Finally! Our Zoe is home with us. Our baby-making journey is complete. Our family is complete. And now the real adventure begins!
Zoe came home yesterday after 22 days in the NICU, exactly twice the length of Leo's stay. By the end, we were getting quite frustrated because we couldn't figure out why they were keeping her so long. When to discharge an infant is a judgment call on the doctor's part, and I think Zoe just ended up with more conservative doctors. To us, she seems more solid than Leo was when he came home. She's over five pounds now, eating and sleeping with no problems.
Both she and Leo are now more or less regular newborns. Their gestational age is almost 38 weeks now - exactly when Sammy was born. They're still a bit small, but they have already outgrown much of their preemie-sized clothing. They probably sleep a bit more than a full-term newborn. We basically change their diapers, feed them, and put them back to bed.
Sammy, who was so much more excited about having a little sister than in having a little brother, wasn't as moved by Zoe's homecoming as she was Leo's. Of course, it's the same thing that I experienced when they were born. The first one has an impact that the second just can't match. Hopefully this will be the last time that Zoe will necessarily be second. Maybe we shouldn't have given her a name that starts with "Z".
Still, Sammy is clearly thrilled. She didn't spend as much time with Zoe upon her arrival, but later, she drew a picture of Leo and Zoe together, and wrote their names on it. She wants to kiss them and touch them as much as possible. And last night she woke up for a middle-of-the-night feeding and stayed for the whole thing, just like she did on Leo's first night home.
With Zoe coming home on a Sunday, it was trial by fire for me and Adam. He teaches on Mondays, which means he has to do class-prep on Sunday nights. It also means that he has to wake up early and leave the house around 8am, so this morning I was on my own with all three children. With just Leo, on teaching nights I was doing the night feedings and letting Adam sleep, but with both babies, I needed his help. So we both got up at 2am and 5am and each took one baby. Thank goodness both of them slept very well and we had an easy night. And somehow, between 7:15 and 8:30am, I managed to feed both babies myself plus wake up Sam, get her dressed, get her breakfast, brush her hair, and everything else that goes along with getting her ready for school. It was not easy logistically - I couldn't plan ahead because I didn't know exactly when the babies would wake and which would wake first. I ended up doing a half-feeding with Leo before Sam awoke, then put him back to bed while I did my thing with her, then I fed Zoe and finished up with Leo while Sam took care of herself and finished getting ready. My babysitter arrived at 8:30 to take Sammy to school and we were all ready, no stress, and almost no crying at all! It was great! I hope I can manage it that well every time, but I know these class-day mornings are probably going to be the hardest part until the semester ends in December.
I'll write more soon about Leo and Zoe (or, I suppose I should say Zoe and Leo) and their personalities and what we've learned about them and how we're bonding and what it's like to have two babies. But right now, Leo is ready to eat. Oh, he's first again!