Monday, May 27, 2013

The First Week

It's been one week since the birth of my boys, and what a week. Our current status is Henry and I are home, and John is still in the NICU. 

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. 

26 comments:

  1. Oh Alex, this sounds overwhelming but also wonderful. I fully believe that John is the 'normal' premie and that everything is working out perfectly. That said, it must be hell only being able to see him 1-2 hours per day. And yes, your life is a zoo-- from here on out (until J and H get their own apartments and jobs!). But a happy zoo. And I definitely hear you on the tubes tied thing-- still, I wonder if you'll have 'phantom infertility' - like how I would sometimes wonder if I was pregnant, and then realize that I hadn't even ovulated yet! Maybe it will take a while for those feelings to go away, but I am just so happy for you that your family is complete and the process of infertility is now behind you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow Alex, I can't imagine how overwhelming everything must be! I'm so happy to hear that Henry is exceeding expectations! That is wonderful!! It sounds like John is on track, like you said, for a late term preemie. I've heard of other ladies' preemies having the exact same issues. I pray he keeps making progress everyday. I hope his brady episodes decrease down to none! I hope you keep healing well! That makes sense to me about getting your tubes tied. I wouldn't want to wonder down the line either. Keep hanging in there sweetie! You're doing great, and I have faith that both boys will do amazingly! Sending lots of prayers & love xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  3. My friend, hang in there, John will be home soon and thankfully you have a lot of help (take it all!). I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to go to the hospital every day, and it's far, you must be tired on top of the hormones playing their tricks. Sending you much love, Fran

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am here with you. I didn't know about the chin posture, so you aren't alone there. These are stressful days and I hope your sweet baby is back with you soon.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my goodness, I was on vacation and reading posts from my phone, I must have somehow missed the other post!

    Congrats!!!!!!! I am so sorry it did not go as planned, but wow, now you are a family of 5! So crazy and wonderful.

    I hope John gets situated soon and that he and Henry stay easy. You never know, I hear baby boys are much easier than than baby girls. Thank goodness for the help you have.

    You are doing a great job and you have alot going on so don't be hard on yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  6. what an intense week! I hope every week gets a little easier from here on out. (ps this is Lulu from the wild rumpus but I'm having trouble logging in)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, what an overwhelming, intense week, but it sounds like you're doing great. Lots of prayers that John gets stronger soon and is able to go home and join you!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so glad to hear that Henry keeps doing so well, and that you're getting better! I hope that John gets better soon (and certainly didn't know the posture thing...) It must be rough to only be able to see him for an hour or two per day. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy to hear that you and Henry are home and doing great! Hope John can join you soon. I've never heard that about lifting their chin...seems like something they might want to clue you in on before it actually happens.

    ReplyDelete
  10. John will get there, soon I hope! i'm so glad Henry is doing so well and you're starting to feel better. Hang in there, Alex!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh wow... I wish that there was something I could to to help ease things for you! What an overwhelming and tiring week! I hope John joins his "little" brother at home super soon and ya'll can start on some sort of routine.

    Just know that I think you are incredibly strong to have gone through all this and be able to carry on as it were and to seem so together!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sending you SO much love, Alex.

    I'm having such a hard time commenting (not technical difficulties, emotional ones) because I just want to reach through the screen, hug you tight and hold your hand and nod with you. I know how all of this feels and it is SO stressful and exhausting and hard to imagine things getting better. But, they will. The bradys are scary. We didn't know about the chin lifting thing, either, until it happened a few times. It took a while before D could "eat" (by tube) without bradying. They think maybe reflux was causing problems.

    Sometimes I think the monitoring at the hospital made it easier once they were home -- knowing that they were ALWAYS OK even if having apnea or brady events and, by the time they left, they "self-corrected" made it easier to trust that they would be OK at home.

    And, I'm hoping you're doing OK. What a traumatic and physically stressful experience!!

    ((hugs))

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glad to hear an update.

    I thought about Rebecca when I read this post since I remember reading about the Brady episodes, so, so scary. Your little man is in the best place for now. I am hopeful that he will be home safe with the rest of his family soon.

    A great big hug and congratulations to you! It is amazing, you have come so far.
    xox

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such an amazing, intense, overwhelming experience you are having! It sounds like you are handling everything with more aplomb than I could ever muster. I'm glad the boys are doing well (even John, it sounds like, though he's still in the NICU). I hope things get easier and not harder, and I'm so glad you have help, though it sounds like even your helpers are a little overwhelming at times!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I so understand that mindfuck. Praying your baby boy is safely home with you and healthy very soon!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hope things are better now and that John is either home or will be very soon. You've got so much on your plate. Sounds like an au pair was a great idea. Isn't it funny how sleepy they are? Even Alice, born "full term" at 37 weeks is very sleepy, especially when compared with her brother at that age. I have to wake her to feed her too and even then her periods are awake are pretty short.

    Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow you have had a crazy go! I am so glad that you and Henry are doing well and home. I hope John is able to make it home soon. I can't believe everything you went through! I am just so glad you are all okay, and that the boys made it here safe and sound.

    Keep taking good care of yoursef, cause you're right, the real fun is about to begin.

    Sending lots of prayers and love.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just wanted to stop in and let you know I'm thinking of all of you. I hope John has come home and your family is busy busy but full of happiness!

    ReplyDelete
  19. hey! I wanted to check in to see how you guys are doing. I hope all is well. Drop me an email when you can. ngoway@msn.com Miss you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just checking jn to see how you guys are doing as a family of 5. Hope to hear from you soon and ESP hope that you guys are having a much easier time of thjngs :o) xoxo.

    ReplyDelete
  21. me too- trust life is just very full with two sweet boys and one active toddler

    ReplyDelete
  22. hi Alex, I have been thinking of you and hope you and yours are well. xoxo.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Checking in on you. I hope you guys had a great Christmas! Miss your posts!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, post about whats going on. We miss you. ~N

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thinking of you on the new year, Alex. I hope everything is going well for your and your family.

    ReplyDelete