Wake up. Pump. Shower and get dressed. Put coffee (decaf for me) in travel mugs for the drive. Ride to the hospital. Pump. Spend the day torn between two isolettes. (Hunter and Aden are in different "pods" on the same floor.) Try to eat something. Pump some more. Continue running around between the twins, learning how to diaper and clothe them, how to feed them. Pump. Say goodbye and go home. Pump again. Eat (maybe) while trying to see what's on at 9PM. Pump yet again. Snooze for an hour or so. Pump. Sleep until morning.
This is what the past few days have been like, each blurring into the one before. Truth be told, Mark's been the busier of the two since his days have added chores: walking the dog, scrounging for food for us, doing the actual driving. It's "run, run, run" for the both of us but he's getting the raw end of the deal in my opinion. There's little I can do to help him right now, but God / the universe willing, I will make it up to him soon.
Frankly, there's been so much happening every day that it's been hard to stop and take it all in. I'm still recovering from my C — let me tell you that I honestly did not expect it to be this HARD! — so I'm extra tired by the end of the day. The NICU believes in including the parents in the babies' care so each day brings a new adventure for us. From diapering to bottlefeeding to dressing our babies, Mark and I have been involved in a hands on way from practically minute one.
Yesterday, our milestones included getting to hold Aden for the first time since birth. Mark and I were really grateful to finally hold our little boy. (And, my God, he is little...) I also got to kangaroo Hunter which was a really wonderful and reaffirming experience.
Today, there were a few more milestones. They moved Hunter to an open air crib and I got to dress, feed and burp her.
The biggest news of the day is that Hunter is probably coming home on Sunday. She's off the CPAP, off the feeding tube and sleeping in an open air crib. If she does well for the next night, then she'll be discharged. We're both elated and scared to death, obviously. A baby. At home. With NO nurses to help. AIYEEEE!
We're also sad and a little torn (A baby, not both, at home) because Aden still has a bit more time to go in the NICU. The twins' doctor won't give us any real estimates — she's been really vague, actually — as to when he might come home. His biggest obstacle right now is that he's not feeding / sucking / nippling well. He has little to no interest in drinking from a bottle or working a binky so we have to teach him how to do that.
He's been breathing fine since he was born so that milestone has been reached and the nurses are working with him to see how he's doing on maintaining his body temperature. He's also been putting on weight really well — he's now at 3 lbs 10 oz; up 6 oz since he was born. The more he weighs, the easier it will be for him to be able to regulate his own temperature and to reach that milestone quicker. He doesn't seem to have far to go with that right now and the nurses are hoping to get him to the point of having no additional heat in the isolette by the end of the week.
That leaves the feeding thing. Today, Aden's big milestone was taking in 10 ccs of milk by bottle. The feeding specialist came to work with him and she managed to get him to actually take some milk in which was a really good start. But at his afternoon feeding, we could only get him to take 5. I know that he will get it soon, and when he does he will be eating like a champ, but right now I want so badly to see some progress because I want him to come home.
When Hunter comes home, we will be in the unenviable position of having one baby in the NICU and the other with us. Figuring out the logistics of visiting one baby in the hospital while keeping the other at home — there are too many health risks in shuttling Hunter back and forth from the NICU daily — is a bit too much for me right now. I know Mark and I will manage, though. I mean we adjusted to having both of them in the hospital. We'll figure out a routine for making sure we both get to be with Aden... it's just that that we won't be able to be with him together.
But soon, very soon I hope, they'll both be together and our lives won't feel as if they're on hold anymore.
In fact, they'll never be the same ever again.