It’s been a month since my last daddy blog and I have the best reason for it.
“Not being lazy, just being a dad of my gorgeous twins.”
April has to be one of our toughest months of parenthood yet. I am not going to spoil it and you will have to stay tuned for my next blog. For now, I want to continue from my last blog – they journey home from the hospital.
Just when we thought everything was going the right direction, Ashton had a really bad episode of desaturation just weeks before their expected discharge. It was so serious that he needed a blood transfusion. Yes!!! It was scary. We, as new parents, couldn’t be more worried. According to the doctors, however, this was very common for premature babies. There were many reasons for desaturation but mostly because of the babies’ ‘system’ hadn’t fully developed yet and in Ashton’s case, his breathing wasn’t 100% and there wasn’t enough oxygen in his body so ‘fresh’ blood was needed.
So Ashton went back to intensive care for a couple of nights and those were sleepless nights for us, worried and anxious. The whole transfusion took a few hours to finish but the doctor wouldn’t know the result until they assess him the next morning. Fortunately, they told us that he’s going to be ok. Ashton didn’t have any more bad desaturations but he somehow changed from a bubbly happy baby to a very grumpy little man. Susan believed that he was scared of all the needles and procedures that the doctors did during his blood transfusion and I totally believed that. It must be very scary for him. Poor Ashton. Luckily though, Annabelle never had too many complications, apart from she slept and poo a lot!
One of the hardest tasks that Sue and the babies had was learning to breast feed. Unlike full term babies, premature babies never developed the instinct of suckling. We couldn’t force any of them to suckle so we had to look for signs, normally when they started to play with their mouths and tongues when they were hungry. Also, most premature babies were tube-fed so they never tasted milk either, yes and quite scary seeing all those tubes going either through their noses or mouths. We also had to let them taste milk by dabbing some milk via a cotton bud onto their lips during every tube feed to get them used to the taste and licking rhythm.
After a week of preparation, Sue tried her first breast feeding with the babies. Though Ashton seemed slightly better in suckling than Annabelle, he couldn’t latch on properly thus couldn’t suck enough milk. Annabelle never liked the idea of breast feeding, whether she was too lazy to suck… which would be a good reason because she loved her sleeps. Over the course of the week and many tries, Sue settled with bottle-feed. Woah la! They both sucked the milk from the bottles!! We were relieved because they needed to be able to breast feed or at the very least, via bottle, before they could be released. Unless you want to learn how to change the tubes and continue tube-feed for a few more weeks.
Three main criteria for discharge were: first the baby must be able to main his body temperature; second the baby mush be able to breath on his own; and third the baby must be able to feed.
After a week of bottle exercises, the nurses told us that they would be ready to go home in a week’s time. We nearly jumped through the ceiling! Having them home and be with the family for Chinese New Year was definitely one of the best news yet.
Before any baby is discharged, parents are offered a ‘trial’ run, namely ‘rooming in’, to become full time carers for the first time. A room with beds and space for the babies is provided, nurses and doctors will be there for emergency support but they will not intervene unless they are asked. This is the best opportunity to see if either the baby or the parents can get used to each other.
Both Sue and I would not forget our ‘room in’ night. It was sleepless because we had to wake up every 3 hours to feed the babies. It was also the first time that we ‘heard’ them slept at night. It was noisy and strange. There were times when we could hear them breathing very loudly and then suddenly stopped. We kept checking the monitors to make sure that they were ok.
The next morning I went home to pick up my car and ready to take Annabelle and Ashton home. They were discharged from the hospital in the afternoon. It was a strange feeling when we were walking out of the special care unit. It has been a place that we visited daily for the past two months and it was just weird to learn that it was final visit. I missed all the nice nurses and doctors that we met and became friends but it was also nice that Annabelle and Ashton can finally be home! Thank you god, thank you doctors and nurses for the care and love to our twins!
Coming next… Annabelle and Ashton’s first month at home. We got so exhausted from lack of sleep. And lots and lots of poo!
Please support my work and this site by buying stuff from Amazon by clicking the link at the bottom. I also added a few product links from the products you see in my picture.