Life after the NICU

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let me just start out this post by saying YOU DO NOT KNOW TIRED UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD CHILDREN. You may think you know tired. YOU. DO. NOT. I don’t care what anyone says. WOW. These last few days have been surreal. I think everything feels normal. That I’m a Mom. I have a baby. WE have a baby and she’s sleeping right over there. And that’s where I start freaking out. We have a baby!! Anyway. The last few days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I should have been through this all when we had her but now that she’s home, it’s a different story. She is the most adorable little girl! Basically, my days consist of NOT sleeping when I should be sleeping, feeding her (she has kind of made me a little schedule), and sitting around holding her. She loves to be held. She won’t let me put her down, which is strange because she was not held this much AT ALL in the NICU. It’s nice because I love holding her every minute of every day (Clint too..) but we don’t sleep. Simple as that.

Sunday = Rooming In

I posted a little bit on this day but I never got around to posting how I felt after it was all over. I heard every little squeak and squirm and little cry that came from her crib. She’s a grunter and I didn’t realize this until Monday morning. I got an hour and a half of sleep that night. Clint got a little bit more than I but we were both pretty much running on empty come Monday morning. During the day on Sunday, the Praxair man came to the hospital to teach us how to use the home heart monitor and the oxygen tanks. This is where I started freaking out. This machine scared me TO DEATH. I was so afraid I would bump something and every light and buzzer would sound and something bad would happen with Darbi because of my clumsiness. Of course, that’s not the case and I LOVE that we have the monitor and that she’s on a bit of extra oxygen. One nurse explained it to us in that if something bad were to happen; 1) We would know about it already because of the monitor and 2) we don’t have to wait for the paramedics to get here to administer the oxygen because we already have it! If she’s not doing so well and her skin coloring is a little off, we turn up the O2 and she’s better. Very reassuring. AND on those nights where she is sleeping so soundly that I’m wondering whether or not she is really sleeping, I just have to look at the monitor and I know we’re good. I don’t rely solely on the monitor but it is nice to have it around.

Monday morning

We started the day with our nurse and Darbi’s Pediatrician coming in to discuss the plan for the day. We cleaned up our room, took Darbi back to the nursery, and went to lunch with my Grandma. We came back from lunch and I went to get Darbi dressed in her super cute “coming home” outfit and she was too big for it!! I was so sad but ecstatic at the same time!! I had nothing else to put her in so we had to leave in a NICU onesie. :( She did have the socks on that I brought, just no pants. Oh well. After we had packed everything up, we took our final walk through the NICU. Our nurse walked us back through the entire thing to say goodbye to everyone. It was really sad! Plus a lot of our favorite nurses were not there that day..

And the drive home was so scary! I noticed every dumb thing that everyone did on the road. I just wished they all would keep like a 30 foot distance! Anyway, that night went fairly well.. I was an emotional wreck because it all finally hit me that Clint and I are the only ones who are here in case anything happens and I was SCARED TO DEATH! On top of only getting a touch of sleep, it only added to the drama.

Tuesday was pretty much the same. We just layed around the house waiting for her to wake up so we could play with her.. and sleeping as much as we could.

Wednesday = Doctor appointment day

We started out the day heading BACK to the hospital for her Audiology test. She failed her first hearing test (which is common) so we went back for another go. She failed again. But, not to worry.. the nurse checked for fluid in her ears and she said that’s probably all it is. We have another check in a month. It really wasn’t so weird to go back to the hospital. It was weird, however, to push a stroller around the hospital! It took us about 40 minutes just to make the 15 minute drive to the hospital! I kept forgetting things.

After the Audiology appointment, we walked over to where Darbi’s eye doctor’s office is. It’s about a quarter mile away. I stepped out while they were doing the procedure but when I came back in the Doctor was pleasantly surprised! He said…. probably… most likely… NO. SURGERY. It is unbelievable for a 23-weeker to not need eye surgery. We have another appointment in a week but he said the ROP is regressing while the eyes are progressing in a positive way! I know they say this every week that she may not need surgery but he was very very confident that there would be no need!!!

Starting Tuesday night, Darbi has had an upset, gassy tummy and we didn’t think too much about it. Then, she started to have runnier (is that a word?) stool. So we got a little worried and called our Pediatrician. They had us come down Wednesday afternoon to just check her weight to see if she was gaining (5 pounds 11 ounces now!) and we have to take down a stool specimen to the labs for testing. She’s probably alright but Clint and I won’t let anything get passed us.

So, now I’m trying to get back into a routine with her. It’s hard with no sleep of course but it’s easier to stay in my pajamas and not go to the hospital 3 times a day. :)

We are loving EVERY MINUTE of her being home with us!!

Thanks for the happy welcome home Ashley & Adrienne!!

On our way home from the hospital

Hanging out on Mom & Dad's bed

Darbi's first bath at home

8 Wisecracks:

Megan B said...

OH! I'm first! I'm first at last!! I am cringeing for you, babe! Welcome to the zombie life :) I'm bringing you dinner next week so email me your address! AWESOME news about the ROP!!

Alison said...

I love that you sat in the backseat with her on the way home. I did the same thing 16 years ago when we brought our first baby home!

And what incredible news about Darbi's eyes. WONDERFUL!!!

Welcome Home!!!

Tim "n" Tracy McMillan (TNT McMillan) said...

You don't know who I am, but I saw your blog address on Karalee's blog, and I saw your post "Life after the NICU" which caught my attention. I too had a baby in the NICU, so I'm always interested in hearing other people's success stories, especially since while we were there, there were many babies surrounding my son that weren't so fortunate, which would break my heart, so I like to hear the good news. My son was born Jan. 21st 2008 at just 24 weeks gestation, so as I was browsing through your blog I could relate to many of the things you posted about. If you every want someone to talk to, I love keeping in touch with other parents of NICU babies. Good luck with everything...It doesn't end with them coming home, so hang in there!

The Lewis Family said...

Congrats on bringing her home! My friend Ann, who is a mommy of two premies and saw you guys often at the NICU, says congrats too!
~C

Nic and Ashley Haws said...

You guys are so great! I'm so happy you have your baby home with you. Love works miracles. It truly does.

Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Lisa said...

Audrey, I was directed over here from Becky Baker's blog. I was at the shower that you hosted for her, I don't know if you remember me or not. But we were both pregnant at the time, and we both ended up having preemies! Mine was only six weeks early, so we didn't experience NEARLY what you've gone through. But we were in the NICU at Utah Valley for a while, and your blog brought back a lot of memories. I pretty much read through the whole thing. You guys are all so strong, and Darbi is just beautiful. Congratulations on bringing her home!

Audrey said...

I'm so happy right now! It's so great that she finally got to come home!!! I've been telling everyone I know in Washington. :) And I wish I was in Provo with you, but I guess we wouldn't have much opportunity to hang out anyway.

And good idea about the week-long scrapbooking extravaganza when I come home from my mission. That is a done deal. We are doing it. Just don't move away somewhere crazy so that we have to cancel. That would not be okay.

Well, I miss you! Have a blast with Darbi! Tell her I said Hi!

Aimee said...

Wouldn't you rather feel this kind of tired than the day-in, day-out tired that was living a NICU experience? That's how it is for us, anyway. Can totally relate! Great pics, too!