For most parents, the day their first child is born is THE BEST day of their life. Unfortunately, I’m one of a small handful who would kind of like to forget that day altogether. (Ok, not really, but you understand.) It doesn’t even rank in my top 10. It was an awful day of fear, pain (both mental and physical) and every type of nausea imaginable. And while it will be a day that I will never actually erase from my mind, it pales in comparison last Tuesday. Because last Tuesday was they day we finally brought our daughter home.
Have you ever seen that show on TLC called “Bringing Home Baby”? A camera crew follows a newborn and it’s parents home from the hospital and documents the first 36 hours at home. The nursery that was once for “display-only” is now in use, and the pets start to realize that this tiny creature that just arrived isn’t leaving anytime soon. The key extended family visit and good, caring friends bring food.
That is EXACTLY what our life has been like since last Tuesday. Poignantly, we arrived home right around 1:30pm. Exactly 83 days after Abby was born, right down to the minute. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened. But it was really cool to think about.
Our first order of business? Introduce Abby to Pup. Pup has been indulging on Abby’s scent since she was born… we’ve been letting him play with her dirty clothes and blankets from the hospital before washing them and bringing them back to the NICU. So he was very familiar with the smelly little creature we put in front of him. He was actually very excited. He wagged his tail and licked her hand! He seemed very happy about it all until we took her out of the car seat and realized that she would be getting just as much (if not more) attention as he would. Pup is a grumpy old man… set in his ways and really doesn’t know how to share, poor guy. But there is hope – he is adjusting, slowly but surely. In his world, Anthony and I belong to him. Luckily, we’ve already seen glimmers of Pup realizing that she belongs to him, too. He gets VERY concerned when she cries. He barks at us, as if to say, “Hey! Why are you just standing there?! Fix it!” It is actually very cute. He has also taken to running to the door and barking at intruders, rather than barking at them through the front window from the couch. He is being significantly more proactive in his guard dog tactics. He wants everyone to know they will have to get though HIM before they can get to Abby. It will take a while, but eventually he will love on her the way he does on us.
We’ve given her the tour of the house and showed her all of her toys and clothes. She spends most of her time in either her swing, her Boppy Lounger, or laying on the Precious Planet Play Mat on the floor. She stares up at her reflection for extended periods of time. Very cool to watch. And her favorite toy, hands down, is Jacque the Peacock. He is a brightly colored, squeaking crinkle toy that attaches to just about any of her baby stations. But the best part about him is that his backside is all black and white patterns. She will stare at Jacque for an hour at a time and thinks it is just so cool.
Abby has had several visitors since she got home. Her Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles have all been waiting so patiently just to touch her, let alone hold her. Each visit has been a milestone for her and the pictures are worth a thousand words, spelling out just how happy we all are to have her home where she belongs. And I have to stop and thank everyone for complying so well with all of the crazy rules pertaining to her health. There are lots of hoops to jump through to hold her! Everyone must take off their shoes at the door (so as not to track dirt onto the carpet where she spends most of her day), then go straight to either the kitchen or guest bathroom and wash their hands… and not just wash. Wash with anti-bacterial soap in very hot water, for an extended period of time (I tell people to sing Happy Birthday a couple of times… that should be long enough). Then, once near Abby, put hand sanitizer on your hands… only then can you touch her. Her Tia (Aunt in spanish) had to shower before she held Abby because she works with small children, and some people have had to change clothes before coming to visit because they work with too many people in close quarters to guarantee no germs. It’s a lot to go through, but every one of them has told me it was well worth it to finally get some one on one time with Abigail. I’d have to say I agree. And everyone has been super understanding because they know it is what is best for Abby.
But the best part of having her home? Anthony and I are finally getting to know our little girl. Sure, I knew lots of little quirks and traits while we were watching her in the NICU – but nothing compares to finally being her primary caregiver. I know EVERYTHING there is to know about Abigail. I know that she loves being on her tummy (but you have to watch her like a hawk for that). I know that she hates being cold. She loves bath time and play time, and she sleeps best if she knows you aren’t very far from her when she starts to drift off to sleep.
Abigail isn’t really a crier (thank goodness!) She wails to communicate. She can tell me when she is tired, uncomfortable, wet, or hungry. But if she doesn’t have anything to communicate, she is quiet. Or giggly, which is totally fine by me. She’s only actually out-right cried once, and I can’t blame the little girl! She spit up and it came out both her mouth and her nose. I’m sure it burned, and she cried for real, with real tears. It hurt my heart so badly that I cried, too. But other than that, she is a super trooper and such a happy girl.
All in all, we are doing very well now that she is home. She did come home attached to a heart rate monitor, and it does go off here and there (with ear-splitting rings and beeps). But it is so needed. She is still so small that her heart slows down to remarkably low rates. When it beeps, I know to be close and to watch her carefully. She has yet to have an episode that needed real help. Although, she does have a tendency to choke on her 3pm feeding as it has her multivitamins in it and she hates those. But she gets stronger (and heavier!) every day, so the monitor will be a distant memory before too long. While I won’t have an official weight until next thursday, I can tell you that I’m pretty sure she is 5 pounds now! Her last official weight was 4 pounds, 13 ounces. And that was a week ago!!!
Needless to say, we are happy. 83 days was a long time to wait to bring our little angel home. But now that she is, we are learning how to live life as a family of 3. And now I have to stop this blog because she is starting to stir and I’ll have to feed her soon. Mommy duty calls!!! And I love that. More updates soon!
Thanks for reading and for patiently waiting for me to make the time to blog! And thank you, as always, for your continued prayers.