Three Weeks In

Fawkes and Phoenix have been here for three weeks now. The last thing I actually wrote about them, aside from all these automatic Instagram posts, was about the night they were born. Obviously a lot has happened and I haven’t had time to keep up with it, so I’m going to do a bit of a stream of consciousness recap here.

Torrie brought Milly to see the boys. All kids have to wear face masks right now because it’s a pretty bad flu season. She was very excited to see them. Amanda was nice enough to come by the hospital to pick her up. Milly go to see them after school on Monday, though a good bit of her time was spent in Tristen’s recovery room working on homework. We didn’t go by the hospital on Tuesday because she had play practice and there just wasn’t much time.

My parents came to visit that Saturday, too, the day they were born. Tristen had just been allowed to go down to see them. Because of the magnesium she had been given for her stroke-high level of blood pressure (and later got a blood transfusion, too), she couldn’t get up and walk around, so her bed was wheeled down to see them. They were still in separate rooms at that point. Mom and Dad took me to PT’s for dinner before heading back to the Rouge.

Phoenix had the CPAP on for less than a day and was switched to breathing tubes by the time the boys were put in the same NICU room. That wasn’t in very long though, as he got stronger pretty fast.

In order to go home, the boys needed to hit a few goals, including a feeding goal. They were hitting their benchmarks most every day, though they would get pretty lazy about eating sometimes and required a feeding tube in their noses to make sure they ate enough.

Valentine’s Day was Wednesday. We got moved to a different room on a different floor, and of course they moved us during the halftime of a Duke basketball game (against Virginia Tech, which Duke was 74-52).

We have a little bit of a Valentine’s Day tradition (we did it once or twice and decided to make it a tradition) of eating brownies with ice cream and watching¬†Far and Away. I got Laura to bring us the brownies and ice cream and got that ready when Tristen asked me to lie in the bed with her. She had downloaded¬†Far and Away to her phone at some point in the past, so we watched a bit of it snuggled up in the hospital bed.

I also gave her a small box of chocolates, but it wasn’t for the chocolates because she’s not a huge fan of them. I wrote a note and cut it out to fit inside the top of the box. It made her cry.

Nights were a bit of a blur. Tristen would pump milk, which she has been doing great with, then I would walk it down to the NICU. We were on an every-three-hours schedule, and some of those late nights where I would walk down there in a t-shirt, pajama pants, and slippers seem like a dream now. I got to where I started having conversations with the elevators when they announced they were going up or down or what floor we were on. Facing them, the one on the left was named Susan and the one of the right was named Sheri, pronounced Share-ee though she wished people would call her Shuh’-ree.

I feel like we got to know some of the NICU nurses a bit. The one we interacted with the most was named Ali. We also talked to a lady who coordinated… what was it called? Something about patient outreach or NICU parent support. It wasn’t called either of those, but that’s what she did. She organized little events for NICU parents. They had Chick-Fil-A chicken minis for breakfast on Mondays and on Wednesdays there was a free lunch from the sandwich place in the lobby and people would meet up to chat. There was one lady from Lumberton who had been there since December. I heard just before we left that she and her son were finally getting out of there the Thursday after we left.

Speaking of leaving, Tristen’s last night in recovery was Wednesday night. We came home Thursday and slept in our own bed, which was nice, but we hated being away from the boys. Tristen continued to wake up to pump milk to make sure she stayed on schedule, and I got up to help as I could, though I think she let me sleep through a few times.

Until the boys came home, I would take Tristen to the hospital and stick around for rounds to hear the updates on the boys. They were coming along great. Tristen would spend most of the day there at the hospital with her mom or Torrie coming by. I’d get back home to try to catch up on work.

I was a WatchDOGS volunteer at Milly’s school on Friday. A lot of the people who know me there were surprised I came in. Several people mentioned having seen us on the news. A few people mentioned that at the hospital, and we even had a couple times where people were telling us about our story that they saw on the news. We’d just smile and say, “Yeah. That was us.”

Milly wanted to spend the night at Torrie’s that night, so she did that. Matt invited her over to play with Penelope and Adeline that evening. There were a few other friends coming over too. Matt was watching a total of six girls on his own, so big dad props to him. When I got there to pick Milly up the girls had a horror movie they’d been working on to show us. It was Milly’s directorial debut.

On Sunday, the Swain kids and Abigail came over. They played a lot of hide and seek, which they like to do around the house here. I hope they enjoyed it, because with the boys here, it’ll be a while before we have a bunch of kids over I think. They were working on another Milly production outside, but her iPad ran out of space. I sent the kids home when Tristen got back from the hospital. She’s still recovering from the c-section and needed some peace and quiet.

We got some great news on Saturday, the boys’ one-week birthday, that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they’d be able to go home on Monday. I took Milly to school Monday morning then Tristen and I headed to the hospital. We fed them, waited for the doctors to come around, then headed on home with two baby boys!

We’ve got a pack & play with two bassinets set up in our room, which is where they’ll be sleeping for now. The very first diaper change was pretty disastrous. We had a blowout poop while changing a diaper and Tristen was reaching over to help with something and ended up spilling a good bit of the milk she was pumping at the time. Then Fawkes started making these awful snorting noises, which we figured out (after a couple minutes) had to do with a giant booger that was lodged up his nose.

We’ve been feeding the boys every three hours, on the threes (3:00, 6:00, 9:00, 12:00…), which hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for us since we were already getting into that rhythm with the pumping and storing of the milk. That 3AM one can be pretty tough though. We stayed up until the midnight one one night, which made the 3:00 one much easier, but we were very tired the next day. More tired than usual.

Tristen usually goes back to sleep for a while after the 6AM feeding and pumping. I’ve been getting up to start my day and do my P90X3. I have tended to take a late night nap around 8PM though, so we’re both getting a little bit of naptime in.

Tristen had a postpartum checkup that Torrie took her to so I could stay back and watch the boys. Tristen texted me during it that she was already only eight poubds above her pre-pregnancy weight. My response was, “You know women hate you, right?”

She has been doing great though. She’s producing a ton of milk. She’s getting up and moving around just fine. The incision still bothers her from time to time and she laments that the feeding, while making her boobs almost comically large, has made her butt a lot flatter than it used to be.

Milly had play practice as well onTuesday. On play practice evenings I’ve usually not bothered to bring her back to the house. I mean, I have about an hour before I have to get her back to Amanda’s, which, with driving, only leave a little over half an hour to do anything together. I did bring her back that first Tuesday though because I wanted her to be able to see her brothers at home. She really seems to enjoy looking at them and holding them. We’ll see how that holds up once I’ve got her changing poopy diapers.

The boys had their first checkup on Wednesday. Nothing too big to say there except that they’re doing great. Fawkes, who was born the smaller of the two, had put on a bit of weight since birth, while Phoenix is still a little bit under, but he’s still doing great.

My mom came to town Friday (the 23rd) to stay and help out for a week. She’s been really helpful, cooking things for us and helping feed or change the boys, buying extra diapers and all kinds of other stuff.

The Sawyer crew came to town Saturday. We told them the following weekend would probably be better, since I didn’t have Milly and didn’t want to swap weekends with Amanda (since next weekend is my birthday and I like having Milly for my birthday), but with all the things the kids have going on and a vacation they’re taking soon, if they didn’t come this weekend they wouldn’t have been able to come for a month or more. Adam was going to come too, but he was feeling slightly sick on Saturday and didn’t want to risk passing anything to the boys, so I think he might be coming next weekend.

Anyway, the Sawyers got to see and hold the boys. They hung out for a while then went to a hotel they’d booked, but they came back today for a while before heading on home. Oh, and they got a new dog, a fluffy little thing they’re calling Poppy.