5 months old

Time is flying. This will be the last monthly post I write while on maternity leave, as I return to work on Monday. I know it’s time to get back to the real world, but it’s going to be hard to leave my boys again, after getting used to spending every day with them. At least I won’t have to send them to daycare just yet, as D will be taking the next 4 weeks off to stay home with them.

Here’s what’s going on with Mr. E at five months…

Adjusted age: two months.

Stats: 10 lbs 13 oz and 21.5 inches long.

Milestones: Smiling and cooing! The best. He is such a happy little guy and quite talkative too. I’m really looking forward to those first laughs next.

Sleeping: Dare I say it? I think we may have gotten a good sleeper this time. Or at least compared to Theo. He wakes up one or two times per night, but lately it’s usually just one time. And he slept completely through the night twice! Of course, T was only up 2-3 times per night until he hit the four-month sleep regression, and then he was up practically hourly until he was about nine months old. So I don’t fully trust E’s sleep habits just yet. Naps are pretty inconsistent — sometimes he’ll sleep almost all day and just wake up to eat. Other days he barely sleeps at all. I had hoped to be on a little more of a schedule by the time I went back to work. I guess D will have to figure it out himself.

Eating: This continues to be the area where we struggle most, but has finally turned a corner and we’re doing more nursing than bottles. We’re down to about 3-4 bottles per day (3 oz each) and nursing the rest. Nursing is going better, most of the time, though there are some frustrating days where I can’t seem to get him composed or focused enough to stay latched. When we’re home alone we can usually work through it with a little patience, and I have the option to go make a bottle if he gets too frustrated. But when we’re out in public it’s harder to get him focused. He doesn’t always like the nursing cover, especially when he’s  frustrated, and his frequent unlatching and flailing make it impossible to nurse discreetly sans cover without flashing everyone around me. But if I give a bottle, I have to pump to make up that feed to keep my supply up — which is even more inconvenient in public. When I go back to work I’ll obviously need to pump while I’m away from him, but my ultimate goal is to only pump when we’re apart, and always nurse when we’re home together. I think we’re getting closer.

Personality: So sweet and happy. Even on his fussy days, “fussy” is about as escalated as he gets. He rarely even full-on cries. And now that he’s smiling and cooing, his happy personality is showing through even more.

Likes: Bath time! I’ve started putting the boys in the tub together (well, I put E’s baby tub in the big tub) and they both just love it. E kicks and talks to big brother, who loves to help me wash him. He also loves having his diaper changed. T was like that too. We called it his “reset button.” If he was fussy and we changed him he’d suddenly get so focused on what we were doing that soon he was smiling and talking and forgot why he was upset. So far E is the same.

Dislikes: Still reflux. We’ve got the head of his bed elevated, we keep him upright after feeds and he’s on Prevacid, but he’s still so grunty and arches his back in pain often. I’m really hoping he grows out of it soon.

Mama: Still shedding like crazy, though it seems like it may finally be slowing. I’m surprised I have any hair left. I’m chopping my hair tomorrow and am hoping that makes everything more manageable.

I’m feeling kind of sad about my maternity leave coming to an end, since this is the last time we’re doing this, and I wish I had done more with the time I had. I had visions of taking the boys on frequent outings, having dinner made every night, and doing all the things around the house I never have time for when I’m working. Instead, there were more days than I’d care to admit where I managed to squander my entire morning juggling the very different needs of an infant and a three year-old, and by the time I finally cleaned up the breakfast dishes and reheated my coffee for the eighth time, it was time to start lunch, followed by nap and then we were stuck at home until T woke up, and then it was time to start dinner. Entire days simultaneously dragged on and passed in the blink of an eye. Yesterday, my last day of maternity leave, I felt like I managed to do things “right” – I took the boys to the zoo, took Theo out to ice cream, and then nursed Emmett in the park while Theo played. It was a day full of the things I imaged maternity leave would be… of course, I skipped my shower and we missed Theo’s nap, so something had to give! But it truly was a great day, and I ended my leave on a high note.

Onto month six…(!)

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T loves his brother so.

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Tummy time.

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Shots!!

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Lazy morning snuggles.

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Cousins!

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He loves his birdies.

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More snuggles.

Bath time!

Party at 3 a.m.!

Zoo day.

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NICU day 43

Today I went back to work, which was surreal. I was simultaneously excited about and dreading going back today, but the day turned out to be really good. Everyone was happy to see me and I was greeted with a “welcome back” sign and donuts on my desk when I arrived. I stayed busy digging out of six weeks’ worth of emails and getting caught up on the status of my various projects, and the day went by pretty quickly. Tomorrow I’ll work from the hospital and then we head into a long weekend. I highly recommend starting mid-week for anyone returning from maternity leave. I did this with Theo too, and it just makes the transition so much more manageable. I will say, as unnatural as it felt to be in the office while my baby was in the hospital, it wasn’t as hard as leaving Theo at daycare for the first time when he was a baby. We’ll see how hard it is to go back after I take my “real” maternity leave when E comes home. But for now, going back to the office was a welcome break from all the beeps and alarms of the NICU.

D spent most of the day with Emmett today and said he had a good day. They turned his oxygen flow down to 3 liters this morning and he seems to be handling the change pretty well. Still having a few desats but not too many. His weight was up 11 grams today, which still rounds out to 3 lbs 10 oz.

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NICU day 42

It’s hard to believe it’s already been six weeks. Emmett has really grown a lot since then. He was up another 16 grams tonight, bringing him to 3 lbs 10 oz. They bumped his feeds up one more ML, so he’s now on 31 ML feeds. Until we know more about how the CLD is affecting him, growth is still our biggest priority.

We had a pretty good day today, with much fewer events than the last week. I didn’t think the prednisolone was supposed to start working for a couple more days – but whether it’s the medication or just him having a good day, I’ll take it.

Not a lot else to report today, which is good. Boring days are always good days. Tomorrow I head back to work, which is surreal. Really hoping this provides a welcome distraction and makes the time go by faster until we can bring Emmett home. Feeling excited, scared, nervous and a whole bunch of other emotions.

"Hi Mom!"

“Hi Mom!”

NICU day 41

Tomorrow Emmett is six weeks old. And on Thursday I return to work after taking my six weeks of short-term disability. The decision to return now was difficult, but I wanted to save the rest of my leave for when E comes home and I can have a somewhat normal maternity leave. I have mixed feelings about going back. On the one hand, it will be nice to feel like I’m using my brain for something other than medical terminology. On the other hand, it will be surreal to go back, knowing E is still in the hospital. Thankfully my employer has been very accommodating of our situation and is allowing me to work remotely from the hospital part of the time. Even if I can’t do anything for Emmett here, just being here makes me feel better, and studies have shown that NICU babies thrive more simply by having their parents present. D’s work has been very flexible as well, so on the days I go into the office, he will work from the hospital.

Today was a relatively uneventful day. E is still having a fair number of episodes, but fewer than he was just a few days ago. It will take a few more days for the prednisolone to have any effect on his lungs, if it will help at all. I’m still processing the CLD diagnosis. This could be something he overcomes with little to no lingering issues (children’s lungs can actually regenerate themselves), or this may cause him issues for the rest of his life. We just don’t know, and we won’t know for quite some time. For a planner like me, the unknown is one of the hardest parts about this whole situation.

Our little troublemaker is still pulling out his feeding tube every opportunity he gets. The nurses keep taping it down in different ways, hoping to secure it from his grabby fingers, but their efforts have been largely unsuccessful and have mostly just resulted in layers upon layers of tape on his face. His nurse this afternoon decided to take all the tape off and start over. So far so good, and bonus – I got a chance to snap a photo of his face without his cannula or feeding tube and only a little bit of tape. I so rarely get to see his naked face! He’s got his big brother’s “stink eye” look down pat. And our little chunk even has a double chin now. He’s up to 3 lbs 9 oz.

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