Henry is doing really well. At his 1 week doctor visit, he was two ounces over his birth weight, so up to 4 lb 3 oz. Up until yesterday, I was waking him to eat every 3 hours, but yesterday I think he woke up! So now I'm feeding him when he wakes up, which is usually every 2-2.5 hours. But last night he went 4 hours, which is the longest I'll let him, so I even got a 3 hour stretch of sleep! Awesome, considering the longest I had slept in the week prior was about 1.5 hours. He's starting to look around, and stay awake for about 5-10 minutes after eating. He nursed really well for the first two days, but he was exerting too much energy, and both the doctors and lactation consultants agreed that we should use only a bottle for now until he gains some weight and is stronger. Which I'm fine with, my milk supply has sucked and I'd rather track exactly what he's eating. So we're using donor breast milk for Henry right now. I'll write another post all about my boobs another time. He eats about 8 times per day, 45 ml each time. He stayed in the hospital for 6 days. I was discharged 4 days after birth, but thankfully the hospital wasn't very busy so I could stay in a "family room", which was really the same room I had been in, so I could take care of Henry. This was so nice, because the last four days or so we were in the hospital he was in my room exclusively unless I was in the NICU visiting his brother.
John is still in the NICU, fighting hard to be able to come home. It was so hard leaving him there when Henry and I went home. The doctors say that John is acting like a normal late pre-term baby, and Henry is the exception. Apparently it's normal for late pre-term babies to have problems eating and to have apnea and bradycardia events (Brady's as the NICU staff call them). Brady's are when his heart rate slows and he either resolves them himself or they have to just touch him a little and he then resolves it. Brady's usually follow apnea events, when he forgets to breathe. The NICU folks say these are very normal, but they scare the crap out of me. Yesterday he had a Brady when I was holding him. All of a sudden the monitors started beeping like crazy, more than the normal beeping that drives you mildly nuts. And a nurse came over and noticed that I had let his chin get too close to his chest. She merely raised his head so his neck wasn't crunched, and told me "posture is everything!" I had no idea I was supposed to watch for that - nobody had told me - is this something other people know? How am I supposed to take a baby home who forgets to breathe and whose heartbeat drops if his chin gets too close to his chest? I guess that's why there's the rule that he can't go home until he has 5 days without Brady's or Apnea's. This still terrifies me. And they won't let him go home until he takes all his feedings via a bottle. Right now he will take 15 or so ml by a bottle, and then wears out and falls asleep. So the rest they give via a feeding tube. He eats 8 times a day, 40 ml each. And so we wait.
I go to the hospital every day, but only for about 1-2 hours. I feel so awful that I can't stay longer, but I have to juggle Alex, and taking care of Henry, and I still am not allowed to drive, so I have to fit within other people's schedules. Once I can drive this Friday, if John is still there, it will be easier. If my au pair is watching Alex, I will be able to take Henry and hang out at the hospital. But it will still be hard. The hospital is 45 minutes away with no traffic. But I'll figure it out. Thankfully my husband is home with us another week, but I keep reminding myself and him that this is the easy time. First, we only have one baby at home. And second, preemies, as long as there's nothing wrong with them, are very easy. All Henry does is eat and sleep! There's no extended crying for no reason, or anything that is really that hard. Henry is so easy, it's only going to get harder from here.
Regarding my own recovery, things are improving every day. It was nice to be able to stay in the hospital for 6 days, as it allowed some time to heal before coming home to a toddler, and stairs, and everything. But the first night I came home, it was very overwhelming. I had spent the precious 6 days in a darkened room with a baby that barely made any noise. And I came home to a house with big open windows with sun streaming in, two big barking dogs, a toddler who doesn't have a quiet voice, and my husband, au pair, and MIL all talking to me. I even think the TV was on. Talk about sensory overload! I feel better now, and I'm starting to help out a little more at home, which feels nice as I haven't been able to do anything for over a month while on bed rest. I wish my boys would have stayed inside for longer, but I have to admit, it is nice to get my body back to myself. Well mostly. Now it feels like it belongs to a breast pump... But at least I can walk up stairs with minimal pain!
I had a tough delivery - general anesthesia, a second surgery to repair the incision as it wasn't shut, magnesium sulfate, an infection at the incision site, and the latest news that the pathology report that was supposed to show pieces of my fallopian tubes from the tubal ligation doesn't show them so I have to have an HSG at 6 weeks to prove my tubes are truly tied. Oh the irony, I've had a couple HSG's to help me have children, and then the procedure I have to make me not be able to have children, not that I think it's possible, is now requiring another HSG! Many people, including my husband, don't understand why I want my tubes tied. But I never want to wonder if I might be pregnant. I never want to experience that mindfuck that I know only too well after going through infertility. And so I'll have another HSG, one last procedure to deal with my fertility. And be done forever.
I feel so blessed being home with two of my children. Henry is amazingly easy, and so my life is pretty good. I only want my other son to join us now. But only if John is healthy. Please God help him be healthy.