On One Week at Home

This first week has been the most joyful, rewarding and scary week of my life. One week ago today we brought our baby girl home from the hospital.

I slept less than I have in years. I have never been more scared than in years. I cried more than in years. I’ve disliked my husband more than I have in years.

Yet, I also feel incredibly happy and more in love with my husband than ever before.

I think coming home with a new baby, whether a full term baby or a preemie, is a time when one feels a full spectrum of emotions more than any other time. With a preemie, the fear and anxiety might be heightened to the extreme though.

Coming home one week ago was a day that I had been waiting for since June 21. I cried when the neonatologist told me that he was discharging us from the hospital. I didn’t cry because I was excited. I cried because I suddenly got very scared. I wasn’t ready.

I hadn’t been ready. Everything happened so quickly from the moment my water broke to the long wait and most especially when they told me that it was time for me to push!

Even though I had officially been a mommy for 12 days, I needed more time to learn how to be a mommy to a preemie. The nursing staff taught us how to bathe her, change her diaper, feed her and care for her most basic needs. But, we never had the chance to take the infant CPR class or the child safety class we had signed up for and cancelled because of my bed rest.

More importantly, we didn’t have the fancy computers to monitor her heart rate, oxygen levels and respirations. That is what terrified me the most. In the hospital, my anxiety level rose each time the alarm went off on her monitor. But I knew that a nurse would come over and calmly check her to make sure she was ok. She always was fine, which was why she was going home with us.

That first night at home and every night since I have been terrified to put her to sleep in her own bed. Preemies make a lot of noise. Their gastrointestinal tract is still developing so they process food differently and it makes them grunt and groan a lot. (Maybe full term babies do this too? I don’t know.) It is a scary sound at first but even scarier is she doesn’t make that sound.

She is such a tiny girl that it is hard to feel her breathing through her swaddle unless she is on my chest, so I feel better with her on me. But I’m also terrified that I’ll fall asleep and she’ll slide off me, and so I stay awake. I blog 🙂 I read my Kindle. Sometimes I take her downstairs and we watch TV but for the most part we snuggle in bed with MH sleeping next to me.

This is why I am looking into a night nurse to help us. I need to get more sleep. I need to learn to trust that she will be ok and I think a transition from a very monitored baby to one without any monitoring was too much for me to handle. A night nurse can help me with that transition.

I already addressed her feeding schedule, which is pretty much tied to my pumping schedule, both of which are aggressive. The doctors want her weight gain to be on par as if she were still in utero, which is half to whole pound per week. She had her first pediatrician’s appointment last Friday and she has gained nearly a pound since she was born, which is great! My tiny girl is growing up! We will go in for once weekly weigh-ins for the foreseeable future.

So this first week has been tough emotionally and physically. It doesn’t help that this time of year is the end of the fiscal year for many of MH’s clients and so it is extremely busy for him and he can’t get away. Because he’s having to go into work, my mom has been helping me with the 3am and 6am feedings, which is great but makes for a tired mommy and grandma! I can’t wait until he can help relieve my mom a bit.

At first I had been hesitant to have my mom come and stay for so long but now I can’t imagine her not here with us. She is planning to stay for as long as we need her and I have no idea when that will end 🙂 MH has been great with her too!! I can imagine how difficult it can be to have your mother in law around all the time and he is handling it all in stride.

The good news is that we all are getting into a routine and rhythm. It is getting easier and my anxiety is going down. It helps for me to nap during the day and it helps me to cry it out too! Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve held and I’ve had some challenging roles with a lot of responsibility in the past. This is the hardest and I know it will be the most rewarding when she is able to better interact.

Roo’s only fault is that she was born too early. I can’t wait for her little body and system to catch up! We have a beautiful and strong little girl on our hands an I can’t wait to see what joys life with her will bring us!



7 thoughts on “On One Week at Home

  1. You’re doing awesome but yes you need sleep. I got SO sick when Colton came home because I wasn’t sleeping or eating right and it was terrible.

    You don’t want all those monitors, trust me. As a mom to someone who came home with one, they are annoying. We went from him plugged in all day and night to just using it at night and now barely at all. The false alarms are ridiculous in quantity and you get no sleep.

    So here is my suggestion as we use them on both Keltie and Colton and a bunch of preemie moms use them too – go on Amazon and get a Snuza Halo. It clips onto their diaper and monitors their breathing. If the baby stops breathing, it vibrates once to stimulate them to breathe. If after seconds they don’t breathe, it sounds an alarm. We have had about 3 false alarms and they were all because my husband didn’t clip it on right. They are peace if mind and what allows me to sleep at night. They’re better than the Angel Care system because they’re portable so if Roo is sleeping in a bassinet, bouncy seat, Rock N Play, etc…as long as it’s on her it will work (whereas the Angel Care is tied to a crib). The only place it doesn’t work is the car. Honestly, it’s the best investment for a worried mom.

  2. She is SOOOOOO CUTE!!! What a precious little face! What’s amazing to me about preemies is it is crazy to think that they would still be in your body right now … does that make sense? You see her, hold her, dress her – but she could have been still in your uterus right now! It blows my mind in a weird way. Can you imagine her still tucked in there, now that you’ve met her and held her and breastfed her?

    • You are right. She should still be inside me! I don’t feel too bad holding her all the time because she would be held all the time by me if I were still pregnant 🙂

      One good thing is that I wont have to experience the super uncomfortable last month of pregnancy phase! But, I think the “discomfort” that I’m experiencing now takes its place 😉

  3. She is the cutest little thing!!! Omg! You are doing so well. It’s amazing how strong you can be! I can only imagine how wonderful AND scary and crazy and everything else that it must be. Praying for you all! Been thinking of you often!

  4. I was totally going to suggest the snuza too. I know a lot of hospitals don’t recommend anything to monitor their sleep at home, but theo was a healthy full term baby and I STILL worry about him breathing at night. I have a video angelcare but he hardly sleeps in his crib. We have been sleeping together in my bed as we both sleep better. That’s where the snuza would be better. It just gives you a little peace of mind.
    You are doing soooo amazing! Give yourself a lot of credit. I could not imagine having a premie and how stressful that could be. Babies do make a lot of noise. Theo had this weird gurgle thing he would do with his throat and his breathing sounded so awful but he was checked many times and they all said he was fine. It’s scary tho.
    Roo is going to be just find and soo are you. Just take it one day at a time.
    The only other option I can think of for you is to get a co sleeper. One that attaches to your bed so you can have her right up against you while you are laying down. That way you can see her, feel her but you might be able to get some rest too.

  5. She is gorgeous! So cute and tiny! I have a girlfriend who had 30 week twins – she SWORE by her angel monitor which monitored their breathing, it was the only way she could put them down and trust they would be ok when she came back. I am sure Roo will continue to grow and get strong, sounds like she is doing so great.

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