I spent a good chunk of yesterday crying. Part of my crying episode was in the Charge Nurse's office. Honestly - God bless them for putting up with me. Even if they didn't care for me because of my outspoken nature over the past 3 months (I have no idea how they feel about me), they put up with me and they even go so far as to hug me when I need it the most. Yes, I do feel guilty about throwing a fit and complaining... but it ONLY comes from a place of genuine concern. I am a flawed, YES, but it's my child that we're talking about. I will act out of character if it means speaking up for the wishes that I have for my son's care.
How to best explain yesterday: if I drew a picture of a mountain, that would be what my day looked like. Started out at "baseline" and slowly increased into a super excited, happy day. We had Christmas at my mom's house, and watching Kens open presents was so fun for me. Then, things got even more exciting whenever we got to the hospital to see our son. They gave us big news - which I'll share in a minute. That was the peak of the mountain. I asked the nurse, "this is a good thing, right?" And she said, "yes, this is a very good thing!"
After our good news, accompanied by successfully breastfeeding Bennett, I told hubby he could pick up Kens and head home to get her down for bed. I stayed at the hospital. Things slowly went downhill and I ended the day very upset (hence the beginning of this post). I won't go into detail about how things played out, because I don't want it to seem like I'm bad mouthing anyone. I'm not! It's just that things played out much more differently than I expected. Thankfully, the nurses assured me that I'm not the first person to be "shocked" (think culture shock) by the new environment. I'll talk about the new environment in the next paragraph. Honestly, I blame part of my emotional breakdowns on the lack of sleep. I usually get two naps overnight. My naps usually last 2-3 hours at a time. So, essentially I get 4-6 hours of (interrupted) sleep per night. While at the hospital yesterday, I FELL ASLEEP IN THE CHAIR. For like 30 minutes. That is also extremely out of my character. I've always been a light sleeper, but not these days.
Anyways, the new environment is our good news! And it IS good news even though Monday ended with some uncertainty. Our new environment is the Continued Care Nursery. This new room is specifically for "feeder and grower" babies who are closer to discharge. We're still in the NICU; it's just a different room. Now, there's really NO telling when Bennett will be discharged. I know that it definitely won't be before Christmas. Maybe, Lord Willing, it will be by New Years. His due date is January 5th, so even if it's around his Due Date, I'm okay with that. We won't have our primary nurse anymore, which is heartbreaking, because she is like family! But the Charge Nurse put my fears at ease and assured me that Bennett would still receive excellent care!
But you guys. This really is great news. We are 38 weeks adjusted this week and we're SO CLOSE TO GOING HOME. It could be just a matter of weeks now.
I am on pins and needles to get baby boy home. I have washed all of Bennett's clothes, his crib sheet (even though, let's be honest, I will probably hold him 24/7), picked out his going home outfit (thanks Linzy!) and day dreamed about our BORING but united days at home.
A few Bennett updates include:
1) Our angel is 6 proud pounds. I am sincerely so impressed by his hard work!
2) Apparently Bennett was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease. I really can't tell you too much about this, because I don't know much about it. From what I understand, babies can outgrow it and he was given that diagnosis because of his prematurity and need for oxygen.
3) Speaking of his breathing, Bennett is doing REALLY GOOD. He stays on room air (21%) at 1 liter of flow, and consistently has good saturations. I believe he will be weaned down on his liter flow sometime this week. Please be in prayer for him!
4) Regarding Bennett's feeds, he gets 45mL every three hours. He is on half breastmilk and half formula. The purpose of the half & half is to reduce the amount of fluids that he's getting, yet to increase the amount of calories he's on (see: they want to make him gain weight on a smaller feed size). Read the next update below to understand why they don't want to increase his fluids. Also regarding his feed, he usually takes half a bottle at a time. The rest has to be gavaged into his NG tube. He has taken a full bottle a couple of times. We are still working on our stamina! I have breastfed a couple times, and that is going great! But I still am not totally sure if I want to jump on the breastfeeding wagon. I think I've finally gotten into the pumping groove and I may stick strictly with that.
5) Poor baby Bennett has Thrush (from some frozen milk he was given of mine, while I had Thrush), so he gets Nystatin a few times per shift. Bennett is also on a diuretic to help keep excessive fluids out of his little body, which helps him in many areas as he grows and learns! The diuretic is why he's on half formula & half breastmilk.
6) In thinking futuristically, we will be having a Sip N See for everyone to meet baby Bennett around March or April. Bennett will be 6 months old in March (but you can think of him as a 2 month old) so I figure he will be bigger and stronger then. I may push the Sip N See off until April since that's when flu/RSV season typically ends. We were blessed with hand-me-downs while Kensie Grace was little (thanks to our old neighbor and great friend, Meghann) but now we need some things for Bubba. When Bennett comes home, we plan to buy the necessities, but if you had a desire to gift something, our registry is online HERE. This comment is not a plead for gifts, but rather just making it public instead of messaging everyone the link who asks for it! We also appreciate sweet cards, hugs, food, and more than anything: prayers.
7) Bonus update: Bennett met Santa and no tears were shed ;-) HOW PERFECT IS BUBBA??? Thanks to our amazing NICU for making sure we still get to appropriately celebrate holidays. Can you believe we've spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas in the NICU? Let's get baby Bennett home before New Years so we don't have to add that to our list!
To make things very uncomplicated, we just ask for prayers that Bennett would have complete health, learn to breathe on his own, and learn to eat on his own!
Last - thank you to everyone for supporting us emotionally. I am still working on things. The hardest part is letting go of my biological desire to care for my son 100% and having to entrust his care into strangers. There are no words to explain the stabbing pain in my heart each time I walk away from Bennett's bedside. If you have an extra prayer to give away, I would love prayers for my broken heart. I fall deeper in love with Bennett every minute that passes, and each day is harder than the last to leave him in the hospital. Love you all!