Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The first month

Figured I would post a summary of our first month at home with the kids.

We were super super happy that both of the kids were ready to go home at the same time. We really agonized over the possibility that we may have to bring one home, while leaving the other in the hospital alone. That may be an over dramatization, but in our minds (mine at least) it felt like we'd be "leaving" one. As a vet, "never leave a man behind" is ingrained into us at the deepest level, so this was something that really bothered me. As luck (& our friends in the NICU) would have it, they were both ready at the same time.

Rooming In:
Ehhhhh That was a so so experience. We'd spent sooo much time at the hospital and had done all the "Parent" things like changing diapers, bathing, feeding, etc etc that we were very ready to have all the responsibility to ourselves. So, rooming in was more of a formality & pain in the butt for me.
For whatever reason, lil B dawg didn't really want to sleep that night, so I pretty much sat and rocked him for most of the night while watching Jenna & mom sleep a bit.
Our exit from the NICU was pretty anti-climactic as all our regular friends were off for the day. Dr. Su was awesome and called to congratulate us. He really wanted to be there, but his lil girls bday was that day. So, on a rainy Sat, the four of us made a quiet exit from St. David.

At home:
The first couple days they were home they were a bit fussy and didn't sleep as well as they normally did. By fussy, I mean that they didn't seem very comfortable. They didn't really cry more, just wiggled around a lot more and didn't settle into sleep as quickly.
One of the nurses told Kim that they would be very different babies once they got home and adjusted to their surroundings. Just about all the advice the nurses gave us turned out to be 100% true.
After about 3 days, Jenna really chilled out, and her firey attitude really calmed down. Blake was pretty much relaxed and chill the entire time. I think that's just his core personality.
Right off the bat, Kim and I both tried really hard to care for both babies and give the other some relax time. I think this really helped in the beginning as it gave Kim a little more sleep that she may have got otherwise. That got easier and easier as we all fell into our routines.

Our biggest challenge and worry was feeding. Blake was not as strong of a feeder as Jenna, so we really had to be vigilant with his feeding to ensure he was getting enough. After about two weeks, he started getting stronger and taking more and more with each feed. After Jenna perfected "pacing" while in the NICU, she never had a problem with feeds after that.

Around the second or third week, Jenna really had a noticeable change in personality. Before, she would go from "just fine" to "supper pissed" and screaming in about .025 sec. Around that time, she really relaxed and mellowed out. Now she'll kinda fuss and wiggle about before she starts crying. When she does cry, she starts off slow and soft and slowly increases her volume until we get the point and attend to her. That's not to say she can't work out the lungs when she wants to, she just doesn't seem to feel the need to go to that level very often. THANK YOU Jenna!

All in all, they have both been really good babies. They generally only cry when they are hungry or not feeling good due to gas. They've both gotten better about not having to have a passie in their mouth all the time. Then often time just chill and look around during their awake periods, with no stimulation or attention from us. Not saying that we ignore them, just that we don't have to hold or play with them every waking second.
Dare I say, they have actually been much easier than both of us had prepared ourselves for. That's not to say they aren't a hand full, cause they are, they just aren't as difficult, nor do they cry nearly as much as I would have imagined. Then again, I guess it was better that we prepared ourselves for the worst, and can appreciate how good we have it.

After about a week or two, they started sleeping a bit longer and got closer to 4hrs vs 3. They still don't sleep super hard and will start to stir and sleep softly after 1.5-2hrs. Unfortunately their sleep & stir cycles are slightly off, so that often keeps us busy ALL the time.
I sooooo can not wait for them to sleep 5 or 6hrs solid, let along through the night. On the positive side, there have been a few nights when they both slept 6+hrs. They are still infrequent, but hopefully we'll be putting more and more of those together. please please please

So far the kids have been doing great with traveling. We've taken them to the store several times and they seem to do just fine. We keep the sun shade on the baby carrier pulled up, so curious people won't just stick their hands in there, but we don't mind showing them off when people ask. We've also taken them for several walks around the neighborhood. We've decided to try to keep them used to traveling as frequently as possible. We certainly don't want to be those parents that get trapped in the house and never leave. Screw that.
Along with that, we didn't want to be the type of parents that won't/can't leave their kids for a few hours. Both grandparents have come over to watch the kids and give us a break for a bit. Surprisingly it really wasn't difficult to step out and leave them in their care. Heck, they raised us and our siblings without any catastrophic problems, so they should do ok with our kids. ;)

Dr.'s & Therapists:
We see them often. Very often. We have 1 or 2 therapist visits a week and at least one Dr. apt a week. So far everyone has been happy and impressed with their current health and development, considering what they've been through. That has been very very reassuring and has taken a huge stress off our shoulders.
The therapists continue to mention that Jenna is a little tight in her hips and isn't quite as flexible as they'd like. While this has been a re-occurring theme, I wonder how much different she is from "normal". One thing just about every parent has told us is that every baby is different. They are always giving us examples of how their kid reached some developmental milestone after the "normal" time, and yet their kid is perfectly normal and healthy.
So.... we are trying to take things somewhat lightly until they get older and get to bigger developmental stages (rolling over, crawling, sitting, etc) that will give us a better representation of their true development. I should note that when the therapists tell us that, they also say that it's pretty minor and shouldn't be something that she can not work through. So... we'll see how it turns out.

Well, I think that was long enough for one post.
Sorry for the infrequent posts, but between being supper busy, and not too many "new" things to report, our posts will probably continue to be slower. I'm thinking 2 or 3 a week, with posts for big or specific news.

Please feel free to post comments, questions, or anything else that may be on your mind.
In addition to a way for us to keep our family and friends updated, the blog has really helped us keep in touch with people & get an outside perspectives. So don't be shy.

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