Amber was in the NICU for a week. I was discharged on the 5th day (my OB let me have an extra day in the hospital to be closer to Amber) and that is when it started getting "fun". We live about 30 minutes away from the hospital and I was not allowed to drive for 2 weeks (well, I was planning on giving it 10 days before I started driving...that is about all I could take of being carted around and losing my independence!). However, I did not want to leave Amber for long periods of time.
I came home on the night I was d/c'd from the hospital and got some clean clothes and spent some time with Nathan. I had only seen him once in the past 5 days and I really missed him. He was not allowed in the NICU and he got really antsy being in my hospital room, so it was better for him to be out having fun and being spoiled by a family member. It just took a logistical planning to get everybody where they needed to go.
The next few days I spent up at he NICU. I was able to get a ride to the hospital early in the morning, Dan would spend the day with Nathan then drop him off at a grandparents house and then he would come up to the NICU with me. We were able to get a parent room in the NICU, so we could spend the night at the hospital, which was wonderful. It was basically an on-call sleep room with a shared bathroom, but it was surprisingly nice. This way we were able to walk down to her "pod" and feed her in the middle of the night. She seemed better each day however she still had tachypnea (fast breathing) which also seemed ot be improving each day.
Each day the CXR looked about the same, but it meant there was no reaccumulation, however the Dr. wanted ot see some of the residual fluid disappear before he was comfortable discharging us. He also wanted to see her respiratory rate decrease before we went home. Lastly, he wanted her to be on full feeds (basically, she needed to take 2.5 ounces of food every 3 hours) to ensure that the fluid would not re accumulate. Since the Chyle is formed form the fat in a baby's diet, it should have reaccumulated if she was eating as much as they were force feeding her! We wanted what was best for her, but we were ready to go home and with our backgrounds could easily keep a close eye on her respiratory status at home.
After a week in the NICU we finally got transferred to the Special Care Nursery. This was one step closer to going home. The Special Care Nursery was really nice. Each baby had there own private e room with bed for the parent, a recliner, refrigerator and bathroom. It was a mini hotel room. She continued to be monitored while in SCN but I had more responsibility as far as taking care of her, which i was thankful.
I was really having a tough time getting her to eat as much as they wanted her to take. I unfortunately, for some reason, don't make more than 1 ounce of breast milk every 3 hours (that is combined from both breasts). I had the same issue with Nathan and had the same issue this time. It didn't matter that i nursed her for 20 minutes on each side, then pumped, ate well, drank 100 plus ounces of water a day, took fenugreek, drank Mother's milk tea 4 times a day, applied warm packs ot my chest or took Reglan (supposed to help mothers with low milk supply). Therefore, we were having to supplement her with formula and she would just get so tired she would only eat about 1.5 ounces.
This was really hard for me, because I knew if we could get her to eat enough they would probably let us go home, however you can't force feed a baby if they are a sleeping limp rag doll in your arms!
Amber had pulled her NG tube (feeding tube) out a day earlier and they were trying to avoid putting it back in.
Luckily, after a few days in the SCN she was eating to enough and the chest xray had been unchanged for days, they told us we could go home!!!!
It was funny to us, but it was a Friday around 1pm when the Dr. told us we could go home. However, we had just sent Nathan to my mom's house so he could take a nap. We asked the nurse if we could stay until he woke up and my mom brought him over to the hospital. Here we had been begging ot leave and then we had to ask them if we could stay until evening time. Funny in retrospect!
Here is our 1st family photo as 4!
Nathan was totally unimpressed with Amber. He payed no attention to here what so ever! However, it did upset him when she started crying on the way home.
This has been Amber and my spot everyday during Nathan's nap time. Dan calls from 1pm-3pm NAptime for the whole house! Dan has never been able to sleep during the day so he is able to get alot accomplished while the rest of us are sleeping!
After we had been home a few days, Nathan starting paying more attention to the baby. He loves to give high-5's and Amber had her hand up in the air, so he thought she wanted a high-5! He was so cute going over and touching her hand.
Then he had to clap after he gave her a high-5! He was very proud of himself!
So far, we have been adjusting pretty well to our new family compilation. It is much tougher having 2 than when we just had Nathan as a baby. Nathan is a great sleeper at night and wakes up happy, early and ready to play. He sdoes not understand that we are exhausted because Amber has her days and nights mixed up. I have been learning to function in a constant state of exhaustion. We also are trying to figure out a feeding schedule that works best for us. I am still nursing her then supplementing with formula and then at night I pump and feed her a bottle. It is still much more time consuming than just straight nursing, but I will never make enough milk to just nurse her and i am learning to be thankful I get to nurse her at all an have that special bonding time.
Nathan has definitely noticed something is different since we have had Amber home. He has been more needy of us and has more meltdowns than he used to. Luckily, Dan has 1 month off from work and has been home to help me tremendously with Nathan. Basically he is caring for Nathan and I am caring for Amber. IT is a man-on-man defense! I am still not sure how I am going to handle it by myself when he goes back to work. At least he only works 3 days a week, however they are 14 hour days.
We are truly thankful and blessed to have had as many people praying for us that did. Prayer is so powerful and we serve such mighty and loving GOD. He blessed us greatly with the wonderful outcome for Amber. We were so scared we were going to be in a very different circumstance right now when we first heard of her issue, but with all of the prayer and God's mercy we are home and only able to complain about being tired and I will take that!