Monday, May 18, 2009
The night we brought our baby girl home from the hospital went surprisingly smoothly. It was the first night that ANY of us had spent in our house since since December 22nd... almost four months before. Juggling her equipment into our home and getting her (and our 14 month old!) fed and tucked in kept us hopping, but I don't remember having any real struggles. After so many months of unspeakable stress, my husband and I had an unspoken agreement to just "do what needs to be done" and you could definitely see it in action that night!
We had to get up twice during the night to feed C.-- once at 1 am and once just before 5 am. We were actually very lucky as preemie parents; some have to feed their babies much more often than that. Keep in mind that our little girl was almost four months old, but still weighed only 6 1/2 lb. She was eating just under an ounce and a half of breast milk, fed through an NG-tube, at each feeding. This all went smoothly. Her apnea monitor never alarmed that night and she slept very peacefully. Our very-tired son fell asleep fast and hard in his own crib for the first time in months.
The next morning, my husband left around 7 am to go to work. It was a Wednesday. I was on my own. I had no friends in the area and didn't even really know our ONE set of neighbors at the time. My mother-in-law was still struggling after having lost her husband earlier that year and my sisters-in-law both work outside the home. It was just me. And my two babies.
And you know what?
I was deliriously happy. Busy, but happy. After months of NEVER seeing my children together, it brought such joy to my heart to be able to snuggle them both. Was it difficult to haul all of C's equipment from room-to-room as went through our daily routine? Absolutely. Was it challenging having one baby on oxygen, monitor, and tubes to cart around while ALSO carrying my 30-lb not-yet-walking 14-month old son? You better believe it. But so very worth it.
Some of the toughest things for me to figure out were: 1) when to eat (like most moms of newborns, I was constantly meeting "baby needs" and frequently neglected my own), 2) when to pump (this became a huge challenge for me-- I couldn't nurse C. directly because of her swallowing difficulties so I HAD to pump... but I would frequently forget or let long stretches go), and 3) how to run errands with both of them (from the beginning, I refused to just "stay home in a germ-free bubble"... we were careful, but we still led a fairly normal life). As the weeks went on, I got better at (most of) these things. I'll be writing more about that soon...