Our sweet little Henry and Norah are five weeks old and came home yesterday! I never thought this time with them away from us in the NICU would pass so quickly, but it has flown by. I am actually finishing this up (I've had a draft started for two weeks now) while I watch them sleep. Here are the details of their first month:
- Did better than Norah at breathing initially and went off the oxygen two days before she did (right before he was a week old).
- Started spitting up his food at about two weeks (right as we laid them together on a pillow in the hospital for the first time) and had to have an IV in his hand for three days to help him get enough fluids. They also reduced the calorie count of his feeding every three hours and started feeding him a sensitive formula to help him keep his food down. Since then, he's been eating like a champ and growing a little every day!
- Has been chugging a bottle several times a day since week three. He makes adorable little sounds while he's eating and finishes more than his minimum ounces almost every time.
- Loves it when I sing to him and falls asleep pretty quickly when I snuggle him against me and sing lullabies like "Love Me Tender" and "You Can Close Your Eyes."
- Is a wiggleworm. When he was only a week old, he lifted his head up and shifted from his tummy to his side by himself.
- Likes to sleep on his tummy best (though he really disliked that position at first and it was hard to watch him in his isolette, struggling to move a different way). He's now getting used to sleeping on his back since that's how he'll sleep at home where there are no monitors.
- Is long and skinny (17 3/4 inches and 5 pounds 8 ounces), but his face has gotten chubbier in the past week. He has finally caught back up to Norah in weight, but his face and body are narrower than hers.
- Had his feeding tube removed June 6 and has been eating at least 38 ml from a bottle at each feeding since then. He has also been pretty good at taking a pacifier from the beginning.
- Was kind of concerned the first time we bathed him in the hospital and didn't love the experience — until we wrapped him up in towels and got him warm.
- Trailed behind Henry slightly at breathing on her own, but no longer needed oxygen after the first week.
- Turns bright red when she's mad (like when she was having her temperature taken or diaper changed in the hospital) or when she's trying to poop. She also turns red when we're trying to burp her and she's holding her breath.
- Has had a different bow on her head since Mother's Day (usually pink or red), which the nurses stuck on after they bathed her.
- Kept her food down better than Henry and gained weight faster than him until the last week because he was on a reduced calorie count. At one point, she weighed about four ounces more than him; now he weighs two ounces more than her because his sensitive formula has more calories than hers.
- Took longer to learn to suck, swallow and breathe while eating from a bottle. She would often scare us by not breathing while taking her formula, turning bright red and then finally taking a breath (or spitting up). She had her feeding tube removed June 7, a day after Henry, and has been doing really well with the bottle ever since — taking at least 43 ml most feedings.
- Loves to be swaddled and is pretty content while she's sleeping, even while she's waiting for us to finish feeding Henry so we can feed her. She will often open her big eyes and just look around patiently while she's waiting for her turn, just making cooing sounds.
- Has an adorably chubby face with a double chin and is slightly shorter than Henry (17 1/2 inches). She weighs 5 pounds 6 ounces, just trailing Henry.
- Will usually calm down pretty quickly with just a firm hand on her stomach to let her know someone is there. She unfortunately doesn't take a pacifier for long, and we generally have to hold it in her mouth while she sucks on it.
- Liked being bathed and was pretty happy until Andrew picked her up to rinse her off and then again to wrap her in a towel — but like Henry, she instantly stopped crying once she was warm and being held close.
Henry and Norah both moved from isolettes to open cribs (the little clear beds they put all full-term babies in) the night they turned a month old. This is also when they started wearing clothes for the first time, because they didn't need them in their heated beds, and they quickly grew out of preemie sizes. In fact, we bought preemie onesies for their one-month pictures and then donated them to the NICU right after because they were already tight on them.
We feel so blessed that they only spent a little more than five weeks in the NICU — and they would have gone home at four weeks had their eyes been more developed. They are amazing and already little fighters, and we're grateful God has blessed us with two perfect gifts.