The first few days after Britton and Casey were born are a complete blur. The NICU is very overwhelming. Learning the ins and outs and schedules of the babies feeds and assessments and knowing when the doctors would be there for rounds...it took a lot of getting used to.
On top of that, Trevor and I tried to continue working on a limited basis during the NICU stay in order to push back our leave. What I didn't want was to come home from Texas and have a month to stay home with them. No. Thank. You. So we frequently had our computers with us at their bedside to stay on top of work. That meant, when I wasn't working, and not holding one of our precious little miracles and not doing laundry and running around to get food...writing blog posts seem to slip down my to-do list.
We stayed at Driscoll Children's Hospital for a total of 26 days. Britton was released after 23 days, Casey followed 3 days later. They were on the critical NICU floor for 8 days. The remaining days were in a private room on the NICU continued care floor considered just "feeders and growers". I know many of you have had NICU experiences. Those experiences seem to range from good, bad and scary. We feel incredibly fortunate that our experience was a compete blessing. There was never anything scary or stressful. The doctors and the staff were nothing short of phenomenal. And they simply loved our story. Every single staff member with the hospital knew our story without us sharing it and made sure to talk to us about it. We also were fortunate that the boys constantly were on the upward trend. The are little fighters and just wanted to go home as much as we did. So we never had those moments of major concern or worry. They just really did do that well. So yes. I feel extremely blessed.
We did our best to be a part and active in the majority of the "assessments and feeds" that occurred every 3 hours. The only ones we missed were typically the 2 am and 5 am. They encouraged us to get rest, so typically our day began around 7 when we woke up and ended when we tucked them in after their 11 pm feed. We would go out for lunch and dinner to get out of the hospital. Yes...we gained probably 10-20 pounds while gone and eating out that much. Well...I know for sure I did. Oopsie. We also tried to see Kelly and her family when we could.
Britton was definitely the overachiever. And as Baby B, we were told that's rare. Typically Baby A is a bit ahead. But Britton was off and running from day one. Off oxygen after only a few days, great respirations and taking full bottles a week before his brother. Which is why he was released a few days ahead. However, once we got that release date, I'm pretty sure a lightbulb went off in Casey's head as if he said, "wait, don't leave me here"! So he caught up quicker than they thought and ended up only 3 days behind.
That day was last Tuesday. And that was a very bittersweet day. To have both of the boys in our care and knowing we were going home was such an amazing feeling. But leaving the doctors and nurses that had cared so well for them, was hard. And nothing could ever put into words how difficult it was to say goodbye to Kelly and her family. They mean so much to us and always will. I only wish we lived closer. She's given us the most beautiful, amazing and perfect gift. We are so in love with these little guys...I knew we would be, but nothing prepares you for how much.
On Tuesday evening we began our journey home. We left Rockport and drove to Austin. We wanted to start small on the trip and see how everyone did. The next day we had breakfast with our attorney that helped us through the surrogacy and made everything seamless. Was so thrilled to get to meet her in person. Then we drove 3 hours to Dallas. We had family and friends there that we wanted to see and that gave us a full afternoon/evening to spend with all of them. And...guess who was gracious enough to open her home to us!?! Caroline and her husband, Colby were so kind and I loved getting to know them even more than I felt like I already do through her blog. And yes, she is just as sweet in person as you would imagine she is!
The next morning we got up super early and drove to Rogers, Arkansas. Trevor's 94 year old grandfather lives there and we thought it important that he meet his grandsons. We don't get there that often and he can't travel. It was such a great day. Definitely a highlight. On Friday we again left early knowing we were 8.5 hours from home. That does not include the time to stop for feedings. We thought we'd just drive and see how they do. Well, they did great and we made it home by 8 pm! My good friends had had our home cleaned and our fridge and pantry stocked. What a perfect gift after being gone for 32 days! Our cats didn't even blink and eye (well, barely) at the fact that we brought home two tiny humans. I think we could have brought a pack of 70 pound dogs home and they wouldn't have cared as long as it meant we were home and home to stay!
The great thing is, these boys are GREAT babies. We've been able to stay on the NICU schedule that they were on, we typically wake them for their feeds and aren't huge criers. I know this may all change, and probably will from time to time, but for a 4 day road trip and our first few days home, their parents have been eternally grateful to them!
As for an update on me, yesterday I was 20 weeks. So Britton and Casey's little sister is cruising right along. I had an OB appointment in Texas a few weeks ago with an u/s and she looks great!
My heart can barely stand it. I still can't believe how much life has changed in a year's time, but I know I am thankful beyond words for all of my miracles.
I'll leave this post for now with lots and lots of pictures. Told you I'd make the delay worth it!
(Sorry for any typos...I literally typed this with a baby on my chest)
Only a few days old
You know, Casey just hanging out in the NICU
Meet our funny guy, Britton
Britton milk drunk
Kelly's first time holding Britton and Casey
Britton and Casey
My favorite moments are cuddling with these two
Double kangaroo care
Our very first family photo
Kelly holding both babies
Kelly's oldest daughter, Sydnee
Kelly's middle daughter, Ella
Kelly's youngest children, Taylor and Nicholas
Trevor finally holding both babies
Britton "home" with us
Just waiting on this guy
Their first photo together out of the hospital
How we slept on the road home...Trevor and I each got about a foot on each side
First time in their beds at home
First nap time together
Nap time fun at home
More nap time
And more naps side-by-side
On Sunday, August 16th, we were a month old!!
I promise, I will not be away for so long again!!!