Lots of photos to share, of course.
Lots to tell, of course.
Just lots and lots, so I'll just jump in!
One thing we had to do in order to “get home” was something called “rooming in.” I've mentioned it before, so here's how it went! We arrived at the hospital at our usual time, about 7:30, with our overnight bags ready to go. We took Max into a bedroom at the back of the NICU and spent the evening and night with him, just being his parents.
The nurses came in periodically to check on us, or to teach us how to give a med or bring his bottle or whatever, but it was just the 3 of us about 95% of the time.
I was so excited I barely slept, but Jamie and I took turns with the overnight feedings… 11:30pm, 2:30 and 5:30am. It worked pretty well and were both in decent shape come morning.
We actually left early on Tuesday; I had to take Jamie to BART so he could head to work, so we were on the road by 6:15. I dropped him at the station and headed to Kinko's… I had some last minute work to do on our nurse thank you gifts, so thank goodness they're open 24 hours! I worked there until about 7:15, and then headed to Longs Drugs to kill some time. Max bought Faith a (bribe) gift of some new Little People for their big reunion on Wednesday, I got ribbon for the nurse project (more on that in a moment) and a cup of tea for myself.
It was finally 8:00 and I figured it wouldn't be overly creepy for me to head to the office, so off I went to finish the nurse project.
OK, enough mentioning without explaining, right? The nurse project.
Jamie and I had been talking for quite some time about what we wanted to do for the NICU nurses when Max was released… we had loads of great ideas but limited funds, so some of our best ideas just weren't feasible. We ended up editing the list down to 5 specific nurses and 2 doctors… the nurses who had had a particular impact on us, and the doctors we felt we connected with the most.
For these seven people, we decided to put our new lathe to work and made pens for each of them… I actually only did one and Jamie did the rest, but whatever. I've been busy too!
Once we had decided on that, I still wanted to do a little something for everyone else in the NICU… every single person has helped us over the last 12 weeks and 6 days. It may have been something as simple as a smile or handing me a pillow before a feeding, but every single person did *something* for us, and we wanted to return the favor. The Caritas making Girl Scout in me jumped to life and this is what I came up with:
It's one of those little Sharpies on a key ring attached to a card… the back reads: “You are, to us, a Sharpie. Over the last 12 weeks… you have left an indelible mark on our hearts. You are a permanent part of our prayers. You will forever be thought of fondly. You have made a lasting impact on our family and for that, we thank you. There's a special place in Heaven for NICU nurses. Always, The P Family, Jamie, Lizz and Maxwell” and then at the bottom, there's a link here (the blog) so they can keep up with Max if they're so inclined.
A few photos from our first evening as a family…
We played dress-up… this hat is part of Max's coming home outfit… we think it's going to be a while before it actually fits.
Lots of unencumbered cuddle time! We had never been able to lie down with him like this, so it was very cool to us!
I just like the reflection in this one… look for it on a future scrapbook page!
A family portrait on Tuesday morning. Caption Max: “You're actually going to make me LEAVE with these people?!?!”
So that was rooming in… way cool, and I highly recommend it to any future NICU grads! It was so nice to have that available to us as a resource.
The rest of the day Tuesday was crazy uneventful, other than time ticking by slower than it did the morning of our wedding! I finished training my replacement at work and as of 5pm on the 15th, I was on “maternity leave”!
We slept well on Tuesday night… our last night like that for some time! We got into Walnut Creek and realized we'd forgotten the receiving blankets we needed to snug tiny Max into his car seat, so after an emergency trip to Target, we were at the hospital signing discharge papers! I'll spare you the boring details and get on with the photos. I'm still waiting to get a few from our papparazzi (my sister and Ann Marie, along with Faith and Ryan, were there to see us off!) but here are some to tide you over! 🙂
Our last moments in the NICU, getting ready to get dressed. (Oh, and I think I've mentioned it but never posted photos before; that's Max's belly button. It's actually a “herniated umbilicus” that will be surgically fixed in a few months…)
We promise he really is a fan; this face is NOT a reaction to the outfit!
The hat fits so much better after Daddy “fixed” it with a little tape!
Faith watches me bug the crap out of Max while we wait for Jamie to get the car… I couldn't help it! There was no oxygen sensor on his foot!
Loaded up and ready to go! And I'll have you know… we clicked Max into our car for the very first time as “Hey Jude” played on the radio. No joke. Made Jamie and I both well up a little bit!
Being home together has been amazing. My family and Jamie's mom came over with dinner last night, so everyone got a chance to hold Max and just hang out… it's the first time all of us could be with him at once. Thanks to Max's (bribe) gift to Faith, she's as enamored with him as the rest of us, and gave him the sweetest little kisses on his head when they left last night.
We slept decently… better than I expected. We took turns on the feedings and giving Max his meds, so we each ended up getting about 6 hours of sleep. Not too shabby!
Dave, Ann Marie and crew came over today, bearing chickens and beer (= Beer Can Chicken. Yum.) and we had another great day just hanging with Max and our friends… Ashleigh is a great helper, holding Max, getting him toys, making sure he's happy at all times.
Really, I don't have much else to add, except that I'm just going to post a couple of pics and then get back downstairs with my guys. (As soon as I post today's Thursday pic!) Here are a couple of photos from home…
Ed and Lucinda gave us this bottle of Dom as a wedding gift… we couldn't come up with a more fitting day to open it than to celebrate our boy's homecoming.
Our couch is SO much more comfy than those chairs in the NICU!