Thursday, October 18, 2007

Home Again Jiggety Jig

Anna was discharged yesterday afternoon. I was shocked, but happy. She was eating well in the hospital, all of her blood tests were coming back fine, and she wasn't overly jaundiced (a 9.7 at that point). So I intermittently packed up our room and nursed her throughout the day, waiting for the eventual discharge that takes so long.

Ben and my mom stopped by for an hour, and Ben got to spend some quality time with Anna. So darn cute. Hurt to breathe. When he came into the room, he walked right up to me holding her, and gave her a big hug and pet her head like she was a cat. Then we went though the labeling game. "Where's Anna's ear?" "Where's Anna's hand?" "Where's Anna's nose?" That last one was probably a mistake since he promptly shoved his finger up her nostril.

We took the obligatory pictures of Ben holding her on his lap. He was very gentle with her, and even pressed his cheek against hers a few times. His excitement levels kept growing, and he got a little manic. Soon, he was bored and shoved her off of his lap, and I had to catch her quickly and bring her back to the safety of my arms. I laughed at that, since it was so typical and so totally what he does with his baby doll.

Ben smiled and pulled her back onto his lap and pulled a blanket over her like he was tucking her in. I laughed at that, too, since it was so sweet. Something clicked in Ben's head, and he figured out a great way to get Mommy to laugh. He shoved her off of his lap immediately, and then quickly pulled her back on, covering her with a blanket. Then shove. Then pull back. Blanket. Repeat about four times until I was totally sure that he was just doing it for my reaction, which was joy and laughter and amusement.

For the record, I was guiding Anna back and forth and at no time was she actually in danger.

My mom took Ben home with her to Minocqua so Chris and I will have a couple of days home with Anna alone. We're busy with Anna, but the house feels so empty without him. He'll be brought back tomorrow evening, and then the fun will really begin.

Anna has been a sweetheart, and Chris and I are very busy falling more in love with her every second. When we got home, she decided she wasn't going to nurse anymore. My milk had come in like gangbusters, and I'm hard as a rock. Even with the engorgement, she still has to suck at least fifteen times before the flow starts, and she got so frustrated and refused. Over and over again. We're on orders to supplement her nursing with either expressed breastmilk or formula every two to three hours, so she wasn't starving, but it was still kind of upsetting that we were taking a step back with the whole nursing thing. I pumped a couple of times, and I'm producing so much, we now have a supply of breastmilk for more than eight supplemental feedings.

This morning before we left the house for her NICU check, she finally came around and nursed. She did it twice before our appointment. She was so hungry after we gave her the little bottle of supplement, but she wasn't starving enough to freak out with frustration. Such a relief to finally get that going again.

I made a promise to myself that even if she kept refusing to nurse, I wasn't going to give up, and I would keep trying to get her to breast for at least a month before letting go of that dream and just pumping. Her neonatalogist says that after two weeks, I can wean her off of the supplements and can insist on her going to the breast, and just wait it out until she gets hungry enough to do it. But we can't do that until she's at least gained enough weight to be at her birth weight again. (6 lbs 8.1 oz, today at 6 lbs 1.5 oz). I have faith that she'll keep up with the nursing though.

Her jaundice level is up. She's an 11.7 today, but that's still low enough to forego treatment. We have another appointment tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see how she's doing then. We have to keep feeding her almost constantly to keep her bile levels down, but that's okay.

Right now, Chris is at work for the afternoon, and Anna is curled up against my chest, fast asleep. The laptop is resting on the boppy on my lap. Life is pretty good. I could fall asleep at a moment's notice, but that's normal.