(Is this not the cutest baby you’ve seen in your life? Also, if you’re wondering about the oxygen, he’s not off it yet, but he’s doing really well, so I took the cannula off to get this photo!)
So! It’s been a bit since our last update. But I’m sure you all understand that life is a bit more hectic these days. In a very good way.
We did indeed go home on the 31st, 3 weeks to the day from when Ambrose was admitted to the PCH NICU. The 5 1/2 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Vegas was…epic. To put it euphemistically. We left around 6:30 p.m. and got into Vegas at approximately 2 a.m. local time, making the actual trip time 8 1/2 hours total. We had a bit of a meltdown a couple hours out of Salt Lake City, when the pulse oximeter we’d been given started beeping regularly (and aggressively) to alert us that the battery was low, while at the same time Ambrose woke up hungry and decided he’d forgotten how to latch on. Also, nursing in the back seat of a Honda Fit with the car seat on one side and the door on the other isn’t the most ideal situation. Nor is pumping. So yeah. We were definitely relieved to see the lights of the Vegas valley at the end of our long, long journey.
Since then, we’ve just been getting into the swing of life at home, and it’s been mostly fabulous. We have our rough days, but all in all Ambrose is really proving to be a very easy baby. He sleeps 3-4 hour stretches at night, though he doesn’t go down easy after 6 a.m. (when Mom most wants a final bit of sleep!) He only cries when he needs something, and he has no issues with reflux or gas or nothin’.
Feeding has been very interesting. I’ve been nursing on demand to establish my supply, and it’s been going just fine. Weird TMI alert though: the other night my milk came in on my right side. Like, three weeks too late. Engorgement pain and everything…it was very odd. But it goes to show that our bodies know exactly what to do! (Left side, I think, is still recovering from all the mastitis fun, but he still takes it, so I’m not complaining.)
As for Ambrose’s recovery, he did go home on oxygen and a pulse oximeter, as you may have picked up on earlier. We went to our first pediatrician appointment on Friday, mostly just to get established with the doc and give him a chance to review Ambrose’s medical history. Ambrose is gaining weight just fine, and we got a referral to a pulmonologist who’s actually the same one the doctor in Salt Lake City recommended for us. So the next step is to make an appointment with him to discuss a weaning schedule.
But. We’ve sort of been experimenting with weaning Ambrose down on our own. Don’t tell. He went home on a .06 flow, but we’ve started lowering it to .03, the final step before zero, and he’s done just fine. Sometimes he even yanks his cannula off (I don’t blame him, it bugs me too) and we let it go until we start to see his numbers dropping. If he’s awake, he’s generally totally okay.
In fact, the biggest problem we’ve actually had is with the equipment we were sent home with. Literally every single piece we’ve had trouble with: the regulator on the portable oxygen tank was malfunctioning and blowing air up Ambrose’s nose, the pulse oximeter wasn’t reading correctly, the oxygen concentrator we were first given wasn’t providing the right amount of oxygen, and when that got replaced by a large, non-transportable oxygen tank…something was wrong with it. I don’t even remember. We went through a hellish day trying to get everything figured out, but we did get it figured out, and now things are mostly smooth sailing. As smooth sailing as you can get when you’re confined to a corner of your house and constantly tripping over cables and wires.
Needless to say, I look forward to the day when Ambrose will be ours, no strings attached, and I can carry him all around the house and around the neighborhood without having to tote extra pieces of equipment. But lest I sound ungrateful, let me just say: I am so, so happy to finally be home even with the limitations. Ambrose is a healthy, happy baby whose lungs just need a little more time to heal. We’ve experienced what one woman in the Lactation department at PCH called a “plot twist,” but, in her words, we want to see where the story ends. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I really appreciated that perspective on the situation. The first month of Ambrose’s life did not turn out how I imagined it — on the contrary! — but it’s been an adventure, and we’ll always have an incredible story to tell.
So where do we go from here? I never intended to write so much about Ambrose right from the get-go, but I know a lot of you are invested in his story (and his cuteness) and will be sad to hear less about him. I’ll probably convert this back into my regular old inane EmilyIRL blog when I get the hang of being a mom, but I am still planning on posting monthly Ambrose updates — that was actually my intention before he was born. So if you don’t care about weird baking experiments or clothing critiques, at least make sure to show up around the 9th of every month for your dose of Ambrose. He’s a growing boy, and we look forward to this new adventure as his parents.