Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hi Honey, We're Home!

Monday was my last day in the hospital, and we were thrilled when the hospital pediatrician cleared Madeline to come home with us! We kept hearing mixed reports about whether or not she was going to have to stay for an extra day or two, so we were very happy to be able to bring her home with us. We are all exhausted and can barely think straight, but it feels good to be home!

The NICU nurses make all the babies special name tags for their cribs

The cute flowers Poppy and SuSu sent

We got home a little later in the day on Monday - Madeline had to pass a car seat test because she is under 5 lbs, and it consisted of putting her in the car seat for 90 minutes and monitoring her breathing and heart rate. She passed with flying colors, and we were also thrilled that they confirmed our infant car seat is rated for 4lbs and up so we didn't have to go buy a special car seat. Thank you, Chicco!!

Apparently we have the local high school knitting club to thank for this hat, haha

Getting all strapped in for her test

Our biggest struggles have been exactly what the nurses warned us about - keeping her warm enough and keeping her fed enough. Given Madeline's prematurity, she doesn't have the good layer of fat that full-term babies have, and it's very hard for her to maintain a healthy temperature. I ended up spending the night sitting up with her curled up on my chest to keep warm, because we couldn't get her temperature to stay up while she was on her own! Luckily she seems to be a good snuggler, and this momma is happy to be a space heater for a while. Steve also ducked out for a little while yesterday for a little preemie clothes shopping expedition, so we have enough clothes now to layer and bundle her up. It was cute to see what he picked out, I should send him out shopping more often!

The other challenge has been the feedings. I was really really struggling in the hospital to get M to stay awake long enough to nurse, and I was getting frustrated, especially as her weight continued to drop (she was 4 lbs 6 oz the last time they weighed her). The nurses reassured me that it's very normal for preemie babies to just want to sleep all the time, and the nurses exhausted all of their tricks trying to get her to stay awake so at least I know it wasn't something I was doing wrong. Madeline showed a distinct preference for milk vs. formula though, so we wanted to do everything we could to encourage it!

Teeny feet!

We did get lucky on two fronts - my milk came in much earlier than anybody was expecting, and I was able to get enough pumped for the lactation consultant to try a few things. Bottles were a flop, but we ended up being able to feed her a full syringe of milk, on top of the little nursing she had done. The lactation consultant was thrilled with this and sent us home with a bag full of syringes, and the orders to let her nurse for about 20-30 minutes, then give her a full syringe. Madeline is supposed to eat every 2-3 hours and we usually have to wake her up! I'm also under orders to pump every 3 hours, and given that the feeding routine takes us about an hour, this is pretty much all I'm doing right now!! Every day Madeline gets a little bit better with nursing, so we are hopeful that we can move her fully off the syringes in the next week or two, with our pediatrician's blessing.

Happy to be home!

It's been a little overwhelming and stressful, so we are glad Anna is still at Camp SuSu and that we are able to really focus on getting into the feeding rhythm. Bean will be coming home later this week though and we are excited to have her back and to let her meet her baby sister!


Jennifer Martin said...

I am glad that your breastfeeding is going so well. Encouraging for other moms who might have to go through this or something similar. Madeline is such a sweet pea!

insightfullyme said...

I am just tearing up here because she is sooooo tiny and it is just the sweetest thing to hear about her snuggles and see her little feet! Keep working at the nursing momma, you are doing a great job; she will catch on and will be a big eater, I predict! I know the nursing and pumping is tough when doing it every 3 hours...been there.

All that snuggling is so good for her so I am glad she is enjoying some skin to skin with her momma!

Congrats to you guys!

Becca said...

Congrats on your homecoming!!! I am so excited that she was able to come home with you when you were discharged!

Don't be afraid to call the NICU LC any time - BFing a preemie is hard work, but you and Madeline are off to a great start! Everything will click into place, and she'll take off!

Lisa Elaine said...

And oh my goodness we had no such car seat test thing when we left the hospital, Yikes! Now I'm thankful we didn't kill her! You can really learn something from blogs, lol....