Hi Friends! It has been a while but I thought it was time to give you all a little update. The last month has been long and trying but I’m happy to say that we’re all home now! Mr. Preston graduated from the NICU about a week and a half ago. It was a long 35 days and we couldn’t be happier to have him home. Here’s a little bit of his NICU story.
Overall our NICU stay was pretty uneventful which we are really thankful for. The thing that took the longest was Preston learning the suck, swallow, breath reflex and to eat without getting too tired. He was on a feeding tube for a while and would get most of his milk that way. Then he had to learn on a bottle as breast feeding was a too much work for him and didn’t provide the right amount of calories that he needed. So he got fortified breast milk. That was really hard for me. But it is what the doctors recommended. It took him some time. He would have a really good day, then a not so good one. But the doctors and nurses all reassured us that it was just part of his prematurity. And they were right, he eventually got it and his feeding tube was removed. Then we were able to try nursing once a day, while he would get a bottle for the rest of the feedings. Then we moved up to nursing twice a day, once during the day and once at night. Finally, he was eating enough and gaining enough that we were discharged 35 days after he was born.
Walking out of the hospital after I gave birth and leaving him there was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And despite visiting him every day and night, it did not get any easier when I had to leave. When we finally got to strap our little guy into his carseat and walk out of those hospital doors with him, I could barely hold back the tears. Kellan was pretty happy too. He kept saying “Baby brother is coming home now!”
So we’ve been home for about 1 1/2 weeks now and things are going really well. When we left the NICU, Preston was nursing twice a day and was to get fortified breast milk the rest of his feedings until his pediatrician said that it was OK to stop it, which he did a few days after we got home. I was really nervous about stopping the fortification. That he wouldn’t be gaining weight like he should be. He was slowly getting the hang of nursing but I wasn’t sure that he was getting enough. In the NICU they said he should eat enough during a nursing session to last him 2 1/2 hours between feedings, but when we got home, I nursed on demand. It’s just what I felt was best and that became 1 1/2 – 2 hours between. I was of course worried that he was eating so frequently because he wasn’t getting enough so when we went in for a weight check earlier this week, I was afraid they were going to tell me to start fortifying milk again. But guess what! Little Preston gained 12 ounces in 6 days! He is now an 8 pound little man up from 4 pounds 7 ounces at birth!
This has truly been a challenging experience. When I got pregnant this time around I had a feeling that he would come early like Kellan did (37 weeks), but I didn’t anticipate him coming as early as he did. I didn’t anticipate not being able to hold him for the first few days of his life. I didn’t anticipate leaving the hospital without him. And I didn’t anticipate him spending the first 35 days of his life in the hospital. But alas, things don’t always go as planned. Sure, we’ve had a tough start but right now as I sit here typing this while he sleeps on my chest, I am feeling truly blessed.
As we get settled in, I’m starting to spend some more time in the kitchen and it has been very therapeutic to get back in there. In fact, I’ve even been feeling a bit more creative and have a couple of recipes ready to share next week so be on the look out for those!
One last thing, I want to say thank you to all of you that reached out with your prayers, well wishes and other NICU stories. They really meant a lot to us.