Well, our baby trio is currently 18 days old! Man alive! They grow up so fast.... hee hee. So how is life these days? Well let's just take a look..
As we go through each day, we realize how abnormal our lives are right now. I always think of the opening segment on Jon & Kate Plus 8 nowadays...."It's a crazy life...but it's our life." Yep! That kind of sums us up right now! We're making due though! Unfortunately Brian had to go back to work this week, which was very sad for all of us. We had a nice little routine going and then we had to adjust it.
So what does a regular day consist of right now with 3 babies living in the hospital 30 minutes away? Well it goes something like this....At about 8 am., Brian leaves for work. I'm up and awake (because I'm spending quality time with my breast pump, of course!) I get ready for the day and at about 10:00, I head for the hospital so that I can be there for the next round of feedings and diaperings, etc. (I of course, make sure to grab ALL the pumped milk I have in the fridge so that I can deliver lunch to my babies!)
So once I arrive at the hospital and search endlessly for a parking spot. I head up to the NICU. I arrive at the NICU entrance, wave to whomever is on duty at the front desk and they buzz us in! We go into the washroom, where I pretend momentarily that I am Meredith Gray on Grey's Anatomy, and I am scrubbing in for surgery. :) Then, after 3 minutes of handwashing, I go into the NICU. I say hello to the babies' nurse for the day, hand off the breastmilk and then say a quick hello to each of the babies (Who are usually sleeping).
The babies feedings and "cares" (diapering, temperature taking, etc.) are staggered by a half hour each. So right away, my routine begins with Hunter. (It always starts with Hunter.) I unswaddle her, say hello and then I take her temperature by sticking this probe in her armpit and holding her arm tight to her body so that it gets a good reading! (She is surprisingly strong..but then again, remember, her mommy is "freakishly strong" too.) We report her temperature to the nurse who records it on her chart. It's important that the babies maintain a certain body temperature, because this is a criteria for going home....Next, I unfasten the yucky diaper, move aside the wires attached to their chests, then clean up the old diaper and put on a new, teeny-tiny diaper! If her clothes are dirty, I put on a new outfit! The nurse listens to her heart and tummy sounds and then we get ready for lunch! Depending on what cues Hunter is showing us determines how she will get her lunch....through her feeding tube, from a bottle or from breastfeeding. (The feeding issue is another important one. Before the babies can go home, they need to be able to consistently eat their whole feeding through either a bottle or breast and be gaining weight. )At this point, I would hold her while she eats (or anyone who is visiting!). At 11:30, the same routine begins with Ethan and again for Colton at 12:00.
So once I make it through the whole cycle, I either stick around for the next set of cares and feedings which begin 3 hours after I started Hunter, or I go run errands. At nighttime, Brian and I both go back for the evening feedings. This is Brian's favorite time of the day because often, since he is working again, this is the only time he sees them. He absolutely LOVES being in charge of their feedings and cares and he does it so enthusiastically! The nurses have often mentioned how nice it is when we show up because we do so much on our own! So we usually head for the NICU in the evening at about 7:15 and we stay until around 10:45 or 11:00. It's nice to hang out with the nurses! Like I've mentioned before, UMC is just awesome! We've loved all our babies' nurses, though some we know better than others because they're there more often and some get our quirky sense of humor better than others which makes spending time there more fun!
So anyway, we get home from the NICU at about 11:30 at night, Brian goes to bed, I pump and then go to bed and it all starts over the next day! We're looking forward to the day when they can all come, (though I don't have that answer yet....)
So anyhoo, let's see what's new with these babies of ours!
*Colton currently weighs 4 lbs. 11 oz. (Chunky-Monkey!)
*He is still in his "Big Boy Bucket" and has been maintaining his temperature very well!
*He is still a cuddler and he just melts my heart with his big, dark eyes and his adorably quirky little smile!
*Right now he is perfecting his breast-feeding (while his mom perfects her technique as well!) God love one of the nurses, Carrie, who shall now & forever be my breastfeeding guru! She completely helped Colton and I figure out what was wrong one evening! It's very tricky for Colton to get a good seal because of his cleft and she was absolutely amazing in helping ME figure out what I could do to help him! Carrie, if you remembered to check the blog, WE LOVE YOU!! hee hee..Who knew, squeezing your boob on the sides as opposed to the top and bottom could make such a difference!!
*As for bottle feeding, this is my own personal nightmare at the moment and last night, it became Brian's too. We now understand the pain and frustration a parent feels when you know your child is miserable and there is nothing that can soothe them. Right now, we are trying to find the best way to bottle feed Colton. But again, his cleft makes it very difficult for him to form a good seal around a nipple and then be able to suck and swallow. Regular bottles don't necessarily work for him because they require Colton to put forth too much effort to suck. So we're trying to learn how to feed him with this very unique bottle and nipple (called the Haberman Nipple). There is a technique to using it. (And by technique, I mean there is an instruction booklet for using it.) That alone is frustrating! The other part is that we still can't get him to latch on to it. We've watched other people have mild success feeding him with it, but we've not been able to master it ourselves. And to add to the chaos, it seems every nurse was trained differently on how to use the Haberman nipple, so we're lacking some consistency there! Last night, the poor baby was crying with such utter frustration. He just wanted to eat and could not figure out how to do it! It was literally breaking our hearts to watch our baby look at us with his big eyes as if to say, "Mommy, Daddy, help me. I'm so hungry."
But I have no doubt he'll get it...
Everyone is doing great. Our babies are troopers and I'm so proud that they are "Feeders and Growers" and not in the NICU for anything more serious. You realize how precious life is when you spend your days and nights surrounded by the tiniest, most fragile babies in the hospital. We are blessed. :)
Keep your fingers crossed for the Bunchkins to come home soon!