Avaleen is home. She has been home for a whole week now. Foster and I have been thoroughly enjoying our new little addition to our family. Ava is such a content little baby, and I am just waiting for the ball to drop. She doesn't fuss much, she doesn't cry unless we are changing her diaper, and she is happy just hanging out. When she is awake, she cracks us up with her goofy faces.
There have been a LOT of firsts in the past week. We took her to church...I know, I know, people may be mad at me for taking my 5 week preemie out in public, HOWEVER, our faith is what has kept us sane and strong over the past 18 months, and we felt as if we NEEDED to bring her there. Foster and I both got pretty emotional. We had been praying for over 2 years, and we were finally holding our precious daughter. To avoid too many people poking their fingers into her car seat, I held her in my Moby wrap to keep her close to me and away from all the germs.
We also took her out to see her big sister. This is when I lost it. I know the hormones are still wacky, but I think in the cemetery it finally hit me how sad and happy I was, how grateful, but also still a little resentful I am. How I should be introducing our newborn to our 18 month old daughter, and not to her gravestone. It was all really overwhelming, and I could no longer hold back the tears. I started crying.
We have had TONS of visitors. It was really hectic here the first weekend she was home, but things are starting to slow down a bit. It is nice to be able to hang out with Foster and Ava and enjoy being a family. Foster is absolutely in LOVE! Ava has him wrapped around her finger.
The breastfeeding is going AMAZINGLY! I am such a cow! The lactation specialist was warning me to not get upset if Ava didn't latch until closer to her due date, but just like how fast she graduated the NICU, she has amazed us with her eating skills too! The 4th day in the NICU, we tried. By the 3rd try, she was latched and fed for 10 minutes. I still supplement with pumped breast milk in a bottle, b/c she is still small and gets tired after about 10-15 minutes. It takes more energy for her to breast feed, so I usually give her an additional .5-1 oz of milk after she tuckers out.
Nights are going well. There are 3 positive things about having a baby int he NICU the first 6 days of life. 1.) Ava came home on a schedule! She is on a feeding schedule of 12-3-6-9 around the clock. This has allowed for about 2-2.5 hour stretches of sleep for Foster and I and the occasional 3 hour stretch! 2.) since she was hooked up to all the monitors and checked and monitored for 6 days, if there was any underlying heart of respiratory problem that may not have been picked up in the regular nursery, there is a great chance they would have picked up on it. 3.) she slept by herself in the incubator. This is great because she doesn't need to be held to fall asleep or stay asleep. I was TERRIFIED that she would be a baby who needed me to hold her in bed to fall asleep, and as a Baby Loss Mom, I have heard all the nightmare stories of smothering babies while co sleeping. She sleeps in a bassinet right next to our bed, and I can see into it, and it works perfectly!
OK OK...now onto what you REALLY want...the pictures of my beautiful baby girl that does NOT include tubes:-)
|In her Little Sister outfit getting ready to go home!!|
|my sweet baby girl!!|
|one of her MANY goofy expressions when she is awake!|
|first time in her swing!|
|LOVES her daddy!!|
|our little fur-babysitter. Reagan is absolutely IN LOVE!|
|UH OH folks! I have a thumb sucker!!!|
|Ava with Rosie....tear! sorry this is a bad pic..it is w/ my phone:-)|