Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Carson's First Week Home

Carson's first week at home has been perfect. When we left the hospital last Wednesday, we asked for no visitors until we got settled. Obviously germs are a big deal since Carson doesn't have an immune system yet, but even more important than that were his feedings. We were warned that even two poor feedings in a row could land him back in the hospital. There is so much that goes into ensuring that a preemie eats well. He can't be held too much. He has to get enough deep sleep between feedings to gain strength. He can't be overstimulated with light or noise. He can't even suck on a pacifier too much or it will ruin a feeding. We learned so much in the hospital and coming home it was crucial that we do everything correctly. If we had to go back to the hospital, he would have been admitted on the pediatric floor instead of the NICU. It would have been devastating for him to go back and scary to be outside of our NICU comfort zone.

I'm proud to say that he has done perfectly. I think he's only had one poor feeding since we've been home. We've even had to up his volume at little b/c he's finishing every bottle and occasionally waking up early b/c he's hungry. He had one really off day with some fussiness and gas, but he has really settled in now.

I think he's liking life at home. We kept telling him at the hospital that he would like it, but he seemed to really enjoy the NICU :) He looks super relaxed, don't you think?

There's been a lot of holding going on. All three of us are fighting over him. To help with any reflux, we hold him upright for 20 minutes after every feeding. So far, that seems to really be helping.

Right now, he has eight feedings a day, one every 3 hours. At night, we switch up the 11:30pm feeding depending on how we are feeling (and how many shows we each have DVR'd). I take the 2:30am feeding and Darrin does the 5:30am feeding. So far, it's working out really well. Darrin would struggle with the 2:30 and the 5:30 would be torture for me, so all is well. I actually enjoy feeding him at 2:30 when the house is quiet and it's just the two of us. I remember feeling the same way about Miles.

All during my pregnancy, we promised Miles that he would be able to hold Carson anytime he wanted. We are making good on our promise and he's loving his little brother. It makes me a little nervous that Miles is in school all day, which is basically a germ factory. There's just no way around it. When he comes home from school, he immediately takes a shower before he can be around Carson. That's the best we can do. All three of us are compulsive about washing our hands.

Miles really wants to feed Carson, but right now there is a very specific way that we have to feed him, so he can't just yet. He is a big help with making the bottles though. I read about a Babybrezza Formula Pro on this blog while I was pregnant and decided it was a must have. It functions like a keurig. It makes a bottle in about 10 seconds. Not that making a bottle is hard, but trust me, this thing is handy. Our formula and drying rack set up could not be more perfect. I branched out with this drying rack b/c it looked interesting and we both love it. Anything to make the chore of bottle washing less painful.

Carson also had his first bath at home. We are keeping with the every 3 day schedule from the NICU. I prefer to do it more often b/c there is nothing better than the smell of a freshly bathed baby, but his body temperature is still critical for a little while longer.

Baths can make his temperature drop. I can tell that he is able to regulate much better, but we still have to be careful.

While we are giving him a bath, we put his towel, a blanket, and his sleep sack in the dryer so that it's good & warm for him.

Miles is good at cuddling him while we clean up from the bath. Bath time is a family affair. He's so little and the swaddle bath requires extra hands.

This is the same type sleep sack he wore in the hospital. It is very warm and he feels very secure when swaddled. Preemies tend to do a lot of jerking movements when they aren't swaddled b/c they don't have any boundaries. They feel best when everything is tucked tightly close to them. I would say most newborns are that way. Miles was born 3 weeks early and as I look back, so many of the things that we do with Carson would have been good for Miles too. I think he had a few boundary & temperature issues too.

He is splitting his sleep time between his crib and the pack & play in our room. I think he sleeps more soundly in his crib, but he's doing a good job in the pack & play at night.

The first night home, we had a slumber party in our room. Miles slept in our bed. I think everyone slept but me. Carson grunted all night. Darrin snored. And Miles wiggled all night. We are keeping our thermostat at 72 instead of 70 for Carson's sake. Also, we aren't using our ceiling fan. The first night was rough. It was hot, all three boys were loud, and the room was dead silent without the fan. The next night was much better. Miles was back in his room, much to his dismay, and I borrowed a floor fan to help with the noise and stir some air.

We have enjoyed getting used to our new little family of four. Miles is loving it, but it's still an adjustment. He doesn't vocalize anything, but he's been acting out a little trying to get our attention. We are trying to find a balance and make sure he gets some time. After all, he's been the center of our attention for almost 7 years.

I have found that some quality time with Darrin does more good for him than anything. Darrin has been spending some time throwing the baseball with him, watching one of their favorite TV shows, or playing a video game together. I think Carson's arrival and extended NICU stay through a kink in Miles' plans and he's still processing and adjusting a little. I can relate. Darrin has waited for the last 9 months to have both boys in his lap.

We have enjoyed our time home so much. Making sure that Carson got off to a good start was a little stressful, but I couldn't be happier with how the first week has gone.

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