The babies turned three weeks old yesterday. I’m sure every new mom feels this way, but the last three weeks feel like a hundred years just passed in the blink of an eye. The first two weeks I was still in so much pain from the c-section, but now I feel really pretty good and I can’t believe its only been a little over a week since I felt like I would never be able to walk again. I am SO glad that part is over. (Note to future self who may have forgotten the details of this experience: the c-section recovery was terrible, try not to do that again.)
The babies are noticeably chubbier, their cheeks growing rounder and rounder each day. Oliver is around 5 and a half pounds, Zoey is about 4 and three quarters and Quinn is about 4 and a half. They gain a couple of ounces every day so I don’t keep too close tabs on their exact weights, but they’re definitely getting bigger! All three have been in open cribs for awhile now, which means they can all regulate their own body temperature. The frequency of their bradycardia episodes is lessening to just one here and there every couple of days, so that’s great. Every time they have one earns them an extra 5 days at the hospital, so we’re hoping these go away completely very very soon.
O showing some horned frog pride.
The last thing they have to be able to do before they’re allowed to come home is to take all of their 8 feeds a day by bottle or breast. We’ve been working with them on this for the last week and a half and they’re progressing well. A week and a half doesn’t sound like a long time but boy does it feel like it. Here’s our feeding schedule (I’m typically there for 3 or 4 of the 8 feedings):
8:00 am Zoey: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
8:30 am Quinn: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
9:00 am Oliver: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
10:30 am Christina hopes to arrive (sometimes this doesn’t happen until right before the 2pm group so C can get some stuff done around the house.)
11:00 am Zoey: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
11:30 am Quinn: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
12:00 pm Oliver: temp taken, diaper change, bottle, burp, back to bed.
12:30 – 1:00 pm Christina pumps (not iron.)
1:00 – 2:00 pm Christina eats lunch?
2:00 pm Zoey: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
2:30 pm Quinn: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
3:00 pm Oliver: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
3:30 – 4:00 pm Christina pumps (again, not iron.)
4:00 – 5:00 pm Christina tries to nap or hold a baby.
5:00 pm Zoey: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
5:30 pm Quinn: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
6:00 pm Oliver: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
6:30 – 7:00 pm Christina pumps (you get the idea.)
7:00 – 8:00 pm Justin is at the hospital by now, he and Christina talk, eat dinner, take pictures of babies. Sometimes J & C leave before the 8pm feeding to try and have some time at home that involves being conscious.
8:00 pm Zoey: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
8:30 pm Quinn: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
9:00 pm Oliver: temp taken, diaper change, bottle or bf, burp, back to bed.
9:30 – 10:00 pm Christina pumps
10:30 pm Justin and Christina go home.
The babies’ feeds continue every three hours round the clock. I don’t blame them for being too tired to finish all their bottles. I mean, if someone was waking me up every three hours, even if they were offering a plate of the most delicious giant cupcake in the world I would scream and then probably try to poo on them. These babies are really pretty nice to put up with all that.
Z flirting with the camera.
I’m very thankful for the way our hospital does things. Its a “baby friendly” hospital, which means that they really promote breastfeeding and provide a lot of support to moms who want to breastfeed. With premature babies who are on feeding tubes, they obviously aren’t going straight to the breast, so from the beginning they’ve gotten my milk through their feeding tubes and have been supplemented with formula when needed. Once they were deemed ready to start taking feeds by mouth they had me breastfeed as often as the babies showed cues that they wanted to eat at their feeding times (cues are being awake, rooting, putting their hands in their mouths). For the first 72 hours we would put them to the breast only and not give bottles so it gave them a chance to get familiar with breastfeeding before introducing another new thing.
The majority of our attempts at breastfeeding during that 72 hours was just getting them to latch and maybe try to suck. Having to work for your food is tough when you’re a teeny 4 pound baby, so I knew not to expect them to get a lot right away. Most of the time they fell asleep or just seemed confused. Oliver figured out the basics pretty quickly, but both Zoey and Quinn made the most terrible faces and looked like I was trying to poison them when I was trying to get them to latch. It felt like it took a long time, but now just a week and a half later all three latch very well and have really improved in their ability to actually get some milk. None of them have taken the full amount they’re supposed to by breast, but I think that’s just a size/strength thing that will come with time. Since their going home is contingent upon them being able to finish all of their feeds by breastfeeding OR bottle, I’m only breastfeeding them one session per day so they have more opportunities to finish bottles (it takes a lot less energy for them to eat from a bottle).
Zoey currently holds the record for both most bottles finished in a day ( 3 of 8 ) and most amount consumed while breastfeeding (still not a huge amount, but more than her brother or sister.) Oliver is finishing 1 or 2 bottles a day and does well breastfeeding, but he’s still not strong enough to get a majority of his feed that way. Quinn just finished her first bottle this week and is finishing 1, maybe 2 a day. Nurses and doctors don’t really like to give you estimates on timetables for going home, so the most I’ve been able to get out of them is that they’re on the right track and the whole finishing all their bottles thing will just “click” for them after awhile. This Tuesday their gestational age will be 37 weeks, an age we’ve heard previously is a common time for babies to come home. Its not looking like these three will have all of their feeds down that quickly though. I’m really hoping that it won’t take them too much longer than that, but its hard to know when it will all come together. They have to to take all 8 feeds by mouth for 48 consecutive hours before they’re entrusted to us to take into the free world. Its very likely that they will not come home together since they’re all individual babies who are doing their own things. Having one or two babies at home while the others are in the hospital will certainly be a challenge.
Q attempting to eat her blanket.
We’re incredibly thankful that they’re healthy and growing and haven’t had any complications, but we’re really ready for them to be home with us. This living at the hospital part is getting old. I know, big change from my attitude just last week, but I guess the insurmountable fear I was experiencing became surmountable and here I am wanting my babies at home, even though that means I no longer have the luxury of letting the nurses take care of 4 or 5 of their daily feedings and letting me sleep for 6 or 7 hours in a row.
Babies, I promise you we have a nice place for you to live. The first one ready to come home gets ice cream!