After spending exactly 4 weeks in the NICU, Ash came home with us this weekend!
It happened so quickly, I really didn’t think we’d have him home until maybe late next week, despite the improvements I wrote about last time. He sort of “plateaued” last week, and was taking about 5 or 6 out of his 8 feeds for several days, just “almost there.” Just when I thought we were in the home stretch, he failed to gain any weight one night, and the doctor made a notation on his orders: Expending too many calories during feedings. Gavage at first sign of fatigue. I was heartbroken, and spent most of the day on the verge of tears.
And then two days later, on Thursday, I went in to see him and the nurse told me they were taking the NG tube out to put him on an on-demand feeding schedule to see how he did. I had seen some kids go home the next day after the tube removal, but more often, I had seen kids get put back on the tube after a lazy day of feeding. So I tried not to get my hopes up.
The next day, I was so relieved when his nurse told me how well he had been doing. “I have tomorrow off, so I’m saying my goodbyes now,” she said when we left for the evening, “I’d be surprised to see him when I work again on Sunday. Go see a movie or go dancing. Might be your last chance at a date for a while.” Still, I tried to stay neutral. I’d been hearing the “any-day-now” bit for a while.
Saturday morning, I called in to check on him. The doc hadn’t made her rounds so we weren’t sure if the discharge would be ordered. The nurse promised to call me when she heard one way or another. Taylor was not holding his breath… he left to go on a dirtbike ride. My brother called and asked if he could come down and visit, I said yes. And then a few minutes later, the nurse called and asked if I wanted to take my son home today! Um…. YEAH!
Of course, then I panicked and ran a hundred errands.
Saturday was a long and exciting day.We got home with our little man around 6, and then began the marathon first night. Ash was pretty noisy and active all night until after his 3:30 feeding. And then he slept until 7, so I got a good 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep then. Before that, I don’t think I slept more than an hour. I suspect that some of his fussiness had a lot to do with Friday night’s circumcision.
Last night was better. I discovered the beauty of Ash’s Cloud b Sleep Sheep, and the sound of “rain” kept him quiet and restful in between his feeding periods. We’re quickly realizing what the nurses had told us all along, he’s not a morning person. Again today, he slept for almost 5 hours between 5 and 10 am, so we slept in with him.
Some insights on our first nights together:
-The time in the NICU has made me a numbers girl. I prefer the calculated CC’s of a bottle. I’m scared of breastfeeding because I can’t measure his intake. I hope I can gain confidence in our breastfeeding so I don’t have to pump and bottle-feed at night.
-I need a little lamp next to the changing table for night time changes.
-I need to take Tay up on his constant offers to help. I let him sleep through most of Ash’s active times last night, and today I’m exhausted. And he’s much better at daytime naps than I am. (edited to add: did this on night two, and he was a great help)
-I need to get one of those eye-masks so I can sleep during the day while Ash naps.