Friday, 14 September 2012
After waiting 70 days, including one abdominal surgery and a life-threatening blood infection, my 27 week premature son came home from the NICU. I could not have been happier to have our family of four finally at home! I knew there would be settling kinks, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to experience. It was as if a switch flipped and Bode became awful, for I have no other word to describe what he was like. I know it was not his fault, but that is my descriptor.
I had to pump breastmilk because Bode would not latch on and the NICU wanted him on a 24 cal/ounce diet (a mixture of 16oz of breastmilk with 2 scoops of premie Similac). Bode developed a diaper rash in the hospital. He was intolerant to the formula they sent him home with and because of that, he had diarrhea the first week he was home. It took 2 hours to feed him 2 ounces, then after 30 minutes of trying to get him to fall asleep, I had to find time to pump and take care of Joey our 18 month old.
After a week, Bode had a check-up with his Pediatrician. Even though he knew Bode needed the extra calories, the diarrhea wasn't good. He suggested giving straight breastmilk for a week, and we would weigh him again a week later. Bode finally started to eat; however, he still cried relentlessly. And he has the premie ear piercing and blood curdling cry. If he was being held he was quiet, but the second you thought he was asleep and you laid him down, he wailed. And pumping became my prison. I was depressed because Bode wouldn't latch on and the time it took away from Joey was even worse, and I just felt trapped.
After another week, Bode gained weight on straight breast milk, but knowing he needed extra calories I decided to try adding Enfamil, the brand I prefer. We started with 1 scoop of Enfamil newborn to 16 oz of formula, and Bode was weighed again a week later. Gaining beautifully, the doctor suggested adding 2 scoops, but added if it's not broken don't fix it. So, not wishing to mess with a good thing, we left it at one scoop.
Bode was still exhausted from not sleeping, let me explain this a little more too. In the NICU babies are rotated frequently because of their incredibly soft heads, so in the NICU they are placed on their bellies. When Bode would sleep in his moses basket downstairs, I placed him on his belly and he slept, but at night because of our fear of SIDS he would be placed on his back. Guess what, he hated his back. My doctor said I had to make him cry it out, well Bode won. After 2 weeks of Bode being home, and yes even being a premie, I put Bode on his belly to sleep. His crib, in my defense, was sans bumpers and blankets. He FINALLY started to sleep. However he still wanted to be held the entire time he was awake, and that made life very difficult.
April and May were very difficult months and Bode was awful, and because of that my milk just started drying up. Pumping becomes even more depressing when you go from pumping 8 ounces every 4 hours to barely 4 ounces every 4 hours. At the end of May to keep my sanity I stopped pumping. Guilt took over for a while, but the freedom and no longer having to worry about fitting in pumping was such a weight off my shoulders.
Another reason I felt Bode was awful which contributed to my inability to cope had to do with my hormones and birth control. The middle of April I had Mirena, an IUD, put in. 4 weeks later I had a check-up to check the placement of my Mirena. It could not be found by internal exam, abdominal ultrasound or vaginal ultrasound. Since it could not be found I was put on the mini-pill. A week later I had a CT scan scheduled. But in the meantime I was awful! I screamed at Joey way too many times, snapped at Bode (told him I hated him), and at times had to place both of the kids in their cribs crying to take a shower and cry myself because I felt so out of control. When I had my CT scan and my Mirena was found, it was not in the correct place. I got an answer for why I felt so awful: I had double the amount of progesterone in my body. I had the dose from Mirena and the dose from the mini-pill. I immediately stopped taking the mini-pill. It was discovered that Mirena had gone completely through my uterus and was next to my colon. A D&C and laparoscopic removal of Mirena later, my IUD was finally removed.
At the end of June, I had yet to hear from early intervention, so I set up Bode's evaluation with a physical therapist on my own. He was tense and had other things that needed to be worked on, but nothing was abnormal and eveything found usual for a premie. After his first session I noticed a difference in him, he became more relaxed. He now goes to weekly PT sessions.
I may sound like a awful mom, but I do love that little boy more than anything.
Now he is the happiest, smiley, 12-hour-a-night-sleeper, and the sweetest steel-blue-eyed boy. Blessed that he is mine!
I know that I am leaving out numerous details, however I cannot think of them. I guess that is what survival mode does to you, allows you to block things out so that you hold no resentment and can move on with love.
More pics in the gallery below!