Today is the boys due date and marks four weeks since their birth. Wow time really does fly! The last few weeks have been both the toughest and the happiest weeks of my life. I’ve never had so little sleep, felt so inept, or cried so many tears, but at the same time I’ve been delighted at just how magical our little boys are and have revelled in the fact that these two little men have graced us with their presence. They say the first 6 weeks are the hardest, that things can only get better, and if that’s the case things are going to be great. I’m under no illusion that this parenting gig will be easy, I know there are going to be tough times ahead but I’m optimistic that if my hubby and I can survive these few weeks (albeit with a lot of help from friends and family) we can survive almost anything. I did say that about our infertility journey though also!
So there’s not too much to report on the blur of the last four weeks. The boys have gone from tiny premature infants to more traditional newborn babies, they’re in a reasonable routine of sleep-change-feed-sleep every three hours or so, although in the last couple of days have really craved (and received) a bit more social and activity time. We’ve been told by a couple of our medical monitors that activity time shouldn’t be happening for another couple of weeks but our boys are alert and actively seeking it out so screw what they should be doing, I’m going to give them what they need….and they’re loving it!
They spent a good 10 minutes hanging out with each other on their floor mat earlier today, and absolutely loved checking each other out and interacting with each other (something they haven’t been too keen on until now.) They’re also doing amazingly with their head/neck control and seeking/maintaining eye contact, and they love their cuddle time. No smiles just yet, other than the gassy grins that come after feeding but I’m hoping we’re not too far off that.
They’re also going from strength to strength on the weight front and having been monitored by NICU Homecare, our obstetrician’s midwife, and now Plunket, have been weighed and measured on a pretty regular basis. Bee began life with a weight of 2210g, a length of 46cm, and head circumference of 32cm. He’s now (as of two days ago) 2740g, 50.5cm,and 35cm. And Bumble is doing his best to catch up, initially 1980g, 45cm and 31cm, he’s now 2370g, 49.5cm and 34.5cm. I’m so proud of them.
There have been challenging nights (and the occasional day). Mostly occurring when Bee, who suffers a fair bit from an upset tummy (lots of gas that he just can’t release despite all our best efforts and/or medication) screams hysterically and will only settle (eventually) when laying tummy to tummy on my husband. This means no sleep for hubs from around 10pm until anywhere between 4 & 6am. It’s tough, both the lack of sleep and the fact you know he’s in pain and there’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s heartbreaking.
Those times are far outweighed by the good however – the snuggles, the milestones, the funny faces pulled, the times they surprise even themselves. Bumble had a wee grizzle last night. He’s always been our quiet one, even his cries are small and cute, and last night was no different until suddenly he let out one big yell amongst his little whimpering’s and gave himself such a fright he threw his hands up, looked shocked, and shut himself up. My in-laws and I got a fright as well but proceeded to burst into fits of laughter at Bumble’s reaction to his own cry. It seems a little cruel to laugh at a cry but with the fact that he was so shocked by it himself we just couldn’t help ourselves.
We’ve been inundated with both visitors and gifts – I swear the local courier driver must think we’re running some sort of strange mail operation here with the number of times he’s come to drop stuff off, it’s nearly a daily occurrence! Fitting in all the visitors has been a little tricky as, until this week, the boys haven’t spent that much time awake and get easily overtired if stimulated (even through being held or looked at) too much. You desperately want people to come and see them – both to show them off and for the adult company – and you know how badly people want to meet them, but then you have to weigh that up with over-stimulation and the pure logistics of fitting people into their three hour cycle. Hopefully with the increase in activity time now things will get easier on that front.
We’ve also been brave enough to venture out of the house, making our first journey with the boys (other than the trip home from the hospital) to the exciting venue of the pet store when they were just under three weeks old. Since then we’ve ventured up the road for lunch – a nice stroll with them in their stroller bassinets – and to the local community centre/library for Bee’s follow-up hearing test (he passed!) The initial journey was terrifying, and I was paranoid something would go wrong, but once we had that under our belt things got a lot easier. It’s been fantastic being able to get out of the house as I was going a little stir crazy holed up in here.
My hubby and I have also managed a couple of lunches out by ourselves, thanks to my Mum babysitting. The first passed quickly in a buzz of nervousness at leaving the boys, and the second was a bit of a blur in our sleep-deprived state, but they’ve been awesome. It’s been fabulous to be able to have some ‘couple time’ so early on. Mum’s also stayed over a few nights and helped us out with the evil night-time and early morning feeds…thanks so much Mum!
My in-laws have also been amazing, coming over one to two times a week to make us dinner and take over the midnight or 1am feed using expressed milk so that my husband and I can get a decent amount of sleep in a stretch. I can’t put into words how much this helps and how much it means to us.
On top of that we’ve had other family members and friends come round with groceries, send food and gifts, help with feeds or with watching the boys while we sleep. We’re just so incredibly lucky to know the awesome people we do and to have such a massive amount of support through this time.
So that’s been the first four weeks. The boys have graduated from both NICU and midwife care and are now solely monitored by Plunket, we’re managing enough sleep to get by, and we’re rejoicing in everything our boys have to offer…except for maybe those all-nighter screams! Happy four week ‘birthday’ Bumble and Bee!