Name that theologian! The rest of you, just nod and smile at those crazy seminarians.
Alright, we've been home a week now and may be getting the hang of it. As much as we were anticipating her arrival, it's still a bit (or very, at times) overwhelming to have a newborn in the house. (Chronologically she's 4 months, but development-wise, she's 6 weeks - so that's pretty stinkin' newborn.) We had four blissful days as Nana Dana took care of the three of us, but as of Sunday, we were on our own. Here-a we go!
Generally, I think we are doing well. Generally, Becca sleeps more at night than during the day. Generally, John and I are sharing responsibilities well. Generally, the house is not yet falling apart. Occasionally, though, I feel like we're never going to get it together, that Becca hates me, that I never should have been a mother, and that I will be tired for the rest of my life. When I have a clear mind (and a few hours sleep), though, I can logically tell you that only one of these statements is true. (I'm banking on the last one.) I am choosing not to think about how we are going to make it work when we go back to work because we still have a couple of weeks with us both on leave. I figure by the time we have to add our professions back in, we'll be ready (or at least readier (which is a word, by the way, when one is running on 3 hours sleep)) by then. Though I certainly would not have chosen this route, I do appreciate the fact that I am no longer recovering from major surgery as I adjust to having a newborn around.
Since I am in the habit of putting it all out there (I know, that's putting it lightly with some of you), I'll go ahead and note that as someone with a history of depression who has just gone through major life transition (in addition to the whole baby in the NICU thing) and is facing a looong winter hibernating in the house with the little one, I am, you could say, at high-risk for some post-partum issues. My "hormon-es" ought to have balanced out some (but not totally b/c I'm still breastfeeding (via the pump)), but apparently it's not just about women's crazy bodies. One good thing about having dealt with depression for several years, though, is that I know myself and my signs very well...the key will just be finding ways to tend to them while still protecting Sweet Becca from the germs out there in the big wide world. But all of life is a balancing act, so I guess it will be good practice. And practice I will...with the Zoloft bottle in hand! :)
Okay, I've got to tell you how cute Buster is right now, examining the baby monitor, sniffing it, cocking his head back and forth, trying to figure out how the baby got in that little plastic thing. He hears her, but he can't find her...and he's not a bright boy, so it's awfully cute.
Um, this post is totally disjointed. Again, note the lack of sleep.
So, back to life together. Like I said, Becca usually sleeps pretty well at night. John and I take shifts, so I've got 10pm-3am, and he's got 3am-whenever he decides to wake me up, which is not to be earlier than 8am. Often, though, he lets me sleep in some. He knows I value sleep very, very highly. Mmmmm...sleep...
We sleep more when Becca is well-fed. At the hospital, they usually calculate the amount of milk she got at each feeding based on her weight. According to those calculations, she needed to eat between 37 and 39 cc's (or ml's) every three hours. She had gotten a reputation as a fussy baby (yes, sweet Becca), and her primary nurse practitioner (who has a GREAT name, if I do say so myself) decided to go ahead and let her go ad lib on her feeds. And she went to town. Now that she can eat as much as she wants, she's averaging 60 cc's every 3 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night. She's a little piggy! If it were all left to her, she might actually go longer at night, but our pediatrician wants us to wake her up to feed her, at least until she hits 6 pounds.
Six pounds...sounds huge, right? When we left the hospital, she had hit 4.10. By Friday (our first pediatrician appointment - 2 days after discharge!), she was 4.12. Today, at the surgeon's office (more on that in a moment), she was 5 pounds, 1 ounce. Wow. She's huge! She'll soon actually grow out of some of her preemie clothes. Crazy!
So, we met Becca's surgeon today. Yes, her surgeon. A couple of months ago, we noticed that she had a lump in her groin (mom's sharp eyes!), which turned out to be an inguinal hernia. We hadn't thought much of it (as it was quite low on her list of diagnoses), but it's going to need to be repaired surgically, probably in early January. It's not a major surgery, but, of course, I wish she didn't have to be put under and cut on. I shook the hand that will cut my baby's skin. Sad. It will be Dr. Morgan, and he seemed great, so I'm not really worried about it (yet).
We also went to the audiologist today. This was a big appointment. Becca failed the standard newborn hearing screen in both ears not once, but twice. She's certainly at high risk for hearing loss (based on her birth weight, her large quantities of antiobiotics early one, and her hyperbilirubemia - yeah, you're impressed with that word, I know), and even though she seemed to follow voices early on, she seems to have stopped. Now, John and I agree that of all the complications for her to come through this experience with, deafness would be one of the ones we would be pretty okay with. After all, one of my favorite people in the world (and Becca's future mother-in-law) is 90% (?) deaf. But we were ready to know. The long, in-depth test they performed this morning requires that the babies be asleep, so they asked us to bring her in hungry and tired. That was not a fun ride in to Vandy. She did, however, fall (and stay!) asleep after her bottle in the office, though, so they were able to get a good reading. As of now, she's got mild to moderate hearing loss, but since her eardrums aren't moving properly, they think it's most likely caused by fluid in her middle ear. We'll repeat the test in a couple of months (to see if it resolves) and then see an ENT about getting tubes. Hopefully the timing will all work out such that we can have the hernia repaired and the tubes placed all at the same time, which would be awesome. So that we great news, but I've got to admit that one one level I'm slightly disappointed that I won't get to see Itty Bitty in itty bitty hearing aids. I know, I'm crazy, but I was preparing myself to raise a deaf child and getting pretty excited about the challenges. In the long run, of course, I'm quite thankful that Becca doesn't have yet another set of challenges to overcome. She's had quite enough, thanks.
Since we were at Vandy, we got to see some of our nurses! Hooray! We had lunch with Leigh and saw Carla up on the unit. I managed to time Becca's feedings so that each of them gave her a bottle, and we got a break. Cheeky, eh? ;) We also saw our chaplain, Matt, and our last nurse practitioner, Nancy. It was nice to be back there - and nice to walk out with our baby again. You can imagine after 4 months in the NICU, we got to know folks pretty well and miss them now that we're home.
That's all I've got for now. It's time to wake the baby up to feed her. And time to pump. And John's in bed. This could get interesting! Wow. I am undeniably a mom now - when do I grow those extra hands I need?
p.s. I'll have John post more pics soon. In the meantime, check out his facebook page for more pictures of Becca than you could possibly have use for...but they are awfully stinkin' cute!