Our NICU journey ended one month ago. On December 4th, 2013.... 59 days after little man was born, he finally came home.
Because he was sent home on an Apnea & Bradycardia monitor, as well as oxygen, we did have to "room in" at the hospital the night before bringing him home. For that night, we were given a room with a [super uncomfortable] bed. and left alone. It was SO NICE to be alone with him... no hovering nurses. Unfortunately we were forced to follow some silly hospital rules still... like not allowing Chase to be on the bed at all, making him sleep in his crib, and sticking to the feeding schedule... things that we knew would all go out the window the second we got home anyway. Chase did NOT like to be laid down and left alone. Trying to follow these rules made for a very unhappy baby most of the night. Sometime around 3am, I gave up. I brought him to bed, snuggled the heck out of him, and we got a few hours of peaceful sleep.
Words can't explain the joy we felt as we walked through those hospital doors, baby in tow, and drove home. All those nights of separation, of waking in the middle of the night anxiously wondering if he was ok- all the days spent driving back and forth from the hospital... they were over. Life was about to change!
The last month has been challenging but so very rewarding! I absolutely love being a Mom- more than I ever imagined possible. I love everything about it. (except maybe the sore boobs) It challenges me in ways I didn't expect but it's the most rewarding journey I've ever been on. I had no idea babies could be this awesome. In fact, I'm the first to admit... I don't really LIKE other people's babies. (No, really... me saying they're cute does NOT mean I want to hold or interact with your child. Like, ever.) But THIS baby is just better than all the rest. Ok, ok, I may be bias... but it's still my reality. In fact, not a single other person on the face of this planet could get away with pooping, peeing, and puking on me... and still being on my good list.
We are still figuring out what our new normal is and navigating our new world as parents. We've learned that unsolicited advice is probably always going to come pouring in. ( I PROMISE you I don't really give two hoots what you think about cosleeping, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccines, medication, or baby training. Like, really, I don't care at all.... but go ahead and keep telling me and I will keep thinking you're stupid.....)
Being wintertime and RSV season in full swing, we don't get out much. We have kind of enjoyed the excuse to hole up at home and spend most of the day snuggling though. I am anxious for the weather to warm up a little so we can start exploring this world that will all be so new and mysterious to him. I especially can't wait to take him boating and hope he also shares a love of the water that I have had my whole life.
We are hoping that he comes off of oxygen soon. We already made the decision to take him off of his A&B monitor when the negatives started to outweigh the possible positives. The leads were giving him sores on his skin (among many other inconveniences) and he hasn't had ANY episodes in over a month.
I am constantly amazed by him. Sometimes I find myself passing hours at a time just staring at him, soaking in every little detail. I get a little stir crazy sometimes, but I find that more than about 15 minutes away from him just feels wrong. I start to get uneasy and anxious and can't get back to him quick enough. I've never experienced anything like that before.
There have been plenty of surprises. I never expected breastfeeding to be so difficult, but his poor extraction has been a huge hurdle for us. I'm having to pump and bottle feed to keep him on breastmilk exclusively, and we work on his latch and extraction several times every day. I hope we figure it out soon, I really detest pumping so much! I also didn't expect cloth diapering to be so easy... or so much fun! I'm surprised just how content I feel most of the time- given my history of having a pretty impulsive and restless disposition. I'm just so so happy with life right now. I'm content to just BE. I'm surprised how easy it is to trust my intuition/ gut on most issues. I'm thankful for that, actually.
We've got one month down. One month of growth, laughter, tears, memories, and a whole lot of poop. I can't wait to see what the next month holds. And infinite months after that.