Well, it's been a long time, but once again I promise I have a good reason. On Friday, October 16, 2015 I had just gotten out of the shower and saw that I had missed a call. The voicemail left was from Dr. Beaumont at Helen DeVos and it went something like this. "Jen, this is Dr. Beaumont calling. Please call me back to discuss plans for Roland to come home tomorrow, Becker on Sunday, and Micah on Monday."
Though incredibly excited, I was also very surprised and a little nervous. After all, I've never had infants and most of what I knew about caring for them I had learned in the NICU. I called Andy immediately to share the great, scary, mind blowing, nerve-wracking, well, news anyway. I will never forget his reaction. It is etched into my memory forever. Of course, it was a very easy reaction to remember. Me: "Dr. Beaumont just called to say all three boys may be home by Monday". Andy: "No. No no no no no. No. No. No. No no no no no no no no no. Really? Monday?" I was laughing pretty hard by the end of the call, as his shock pretty well mirrored my own, though he expressed it far more eloquently. You see, there is not a lot of notice at the NICU. Things change quickly. There had been no talk of the boys coming home. We were still expecting their stay to be around seven weeks, certainly not five. There are criteria that must be met prior to discharge. One of these is that the babies be maintaining their own body temperature. They had been taken out of their isolettes over a week before so this milestone was no surprise to us. The other major obstacle to discharge is that the babies take all their feeds by bottle, rather than through their feeding tube, for a full forty eight hours. There had previously been days when one or more of the boys came near the twenty four hour mark, or days when they took a majority by bottle, but never close to the full forty eight. My point is, though we have longed to have the babies home, somehow the call was still a shock.
As I considered last minute preparations for our first son home, I found myself increasingly excited to see our nursery cribs occupied. The following day we had plans with Andy's dad and stepmom who were flying in from Chicago so the four of us headed over to the hospital to visit four babies, and to take one home. It was a wonderful feeling to watch our boy freed of his tube and leads for the last time. Our tiny but fiercely strong and determined boy looked even smaller in contrast to his carseat.
Days in NICU: 38
Birth weight: 2lbs. 8oz.
Discharge weight: 4lbs. 4oz.
Discharge status: Mighty.
|This mommy may or may not have mistaken butt cream for lotion and slathered it all over her boy's dry forehead.|
|So much space for such a little guy.|
It was so much fun getting Roland settled, introducing him to his crib, rock and play, bassinet, and the dogs. Putting him to bed each night I would remind him sternly not to get too used to having his own room. It was about to come to an end.
|This won't be your own room for long, Little Man!|
Doctor Beaumont's prediction that Becker would join us on Sunday proved incorrect, as little Becker had a small setback when he spit up through his nose and required suction. The hospital requires a minimum of five additional days after such an event so he was to have a few more nights in his comfy NICU bed with his favorite nurses catering to his every need.
Monday afternoon Micah reached his forty eight hour mark for bottle feeds. Since it was after discharge hours we were informed that he would spend one last night with Becker and Marin at Helen DeVos and come home Tuesday.
Days in NICU: 41
Birth weight: 3lbs. 0oz.
Discharge weight: 5lbs. 0oz.
Discharge status: Sweet as pie.
A few days later the boys had their first doctor's appointment, where they were proclaimed to be in perfect health.
That very Friday it was time for our little Becker to join his brothers. Picking up Roland and Micah had been such happy occasions, but I was surprised to feel sad when picking up Becker. Picking up the other boys, I had left the remaining siblings with each other. This time, I was leaving Marin alone. Marin, of course, had no idea that she was alone, but seeing her by herself, occupying the last of our half of the NICU room tugged at my heart.
Days in NICU: 44Birth weight: 2lbs. 6oz.
Discharge weight: 4lbs. 5oz.
Discharge status: (extremely rare) Midwestern Squeaker Monkey
|Our little Monkey was somewhat skeptical about sharing his space.|
Andy was supposed to go out of town for the weekend that day but wanted to cancel when we found out that we would have all three boys home. I put on my brave face and assured him I was up to the task of caring for the trio that weekend. Do I need to tell you that I was not up to the task? The boys chose that first night with Andy gone to be up all night! We had recently moved Roland and Micah to a new schedule that worked better with Andy's office schedule. Becker was not excited about the change and he got the whole crew on board with his protest.
I catch myself referring to Becker as Squeaker because, well, he squeaks. He has a hundred different noises, and most of them involve some form of a squeak. Imagine my surprise when we were ushered into the exam room for his first doctor's appointment and found this picture hanging on the wall.
It has been so fun, though tiring, having the boys home. I love getting to know them. They are each very different in both looks and personality, so I have been able to get to know three individuals, rather than "the boys." But more about that next time.
For now, just know how blessed we are to have these beautiful peanuts home with us, and how much we look forward to Marin Grace joining the party and completing our crew, hopefully very soon.
Love and blessings,
Jen and Andy
Micah, Becker, Roland and Marin