We were not expecting such a transition and man is it tough
When we finally got home, three weeks after he was born, we expected it to be almost a walk in the park. We had already been parents for so long, we thought it would be the same. Man were we mistaken.
Here's all his machines, good luck!
One of the hardest things we had to adjust to was my daughters schedule on top of Ollies. His feedings clashed with her bath time and such and it was really hard to adjust to that. So much so, we had to slightly change Pipers schedule.
It didn't help that the first week back home, my husband was on call. So he was gone at night until late in the morning and would need to rest as much as possible during the day. Talk about stress! I felt like I was a single parent (despite not being one) because I was handling the hard stuff alone. How is it that the first week back home I get lucky and have to do it alone while Ryan was out working. It was hard. I had to feed Ollie, bath Piper and get her ready for bed, put her to bed, change Ollie, pump, and get myself ready for bed. On top of having to wake up constantly throughout the night to get Ollies bottle ready, pump, and deal with Piper waking up if she did. I. was. exhausted.
Ollies Machines & Appointments
Ollie was sent home with his NG tube and a Sleep Apnea machine. The Sleep Apnea machine was to monitor his breathing and heart rate throughout the night, in the car seat, and while he was eating. His NG tube was to help him eat the rest of his bottle when he wouldn't finish it.
It was really annoying having him attached to cords still while we were home. But it honestly hasn't been so bad. The Sleep Apnea machine gives us great comfort knowing that if anything happens, it alarms us until we check on him and clear the alarm. Since he has a list of issues like his heart issues, it is nice to have the extra weight off of our shoulders and I honestly don't have to stare at him 24/7 out of fear that he will have some sort of episode.
I did purchase an Owlet, which is a little sock that you put on either left or right foot, and it records and takes his O2 levels and heart beat rhythm. Its connected to a home base that plays music and has different colored lights when it falls off, or his numbers aren't were they should be. Its nice to have all these things her to ease the anxiety that something is wrong. The one irritating thing was his NG tube. At one point, my daughter took it out. That was awful. I wasn't expecting to have to change it alone, but this is what the hospital nurses trained us to do. I was already trained at putting it back in by myself, three times in fact. But I hate it. I know what that feeling is and its awful. Its like sticking a toothbrush in the back of your mouth to get you to throw up after a night of drinking way too much. I felt so bad for him, but in the end I knew that it was best for him.
He has had a few appointments this far and he is looking great. He gained so much weight by time we were discharged. He went from 6lbs to 6lbs 5.5 oz in maybe four days. He was having normal stools and he was breathing great. His incisions look amazing and its mostly just him adjusting to life at home that we had to keep our eye out. Since we have a crazy toddler and two dogs, we needed to make sure he didn't get allergies or an accidental finger in the eye (or pulling out his NG Tube)
Breast & Bottle Feeding
As you can see from the picture above, we had his feeding tube machine and his bottle feeding going at each feed. It was a lot to deal with but it was kind of worth it. It seemed like he needed more time getting used to drinking almost 2 oz of milk so thats when we would put the rest in the tube. The tube machine was so easy to use. We had to replace the bag every day, and we had to prime the milk through it in order to avoid a huge air bubble going into his stomach every time. So it kind of sucked wasting the milk that came out during the prime because I'm so used to milk being gold, but the annoyance of it slowly grew away from me.
Husband and I had to work hard every time to keep him awake to finish his bottle. Every Monday, we had to increase how much he got in his bottle by 1mL. It doesn't seem like a lot but for a little baby having issues eating, it was a lot.
Breastfeeding has seemed to come to a sorrowful end. I am not producing much at this point, because he would barely eat once he was latched on. My warmth and comfort would make him sleep instead of eat. I was devastated. I wanted so desperately to nurse my son like I did with Piper. It was so natural and easy for me to just whip out a boob and there ya go, mothers milk. But at this point, he is taking so well to a bottle, that I can't help but be happy and proud of him. It was so much easier to wake up and make a bottle, stick it in the warmer, and give it to him in less than 5 minutes. Right now, we are fortifying breast milk that I had stored.
I'm slowly getting to the last few bags that I had stored up, and I'm increasingly getting sad about it. I wished nothing more to produce tons of milk to give him the best that I could, but I can't stress my body out like I did the last time. I lost so much weight, I was under 100 lbs at the age of 24/25. I am however, using products to try and get my milk to flow again so I can at least pump magical mom milk for him to have in his bottle and still give him a small amount of formula.
So far, all his doctors say he is doing great! I can't be
happier about that. Everything we've been doing up to this point has been getting him in the direction we all want him to go, so I have to let go of my selfish wants and do what he truly needs.