Now that Flynn is a month old I’ve decided to continue this blog as a way to try to remember all of the special details of everyday life that seem to blur by so quickly.
Flynn spent 2 full weeks in the NICU due to coming so early. They said he could go home as early as 35 weeks but he ended up staying almost a week longer. His first night he stopped breathing momentarily and had to be given oxygen but other than that he had no respiratory issues. NICU doc said he simply forgot to breathe most likely which is typical due to his prematurity but they put him on IV antibiotics to rule out infection until lab results came back negative. I was so glad when that IV came out because trying to juggle him and not pull on his IV was not fun.
Next up he tackled some jaundice and spent a few days under the lights or as we affectionately referred to it — club bili. It wasn’t severe and his levels decreased quickly thanks to a bunch of poopy diapers.
Club bili on the NICU cam:
After that we focused on gaining weight and maintaining temperature. I stayed in the hospital until Sunday evening. Recovering from birth and my tear while pumping/feeding him every 3 hours was a bit rough especially Friday night when the epidural wore off in the middle of the night. I had so much pressure and felt constipated but was scared to try to poop. We had a nice older, Asian nurse that helped us that night and she reassured me everything was fine (I was so swollen down there I thought something was wrong). Sure enough that was the worst of it but it continued to stay swollen and painful for a solid 2 weeks. And yes that first time I went was not pleasant but each time I went it got a little better. Once we went home it was a bit more challenging because I was trying to come up to the hospital as often as possible for feedings every 3 hours but that meant I was constantly on my feet and my body just couldn’t tolerate standing and walking to that extent. So for the first week I spent most evenings laying down with a very sore bottom. Eric went back to work that Tuesday so that he could save his time off for when baby was home. Feedings were at 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm and so on. I usually went for the 9 am feeding and would breastfeed flynn and then stay for an hour rocking him to sleep. Then I went home to rest. Eric came for the noon feeding from work and would give him formula which he had to get 2x a day to help him get all of the calcium he needed. Then I’d come back at 3 and sometimes for 6 pm as well. Most nights Eric and I would go back at 9 pm together. Then I usually pumped once in the middle of the night and then pumped at home during the day if I missed a feeding. At first it was very frustrating as Flynn had very little energy. I’d feed him for 10 minutes or so but 90% of that was me constantly rubbing his cheek and trying to get him to suck. Then I’d give him a bottle which he took to much better. Each time I fed him though he did better with breastfeeding. But it was very gradual. Eventually I was supplementing less and less with the bottle. And near the end of his stay he was finally rooting some near feeding times. Up until then he’d sleep straight to his feeding and have to be woken up to eat.
We reached a low point when flynn was 1 week old. They would weigh him nightly and he was slowly losing weight each time which was expected. They were also weaning his temperature down in his isolette to get him to an open air crib and progress him home. He spent that Saturday in the crib and due to having to expend more energy to maintain his temp he ate poorly at several feedings and dropped down to under 4 pounds that evening.
The nurse mentioned he might have to be given a feeding tube and I lost it. We’re talking uncontrollable sobbing in the middle of the NICU. I was so scared and had this crazy urge to put him back in my belly to try to keep him safe. Instead of going home on Sunday at 35 weeks they put him back into his isolette. And so we stepped back and I slowly came to terms with it. I was so hormonal those first few weeks and that combined with crazy scared was a bad place to be. I cried pretty much every car ride home from the hospital trying to figure out why I was driving away from my baby. I’m sure being at home with a baby after giving birth is tough but being at home without your baby after giving birth was so very depressing. I did have my baby shower that Sunday which helped distract me. It was amazing and we got a ton of wonderful things. The moms did such a great job of incorporating the theme.
The amazing food spread:
That second week we slowly began to gain hope as Flynn gradually put on about an ounce a day. His energy was improving and his feedings were going better. Here he is rooting around on the cam before his morning feeding:
Gradually they weaned his temperature down in his isolette and this time he was holding his temp stronger. By Wednesday he went back to the open air crib and I prayed that he’d do better. They did the car seat tear and hearing test that day which he passed.
Wednesday night he continued to gain weight and I was so relieved. Thursday morning they told me he would be ready to go home Friday so we could room in at the hospital Thursday night to prep. Suddenly I felt totally unprepared. I ran home and packed and napped. I came back around 4 pm and we went to a room. They took all of the monitors off of Flynn which was a little crazy.
A nurse came to the room after every feeding to see how he did. Like clockwork we continued the 3 hour schedule. The next morning they evaluated Flynn and decided he was ready. He weighed 4 lbs 7 oz and was 17.5 inches long. We packed Flynn up and drove home.
Cuddling with him in our home sure beat cuddling in the NICU. Here’s our first day home.