Something wonderful happened. After twenty four days in the neonatal intensive care unit, at almost 37 weeks gestational age, and three weeks old. Alexandr is finally home. It kind of started at the tail end of last week, particularly on Saturday. Alexandr pulled his feeding tube out of his nose, and they had told us that if he did that, because of how well he was eating, they would not put it back in, unless they ABSOLUTELY had to put it back in. He was also given his hep B vaccine, we were asked to bring in his car seat so it could be tested (they sit him in it and monitor him), and do a CPR review on Sunday. Sunday also brought the rest of his newborn things, his hearing screen, circumcision and the like. At that point it was just a waiting game, we had started getting things together to try and get the house in proper order. Of course Sunday night I got very little sleep and Daniel stayed up cleaning the carpets and such, and Monday morning we got the phone call that the neonatologist wanted us to come room in with him. For those who might not know, most parents when they have a child, are at the hospital and their newborn is in their room with them. We did not get that, rooming in accomplishes those things, they made sure we were feeding him properly, that he was able to gain weight overnight like he had been, that his temperature stayed good, and that he had no random medical issues arise. They wanted us to do this for two nights instead of one, only because his NG tube had been out for such a short period of time. We also had the opportunity to get his newborn photos taken by the photographers at the hospital. The room in went wonderful, of course we were both absolutely beat. By Wednesday morning we were both exhausted, we asked the NICU staff if they could take Alexandr for just a little while, we only asked that twice while there even though they offered much more. Daniel and I went for a walk at around three am, we talked and looked at the stars, and talked about how happy we were to hopefully take him home. Later that morning we walked to Burger King and had a bittersweet breakfast. It may have just been french toast sticks, but we both realized that for at least a while, it would be the last time it would just be the two of us. Now of course we are so happy he’s home, but there was a tinge of sad in that moment at least for me. Mostly because I know it’s going to take a lot of time before Alexandr is going to be like a full term baby. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute, but the road won’t be easy, for any of us. After getting all of his things together, taking pictures with the nurses, filling out discharge paperwork, and packing up, we got Alex in his carseat and it was on to the ride home. I’ve never been more of a nervous wreck. I swear it took four years for us to get home. When we made it home he was fast asleep. I swaddled him and put him in his crib for the first time (first picture). He likes sleeping in my lap too when he’s feeling fussy or dealing with reflux, (second picture), and trying to crush me with his tiny feet (third picture).
On to what I mentioned earlier, Alexandr is going to face things differently being premature the way he is. It will take him at least two years to catch up, if he does, to where he should be. I have high hopes for him, but because of this it takes much more to take care of him. Now for instance. There is a special way we have to mix his formula, which is a special kind to begin with, he has to eat every three hours weather or not he is asleep, we must wake him if he is. He has to eat a certain amount at a minimum to help him gain weight, and he should be doing that daily. This will continue for at least his first month at home. It won’t get much easier after that. He will require special care for a long time and possibly forever, and for now, even more than that. I’m so proud of our strong little guy. In spite of everything he pushes forward.
I have watched him deal with bouts of reflux, heavy hiccups, gas that I can’t really do anything about, trouble sleeping (mostly because of the reflux), and wheezing in his nose because of the NG tube (this is temporary). And yet, he still looks up at me and smiles, wrinkles his little forehead, and grabs at me for hugs. He’s already trying to hold his own head up, and can for a few seconds at a time, and today he discovered his own knees. Every day we have with him here in our home is a day we will cherish, and my life is made so much brighter by him. He’s a star of stars and I can’t imagine what a wonderful and amazing person he will grow to be, no matter what I know that he will be strong, he’s proven that time and time again. I also know that no matter what Mommy and Daddy will be here rooting for him.