We are HOME. As a family of 5. (Yes, the puppies still count :))
Our first 6 days home have been amazing, challenging, busy, relaxing, tiring, wonderful, hard and fun.
Our first night home was hugely stressful. I hadn’t slept much the night before and all of a sudden was responsible for every little thing for this tiny human. We all had to adjust and figure out our new normal here at home and for Joey that meant not eating much which worried me. I think I even said “if he doesn’t eat we’re going to have to bring him back”, and to be honest I kind of wanted to. As HARD as NICU life was, it was also EASY. There was a trained medical professional literally right there if something wasn’t right. If he didn’t eat in the NICU he wouldn’t starve to death, someone would get him a new NG tube. I know now he really wouldn’t have starved to death from missing one feeding (and they would have let him skip one in the NICU too before getting him a new tube), but in my sleep-deprived-trying-to-do-everything-perfect mind at that moment I thought for sure he would. But he decided to eat late that night, and we’re all good on that front now. He spent a lot of that first night crying too… Only wanting to sleep while Andy rocked him in the rocking chair for hours. But he’s gotten over that and were all good on the front now too.
When we first started in the NICU, I hated having to spend every day with people. The nurses were nice and all, but I was so used to being home alone all day, just me and the puppies, that I couldn’t stand being with people that much of every day! Now after 5.5 weeks of being there, I am missing those wonderful nurses like crazy!! I am missing their wisdom and experience, but more importantly their friendship and conversation. We had some nurses who really went the extra mile to get to know us, love on us, and take amazing care of our boy. I am so incredibly grateful for all of them! And I miss them dearly.
Joey had his first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday. He is now 6lb 2oz! That’s 3oz gained in 3 days which is great. He’s a growing boy! I wasn’t too fond of the doctor, though. After having nurses and doctors available 24/7 in the NICU for any question or concern I might have had, I had compiled a list of questions for the doctor in the 3 days we’d been on our own. Apparently he didn’t have time for that, though, as I only got to ask one before he said “he looks great! See you in a month!” and bolted out the door. He never introduced himself when he came in the room (I actually had to look on their website where they have a picture and their names to find out who he was!) and I actually sat in there for about 5 minutes after he left dumbfounded and wondering if maybe that wasn’t even the doctor. I didn’t know if I should get Joey dressed or keep waiting or what, but finally decided we needed to just leave. So now I’m on the hunt for a new pediatrician again. Boo. 😦
Thursday he had his eye appointment. It wasn’t with a regular eye doctor like to check if he could see, it was with a retina specialist to check for something called Retinopathy of Prematurity. They needed to check the blood vessels in his eyes to make sure they looked as they should and weren’t indicating ROP. The doctor said everything is where it should be and looks great! We don’t have go back to see the retina specialist, but will see a pediatric optometrist when he is about 6 months old to check if he needs glasses.
We had to tell our first people “no you can’t hold him” the other day. It was hard and I did feel bad, but his immune system is working in overdrive right now and we can’t put it under any more stress than it needs. I was just reading something the other day that during the third trimester the mothers body starts transferring immunoglobulin to the baby’s body to boost their immune system for the first part of their life. He didn’t get to spend the third trimester on the inside so (this is my uneducated non-medical guess) his immune system is not even what it would have been had he been full term. He will eventually get there, but for now we need to be very careful to not expose him to much.
The puppies are doing great with Joey home. The first couple days they were very sad. Torq was downright depressed. He even came in the shower with me one day (this is a dog who HATES baths!) just to be by me. Poor thing. 😦 But that has changed a lot over the last couple days! They love him. When they hear him making noise they will look for him and try to peek at him to see what’s up. They are being so good about not licking him, which any of you who know them know this takes a crazy amount of self control for them! They can’t wait til Joey is bigger and can play with them. I can’t wait to watch the 3 of them grow up together 🙂
I’m going to keep blogging as Joey grows up, is that ok with you all? Will you stick with me? 🙂 Because he was born 2 months early, for a while (I think the first 2 years) his age will be stated as actual and adjusted. He is not expected to meet milestones until his adjusted age (the age he’d be if he was born on his due date) is there. Today he is 37 weeks 6 days gestation, so… still supposed to be on the inside. However, I think this boy is going to do things on his own schedule anyways. But that’s why its so amazing all the things he’s doing now, since he shouldn’t be doing ANY breathing, eating, pooping, nothing – just chillin’ in his warm bath. This boy is a rockstar. I still would have only been 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow. That thought is so weird! I can’t even imagine being huge and pregnant right now. This picture was taken at about 28 weeks, and its one of the last pictures I have of me pregnant (I have a couple from my baby shower the weekend before he was born too). I can’t imagine how big I would be right now! Haha!
Speaking of doing things on his own time schedule, (I’m fully aware this is going to make me sound like a terrible mom) yesterday I laid Joey in his crib so I could go to the bathroom quick. I laid him on his back on that burp cloth and when I came back just a couple minutes later he had ROLLED OVER! I couldn’t believe it! I promptly took all the extra junk out of his crib. I wish I had been watching on the monitor to see him do it!
I’m still in awe that this boy is mine. Forever. His parents aren’t coming to pick him up at the end of the day. He is going to grow into a toddler, a boy, a teenager, and an adult, and he’ll still be my son. God is so good.
And now the part I know you’ve all been waiting for – some pictures from our first week home: