We had such an up-and-down adventure Saturday. We arrived at the NICU around 9:25 to feed Noah only to find that a nurse (whom we had never seen or met) had started giving him a bottle 15 minutes before his scheduled feeding time. And that opened up the emotional whirlpool for me. I was already on edge because we were waiting to hear whether he would be able to come home, and as soon as I rounded the corner and saw some woman I didn’t know feeding my son (even though I was there before his scheduled time!), I pretty much lost it.
The poor nurse had no idea what to say. Thankfully Bobby came in and got me rerouted toward the baby/mother room where I could pump. I ugly cried in the hallway and one of the nurse practitioners, Kelli, took pity on me and told me she would be sure to “tackle Dr. Repetto” (who could release Noah from the NICU) as soon as he walked in the door. Then I sat in the baby/mother room and ugly cried for a few minutes. Thankfully Bobby, being the smart guy he is, went and got Noah in his crib so he could at least sit with us in the quiet room, just the three of us.
Dr. Repetto finally showed up and told us we could bring Noah home. The relief was incredible. I felt like I relaxed for the first time in a week. I could breathe again. Our boy was coming home!
Of course, then we had to sit around and wait for gobs of paperwork, a hearing test, a Hepatitis B shot and other general stuff that had to be done before we could actually take the kid and run. We finally got everything and got him strapped into his car seat, and Bobby went to bring the car around. We left loaded down with all the diapers and wipes we could find in his little hospital crib unit, as well as some free Enfamil Gentlease formula we are currently supplementing with.
The car drive home was uneventful, but it looks like Noah will be a good car seat sleeper. Maybe he was just worn out from his NICU adventure, but he didn’t stir on the ride home or even when his daddy had to awkwardly get him out of small back seat in his car seat.
For the first while, we just reveled in the fact that we were finally home with our boy. We held him. Bobby laid down with him on his chest. I made a lunch run, and we sat around eating and enjoying our little family of three finally all being home and happy.
The first few hours home were probably an unrealistic portrayal for us of what life will be like with an infant, but, boy, were they blissful. After lunch, we all napped and got up when Noah was ready to eat. After he ate, we put him down for some more sleep and cleaned a little, then our friends Michael and Chris stopped by to meet him. Oh! And we also introduced him to Nom Nom (cat), Ranger and Rosie (dogs). Their reactions were pretty funny. Nom Nom was predictably aloof. Ranger started chomping his teeth and drooling, which is what he tends to do when his nervous, and Rosie acted as if she was in trouble and scared of him.
At some point during this, we decided to take another crack at breast feeding. It was discouraging, to say the least, but I think the issue was that we waited until he was crying from hunger, then changed his diaper before we fed him, which made him even more upset. I couldn’t get him to latch on, and he was crying so hard that we just went ahead and bottle fed him. We decided after that failed attempt that we would just get through the day with pumped milk and supplement with formula and try again Sunday.
Things got increasingly difficult as day changed over to evening. In the womb, Noah was almost always more active at night, and this seems to still be true. We desperately needed to make a Target run for a few basics, so I made a list for Bobby so I could stay with the baby. Of course, as Bobby was getting ready to walk out the door, Noah starts crying. And crying. And crying. I told Bobby to go on and that I would get it figured out.
My first instinct was that he wasn’t hungry, that he just wanted to be held and comforted — amazingly correct! I cuddled him up on my chest and walked around the kitchen and dining room for a few minutes, just bouncing him a little and shushing him. It didn’t even take that long for him to calm down, and I was able to sit on the couch with him curled into my chest, prop my feet up and watch a little TV.
The problem with this scenario ended up being that by the time Bobby got home, I really had to use the bathroom. I was scared to set him down for fear that he would start crying again, plus I didn’t want to leave him unattended (yeah, it probably would have been OK for the 60 seconds it would have taken me to pee, but keep in mind, I am a first-time mom, and this was his first day home … I am way cautious!). We haven’t put together his portable bouncy seat yet, so I didn’t have any place where I could set him in the bathroom. I waited patiently until Bobby got home, then passed him off and made a run for the potty.
Bobby brought home dinner for us, but I was feeling a little feverish, so I just mostly picked at mine and decided to head to bed for a little while (probably around 9 p.m.). I slept until Noah’s 10:30 feeding time, then got up and pumped.
During the day, we felt like we’d gotten into a decent routine of feeding, burping, cuddling for a few minutes, then putting Noah down to sleep. We needed to clean his cord and change his onesie after the 10:30, so we did that before wrapping him up and leaving him in the Pack n Play for some sleep time. Within a few minutes, he was fussing again. Bobby and I looked at each other. Can’t be hunger, so what is it?
Somehow the kid had manage to get himself wet all down his back. I think he must have spit up without us realizing it. It was a mess. We had to strip the sheet off the Pack n Play and change his clothes. We laid him back in the Pack n Play and tried to settle down again for the evening. No dice.
After more fussing and more of us wanting to pull our hair out for our inability to figure out why in the world he was crying, I finally told Bobby I thought we should just try sleeping in shifts to get through the night. I told him I would take the first three hours if he’d take the three after that.
As it turned out, the little booger just wanted to be held. I walked him and shushed him and rocked him, and he slept just fine. After about 20 minutes, I tried putting him down in the crib, but he wasn’t having it. I rocked him for about 30-40 more minutes and was finally able to put him down. I dozed in the glider for a bit before laying down on the floor. I know I didn’t get a ton of sleep, but I managed to get some — I survived until about 4:20, when I woke Bobby up.
Things got interesting at that point for Bobby because the little guy decided that he wanted to eat more formula than what we expected – WAY more. He acted as if he was done but cried for more only about an hour later. We later found out this is called cluster feeding (thanks, Ashley!) and is not that uncommon, but it definitely freaked us out at the time!
Anyway, that’s basically the story of the first day and night at home with Noah!