Saturday, April 27, 2013

All Around Update

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me over the last two weeks with encouragement and kind words. It means so much to know there are people out there who are rooting for us. Heck, just to know there are people reading the words I write in this space is pretty cool! I know that our experience with a premature baby and our NICU stay pales in comparison to so many families, but it was our experience, and it was hard enough as it was. My heart goes out even more to families with extended hospital stays. 11 days was no walk in the park, so I can only begin to imagine what months of that must be like.

 Peter just left to pick up some light bulbs, which means that for the first time, I have both babies alone. Five minutes in, and we're doing okay... :) I took Ellie alone to the grocery store today (an attempt to get my stuff together and start "making" meals again. I use quotations because of course we went to Trader Joe's, and I got pretty much all frozen, pre-prepared meals. Hey, at least I'm sorta trying!) and she was so happy to spend one-on-one time with her mama. This is probably the first solo outing we've had in many, many weeks and it felt great to be alone with my happy big girl. Even more remarkable, I left my baby boy at home with no problems. I would NEVER have left Ellie at 2 weeks old. I'm not sure if this is a post-NICU thing, and I'm just sadly used to not having him around, or if it's a second baby thing.

Speaking of, I think it's going to be difficult for the first couple of weeks to determine if how I parent Dash (in the beginning) is a result of his time in the NICU, or a result of him being the second baby. I'm way more comfortable with him "unattended" in his bassinet while I take care of things in other rooms, I'm not co-sleeping at all (I think Ellie was in bed with me/us until she was at least 4 weeks old), etc. I'm trying to make up for lost time with lots of snuggling, but it's hard given that I usually have someone else hanging off me as well.

Dash is doing great. He's definitely still jaundiced, and I'm curious if his levels have even increased. He looks pretty yellow to us, so his pediatrician appointment on Tuesday can't come fast enough. He's nursing like a champ though, and his diapers need frequent (seriously!) changes. He's a sleepy little guy, and wakes only to nurse (pretty much every two hours). I cannot wait until my supply regulates with his demand - as of right now, I'm probably making at least triple what he needs, and I'm finding myself pumping way more than I'd like to, just to take a little pressure off. I know this is creating more demand, but it's so uncomfortable (I use that word lightly) I can't help it. I'm also curious what kind of development is "normal" for a 35 week baby. Do we use an adjusted age, and expect milestones 5 weeks later? He's considered late preterm, so I'm not sure how much we need to adjust. For example, I know a lot of babies have a growth spurt at 2 weeks. Would Dash have one around 2 weeks? 7? Somewhere in between? I know that milestones are always on individual babies timelines, but I'm still curious. He's been cluster feeding the last couple nights, and I'm hoping it's because he's about to put on the fat!

I'm doing pretty well too. Physically, I feel completely recovered from the birth (and have for at least a week - yay for quick second stage of labor!) and while I'm completely exhausted, I'm pretty sure that's just being the mama of a newborn. While I hadn't entirely forgotten what engorgement feels like, my body is still reminding me multiple times a day. In fact, if Dash goes 2 1/2 hours or more without eating, I feel it like WHOA. I'm experiencing the same hot and cold flashes that came with Ellie - being freezing cold then  ridiculously hot, but much more emotional side effects than the first time around. I've found myself prone to tearing up, or full on crying, very easily (so unlike me), and my fuse is very short. I'm easily annoyed and quick to lose it entirely, so I'm hoping that will pass fast! My appetite is much less than it was postpartum before - in fact, it's basically normal, bordering on pretty diminished. Usually when I'm stressed I eat a lot, but the opposite happened with our NICU time. I think it's my body giving me a break from all the calorie-demanding it had been doing for the last 35 weeks...

We're thrilled to have Dash home and be finally living all together under one roof. I was so worried about life with two babies, but compared to the first 11 days, having two in the same house is a breeze (so far)! We're happy and healthy, changing lots of diapers and eating what we can when we can. All in all, pretty fantastic. :)

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