So, I realize it’s been a while since I posted an update on Miss Anna Banana. Again, this is probably going to be a long post. (My mother always got onto me about not being concise enough…) And I can’t promise that it won’t get a little graphic. Remember – pregnancy makes you a big over-sharer!
Things have gone nuts since I wrote last. I haven’t been able to keep up with emails, voicemails, or anything on Facebook. I hope people don’t think that I’m ignoring them. I’ve just been running around like a chicken with its head cut off… Since my last post, Anna tolerated all her feedings and made it to full feeds. The staff stopped limiting the amount she is able to have and instead is letting her eat until she is full. They added a fortifier to my breastmilk so the calorie content was higher. She steadily gained weight. Anna’s bilirubin level decreased and she was taken off of the bili-blanket. She did not need to lay under the big light. Anna was moved to a crib and proved that she was able to regulate her body temperature, tolerate full feeds, and consistently gain weight. She also passed her car seat test (sitting in the car seat for 2 hours to prove that her airway wasn’t restricted in that position). What a little go-getter!! I spoke with the neonatologist on Monday (2/15) about a possible discharge date. I almost wet myself when she said we could take Anna home the next day!!
So, my little Super Bowl baby was able to come home on Mardi Gras (2/16)!! She spent 9 days in the NICU. The doctors and nurses were amazed that a 33 week baby was able to go home that quickly. No one thought she would do as well as she did. I suspect that this could be a trend for the rest of her life… What amazes me is just how strong she is. I would look around the nursery at the other babies and wonder why mine was doing as well as she was. There were babies the same gestational age as Anna that were much sicker. Heck, there were babies that were a few weeks older than her that had problems eating and breathing. We’ve decided she is a full-term baby trapped in a preemie body!!
In her car seat ready to bust out of the hospital!
Car ride home – can you see the excitement on her face???
Daddy carrying in our little one for the first time. (He didn’t even carry me in the house the first time!)
Things have been going pretty good since we’ve all three been home. The first night wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. Alex and I figured things out for the most part. We both got up for all the night feedings (she eats every 3 hours), so by the morning we were tired. I was getting Anna ready for her 8am feeding and Alex tells me he needs to use the bathroom. Well, an hour later he’s still not back in the room. I walk into our room to find him asleep in our bed. I’m pretty sure the bed has nothing to do with using the potty, so I was a little upset with him. I think he’s finally realizing why I’ve been so tired from waking up and pumping constantly. Since the first night, we’ve been switching off night feedings in order for each of us to get a little more sleep. Aside from the occasional diaper blow-out and gas issues (Anna’s, not Alex’s) we are doing alright. Anna did tunnel out of her swaddle a few times. It was bizzarre. Her swaddle would be inside the sleep positioner like a little cornucopia waiting to be filled. Anna would be on the other side of the crib. I’m not sure how something so small could maneuver like that… We’ve tried the Summer swaddle blankets with Velcro closures. So far, she can’t wiggle out of that. She does throw a fit if you don’t wrap her hands up by her face though. Such a little drama queen!
The breastfeeding has been a bit rocky. I’ve been pumping like crazy to build up my supply, so it was really exhausting. First, my left boob had some engorgement issues. I spoke to a lactation consultant (read: militant) who told me how to get the ‘juices flowing’. A few days later I started having these sores on my nip (later found out it was caused by a flange that was too small). I spoke to the lactation consultant again who told me that was normal and to keep at it. So I did. Three days later the sores had gotten really bad so I forced a lactation consultant to meet with me. I insisted that something was not right. Well, this lady took one look at my boob and gasped. She acted like I should have talked to her sooner… (can I slap her now or later??) She gave me a bigger flange and these gel pads to use in order for my nips to heal. Well, Wednesday night I fed Anna a bottle at 11pm and noticed a little pain in my left love bag. I pumped when the feeding was done and had horrible pain, but it kind of went away when I finished pumping. I fell asleep only to wake up with uncontrollable chills and a throbbing left boob. It didn’t matter how many layers of clothes and covers I had on, I could not warm up. I even cuddled with a heating pad – no luck. After about an hour of pretty bad pain and chills, I woke Alex up. He looked through the list of discharge papers from the hospital and saw that if I was having breast pain and chills to call the doctor. So, I did. Apparently I have mastitis. In other words – a breast infection. The doctor called in an antibiotic to a 24-hour Walgreens. I was told to take a hot shower and try to massage the sore areas to loosen the blockage, and to take pain medicine. I think that pain was worse than the kidney stone. I was sobbing in shower because I was in so much pain. Alex was standing there rubbing by back and telling me it was going to be alright. All I could do was cry and shake uncontrollably. Anna’s 2am feeding happened at some point – Alex took care of it. I managed to get out of the shower, gently put on some clothes, and find my way to the bed. We were lucky that my dad was staying with us that evening. He ran to Walgreens at 2am to pick up my medicine. I spiked a temp of 103.5 at one point. Took some Tylenol to bring it down. I’ve felt horrible for the past couple of days. At some point that evening, I decided enough is enough with the whole breastfeeding thing. It’s been one thing after another, and I can’t really handle it. I feel like a failure by switching to formula, but it needs to be done. I’m telling myself that Anna got breastmilk for 2 weeks, which is better than nothing. I am still a little disappointed in myself, but it’s the best choice for us. We talked to the pediatrician about switching to formula. He didn’t try and guilt me into sticking with breastfeeding (I think I would have kicked him if he would have). We are using Enfamil Lipil formula with a higher calorie content so Anna gains weight faster.
Anna had her first appointment with her pediatrician. His name is Howard Schlansky and I really like him! He used to be the head resident at Children’s Hospital in the 80’s, so he knows a thing or two. He started a practice in St. Charles and now has several doctors working there. I’m really glad we found him! Anyway, Anna weighs 5lb 4oz and is 19.25 inches long! She’s growing like a little weed!! Everything checked out fine. She has a little red birthmark on her belly that will apparently go away in a few years. Other than that, everything is completely normal. Dr. Schlansky even gave us a bunch of samples of the formula we are using. He probably saved us $45! I love free stuff!! Anna’s next appointment will be at 1 month of age – so, in 2 weeks. We go back on March 9th.
In other news … I’m about 7 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight!! Maybe breastfeeding paid off after all… ha. The other day, Alex said to me “Babe, you are starting to look hot again.” I looked at him and said “Ummm, thanks. I think.” It just confirmed my belief that I was starting to look like a whale while pregnant. In Alex’s mind, he paid me a really nice compliment. I know he only meant well (at least I think). More news – Anna is having her newborn pictures taken tomorrow! Lori Woodney (a photographer from Cape) is driving up to take them. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!! We will get a few with the three of us too. So, I guess it’s a good thing that I’m looking hot … AGAIN! 🙂