Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Maternity Leave?

You may be wondering why there's a question mark in the title. Mainly because I would like to know why it doesn't exist here. Yes we have FMLA and some companies have maternity leave but it isn't much. And it doesn't compare to other countries. The ideal would be to be able to stay at home with your child if you so choose. However, that's not an option for many of us. I also feel it's cruel to place a child of 6 or 12 weeks into day care. That's my personal opinion but I think babies need to be with their parents. At least until they're one. We should be given the opportunity to stay at home after giving birth and to be paid for it. If you work, you should have that promise. That you can leave your job for more than 12 weeks and get money so you can care for your child and not worry about the bills. Not only that but breastfeeding is awfully hard to maintain if you have to go back to work at one month or even three months. If we speak of how important family is and all the benefits of breastfeeding, why not do something to show that? It's so hard knowing I go back to my job at the end of October. We're already struggling with nursing and I feel so much stress knowing my time to nurse and not pump is so limited. I've been pumping since the day after Monkey was born and it's exhausting.

There has to be a way to allow women to stay home and care for their children and not feel guilty about it. It seems ridiculous to me that this has to happen. I think it's incredibly difficult to establish a good nursing relationship when you know you'll have to go back to work and be pumping soon. It just isn't fair. Yeah I'm whining a little but it seems sad to me that our country can't help out women and children. It's not about handing out welfare or something to people. It's about giving children a good start in life. We need to start practicing what we preach. I'm not going to lie. I'm scare to death to go back to work with the amount of sleep I've gotten. That would be next to nothing. Having a newborn is an adjustment. We can't all afford nannies or people to help us care for our babies at night. So we do the best we can. But I have to say the best this country is doing just isn't good enough.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Home at Last

After just about a week in the NICU we finally got to take Monkey home Wednesday evening. I am so happy to have him here with us. It's exhausting and I'm worried about going back to work in a few weeks but it's a relief to have him where he belongs. It was bittersweet to leave the NICU, and I feel for the families we met who have to wait weeks and months to take their babies home. The nurses were happy to see us go and all day Wednesday nurses who took care of Monkey were calling there to see if he was getting discharged. They all want pictures!

Our little boy doesn't like his bassinet and loves noise while he sleeps. I need to get used to the noise! Hopefully that will change. He wants to be held while he sleeps and I think part of that is all the time he was alone. He is super serious and observant. The only time he cries is when we change his diaper or he's hungry and we didn't catch it in time. Even at night when he doesn't sleep he fusses a bit until he feels us touch him and then he just looks around watching everything. I would do the same if I had a mask covering my eyes for almost a week!

I'm still pumping and hoping he catches on to nursing soon. He does try and today we had a good session where he did great! But it wears him out quickly. I'm hoping to change that with new bottle nipples so he gets used to working.

Daddy loves his baby and comes home from work ready to play. It's cute watching them together. They love each other a ton! Hubby is great at changing diapers and clothes! First diaper change was a little tricky but he has the hang of it now except last night when Monkey peed all over everything! Hubby caught it just in time tonight so I was impressed. We are catching on to the whole parenting thing and it's fun!

Now for some wonderful pictures. I figure I can overload my blog instead of facebook :)

Last day in the NICU. Finally free from the blankets and wires.  I got to hold him all day. 

Trip to the doctor on Thursday. Monkey was 7 pounds 10 ounces! Yay! And no worries about bilirubin!

Monkey loves his chupon! It's how we make it through diaper changes!

I love his sweet smile that he gives when he's asleep or passing gas or pooping. The boy is the king of pooping and gas.

Monkey with his favorite aunt! Well, with the aunt who loves to take pictures of him. His other aunts haven't had the chance to spend much time with him yet.

Me and Monkey relaxing! His favorite position on mom.

Look at him move! He has great head control.

Snuggling with grandma! And wide awake.

Monkey and Daddy together.

Daddy kissing Monkey. Super sweet!

This is how we spend most of our time with Monkey.

Our happy family! Home at last!
Monkey with grandpa. Both of them were sound asleep! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Just Another Day in the NICU

As sad as it is, we're getting the hang of the routine going to the NICU every day. I wish I could stay all night and the nurses would be thrilled I'm sure but that's impossible with hubby's schedule. He needs to work and I need to be with Monkey. Luckily, hubby didn't work over the weekend so we got to spend lots of time in the NICU. All the nurses know us by name now and know when we'll be there in the mornings. Monkey has some amazing nurses, and we have grown to love them. I wish my baby could be at home with us where he needs to be but I know the nurses are taking great care of him while we're at home resting. It takes us forever to get to sleep because we miss Monkey. We spend time looking at pictures of him until we finally fall asleep. I usually get up to pump once or twice in the night too which means even less sleep. At least I'm able to to rest.

We got there a little later today because they have rounds from 9 to 10 on Mondays so we were able to get a little extra sleep. Showed up around 11 expecting to feed him at noon. Turns out they put him on a four hour eating schedule (which I'm not happy about because he wants to eat smaller meals than what they give him) so he didn't eat until 2. We held him all wrapped up in his lights until he woke up to eat. The nurses are always reminding us to eat as well. For me, not a problem. I'm starving every time I pump. I go through a ton of water as well. The doctor checked his bilirubin this morning and the levels stayed the same so she ordered another test for this evening. We left after we fed him to come home, eat and rest. Came back to the hospital around 5 to get ready for his next feeding. As we were feeding him the doctor came over to tell us that Monkey's bilirubin has gone up so he won't be home tomorrow. I am incredibly crushed right now. I miss my baby so much and it breaks my heart to leave him every night. I swear I won't sleep when he comes home because I'll be up all night watching him. So will hubby. We fight over holding him in the hospital because we don't get to hold him for very long at all. And all my hormones make me have a meltdown when we leave. At least it's good for milk production? I mean it is for mine anyways. They put Monkey on a bili bed so he looks like he's tanning. He hates it though because he loves being swaddled and they can't put blankets on him while he's in the bed. We'll post pictures of him in the bed tomorrow.

Poor guy has been through so much. The doctor is hopeful his levels will start to go down and he can come home Wednesday or Thursday. He gets another check tomorrow morning. If the levels go down, they'll take him off the bed and lights then test him again tomorrow night. As long as that goes well, he'll be able to come home even if he may need a bili blanket. And now for your enjoyment, pictures of Monkey:
Daddy was burping him (once I showed him how) and Monkey let out a huge yawn!

Daddy showing off Monkey's bili lights! I love how it's all glowing. Monkey was trying to take off his mask!

This is how we get Monkey to take the last of his milk. Dad has to do it. He starts to fall asleep with me once he has his fill and Daddy always has to get him to take the last 10-15 mls. 
I'm glad you can't see how bruised his feet are in this picture. His foot is so tiny! I was playing with his foot to wake up him up and finish the last of his milk.
Monkey is our hero! We love him so much and can't wait for him to come home! I want to take pictures of his tiny feet and hands before they get too big!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Loving our Monkey

Here's little Monkey. We've spent most of the day today and yesterday in the NICU with him and he is adorable. He's making progress but very slowly. When we got there this morning, they took him off all IV fluids so he's getting nothing except the bili lights. Problem is. his sugar levels won't stay up now that he's off the IV. He has to have 3 draws over 55 and he gets close but not quite. I hate seeing them stick his heel cause it makes me so sad. Hopefully when we go back tonight he'll have a good draw. He does eat but he can't keep up the numbers. I wish we knew why. It's so incredibly hard to see him in there. Luckily there are some great nurses who have been helpful. We get to hold him for a little while and today the nurse put the bili blanket on him and wrapped him so we could spend most of the afternoon holding him. He loves snuggling with us but hates eating. That's the biggest problem. He just chills out the minute he gets a little bit of food in him and goes straight to sleep. We love him to death! I cannot stand leaving the NICU and as much as we know we need rest, we would rather be over there. It's so hard leaving him every day. We're praying he gets better quickly so he can be home with us!