The little man was tres skinny at birth (4 lbs 12 oz and 19 inches long). The babes were born Friday afternoon. After spending a few (too few, in my opinion) minutes with them in recovery, they went up to the nursery. I had to stay in recovery for a couple of hours (I think it was that long, the timing was a bit hazy for me) because my blood pressure was pretty high. The protocol in the nursery called for checking their temperatures before each feeding (which were every three hours). If they maintained a temp above 97 degrees (taken axially), the temp monitoring was complete. Zoe passed this challenge. Egan did not. His 3rd temp was low. That bought him 24 hours of temp monitoring. All day Saturday he maintained 97+ until around 9 pm when he had a low temp. The NICU was consulted. The nurse practitioner said to monitor him for another 24 hours and see how he did. His temp was good all day Sunday...until around 9 pm. The NICU was consulted. We had a jerk nurse that shift who was VERY STRESSY. She was a formula pusher. She was a NICU pusher. I didn't like her. The NICU nurse practitioner said to mointor him for yet another 24 hours. His temp was good all day Monday. The pediatrician rounded on him each day. Monday evening I said something about the babies maybe being discharged on Tuesday (which is when we were scheduled to be discharged) and he said we would definitely be going home - that something drastic would have to happen for us not to. Guess what happened at 9 pm on Monday? That's right - he had another low temp. That was his 3rd strike. He went to the NICU.
NICU pros: they put him in an isolette which, obviously, kept him toasty. This was an extremely posh NICU. Egan had his own private room with a recliner, sofabed, extra bassinet for Zoe, breast pump, etc...
NICU cons: he was there for a week. The first day we took Zoe home and brought her back in was 4 degrees outside. We kept dragging little Zoe back and forth each day. Probably not the best thing for her - her temps were always only right at 97 degrees and she only had 9 more ounces of body fat compared to him. Not an ideal situation. Because the babies came unexpectedly, the nursery was not even REMOTELY finished. Forest put together one crib while I was still in the hospital. He took 2 weeks of vacation. During this time, he could have gotten more done with the house, but he couldn't get anything accomplished because we spent all day, every day in the NICU instead.
I held up pretty well (I think) until Monday night (Valentine's Day). It's possible that I just wasn't coping well that day anyway - being the anniversary of losing Jack and all - but that evening I had a meltdown. Each day they would say that the plan was to decrease the temperature in the isolette down to a target point, then he would have to maintain it for 24 hours, then they would move him to an open crib for 24 hours. The thing was - they NEVER decreased it! Every once in a while they would bump it down a half a degree and then he would have a temp of 97.6 or something and they would say that was too low (yet they never told me what target temp they were actually looking for) and they would increase the temp of the isolette back up. We were making NO PROGRESS. Finally on Monday they started bumping it down, but it seemed that it was going to take another week to get him out of there at the rate they were going. I was so frustrated - I felt like they were holding my baby hostage. It's not like they were actually administering any treatment - he didn't have an IV, he only had oxygen for a day or so, he was eating breastmilk (mostly pumped) on a normal schedule - all they were doing was keeping him warm. I could have done that at home. LUCKILY (for everyone) when we came to the NICU Tuesday morning, they were ready to release him. We finally got a nurse practitioner who was practical enough to realize that he probably just naturally has a lower body temperature and that it was getting ridiculous to keep him. We finally left with instructions to keep him in double swaddles and double hats and keep the temperature in the house warm enough that we'd be comfortable in shorts and short sleeves (which is what we'd being doing with Zoe anyway) and he's been totally fine at home. We had 4 nurse home visits and his temp was wonderful each time. I've been MUCH happier since we finally got home.
I'm not even going to go back and see how many times I used FINALLY in that paragraph!
He has been pretty alert and responsive from the beginning. He makes good eye contact and the funniest faces. My favorite is when he's falling asleep but keeps his eyes open so you can see them rolling around (in different directions). I think it's adorable, but it creeps Forest out. He also keeps a furrowed brow a lot of the time. He gets that from his mommy.
He seems to enjoy the sound of his voice. When he's mad he doesn't take time to fuss - he goes from nothing to a full-on wail immediately. He prefers to be held - he doesn't fall asleep easily in his crib if we put him down when he's awake. I would say that he's spoiled if all parenting resources did not insist that babies this age cannot be spoiled.
He has a giant noggin, so it is hard for him to raise it up. He can just barely lift it off the ground to turn it from side to side during tummy time. He has blond/light brown hair and his eyes are turning more brown every day.
At their one-month check-up, Egan was up to 6 pounds, 3 ounces (a gain of 1 pound, 7 ounces!), so he's doing very well. He's finally starting to fill out his newborn clothes.
ZoeZoe was a bit slower on making eye contact and responding to our voices, but she is doing it now. She makes sweet faces, rather than her brother's crazy faces. My favorite is when she raises her eyebrows while making her mouth into a little "o" (too cute!).
Zoe is a tummy time pro. She actually rolled over when she was 15 days old, but it was later discovered that daddy had put her down with one arm under her chest, so it wasn't real. She is getting REALLY close to doing it for real, though. She lifts her legs and head up at the same time. She's lifting all with her tummy muscles, though. I don't think she'll actually be able to flip over until she pushes up with her arms a little bit too.
She can go to sleep in her crib if we put her down swaddled and drowsy. This is a major blessing. She doesn't cry much (the picture, above, being the exception). She seems to have quite a bit of gastrointestinal discomfort, but she just squeaks about it rather than screaming.
At her check-up she weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces (up 1 pound, 3 ounces). She has quite a bit of dark brown hair and her eyes are also getting darker brown each day. Her eyebrows are coming in dark brown, so I think she will be a brown haired girl permanently! (HOW WEIRD for me to have a brunette baby?!?!)
Zoe & Egan
They both take a pacifier, but it MUST be the SOOTHIE kind from the hospital. Other pacifiers simply will.not.do. Luckily they sell these at Target, because Egan's hospital-issued pacifier met an untimely end when we left it at a restaurant.
They are both lazy nursers. Feedings go on...and on...and on. I've read that there's no such thing as a lazy nurser - they are responding to slow milk flow. I don't know if I believe that, but whatever. Almost all feedings consist of me trying to keep them awake while they nurse with varying degrees of interest until they ultimately spit out the nipple or fall completely asleep. I then put them on my shoulder to burp them where they suddenly become fully awake and act ravenously hungry. When you have two to nurse and they eat every 3 hours, this results in A LOT of nursing time. If anyone has any advice or tips on this, please let me know! Right now they ALWAYS seem hungry!
Hungry Zoe Resorts to Zombie Tactics
I have three more weeks at home with them before I go back to work. Forest is very helpful at night (he shuttles babies from crib to breast). Katie also willingly lends a hand to keep them happy in the evenings. They are really very sweet and relatively easy babies. I feel like the luckiest mommy on Earth.
Happy One Month Birthday!