Yesterday our plan was to go home at noon, but as I mentioned, the pediatrician wanted Madeline to have an echo done to be sure the heart murmur they heard wasn't anything serious. They ran the test around lunch time and we waited until the pediatrician could call us with the results, which ended up being at 5pm. It was a lot of waiting around in a packed up hospital room, and although we were anxious to get on our way, Maddie enjoyed a long nap. My dad came over for a visit and held Maddie for a while, and his visit helped pass the time.
The echo showed that she has a tiny hole in her heart that will close on its own in the next 2 years. When the murmur is no longer able to be detected at her regular well baby check ups with the pediatrician, a final echo will be done to ensure that the hole is closed and no longer a concern. We don't even have to follow up with a cardiologist. We are so thankful for this news.
My mom and sister had gone over to stay with the kids since our sitter had to leave by 1pm (hence our original goal of leaving the hospital by noon). We had wanted to give them the day off since they have basically lived at our house since Monday, but they were willing to come back and spend the afternoon with Robbie and Ellie so that Rob could be with Maddie and I at the hospital in case the echo showed something serious requiring more tests or decision making.
Around 5pm we loaded up our bags and headed to the car, thanking our wonderful nurses on the way out. It always makes me a little sad to leave the Mother Baby floor, because the care they give is so wonderful and there's just something special about the time you get to spend with your new baby there. I won't get that much peace and quiet to sleep or spend time with Madeline alone for a long time! Nor will I point to a menu and have food delivered to my bedside 30 minutes later and be able to eat uninterrupted, possibly ever again. Ha! I appreciated it all while I was there though.
We stopped at Walgreens on the way home for my pain medicine prescription as well as Robbie's pink eye drops. That's right. Robbie has pink eye. It's his welcome home gift to us! When we pulled into the driveway at 5:45pm, both kids ran to the front window and greeted us at the door. They both seemed to have grown up a lot while I was gone - Robbie was talking a mile a minute and asking about the baby, and Ellie just seemed enormous to me! We tried to take a family picture right away outside but the pictures didn't turn out for some reason.
We sat in the living room for a while, and I held Madeline out in front of me for examination by her siblings. They talked to her, asked me questions about whether there was still a baby in my belly (I wish - no, now it's just big for no good reason!), and loved on her. We are walking a fine line with Robbie as he cannot touch her until his eye is better, but the last thing I want for him to feel is left out or resentful of the baby. I was so busy guarding her from his germy hands that Ellie managed to sneak up next to her from the other side and sneeze right on her. So much for that!
Mom and Kelsey helped us unpack the car and let us catch our breath for a few minutes and then left to visit grandma Jessie at the nursing home nearby. Rob took the kids outside to play with the wagon so that I could nurse Maddie, and when they came back inside we all played in Ellie's room for a while, reading books and getting pj's on. Robbie apparently started crying while they were outside, saying his tummy hurt, and as he got dressed for bed he said again that his belly and lower back hurt. Then he just completely fell apart. Weeping. He was like that for the rest of the night. Rob and I think that he's been suppressing his feelings all week and has really missed having both of us at home, but especially being without his mommy for so long has taken its toll. Now that I'm home and here with him, I think he's letting it all out. I feel so badly for him although I know it's not that big of a deal. My little guy is so tender hearted and I hate to see him so upset. I spent the evening reassuring him that I wasn't going to be leaving for that long again anymore, and that we are all staying here at home now as a family. He was able to verbalize that he missed me and loves me and wants us to all be here together.
After feeding the kids dinner, we put them each to bed. Ellie was unhappy but calmed down as she and I began her regular bedtime routine, including a duet of "Holy, Holy, Holy" which I think brings her comfort. She fell asleep immediately and slept through the night.
Robbie got out of bed once before falling asleep for the night, but then woke up at 2:30am (for the second night in a row) and couldn't get back to sleep. Rob dealt with him since I am now on baby duty around the clock, and eventually he went back to bed. I think both kids slept in until at least 7am, but we are a tired bunch.
Madeline spent the evening cashed out in between feedings. Thank goodness. It will make the next few weeks of transition a little easier if I don't have to be holding her all the time. I plan on baby-wearing her a lot with the Ergo Carrier, mainly because she is most content snuggled up against me and it also seems like the safest place for her too!
Rob and I were spoiled by my mom's cooking and enjoyed a dinner she left behind for us while we caught up on DVR'd episodes of American Idol. It was the best meal I've had in a long time - her famous mandarin orange salad, filet mignon, twice baked potatoes, green beans with bacon and onions, and garlic bread. It was thoughtful and made our evening so much easier, not to worry about dinner. Thanks again, mom!
I nursed Madeline again just before we went to bed, which always brings a good deal of pain but so far has been manageable. Well tonight, I thought for sure there was another baby inside of me that we all had missed, because it felt like labor all over again. They say that the cramping intensifies during nursing with each baby that you have, and it's true. I took my pain medicine but it didn't help at all, and I spent a few hours wondering if I should call my doctor but instead squeezing Rob's hand and waiting for it to pass. Eventually I was able to fall asleep, and I think Maddie slept for 6 hours in a row (although it was in my arms since she couldn't settle into her basinet) because all I remember is nursing her around midnight and then again this morning at 6am. I'll take it!
Rob is home from work with us today, and I'm so glad that we also have the weekend to continue to settle in at home. Goals for the next 3 days include getting Maddie on a more regular nursing schedule (my milk should come in any time now, which will help), unpacking and getting the house back in order, and getting Robbie and Ellie back into a routine that provides them with stability and enough rest to keep managing the changes around them. I need to figure out how to get a grocery shopping trip in there somewhere, too! I am remembering now how ravenous I feel after giving birth, and need to stock the fridge with healthy things to snack on.
Last night, in spite of the chaos of returning home and the kids being all out of sorts, as I put each one of them to bed I felt this overwhelming sense of thankfulness and purpose. Madeline makes our family feel more complete, and it's almost too much blessing for me to wrap my mind around, for these 3 kids to be ours. I love that they are siblings, that we are a family of 5 (!), that I have my hands full. And I love that my husband is willing to do whatever is required to continue to grow our family and nurture it while being so supportive of me.