I thought I was pretty prepared for a normal baby since I'd already had one intensive-care child. But I've been surprised to see how many differences there are!
For example, how the heck do I take care of an umbilical cord? Brynn's was long gone before she came home. Is occasional gagging normal? Brynn's always led to projectile vomiting. Should I be anticipating our next medical intervention and/or procedure? This used to be the "responsible" thing to do, but now it seems more like "worry." How long do newborns nurse? Heidi's 5-8 minutes was really worrying me ... until I learned it's normal for the first little bit.
In the hospital, I was allowed to keep Heidi in the room with me ALL NIGHT instead of sending her to the nursery. They didn't suck out her guts to make sure she was digesting everything alright or weigh her diapers to make sure her output was healthy. No, no. They just left her. With me. The whole time.
Other surprises have been sublime, too. It is just wonderful to hear Heidi's newborn cry. We didn't hear Brynn's for months. I love staring into Heidi's big eyes. We didn't see Brynn's for a couple weeks. I cherish cuddling Heidi during breastfeeding. I nearly always had to pump or wash dishes during Brynn's tube feedings.
And for all you people that think NICU moms get to catch up on their sleep just because their babies are still in the hospital ... think again, Dearies. Pumping round the clock is MUCH more time consuming and requires more concentration than actual breastfeeding. Therefore, if you're breastfeeding, you don't have to fully wake up as much--just latch the kiddo on and wa la. I get more sleep now than I did in the late-pregnancy phase with Heidi and MUCH more than I did in the first few weeks of pumping for Brynn. I can't believe how well rested I feel in comparison.
In addition, breastfeeding is a thousand times less painful for me than pumping exclusively was. Although, I will confess the pump has become a better friend. I mean, after all, Heidi's short nursing stretches + engorgement = one miserable Guernsey. Add the pump to the equation and suddenly the Guernsey = RELIEVED!
Another big surprise is that though Heidi was MUCH larger than Brynn, the recovery has been much easier. Go figure.
And our first Pediatrician follow-up visit after leaving the hospital? Without such a long history, the paperwork only took 5 minutes instead of 20 to fill out! I expected to hear at least some bad news--she looked a little jaundiced to me--but everything was normal. She'd only lost one more ounce than when we'd left the hospital and was still well within the normal range of weight fluctuation.
What a different experience. Although Brynn's story has become our personal "normal," and I wouldn't change her history even if I could, I am loving this new normal.
Noah's 5th Birthday
2 months ago