The long awaited day. The day I prayed and hoped for is finally here. The day I get to bring my newborn baby home from the NICU and escape these cold, dark hospital walls. I almost didn't believe the nurse when she told me the doctor was thinking of discharging Jacob. I never thought this day would come!
For all you parents who have spent time in the NICU, I applaud you. It is not an easy experience nor one I wish on any new parent. Every parenting magazine and every mommy book prepares you for everything except what to expect when your baby is hooked up to wires in the NICU and you are anxiously waiting for test result after test result. Watching the clock tick on, knowing the doctors are going home soon, and another day of no news, no change. As your heart is on the table with your newborn babe, watching him breath, watching him cry, and longing to just hold him without a multitude of wires. I commend you for your strength. I applaud you for still smirking a half-smile at the random NICU visitor walking by. I praise you for responding to just one phone call or text message, even though at times, it's the hardest thing to do as it reminds you there is still no update, which means another day of anxiously waiting. Although days feels like weeks, and weeks feel like years, your day will come when you get to take home your baby.
And today was our day! A couple days after the New Year 2014!
Even though I was beyond excited to be bringing Jacob home. The next few days that followed were stressful and emotional when the reality hit that there were no nurses or doctors around to check on Jacob. There were no monitors beeping when something went wrong. I was constantly worried, constantly checking his vitals, and praying that I wouldn't miss another hypoglycemic episode as we had earlier. Jacob was just skin and bone when we brought him home. He had lost weight from not eating due to his large tongue, and the direct orders from the doctor were if he didn't gain weight, he would be classified as "failure to thrive" and would be admitted back to the hospital. There was no way I was going back, so I frantically followed every instruction. One of which included waking him around the clock to feed him every 3 hours, and making sure he took at least 70 ml within 30 minutes. This was next to impossible as it often took him over an hour to eat just 60 ml. It took every ounce of strength I had to not break down during those feeds. I was emotionally exhausted. But, time continued on, feedings became easier, and before I knew it, Jacob was taking full bottles effortlessly by 2 months old. He still choked and gagged during feeds, which we discovered was due to his large tongue, but he has come so far and we are so proud of him.
I tried breastfeeding a few times, but with Jacob's large tongue, it was very difficult to get him to latch. I was also preoccupied with monitoring the amount of milk he was consuming. A part of me wishes I had tried harder to get him to breastfeed, even though at the time, it was the last thing on my mind. So I continued to pump and eventually figured out that pumping while feeding Jacob next to me on his boppy pillow was a real time saver!