Wow! These last three weeks have just flown past! Sorry for the lack of pictures and updates! Everyone is doing great in the Martin household. During the first two weeks, Spencer was a little cholicky with gas. After one of his check-ups, our pediatrician suggested switching him from regular Enfamil to Soy Enfamil (which we add to his milk) and told Joy to cut dairy for a week, which seems to have helped. He’s still not sleeping all the way through the night as we’re trying to keep him on the 4-hour schedule the NICU had him on, but Spencer apparently has other plans! Sometimes he gets pretty fussy and we have to give him his bottle 30 minutes or an hour early, but there are times where he sometimes goes 5 hours between feedings, so it seems to balance out.
It seems as though Spencer is adapting to living at home pretty well. His days are full of eating, sleeping, and pooping, and he’s so growing fast! As of a Monday of this week, Spencer is up to 9.2 lbs and he’s 20.5″ long. It’s hard to believe that almost 3 months ago, our little miracle baby was born at 3 lbs 12 oz. We still have about 3 weeks left on his quarantine before our family can come seem, him, so in the meantime, here’s a bunch of pictures and a short video I showed at our last baby shower.
Today marks one week that Spencer’s been home with us and it’s been quite a week. Both of us have only been to the “daylight” or evening care times when he was in the NICU, but Joy has been on an almost every 2-3 hour breast-pumping schedule. I’m not usually needed for that so I’ve slept through all of them. With Spencer home, I’ve tried to get up when possible to help with warming up milk and feeding Spencer while Joy pumps. The first few days were pretty rough sleep wise. It was kinda hard for us to get used to such an abbreviated sleep schedule but it’s been worth it to have our son home. We’ve also had to learn how to operate a Diaper Genie and change diapers while half-asleep in a darkened room. We also bought a bottle warmer to help speed up the time it takes to get him fed. To help us sleep a little more soundly through the night, we installed an AngelCare crib monitor in his bed. This is a simple movement sensor that fits under his mattress and if no movement is detected after about 3 seconds, an audible tone alerts us. If no movement is detected after 10 seconds (maybe less), an alarm goes off. It’s worked great and is much easier to use than the Snuza monitor that we had to clip to his diaper.
When we were discharged with Spencer last week, the doctor suggested upping his calories a little with half a teaspoon of Enfamil in each bottle of breast milk. On Thursday morning, we took Spencer in to see his pediatrician for his initial checkup. It seems Spencer has been very gassy and it sometimes keeps the poor guy up a few times during the night. Our doctor suggested some infant gas relief drops with his formula. The doctor also agreed with the NICU and ordered Spencer to stay on a 6 week quarantine until his immune system builds up. He said it’s a good thing it’s summer, because if it was cold and flu season, he’d recommend even longer! Joy’s mom came down from Oklahoma on Sunday night to help for a few weeks, so we’ve got her locked down under quarantine now too. 😉
When Joy talked to her sister Julie the other day, she suggested that since the only thing we’ve done differently since bringing Spencer home is adding the Enfamil formula, that may be the reason he’s been so gassy.. When Spencer went in this morning for a weight check, the doctor said since he’s been having lots of gas and he’s already a healthy 8 lbs. 3 oz, that we could stop adding Enfamil and see if that helps. Other than the gas, Spencer got a great checkup.
Today Joy and I got to take our little Peanut Spencer home! He hasn’t had anymore episodes since the 10th so after the NICU doctor gave us the all-clear this morning, we signed discharge papers and took our son home. Praise the Lord!
Over the last two months and seven days, Spencer has moved around the NICU eight times and gone from his birth weight of 3 lbs. 12 oz. down to 3 lbs 5 oz. and all the way back up to his current weight of 7 lbs. 5 oz. There have been so many wonderful nurses and doctors in the NICU taking care of Spencer and we’re so thankful for them and for everyone’s thoughts and prayers during his stay.
We’re so thankful he’s home now and since he’s been in the NICU for over two months, he’s on a pretty good feeding schedule, about every 4 hours. Both Joy and I stayed home today to take care of him and we took the advice of so many friends and family with kids, “sleep when they sleep!”
Spencer is continuing to do very well. We didn’t get to take him home last week because he had another brady episode but we’re hopeful that he’ll be coming home very soon. In the meantime, we’d like to share a new photo of Spencer and this list of 25 signs that you are the parent of a preemie.
25 SIGNS YOU ARE A PARENT OF A PREEMIE:
You scrub your hands like a surgeon…100 times a day.
You should really consider buying stock in Purell, since you practically bathe in it.
You plan your day in 3-hour increments.
You measure your baby’s weight in grams instead of pounds and are ecstatic when they gain just a few.
You know that kangarooing has nothing to do with the animal or Australia.
The phrase “Don’t cry over spilled milk” takes on a whole new meaning after pumping just a few drops of this “liquid gold” then accidentally tipping it over onto the floor.
You rejoice at poopy diapers, first time clothes, and tiny cries…all major milestones that need to be celebrated.
NPO, ABD’s, NG, CPAP, CC’s ROP, TPN, PICC–all make sense to you and have become common abbreviations in your vocabulary.
You hear 5 different types of beeping and can distinguish the difference between them, even in your sleep.
You know the importance of the phrase suck-swallow-breathe and have prayed for the “light bulb” to come on or for it to “just click” more than you can count.
You measure milk in ml’s instead of ounces and rejoice when your baby’s feeding is advanced even by 1ml.
You’ve heard the term “feeder-grower” and know that it is not the name of a lawn care product or a description of something found at a feed and tack store.
You long for open cribs, hearing screens, and car seat testing because you know that means the end of the NICU journey is near.
The statement “breastfeeding is natural” makes you laugh…or cry…depending on the day…or even hour.
You measure age, not in years or even in months, but in weeks and adjusted weeks.
A giraffe is more than an African animal to you.
You know what an isolette is and feel comfortable working through tiny portholes, changing diapers and taking temperatures with ease.
You hear the words “brady” and “episode” and know that they are not referring to the 1970’s TV show.
When your baby is finally discharged from the hospital, the overwhelming joy is coupled with the feeling of uncertainty of what to do with a cordless baby, for you have come to rely on the wires and monitors for reassurance for so long.
The answer to “How old is your baby?” turns into a 30-minute conversation.
Newborns now look like preschoolers to you.
You make friends and family fill out a lengthy health questionnaire before coming over to your house to visit the baby.
You have a countdown on your calendar to the day RSV season begins and ends.
You have hand sanitizer stashed in every corner of your home, in your purse, and diaper bag-and it has become your number one gift to give others.
Your perception of a Super Hero has forever changed- from capes and masks, to tiny souls behind plexiglass.
Joy and I are pleased to report that Spencer’s been doing really well this week. The doctors and nurses at the NICU have slowly been grooming him (and us) to leave. Since the Fourth of July weekend, he hasn’t had any more episodes. Well, sort of. On Sunday night, they gave Spencer his car seat test. This is where they sit him in a car seat like the one we have for 90 minutes to make sure he doesn’t have any kind of episode or melt down. The nurses sat him on the counter in his car seat and they said he promptly went to sleep. After the test was complete, but before they got him out out of his seat, his desat alert tripped on his monitor, but he immediately self-corrected. It wasn’t big, but they still had to note it. Joy and I were prepared to take him home yesterday, but the doctor in charge during the rounds yesterday wouldn’t sign off on it, so it looks like it might be later this weekend. That’s still huge! It’s been over 2 months and our baby boy is about to come home!!!
Speaking of huge, Spencer has been feeding like a champ and as of this morning, he’s up to 6 lbs 12 oz! Yesterday he was 2 months old and we got some adorable pictures of him.