I promised you the good part – it’s here! If you have any catching up to do on the first few days of Hudson’s life you can do so here:
Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 1
Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 2
Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 3
Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 4
Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 5
Sunday was my discharge day. Physically I felt ready to go, but emotionally it’s so hard to be separated from a little baby you expected to take home with you. I was ready to be home with the boys and to be back in my own bed, but I certainly felt torn.
However, we were able to spend the whole day at Hudson’s bedside before we headed back home. We arrived downstairs just in time to watch him be extubated, which was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Would he be strong enough to breathe on his own? What support would he need to keep his O2 levels up? Would he regress and have to go back on the vent?
We watched and waited for a good hour or so before WE started exhaling sighs of relief. Hudson was doing well on a nasal cannula for a little extra support for his lungs. It was SO GOOD to see his face! In so many ways, we felt like we were meeting him for the first time. He looked so much more like a newborn, instead of a very sick preemie.
The hours went by so quickly that Sunday morning into Sunday afternoon as we studied our beautiful baby boy, and allowed him to rest from his big day.
Even hearing his first pitiful hoarse cry was beautiful. We were falling hard for this little man, and it was such a relief to just take him in as a whole, instead of seeing him as a critical patient.
I was so thankful to finally get a snuggle in after not being able to hold him for several long days. It made going home a tad easier on my heart. We headed home to our boys with high hopes that he WOULD be coming home, something we weren’t even able to speak out loud the days before…
Monday began the hard days of splitting our time at home with our 4 boys who needed some normalcy and routine, and driving up to the NICU to be with our 5 day old baby. We knew these days would be numbered and we were thankful we were looking at weeks or less instead of months, like several friends we had met during our stay. We were blessed with families willing to help take on our boys during these summer days, and make it fun for them while we were at the hospital. Most nights Brad returned after dinner for the late night while I rested and spent time with the boys.
Our NICU had webcams we could log on and take a peak at Hudson while we were away. This helped in so many ways to ease some of our fears, to help the boys bond, and to help me while I pumped at home.
By Monday afternoon, Hudson was able to have his chest tube removed, which was another big deal milestone for his recovery. Although his respiration rate remained too high, his little lungs were healing rapidly, and we were so grateful to God for strengthening him literally before our eyes.
Some additional major checklist items happened on Tuesday. Hudson was moved to an open crib since he was maintaining his body temperature on his own. He also got to down his first bottle of my milk. The neonatologist prepared us for him to only be able to have the stamina for about 1/3 of the bottle, but Hudson chugged the entire thing!
We were also able to put him in his first real clothes – a “Little Brother” sleeper I bought shortly after we found we were having a boy.
AND the most exciting part – The boys were able to come in the NICU to see their baby brother.
As you can see in the picture from the nurses, it was quite the scene! And it didn’t hit me until later what a full-circle experience it was, to have these 4 boys in the NICU where they spent the first weeks of their lives, visiting their new brother. *goosebumps*
For the first time in 6 days, we were all together again – all five of our boys. We couldn’t help but be full of anticipation for the day we could all go home together…