Day 6: Lots of Holding and Time at the Breast

First, let me say that I posted the boys’ birth story earlier today and moved it so it’s in the right place (chronologically) in this blog as I try to catch up and making me entries for days when I was without Internet access.

I had a good sleep last night, and after I woke, I realized that it was the first night since the boys were born that I have not had a nightmare. I had been attributing my strange nightmares to the late night pain medications, taken on an empty stomach but hadn’t given enough credit to my subconscious, I suppose. Last night’s dream was plenty strange all right, but it wasn’t scary.

I had been pumping milk every 3 hours around the clock until last night as well. One of my books said that I didn’t have to do every three hours through the night, so I took the opportunity to sleep a little more in one stretch than I had been doing. Pumping is going well so far — after the setback of the second surgery, I was afraid that all of our breastfeeding efforts might have been ruined, but thankfully, they have not.

After we got up, we spent some time getting prepared for the day — I pumped, ate, got showered and took care of some calls and tasks I wanted to get done. One of those was to get Miss Lulu a new booster seat. You see, we had gotten her a high-back booster seat so that we could easily move her from vehicle to vehicle as she needed to spend more time with friends towards the end of the pregnancy and especially now. When she first used it, she loved it, as it’s different than a car seat or 5-point harness seat like the one she was in. She asked if she could always use it, but I told her that her other seat was safest, and this seat was just for use in Lindsay or other friend’s cars. I also told her, however, that once the boys arrived, she could always ride in her “big girl” seat in the car.

Now that the boys have arrived, I wanted to do something special for my sweet girl who has been so strong and spent many days away from home as we go through this transitional time. She had really wanted a Disney Princess booster seat. Unfortunately, those are only available in a backless booster style, which Calista is still too small for. I did, however, find this one, that is quite pink, quite princessy and is just the right type of seat for her. When my big girl arrives in Seattle again, she will receive this big sister gift from her Mommy, Daddy and Brothers:

Pink Graco High Back Booster

It says “Very Important Princess” on the tag on the back — what princess could resist? Our friend Tracy had gotten it for us and we will get it from her soon so we can have it ready for Calista’s arrival in Seattle.

Gosh, I swore I wouldn’t get all long-winded and bore people…

Fast forward and we’ve arrived back at the NICU. I am feeling more confident about knowing what to do when we arrive, how to sign and scrub in and where the boys are. We can go and see them, touch them, and when we feel comfortable doing so, take them out and hold them on our own without help or asking. It feels so strange to me to arrive and go to a plastic box and open the doors to reach in for my baby, like it’s some kind of strange store and the babies are each in a display case.

I visited with both boys briefly to start (they are in different rooms still, so I am trying to go back and forth between them both). I said hello to Ace for a few moments and they said he was going to feed soon, so I went to say hello to Nate and then planned to return to Ace to allow him to snuggle at my breast as he was fed, to start to teach him that the breast is associated with a full tummy.

I got to Nate and was so pleased to see he had no more nasal cannula or any other breathing equipment. He is breathing room air! The nurse also told me that he would be having his umbilical IV out soon and then I could hold him. I stroked him and talked to him a bit and then returned to Ace for his feeding.

Nate Day 6
Nate, free of his breathing equipment and resting peacefully

I returned to Ace and they nurse took him out of his isolette so I could hold him. I held him to my breast as his nasogastric tube sent food directly to his tummy. It was an incredible thing — his little mouth started going and he was smacking his lips and licking at my nipple. I gave him drops of milk from time to time as he snuggled and he eventually drifted off to sleep in my arms.

After that, I pumped again and then returned to Nate. He was just have his umbilical IV removed and once it was, he was placed on my chest. The nurse had to adjust the IV in his hand, and he cried when she did. It was so sad to hear his little cry, but I also was glad I was holding him and could soothe him as she fixed it.

I put Nate to my breast as I had done with Ace, even though Nate was not being fed at the moment. The little guy took right to my nipple as if it were a pacifier and went to sleep. I also noticed that when I held him, the lines on his monitors get so consistent — not more erratic like when he’s in the isolette. The “erratic” lines on the screen are not a bad thing, they are totally normal, but there is a definite difference in his monitor when he is with me. We were in a recliner and I fell asleep as well. He slept on my chest for over an hour.

Daddy also got lots of time with both boys today. When I see them with Skip, I am reminded just how tiny they are. I know that a lot of the pictures don’t convey their size well at all. I thought I had known how small they were, but when I saw them for the first time, I realized I could have never dreamed of a baby so tiny and perfect.

Tiny Nate Day 6
Tiny Baby Nate with Daddy’s Hand

Ace Awake on Day 6
Ace groggily looks around

Daddy Holding Ace on Day 6
Daddy and Baby Ace

Some general developmental info… Nate and Ace now only have nasogratric tubes and IVs in one hand each (and, of course, the cords and wires for the various monitors). Their nasograstric tubes are how they are fed, and the IV provides additional fat and nutrients while their tummies are not quite large enough to take in all that they need. Nate currently takes 20 cc per feed, and Ace is at 18 cc. Nate’s goal is 40 cc per feed and then his IV can be removed; Ace’s is 33 cc per feed to have his IV removed. They are both at least halfway there! Once the IVs are out, the next goal is to get them to take their feedings by breast/bottle.

I look forward to tomorrow and watching them grow and get stronger with each passing day.

17 Replies to “Day 6: Lots of Holding and Time at the Breast”

  1. Sommer & Skip – again the boys are beautiful – it is so good that they are doing so well.

    I think of you everyday…

    Hugs to the whole family – and tell Calista everyone is so proud of her for being such a great big sister – she is so brave!

  2. Thanks for the updates. Wow those boys are just cruising right up the cc ladder. How awesome. What good boys. Glad you’re doing better and getting some good holding time with them. It’s good for you and them.

  3. Sommer,
    That is so awesome that both boys have taken such a quick interest in the breast!! …and that they are both on room air before a week old!! A couple of strong boys you have there!!

    Thinking and praying for you…

  4. i don’t think you are long-winded or boring at all! i think so many of us have watched you struggle with infertility and then through the pregnancy and delivery…we are just all so excited for you and happy that the boys are here. you deserve to write every little thing down so that some day you can look back and remember how special these days were.


    ps my 4yo, rachel, says that calista is going to LOVE that seat!

  5. Wow..sounds like they are growing by leaps and bounds already! Glad to hear they are doing well. Calista’s seat is very cute! Jenna has one that is pink just like that, but Calista’s with the princess theme is TOO cute! Hope she’s enjoying being the big sister! Give the boys and sister a kiss from your friends in Ohio!

  6. Glad to hear everyone is doing well. Good job Nate on getting to room air!!!!!! and great job to both boys for knowing what mommies nipples are for. :)

    I think of you all often throughout the day and am wishing and praying that the boys are home soon.

    I think Calista will LOVE that carseat. We’ve been being asked for one of those at our house too.

  7. What beautiful little boys you have. I am so impressed with how far they have come already. Enjoy everyday snuggling. They grow too fast.

    As for Calista’s booster. She will love it. It is perfect for the Princess.


  8. Your posts are not long winded and you are not boring people, at least not me! I love reading your updates and seeing your pictures! That is so awesome that when you were holding Nate the monitor lines were not as erratic. He sure knows his Mommy! Both he and Ace are adorable and the picture w/ Skip’s hand does really give a better sense of their size. You, Skip, Calista, Ace and Nate continue to be in our thoughts and prayers! Love, Kathy :)

  9. Sommer,
    I just read your post and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I think it’s just a mom thing! It’s so wonderful how hard you are working to help them learn to breastfeed. There is nothing better for them, especially given their early arrival, which of course you already know. Your children are lucky to have such a devoted mom. Sending good nursing vibes your way! Take care:)

  10. Your boys are just beautiful. I eagerly follow their progress and I’m just so happy for you all to be together again and have them getting stronger everyday :)

  11. Sommer – The boys look great and it is so amazing to read about how well they are doing! It must be a wonderful feeling to know that although they aren’t quite ready to breastfeed yet – you can tell they will settle right in when it is time.

    You are so strong Sommer and you are doing a wonderful job of handling all that life has thrown at you recently! Keep it up!

  12. Yeah on the good news all around. The boys are doing an amazing job and so are you!!! I think Ace looks just like Calista. We’re thinking about you. BTW, excellent choice on the car seat, my princess picked the exact same one after carefully studying its color, I mean, safety features! ;)

  13. Such little miracles. Even in just a day or two they look stronger!!! It’s amazing!

    I love the car seat! It’s perfect for her!! =o)

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