7am – I wake up to the sound of Jack chatting and babbling in his cot next to me, so I peep over and he grins at me. I turn off his oxygen cylinder and take his prongs off his face. This makes him very happy!
7.05am – I get up and dressed while chatting to Jack and he babbles and smiles at me. He kicks about excitedly.
7.10am – Me and Jack go downstairs and turn on Cbeebies.
7.20am – I make up a bottle of formula for Jack while he watches Bing. I also add his special vitamin drops to this bottle. Bottle gets put in a jug of hot water to warm.
7.25am – nappy change
7.30am-7.40am – Jack has his bottle while watching Boj and has a nice big burp in the middle and after.
7.45am – Jack and I give Andrew a kiss as he leaves for work, Jack gives his Daddy a big grin. I keep Jack upright for a while to help relieve any wind.
8am – Jack has a nap for unto an hour while I wash the post, stick some clothes in the washer and check the news etc. I also feed the dog and let her out for a wee. Sometimes I plug his sats monitor in while he has a sleep just to check his heart rate. Old habits and anxieties are hard to let go of!
9am – Jack wakes up for a bowl of porridge; today’s flavour is fruity porridge which he is quite happy with. I have to spoon feed him as he hasn’t quite got the right hand/eye coordination yet but he ices to have his own spoon to hold while I feed him.
9.10am – Jack finishes his bowl of food and has a play on the floor for a bit. I marvel at the fact that he has managed to do a 180 degree rotation on his mat while he babbles away. I put his bottles in the steriliser and ring the dentist to book an appointment.
9.35am – Jack is completely distracted from all other tasks by the Twirlywoos on telly and sits enthralled for the entire 10 minutes not moving!
9.45am – Jack goes back to chatting and playing and now also started blowing raspberries. I play with him whilst I start writing the weeks shopping list.
10am – I supervise Jack while he has Tummy Time as he needs more practise to lift his head in this position. I don’t think its so much that he can’t but its more of a can’t be bothered. He quite ably lifts and holds his head in a sitting position. We’ll keep trying!
10.15am – Pop Jack in his jumperoo for 5 minutes so he can hold his head up to play with a toy in an upright position
10.20am – Time for me to make up another bottle as Jack has a bottle every 3 hours during the day. I set the bottle down to warm.
10.25am – nappy change
10.30am-10.40am – Jack has a bottle and burps
10.40am – I change Jack into some day clothes from his sleep suit and I put on suitable “leaving the house” clothes. I also pack then check then recheck his changing bag to make sure I have everything including two changes of clothes for him. I put him in his carseat.
11.15am – We get in the car and go round to Nannie’s house (my Mum) who lives a 5 minute drive away.
11.30am – We settle in at Nannie’s and Jack falls asleep for a short nap. Me and Mum have a cuppa.
12pm – I gave Jack a bowl of fruit puree which he’s alright with but no where near as excited about as he was with rice pudding yesterday! I then keep him still for a while to reduce the risk of vomit!
12.30pm – Jack plays on the floor while me and Mum have lunch.
1pm – Jack has a vomit so we clean him up and cheer him up with nursery rhymes/songs. We leave him naked for a bit because he loves it!
1.25pm – nappy change and I redress Jack.
1.30pm – Jack gets a bottle from his Nannie so he can learn to take a bottle from people other than me.
1.40pm – Jack finishes his bottle and gets distracted by the Twirlywoos again, even though its the same episode as this morning!
1.50pm – Jack starts crying due to tiredness so we rock him to sleep. Me, Mum and Dad have a culpa and a piece of shortbread each.
2.45pm – I put Jack into his car seat as carefully and slowly as possible to try not to wake him up. I check and recheck his changing bag to make sure I don’t leave anything behind.
2.55pm – I pop into the Doctor’s to request a repeat prescription of Jacks vitamin drops. He has these because he’s on special high calorie milk that unfortunately doesn’t have certain ones in it already like other formula does. He’ll have to take them until he’s about 2 I believe.
3pm – Me and Mum go to Auntie Penny’s as Little Nan is there. Little Nan likes to see the baby! I spend an hours telling Little Nan that he’s fine, not cold and “no he does’nt need a bonnet on”. Jack wakes up at about 3.15pm and has a little play. I’m pleased he’s had a decent nap.
4pm – I pack up Jack’s things and leave, dropping Mum off home on the way. I drive home.
4.15pm – i get home and restock Jacks changing bag up to full again and put his sick clothes in for a wash.
4.30pm – I give Jack tummy time then jumperoo time for a few minutes each. I really try not to worry about him not lifting his head up when on his tummy…
4.50pm – I make up another bottle for Jack and set it down to warm.
4.55pm – nappy change
5pm-5.10pm – Bottle and burp for Jack.
5.10pm – Jack falls asleep on my knee for half an hour until Andrew gets home. Jack wakes up when he hears his Daddy’s voice and greets him with a big grin!
5.45pm – Jack sits with his Daddy while I sort out the washing and hang it up to dry.
6pm – Andrew and I look through the photos we had printed by Boots which arrived today. They span Jack’s whole life and we get a little emotional looking at the ones from the first couple of months. He was so tiny. Jack’s NICU stay and his issues are always at the front of my mind but its easy to forget just how small he was and just how ill he looked. At the time he didn’t look poorly, but comparing him from then to now is quite startling. And oh my goodness his size! We look at his first ever outfit which is in his keepsakes box and marvel at it from a while. Oh god he was so tiny and fragile. I am so thankful every single minute of every single day.
6.30pm – Jack plays on the floor while I supervise. Andrew goes to sort out our tea.
6.45pm – I give Jack some rice pudding for the first time. He takes to it very well! I’ll say it again – how do they know instinctively that desserts are much better than vegetables? Our tea is in the oven.
7pm – Me and Andrew eat our tea then Jack has a bit of a spit up so I clean him up and change him into his sleep suit.
7.30pm – Jack has babble cuddles with his Daddy. He loves his Daddy so much! I feed the dog and let her out for a wee.
7.50pm – I make up Jack a bottle of formula and set it to warm for a few minutes.
7.55pm – nappy change
8pm-8.10pm – Jack has his bottle and a good big burp.
8.10pm – Jack has cuddles and Andrew and I both chat to him and say how much we love him. He loves hearing this and always smiles. He sometimes even thinks its hilarious and laughs at us! It’s also really cute when he’s babbling that he reaches out and strokes my cheek. I melt!
9pm – Jack drifts off to sleep in either my arms or Andrew’s and we watch our current favourite show. We are going through the Stella box sets at the minute.
10.30pm – Andrew lets the dog out for a wee then puts her away for the night and checks everywhere is locked for the night. I take Jack upstairs as carefully as possible and sit down on the bed next to his cot and oxygen cylinder.
10.40pm – Andrew joins us upstairs and helps me to put Jack’s oxygen prong back on. We have to do this so slowly and gently so that we don’t wake him up. Sometimes it’s a success, like tonight, and he only stirs a little. Then he gets put in his cot and I switch the oxygen cylinder on and turn it to 0.1 litres. I plug in his sats monitor for overnight. I am really not sure how I am going to get on when they take it off me. How on earth am I meant to sleep knowing that there is no machine to alarm me awake if Jack has a problem? How on earth to normal folk cope? Do they do what I will do one day and just stay awake all night staring and watching their chest rise and fall? I know that that days is getting closer too as Jack’s sleep study is this week and the results will determine whether he comes off oxygen full time. Hopefully they won’t take the monitor off me instantly! ok, calm breaths. Sometimes the putting on of the oxygen prongs goes very badly and he wakes up and cries for ages. In those cases I will stay awake trying to calm him for hours until he eventually drifts off.
2am – Optional addition middle of the night occurrence – sometimes he will moan in his sleep and wriggle which sets off the monitors alarm a couple of times which wakes me up and I spend a few minutes pressing silence and stroking his tummy to send him back into a nice sleep. I wish I know what he was dreaming. I don’t like to think the reason he is moaning is due to a bad dream.
So that’s an example of mine and Jack’s days. On Tuesdays we have Baby Yoga which is fun and the Premmie Support group on the first Tuesday of every month. We have also started going to Sensory Play Group every Wednesday which he really loves! Last week it was glow sticks and laser light shows in the dark – it was awesome!
For more Jack updates, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/beyondthenicu
To donate to the NICU that saved Jack, go to www.fobuderby.com
To learn more about the petitions that will help other premmie mums with extending maternity leave and getting more help with mental health linked to premature birth, go to www.thesmallestthings.org
Until the next blog post xxx