2

Two months!

Two months old!

My son turned two months old on Christmas day. I thought we would be spending the day in the NICU, but we were in our home. When he turned a month old we didn’t have a lot of luck getting a good picture or writing an update because he was having a hard time. Now that we are home I want to do a better job of documenting his milestones.

We came home on December 21st. In the less than two weeks since we’ve been home so much has happened. I’ll be talking about the specifics of his TEF/EA on his other blog.

On December 23rd we met with his pediatrician and she spent over an hour reading over his past medical history, examining him, and answering our questions. He got his 2 month shots, which was 3 vaccines. He did very well with them and only cried for about 5 seconds per shot— Then he napped all day and slept through the night. We gave him 1 dose of tylenol for the soreness in his legs the next day and he was fine. His temperature didn’t elevate much, it normally runs around 98.9 and ran 99.3— Overall, I was very pleased with how he handled the shots.

He was 9pounds, but his length was 20.5”. He was 5pounds 7ounces and 18.75” at birth. **Now we had to buy a fancy baby scale to keep track of his fluid volume needs as a part of our discharge plan, and as of tonight he is 10 pounds 2ounces!😥

We spent Christmas eve and Christmas day with my husbands family. They have familiarity with NICU graduate babies, and were all very respectful about washing their hands and not even coming over if they were sick. He was a very spoiled baby and received so many wonderful gifts. It was such a wonderful way to spend the holiday with our family and our son home. I can’t put into words how great it was.

We are still working on getting some sort of loose routine, but where we are still working on getting our son on full bottle feeds (so we can take the feeding tube out) we aren’t there yet. We have to be much more flexible for him because he needs to eat so slowly and because we are ‘stretching’ his stomach he eats every 1-3 hours. I can say that he comes off of his tube feed around 11am, and that is usually when we start our day.

Hubby takes a shower while I get the baby out of his pajamas and into his outfit for the day. While I take a shower and get ready hubby feeds the baby his first bottle of the day. Then throughout the day we follow his needs. And usually around 10pm we him into pajamas and start it all over again. hubby usually makes breakfast and lunch, and I usually make dinner. We kind of take turns, but I kind of monopolize the baby. I’m working on ‘sharing’ the responsibility, because I tend to want to do everything for the baby and my husband’s feelings got a little hurt in the beginning. What can I say, I’m an imperfect person, but we’re doing better. *This is why my update is coming so late. I’m busy with the baby about 20 hours out of the day.

Now, about baby boy.

He is filling out his 0-3 month clothes for the most part— but the pants are still baggy. He loves NUK pacifier, Dr. Brown’s bottles, being swaddled in the swaddleme, hanging out in his MomARoo, looking at this shiny red ornament a mother gave him in the NICU, being super warm, and being held.
He hates having his diaper changed, his outfit changed, and his nose suctioned. He still hated bath time because he was still having to get sponge baths (but he had his first bath on December 31st, 6 days into his third month— which I’ll talk more about in his 3 month update.)

He still can’t hold his head up totally, but he is making huge progress with tummy time. He is smiling more and is so, so close to a social smile, but not quite there. When he gets hungry he sticks his fingers into his mouth, and I have a feeling we’re going to have a thumb sucker on our hands.

He is such a perfect tiny human. I’m so in love. We are so in love.

3

Saying Goodbye to the NICU!

We are so very excited to be home before Christmas. If you had asked me just last week when I thought we were going home I would have told you it would probable be in early 2015. Well, our son turned a corner and made some rapid progress learning how to eat. We are going home with a feeding tube that goes from his nose to his stomach, but he only uses it at night– and if his progress keeps up we won’t even need that much longer! We are so excited.

I put together some small gift bags for the NICU. When I thought I was going to have the ‘normal’ pregnancy and childbirth experience I had planned on making thank-you bags for my labor and delivery nurses. I never got a chance to do that — though I did send a thank you card to one nurse in particular who was absolutely amazing, and who I will remember for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something to thank the wonderful staff at our NICU for their work. After spending 8 weeks in the NICU we made so many connections and friendships that it feels wrong to just part ways without expressing how much what they did meant to us.

I wanted to find some cute treat bags, but the holiday section at Target was demolished– So we settled for holiday zip-lock bags. When I was thinking about want to put into the bags I wanted to put things they could use: gum, chapstick, etc– Things I had thought of putting into my labor and delivery thank you bags. However, I was planning on making 40+ bags, and those things would get too pricy. So I opted for some others: Chocolate, hard candy, chewy candy, mints, and K-Cups. We heard countless times how the NICU had recently purchased a keurig coffee machine for the break room, but they did not supply the coffee, so the k-cups was our favorite part of the gift bags.

We grabbed a picture with our primary dayshift nurse, passed off the gift bags— and on December 21st walked out of the NICU with our son. I only took 200 pictures from the time we left the NICU until we got home. haha.

We’ve been home for 60 hours and so much has happen that it deserves it own post, but for now I’ll stop here. We’re home!

 

 

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Christmas tree!

My husband and I have been staying in central KY (about 90 miles away from home), for the last two months. We had not been home since my water broke in October. Thankfully our mothers have been taking care of our house and our fur children so we could devote all of our time to our baby boy (who is doing wonderfully, just in case you were wondering). However we had to go home for a few days to take care of some things that only we could do– a very hard thing to do because it meant not seeing our baby for 48hours, but it was a necessary trip.

We made good use of those house while we were home. While my hubby was taking care of insurance and tax documents on his computer— I was getting our house ready for Christmas! Even if our son isn’t home for ‘christmas’– We’re doing Christmas when he comes home! Christmas in July? Sounds like fun to me!

I put up our first full sized tree, wrapped the presents I had ordered during cyber monday, and stocked up on the limited edition gingerbread cookie mix.😉 When our baby comes home, he’s coming home to to some holiday cheer!

**ALSO! I will be doing a ‘house tour’ very soon! My amazing mother in law has decorated our house for us, and I can’t wait to show some amazing before and after pictures! Remember how our house used to look?! If you don’t, take a peek here to help your memory!

4

Postpartum Recovery

I am on day 39 of my postpartum recovery, and I thought I’d share my experience. Mine will be different then most because my son is still in the NICU. Also, as a warning: Some of this might be TMI!

Immediately postpartum I felt fine. My chief complaints were back pain and exhaustion. The back pain was from the epidural, which is not something I was expecting– though it obviously makes sense. The exhaustion was from a myriad of things. The night before induction I could not sleep, and then my labor progressed quickly for a primigravida not allowing any rest even after the epidural. I also was dealing with processing all of the emotions of finding out my son had EA/TEF and having him shipped off to another hospital, along with trying to develop a breast milk supply by pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock. So when I was discharged from the hospital 18 hours after our baby boy was born the doctor warned me that this ‘fine’ feeling would pass as she believed I was running off of adrenaline. She made my husband promise to keep an eye on me.

Physically: 

Physically I needed to take 600-800mg ibuprofen every 6 hours around the clock for the first 3-4 days, and didn’t I felt it. My back stopped hurting by this point, and I hated how the ibuprofen gave me a stomachache!

My ‘nether’ region was not as sore as I expected it to be– Sure my stitches itched and burned a little, but using my peribottle and dermoplast every time I used the bathroom was perfect. Until my stitches completely healed (about 3 weeks pp) it felt like I was walking around with a tampon placed incorrectly… Best way to describe it. It was uncomfortable, but not painful.

My bleeding pp honestly surprised me– I was fully prepared for bleed like a stuffed hog for weeks, but I would say that by my 5th-6th day postpartum I didn’t need those giant overnight pads anymore and I switched to always infinity foam regular flow with wings. These things were heavenly! I could hardly feel they were there, and they ‘wicked’ away the moisture and kept me feeling dry. About 2.5-3 weeks pp I was mostly just having discharge and only needed liners.  I still need the liners, but otherwise I’m good.

I was warned about the hemorrhoids and the constipation, but I had no hemorrhoids and actually had mild diarrhea immediately pp. So I didn’t take my stool softener…. but on the 4th or 5th day I was in pain. I was so constipated and had stomach pain that felt like someone was stabbing me below the bellybutton. I took stool softeners and suffered through it. Godspeed my friends! Take the stool softener… even if you don’t think you need it!

Breastfeeding:

The lactation consultant informed me that it appeared I had IGT (insufficient glandular tissue), and probably wouldn’t be able to produce a lot of milk. Still, I was going to try! I was loaned a Medela Symphony from the NICU. It is a hospital grade pump made for exclusively pumping and costs close to two-thousand dollars! Luckily the NICU has a free loaner program for mothers to use while their babies are still in the hospital.

I pumped every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes. The NICU had pumping rooms so even when we were with him I could pump. I took 9 fenugreek pills a day, drank 4 cups of mother milk tea, held hot compresses to my chest while I pumped, looked at pictures of him while I pumped… and after 10 days the most I had ever produced was 0.2ml (combined from both breasts), and I was so exhausted– in 10 days I had not had more than an hour and half of uninterrupted sleep.

I was heartbroken and mourned the loss of my breastfeeding dream. I wish someone had told me that there were really women out there who physically couldn’t breastfeed. I was so unprepared for this, and this was one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with. Even now when someone asks me if I’m using formula or breast milk… I feel like I need to make excuses and explain to them why he’s only getting formula.

Emotionally:

My husband and myself were both very concerned that I was developing postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. As an already anxious person, we really didn’t know how much of my pp emotional roller coaster was normal for me. For the first two weeks I was so upset and cried everyday– In the shower, while I was pumping, at his bedside, when I talked to his doctors, when we left to go back to the hotel… It was awful.

Now looking back I think I was just dealing with an extraordinary set of circumstances– We went from having a perfectly healthy baby to a baby with a life altering defect who needed surgery, and then he got sick, and I watched him turn blue in front of me… It was agony. What helped me realize that it wasn’t anything more was… When my son was having a ‘good’ day, I had a good day. When he was having a ‘bad’ day, I had a bad day… And it just turned out that he had a lot of ‘bad’ days in the beginning.

As for the anxiety– I still feel that from time to time. I have a hard time falling asleep because I’m thinking of him; I’m worried his nurse doesn’t know how he likes to be soothed by having someone talk to him, or thinking his resident forget to weight-adjust his medication for his 100gram weight gain, etc. That I think is just me being a mother… We’re supposed to be worried about our babies all the time, right?

Overall:

My postpartum recovery has been a lot easier on me than I thought it would be. The emotional aspect was probably the hardest. My 6 week appointment is tomorrow (technically I’ll just be 5 weeks and 3 days pp), and we’re going to discuss getting and IUD when I’m 8 weeks pp. My husband and I are thinking we’re done having children (thinking of going through this experience again literally makes me sick to my stomach), but we’re young and don’t want to do any permeant methods of birth control incase we change our minds. I’ve handled hormonal birth control well in the past and I think the Mirena IUD will be a good fit for us– I’m 23, don’t smoke, and have no plans to have children in the near future. We considered ParaGard which can last up to 10 years, (Mirena lasts up to 7), but I think we’re leaning to the Mirena. I’ll fill you in on how that goes later.

12.1.14

12.1.14