Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally Home!

OK, so I haven't blogged in a while. The last six months have held some of the worse experiences of my life. The last two months have tested me in ways I never imagined, but in the end, I am so glad to have Peter that I would go through it all again if I had to.

Peter has done well though out his short four month life. Everything that was asked of him he did well from breathing to enduring tests and even an eye surgery. In the last month, as the time for him to come home drew nearer, the stress level seemed to grow exponentially. Things stopped being clear cut. It used to be that everything was measured and had a prescribed treatment, but then it turned into a free- for-all on opinions about how to raise a baby. One nurse would tell me I need to breastfeed because it would protect him and prevent illness. The very next day a nurse would say we need to give him formula because he isn't growing fast enough. One specialist would say don't ever give him a bottle because then he won't breastfeed and he really should breastfeed. Instead he should begin a tiny cup. Then a doctor would meet with me as though I was being difficult because giving him a bottle would help him get off the feeding tube faster. One nurse would write a feeding plan for when I should feed him then the next day I am told that I will over tire him by following that plan. I would call the hospital at night and be told Peter was settled and fine. The next I would be told that he was screaming and I need to try to spend more time at the hospital. Finally I was asked to stay at the hospital over night. I was excited because I thought that some consistency would occur. None did. Finally after weeks of staying at the hospital on and off and try every feeding method and technique under the sun, we were allowed to take Peter home.

Peter came home on March 13th. We have a machine in our apartment that pulls oxygen out of the air and sends it to Peter via a plastic tube that has prongs that stick in Peter's nose. We also have five oxygen tanks. One is a back-up to replace the machine if we were ever to loose power or if the machine broke. The other four are to use when we go out with Peter. They are about the size of a fire extinguisher and fit in a book bag. This constant leash attached to Peter it not as bad as the staff seemed to thing we would be worried that it was. The they were constantly trying to reassure us when we were just thrilled to get Peter home no matter what it involved. Peter seems to be more annoyed at the oxygen than we are. He constantly pulls the prongs out of his nose. The staff gave us various types of tape to try to hold it in place, but with Peter's determination the tape just served to pull his hair and get the prong stuck in odd positions. We have stopped using the tape and just adjust the tube to fit around his head snugly. We continue to place the prongs back into his nose the same zillion times a day we were doing before.

Peter also has an apnea monitor that we can use when ever we like. It has a probe that tapes to Peter's chest and alarms if Peter ever stops breathing. The nurses said we don't have to use it, but most moms use it all the time at first. I found it to be a horrible waste of machinery. First of all, to actually get the probe to stick to Peter you have to use a type of tape that peels Peter's skin if you try to remove it without drenching it in lotion first. Even though this industrial strength tape sticks to Peter wonderfully, it doesn't stick to the probe. Instead of giving us peace of mind, the dumb thing would get stuck to Peter's shirt, go off, and scare us to death at random times in the middle of the night. Eventually we just put the device away.

Other than those two devices, Peter has multivitamins and iron supplements he takes once a day. He is mostly breastfed with a bottle of prescription preemie formula once a day that has extra calories to help him grow faster. He also has about two doctor's appointments or check-ups each week.

Even with all this extra stuff, Peter is a pretty normal baby. He development is supposed to follow his gestational age (which would make him one week old developmentally), but in reality, he tends to fall somewhere in the middle of his birth age and his gestational age. Another words, he acts like a typical 2 month old baby. He cries, feeds, plays, and interacts with us completely normally. For this we are very grateful. It is so much fun to see him interact with the world and I love dressing him, bathing him, talking to him, and just holding him. The tiredness of feeding him multiple times a night is just physical. The tiredness that came from worrying about him has pretty much gone away.

Peter still has to be continually tested until he is off the oxygen. He will also have a hernia surgery in a month or so. He isn't quite normal and that has given him a unique personality. He is our little miracle and I look forward to everyday with him.


  1. Good to hear. What's he weigh these days?

    And Kerry, no doubt you've got a little better take on "socialist" health care after all this.

  2. As of a week ago when he finally reached his due date, Peter weighed 6 lb 11 oz. He was measured at 47 cm (18.5 in.).

  3. Lara, I remember those days too well. . . and it has been 3 1/2 years. When our triplets started pulling the tubes out of their noses on their own, the docs let them. The docs said the kids do that when they are "ready". I remember the feeding fights, too. Luckily, we didn't bring any equipment home with us. One of the three, in particular, always had us worried -- at first, he took "too long" to get off oxygen, then he didn't want to eat, then he was always underweight even for his adjusted age, then he had to have hernia surgery. It was always something. . . now, Jon is 3 1/2 and went up to my 6-year old's baseball coach the other day and told him "I'm big now. I'm ready to play, too." Looking back I see how far we've come, yet I don't know how we got here. You'll be comparing ages (adjusted vs. actual) for about 2 years, then suddenly, he will be your perfect little boy like all the other little ones his age and not a "preemie."

  4. Sarah, thanks for the encouragement! It is really nice to know that the "preemie" label fades away someday. I am glad your babies turned out great and I think Peter will do the same. Thanks.