As was the plan, we’ve finally been allowed to take Smidge home.
We stayed in the hospital on Monday night, as Basingstoke Hospital has a flat on the neonatal ward – two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and a lounge area. As another couple had the room with the double bed, we had the single bed and sofa bed.
We wheeled Smidge’s cot into our room at about 10pm, just after his feed, with his next feed due at 2am. Like a lot of premature babies, Smidge and his sister Smudge are very noisy, in that they are nearly always grunting, groaning and straining. They obviously take in a lot of air during feeding, this causes them to feel bloated and they try to expel it as wind – not easy when you’re that small! We’ve known they’ve been noisy for a while, but trying to sleep in the same room as a noisy baby is quite a challenge!
The night otherwise progressed fine and without incident, so after a few more checks and paperwork tasks on Tuesday, we brought him home in the afternoon (via his first shopping trip to get some more nappies). He was finally home and we were really excited about it.
A couple of people have asked how we felt about taking one twin home and leaving one twin in the hospital. The advantage is that parents get to practise with one baby before they have to handle two. For us, like everything on this journey so far, we’ve gone with the flow of whatever works best for the twins – so as Smidge was ready to come home, and Smudge needed more than a couple of extra days, then that’s what we went with. We get to enjoy her coming home a little later.
The last few nights here at home have been pretty much the same as the first noisy night. Smidge does seem to quieten down when he’s held vertically or otherwise not on his back, so I spent a few hours in the middle of the night downstairs with him, so that Katie could get some more peaceful sleep. Turns out that Katie had been sleeping through all but the noisiest of cries, whereas I’d needed ear plugs just to get any sleep. I’ve read that Infacol may help with the wind (puts all the small air bubbles in the tummy together so they can be expelled en masse) so we’re giving that a try.
During the day, Smidge isn’t so noisy (typical!) and he’s back at the hospital with Katie as she’s there feeding Smudge. The ward have kept his cot for him, so that he doesn’t have to spend all day in the car seat (they shouldn’t be in car seats for more than 2 hours at a time), but he’s also spent time in the same cot as Smudge, where they’ve gently beat each other up, or licked each other’s head if they get within range of the other’s tongue. Seeing them together in the same cot and interacting with each other was very special to see.
They’ve both had their hearing checked, and both passed fine. As they were premature, they automatically get another hearing test in 8 months time.
They are also coming up for their second round of immunisations, and the hospital have said that they will do Smidge’s when they do Smudge’s, to save us having to get to the GP for it.
Smudge is pretty much off all of her breathing support, and only occasionally going back on to low flow if she’s tired and desaturating after feeding. As at the time of writing, she’s not had any use of low flow in the last 31 hours, and has had the comfy tape strips (which stop the plastic tubes from rubbing on her cheeks) taken off, so the nurses obviously aren’t expecting her to go back on to the low flow. This is excellent news, and tackles the last major reason for her still being in hospital.
Getting Smudge home is the next milestone, and hopefully that will happen in the next 7-10 days since her breathing is just about there, she’s feeding fine, her weight is good, and she’s well past the minimum age that they send babies home at. She should be home for my birthday 🙂
Once they are both home, we can start to try and get a routine that works with both of them, and both of us. One which hopefully includes some sleep for me…