Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Waiting to Exhale

It has been 9 long weeks in the NICU but we are finally home.  I can only describe it as a feeling of waiting to exhale.  I have seriously been holding my breath for 2 months....

When I found out I was pregnant and they told me my EDD was August 29th, in my mind I thought, no it is August 18th.  But I quickly dismissed that thought as none of my kids have ever come "early". In fact, my kids like to hang out for weeks past those EDD.  But throughout my pregnancy, August 18th kept coming up. I guess I already knew that was the day we would be home together. I just didn't know the journey that we would take to get here.  It is impossible to know if I had been able to stay pregnant when he would have come. Estimated due dates are just that, estimated.  But, for now we will consider August 29th to be 40 weeks and go from there. In a few months it won't matter. Rowan will catch up to his actual due date. All this actual age and adjusted age stuff is so confusing.
hee long crib and pacifier :) you served us well but we are moving on to a better life...

It has been a journey to get here.  We have learned so much from Rowan and will continue to learn new things.  The next 2 years of his life are a window to catch up on what he missed out on in the womb. Good nutrition is at the forefront but so is protecting him from illness.  That one is going to be the hardest for me as I like to go out and do things. It will depend on the activity but definitely nothing with crowds. We will also have more doctor appointments in the next 2 years for Rowan than all of my other kids have had in their lives combined! That one I am not looking forward to. We have had one pediatrician appointment and have decided he is not a good fit for us. We have an appointment with a new guy next week...hopefully he will be more respectful of our choices.
Rowan doing his car seat test...making sure he can breathe :)

For the next few weeks we are in our much awaited babymoon.  David gets 2 weeks paternity leave  and he will be home and we will be hibernating! Aspen is coming home in a couple of weeks and we will all just be for a while.
Ready to take flight in my owl cap grom Becca...aka GamGam

Now that Rowan is home and I can breathe I am a little scared of post traumatic stress.  Apparently it is really common in parents who have had a baby in the nicu.  I am watching myself, and David...and my kids too for that matter.  No one really knows what our family has been through over the past 2 months.  There are no words to even begin to describe it.  In the end, you find strength in the positive and you have to keep moving forward or you will collapse from the stress and frustration. The nicu experience is not one that I ever want to have again. 
goodbye disposables...hello soft cotton and wool...

They told me in the nicu that Rowan will not remember any of what he went through there but that we will remember it all.  I am not sure I believe them, but I can only hope they are right for Rowan's sake. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I am lucky though,  I have great support from friends and family and I have the most adorable little boy in the world to show for it.  He is healthy and happy and we are moving forward. We have to slowly come off his 1/16 oxygen flow and he will have to have surgery for 2 hernias :( We meet with the surgeon next week.  Supposedly it is a quick fix and it is outpatient. I can't imagine being away from him again but those hernias need repair.  I will be so glad when it is all over.... but for now we are home, I can finally breathe and that is all that matters....

life is good...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nursing Babe!

 Today we started non nutritive breastfeeding ( I pump first and see how he handles latching on)  He did great!  Tomorrow we begin breastfeeding and hopefully he will catch on fast and we will be home soon :) He has had issues with breathing but they have slowly weaned his oxygen flow from 5 to 3 liters and we are working it down to 0! They usually don't start feedings by mouth until they are below 2 liters but Rowan is so ready :)

 He was so awake today, following our voices and looking around at everything!

I love this sweet little man!

 He has discovered his tongue :)

 So happy :)

There is that man with that camera again!

 And then he was out like a light...
 He is growing, growing stong!  5 lbs, 14 oz....7 weeks old, 36.2 gestational age...We are getting there!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

It is stacking at home and in the hospital.  I give Rowan fresh milk for his feedings and freeze the rest.  The plan is to donate it to a couple of different places.  There is a woman here that takes it for children and adults with cancer and then there is the Denver milk bank that takes it and distributes it to hospitals for preemies that mom's can't breastfeed for whatever reason.  By the time Rowan is home, the freezer will be full.  Seeing that I pump about 50-70 ounces a day and Rowan gets about 12-14 ounces of that, there will be quite a bit to hand off :)  It is the one big thing I can do for Rowan while he is in the NICU. 

I had a great conversation the other day with a Neonatologist that specializes in human lactation and nutrition.  He has written many papers on the importance of breastfeeding and especially in the preemie. He travels around to different hospitals and gives lectures on human milk for human babies :)  Has been studying it for 30 years and taught me a lot of things I didn't know about breastmilk.  I already knew that breastfed babies score higher on intellectual tests as children and adolescents compared to formula fed kids, but I didn't know that the lower the birth weight the greater the difference.  I guess Rowan will be a super genius :)

I am super impressed with the hospital and their push for breastfeeding.  There are signs everywhere celebrating World Breastfeeding Week.  Brings back lots of memories of my days in La Leche League.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Joshua and Rowan

 Totally in awe of his brother...this was right after he was born...
Getting to hold him for the first time...

 oh, he has plans for, world of warcraft, D and D....Rowan will be an expert gamer by age 5 :)
 Of course he has the coolest older brother in the world....

Visitors, Visitors Oh My!

 Yesterday was a big day for Rowan!  I got to give him his first bath with the physical therapist.  She was showing me some things to mimic being in utero so that he is more comfortable with his extremities. Those arms and legs are scary things! :)   I also learned some great massage techniques Oh, the things we have learned!  I wish I had pictures but my hands were kinda full...We get to give him his 2 baths a week now that he is 36 weeks gestation.  He absolutely loved it.  I told him it was spa day :) His favorite part was the toothbrush scrubbing his scalp lol!

Then that evening, he had many visitors come to say hello.
 Grandma and Grandpa! Grandma got to hold him ...

 Aunt Catherine and cousin Brenna from Arizona...

 Aunt Patti and Uncle Mikey from Connecticut :)

And then Josh :)  Josh had spent the day with Grandpa and his cousins boating on Jordanell.  One day Rowan will be out there too!

 High five little man...
Rowan is so loved :)

About Me

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I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and 2 partners and married to my best friend and love of my life for 28 years now! We co-habitate with 2 cats, Asha and Gustav, 1 dog, Juniper Wren, and 2 Chinchillas, Ozwald and Turbo. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint, travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!