Sunday, 20 June 2010

14 weeks - daddy's first father's day!

It's funny we were, wondering if Sophie would arrive in time for Alan to be a daddy on Father's Day, and she arrived on Mother's Day! We certainly didn't see that coming! Sophie gave her daddy a photo frame that says "Me and My Dad" on it but we still need to sort out a photo for it.

Sophie's had another very busy week. We took her into my work on Monday to meet everyone, then on to visit her great granny. She got lots of lovely presents from work - some she fits now and some she will grow into :) She's spent a lot of time visiting her grandad and her granny and grandpa and we've had the first visit to the health visitor. She has also had her second set of immunisations, poor lamb. She seems so tiny to be getting her second set of jags already but they go by the baby's actual age rather than their corrected age for the immunisations for premature babies.

Sophie's first cuddle with Great Granny

I think I found it more upsetting than Sophie did when she got her jags - I couldn't watch :-( She needed lots of cuddles and lots of feeds afterwards and didn't really settle well at night - she was a bit off-colour. The health visitor was meant to organise some calpol for her but she didn't do it for three days, by which time the need had passed!

She has been through a really hungry phase this week - probably a growth spurt! She is now 5lb 14 and still looks tiny. When we go out with the pram, people keep asking if she is a new baby and we have to go through the whole long story! It takes us a long time to get round Morrisons!

Cuddles with Daddy

Grandad bought Sophie a Winnie the Pooh gym which she absolutely loves, and she goes for piglet every time! Clearly she's going to be like her mummy and is going to like piglet the best. She started trying to suck her fingers this week and she has really grown - a babygrow that was far too big for her the day she came home now fits her!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

13 weeks and it's Sophie's due date!! we are, 13 weeks after Sophie arrived, and it's finally her due date! She came home on Monday, six days before her due date, weighing 5lb 6.

Safely installed in the car

Alan and I didn't sleep much at all the two nights we had Sophie in our room with us on the neonatal unit. We were scared to leave her "unattended" after being used to there being constant monitors and nurses watching her!

All the paperwork was done on Sunday so that we were able to make our escape as soon as possible on Monday!! All that was left to do was the rescusitation training and a couple of last bits of paperwork and then we were allowed to leave!

We got away about 11am. Sophie was so tiny in her car seat, and too small for her going home outfit - luckily we'd taken a spare outfit just in case that happened! The hospital had to give us a blanket to put underneath her in the car seat so that she was a bit higher up, otherwise the straps wouldn't have fitted her at all!

We said our goodbyes and took her out to the car. We felt really strange leaving for the last time. The neonatal unit had been our lives for the last 3 months and was our comfort zone. We took photos of it before we left so when Sophie is bigger, we can show her where she spent the first 12 weeks of her life. We were so excited going home with Sophie, but at the same time a little bit sad in a way...definitely a strange feeling and very hard to explain. It was also the best feeling in the world, finally leaving through the maternity dept with the car seat, just like all the other parents we'd seen leaving over the last 3 months.

Our second home!

I sat in the back with Sophie and stared at her all the way home! We called in at Granny and Grandpa's and then brought her home and Grandad came round, and then it was just the three of us in our own home at long last. One of our neighbours had put a big "Welcome Home Sophie" banner on the front window and a few neighbours spied us coming home and came to have a peek at Sophie. Nothing escapes un-noticed round here! Sophie brought up most of her bottle as soon as we got home and was really unsettled all afternoon and all night but that was probably just because it was such a different environment from what she'd been used to.

Sophie's very first photo at home

Next day, one of the community nurses from the neonatal unit came out to see us and to weigh Sophie and make sure her temperature was ok. She'd lost a couple of ounces since the previous day, but the nurse did say it could just be with the scales being on a carpet etc.

Sleeping in her moses basket with her very own blankets at last!

After she had left, we took Sophie round to Grandad's then took her out in her pram for the very first time - that was one moment we'd really been longing for! We parked in Tweedmouth Main Street and walked over to Berwick, met Granny and Grandpa in Berwick then walked up to their house and back to collect the car later. Sophie looked so tiny in her pram and so cute! She had a big long sleep and then when we came home, Alan gave her a bath for the first time since we got her home.

On Thursday morning Sophie had a doctor's appointment, then Uncle Greig and Aunty Claire visited for the day and then I walked to the shops with the pram and met Sophie's granny. On Friday we had to go back to the neonatal unit to get Sophie weighed again and went to visit Sophie's great aunty Fay.

Sunday was Sophie's official due date, and I felt quite strange all day knowing she was actually 13 weeks old but should only just be born around that day! It's a funny feeling, having missed out on the last 3 months of pregnancy, having had to leave our baby behind every day and come home to an empty house but it's wonderful finally having her home and being able to be a little family at last.

Here are a few more pictures from Sophie's first week at home:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

12 weeks - and we're GOING HOME!

What a week this has been!

At the beginning of the week we were told we could give Sophie her first bath, which was very exciting! The nurse showed us how to get the water temperature right, undress Sophie to her nappy and wrap her in a towel, then hold her over the edge of the bath to wash her hair. She absolutely hated having her hair washed, and that was the first time we had ever heard her really screaming!

However, once she was into the bath she absolutely loved it! The nurse said you could tell by her body language that she was really happy. She was gripping onto the underneath side of my arm the whole time I was holding her in the bath, but her little legs were kicking and her arms were flapping and she looked as if she was really having fun! She looked so cute with her hair all wet and slicked back. She spent the whole bath looking all around her and taking everything in.

When she was dried off, I found such a cute outfit for her to wear, and she looked so sweet with her hair all fluffy! The nurse told us we could just come in and bath her whenever we wanted now and we didn't have to wait to be told we could do it. That's definitely a step closer to feeling as if she is really our baby!

Sophie is now 5lb 8 - she has not put on any weight since last time she was weighed, but she hasn't lost any, which is the main thing. They had fully expected her to lose some, with going from being tube-fed to demand breastfeeding, but she hadn't so that's great news!

She is getting so much better at feeding, and her oxygen levels are definitely improving. She's getting much better at keeping her oxygen levels up during her feeds.

Grandad visited on Wednesday and had cuddles and then after her teatime feed, Alan held Sophie up above the screen so just her wee head was peeking over the top - it looked sooo cute! The nurse came to help and tried to get her to put her hands so that they were gripping the top of the screen but Sophie didn't really co-operate!

Super Sophie!

Sophie had a really hungry day on Thursday and never seemed to stop eating! The nurses are doing the night time feeds by bottle and she is breastfeeding through the day. We took her own bottles in so that she doesn't get too used to the hospital teats.

Another premmie mummy, Sandi, came to see us this week, with little Alex - another 27 weeker who was born last year. It's great having all these new friends who have gone through the same thing and they have been so supportive.

Sophie's sleep study was repeated AGAIN on Friday night. Dona and her husband Gordon had invited us round for dinner that night and we were very glad to be spending the evening with friends rather than stressing out beside Sophie's cot, with our eyes clued to her numbers on her monitor! We had a really lovely evening and got home pretty late which was also good - better than pacing the floor all night!

The dreaded sleep study monitor - but looking good at 97!

Saturday morning came and we nervously phoned the hospital to see how she was getting on. We couldn't decide whether we wanted to phone or not but we did want to see how she was! The nurse told us that so far, it was looking good - but we'd been told this on the last sleep study too, so we didn't want to get our hopes up. The community nurse who was reading the sleep study had read half of it and then gone out! We were unbelievably nervous going up to Edinburgh, and I will never forget how I felt going into that nursery almost scared to look at Sophie.

I sneaked a look at her cot as I went to wash my hands, and the monitor was gone....all her monitors were gone! Alan was too nervous to look and I whispered to him that they were gone. We went to speak to the nurse, and she asked us if we wanted the good news or the bad news. We were fully expecting to be told she could go home but on oxygen. She said to us "The good news is you can take Sophie home on Monday - and there is no bad news"!! So mean! But we were so happy we didn't even care! I picked Sophie up - the first time EVER without her being attached to anything - and walked about the nursery with her. That was the first time I'd ever been able to walk away from her cot area with her and have no leads to worry about! Then Alan took her and we got some photos. The nurse wheeled her along to our room in her cot and Sophie loved being on the move! She was looked all around her, all wide-eyed!

First even picture with no leads and no monitor!

Kelly, the nurse, told us we had to keep the window closed and the heating turned up high in the room, and then she left us. We were alone with Sophie for the first time ever! It was pretty scary because we'd been so used to her being wired up to monitors, and things bleeping if there was a problem, and having nurses all around. Now it was suddenly just the three of us! Alan had to go away almost immediately to meet his dad in the canteen and I was on my own with Sophie. The first thing I did was dress her in one of her own wee outfits! Then she was hungry and I gave her a little felt so strange, but lovely, being just us.

Yay, in our room with us at last!

We had lots of visitors all afternoon but finally it was just the three of us. The moment we had been waiting for, for three long months. We had to take Sophie back along to the nursery while we went out for something to eat and then when we came back it was bedtime and that was scary! Sophie was sleeping so quietly and we were both scared to sleep! I don't think either of us really slept that night but Sophie slept well! The nurse came in a couple of times during the night to check Sophie's temperature and make sure we were doing ok. On Sunday morning after I'd fed Sophie, we delivered her back to the nursery and went out for breakfast (the hospital breakfasts were dire!) and then we took her back to our room again. Alan's Uncle Jimmy and Aunty Margaret visited in the afternoon and met Sophie for the first time, then Steph and Brian visited and then Emma, little Anna's mummy came to see Sophie and say goodbye. Hopefully Anna will soon be moving to a hospital closer to home.

Uncle Jimmy and Aunty Margaret

We had lots of paperwork to complete before we were allowed to leave with Sophie, and they did all this on the Sunday so we could get away as soon as possible the next day! We had to have rescusitation training as well - hopefully we will never need it, but it at least gives us peace of mind.

So....home, here we come!! In the meantime, here is a selection of pictures from Sophie's journey through neonatal, week by week from 2 hours old.