Thursday, October 1, 2009

Charlie's First Day & RSV Precautions

Charlie has now been home for over 24 hours. So far, he seems to like it here. Last night Joe and I stayed up with Charlie until after his 1:00 AM bottle. At that point we thought we would try to get some sleep, so we put Charlie in his cozy new bassinet in our bedroom and climbed into bed. Silly us, thinking that Charlie would take the hint and go to sleep. I’m not sure what goes on in the NICU after midnight, but if Charlie is any indication it’s some sort of nonstop party. It was 2:00 AM but Charlie was ready to rock. He lay awake in his bassinet for about an hour, making little cooing and growling sounds to himself, while I jumped out of bed every two seconds to look at him “just to make sure.” Make sure of what, I’m not sure. Joe also woke up every five minutes or so to look at Charlie, so I wasn’t the only crazy one. But at 3:00 AM Charlie had amused himself enough and started to cry. Joe and I decided that we would just sleep in shifts, so I took the Chunks downstairs until 6:00 AM. Aside from a brief 30 minute catnap at 4:00 AM before his bottle, Charlie stayed awake the whole time. At 6:00 AM when Joe came downstairs to take over, Charlie promptly fell asleep and stayed that way until nearly 9:00. Stinker.

The rest of Charlie’s day was good. The visiting nurse came this afternoon to check on Charlie and help us get some of the details of his care straightened out. She pronounced Charlie to be great, which we already knew ;) Tomorrow Charlie will see the pediatrician for the first time and we’re hoping that he will get a good report there as well. Charlie also had some visitors this afternoon. My mom and sister came over, and my sister held Charlie for the first time to celebrate her 25th birthday (happy birthday, Jill!) which was the day before. Later, Joe’s mom and dad came over and held Charlie for the first time. Needless to say, they enjoyed it, and Charlie seemed to as well. Tonight I gave Charlie a sponge bath to get him squeaky clean for the doctor tomorrow and then put him in his cool Ocean Wonders swing. He was mesmerized by the colored lights and rotating fish…for about 10 seconds before he promptly fell asleep.

Our day with Charlie was great, but we can’t forget about our love bug! This morning I went up to the NICU to visit the Bug while Joe stayed home with Charlie. Lily was wide awake and cute when I arrived, and when Dr. Hiatt came over to say hello she greeted him with an obnoxiously loud fart. Such a lady. Joe went up this evening to see her and had a very quiet and routine visit, which is exactly what we need from her. We are still waiting on word as to when Lily can come join Charlie at home. It all depends on how her reflux episodes develop. Hopefully she will make it home sometime this weekend. We can’t wait to have both her and Charlie here together!

Now it’s time for us to make an important public service announcement regarding visiting the babies and RSV.

Most people have not heard of RSV, which stands for respiratory syncytial virus, even though nearly every child has had it by age two. For full-term babies, RSV typically isn't any worse than a common cold, but for preemies, RSV is quite serious. Babies born earlier than 36 weeks are at the highest risk for serious complications from RSV such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis and other sometimes fatal complications. Charlie and Lily were born premature, are multiples and had low birth weights and these are among the highest risk factors for contracting RSV.

Preventing the spread of RSV is very difficult, so although we want all of you to meet the babies, we're going to have to be extremely vigilant about keeping them safe during RSV season (October through April). The virus is spread through physical contact, in the air via a cough or sneeze, or by touching an infected object. It can live as long as six hours on hands and up to twelve hours on objects and it spreads very easily, especially from child to child. Studies have also shown that infants pose an even higher risk of spreading RSV to others. You may ask “Can’t they fight it off and build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?” The simple answer is NO. Since our babies were pre-term, they did not acquire the necessary immunities to fight off infection. If they contract RSV, they could be hospitalized and develop one of the complications mentioned above.

In order to try to prevent Charlie and Lily from getting RSV or any other illness, our doctors recommend that all visitors follow these guidelines when coming to see them between now and April:

1. When you arrive, please wash your hands and use hand-sanitizer.
2. If you are a close relative who could potentially visit often, please get a flu shot.
3. Please refrain from coming over if you are sick and have not been symptom-free for at least 5 days, if you live with someone who is sick, or have been in close contact with someone who is sick.
4. If you smoke, we ask that you change your clothing and refrain from smoking prior to visiting, as a preemie’s lungs are very sensitive to smoke. Most RSV sites recommend against passive smoke exposure.
5. If you are parents to a baby or toddler, please refrain from bringing them to our house during RSV season.
6. Please refrain from touching the babies. For the time being, only the babies’ grandparents and their Aunt Jill and Uncle John will be able to handle and hold Charlie and Lily.

Please know that this is not meant to offend anyone, but we wanted to provide an explanation as to why we'll incredibly paranoid with the babies. Thank you all for your understanding!
Please also note that due to RSV season we are unable to take the babies out in public October through April and must also avoid large family gatherings. We have to be hermits for awhile, but it will be well worth it in the end!

(RSV info borrowed from the blog of a fellow mom of multiples)

Is it just me or does Roy look like he's stalking his prey? Luckily, both Roy and Roger have seemed pretty okay with having Charlie here.

And maybe Roy is okay with things so far because he realizes he can always find a way to get some attention.

The night before Charlie came home, it seems as thought Roy knew something was happening. He got a bit antsy. Notice the cut on my nose? Yeah, that was all Roy Kitten.

Charlie seems quite pleased with his choice of seating options. In the NICU he was either in his crib/isolette or being held. Here at home, Charlie can sit wherever he wants!

Aunt Jill was the first non-nurse to hold Charlie (besides Joe and me, of course), and he seemed to be perfectly content in her amrs.

These last few days, it's been looking like Charlie's hair is going to be red. We can thank Grandpa Fred for those genes!

Despite all the support that our family has given us through these last few months, Charlie did not feel compelled to wake up for his visitors, not even Grandma Anne.

I realize this is the second day in a row that we've only posted one single picture of Lily and that she's been asleep in both of them, but she's pretty enough for us all to gaze at her beauty een if she's not awake.


sue said...

Congrats on surviving Charlie's first 24 hours at home. You'll be an old pro by the time The Bug gets to join him. Then they can take turns sleeping...

Lani said...

They are just too beautiful for words! But you know that:)
And GOOD JOB for being upfront about your expectations when it comes to visitors, you have every right to take these precautions!
Definitely figure out a "shift" schedule so you guys can each get a few hours a night of uninterrupted sleep- you will need it:)
Also just wanted to let you know that you are nominated for an award at Multiples and More!

Anonymous said...

You are so smart to lay out the RSV precautions here! Good for you for taking care of business. :) LOVE the pictures as always!

Lauren said...

Two thumbs up for being such great advocates for your babies! Daniel can't wait to meet his new buddy and future prom date, but he will be very patient. :)

Someday, you'll be able to sleep at the same time again. ;)

Anonymous said...

This post brings back so many memories from when we brought our little guy home. It seemed to take him a bit to adjust to the new surroundings, and noises...or lack there of. Staying strong with the RSV precautions can be tough, but SO worth it. I SO wanted to throw the biggest party ever when my guy came home, after 3 months it felt like the world should be dancing. It's so tempting to want to let others oogle and oggle your baby saying no can be tough. One trick we used was leaving him in his carseat at dr. apts (until we were roomed) with the visor part pulled down infront of him like a shield. Keeping yourselves healthy too can be quite the have my thoughts, best wishes, and prayers, good luck and Congratulations! Can't wait to see lily home too.
Duluth, MN

Meg said...

A. I am SOOOOOOOOOO super excited to see that Charlie might be getting red hair. As a redhead myself, and mother of two redheads (and a third redhead on the way - yes, I'm sure this one will be a ginger, too) - I just think that's AWESOME!! :)

B. We didn't let ANYONE but my husband's parents in our house for an entire month after we brought our twins home. I felt like a paranoid freak, but it was all well-intended of course!! We held the girls up to the window, like animals in a zoo. You gotta do what you gotta do to keep your babies safe. :) They did end up getting RSV about two months after that. This winter, no one's allowed to come over - just in case!! :)

So very happy Charlie is home and loving it!!! I can't wait for Lily to get home, too! YAY!!! :)

BuckeyeBundle said...

Just wanted to say glad the first day went well with Charlie home. Hope he sleeps at night a little better for you! and also GREAT JOB on the RSV info! You have to put it out there and it's best for folks to know right now how dangerous it is for your children. Most people just don't get it and you will still get comments even though you have made it as clear as can be. Don't let them get to you. You know you are just protecting your babies and one day you will get to share your beautiful kiddos with EVERYONE you want. :) Hang in there and keep the sleep shifts going. You're doing great!

Anonymous said...

Hey Brooke and Joe,
Congratulations on Charlie's discharge! Ditto what Buckeye Bundle said. People will "just not get it" about RSV precautions. My SIL did not speak to me for a month when I did not let her preschool aged kids visit my 6 week premature twins. My sister called them "Flowers in the Attic" (from that book about the 4 kids locked away in the attic). People will get offended but stand strong. You never want to see your babies on oxygen again.
Congratulations again! Lily and Charlie are adorable.
Best Wishes!
Amy (The SPUH RN you met in the elevator 4 days after delivery)

Newman Family said...

I remember checking on Brandon every 5 minutes throughout the night when he first came home from the NICU. It does get easier but it took a few weeks before I didn't feel the need to look at him every 5 minutes. His bassinet was even next to my side of the bed.

I am glad Charlie's first day at home went well.

Jo Ann at FTHS said...

Welcome home, Charlie! Mom and Dad, here are some first-hand, practical tips for the sleep-deprived parents:
1)Babies have no "schedule"; all you can do is try to keep them more active and stimulated in the daytime hours, so that they tend to associate night with rest (for all of you!), and day with play.
2) Check out the "sound machine" device at Brookstone--it creates background/white noises (like ocean waves, or babbling streams)which help soothe both adult and infant sleepers.
3)A good rocking chair goes a long way at 2 AM, trust me!

Also, anyone with half a brain would understand the RSV precautions for--and if people don't have half a brain, you don't want them around your kids anyway!


Jen said...

Great post on the RSV info! Very serious and not to be taken lightly by anyone! So wonderful to see Charlie home and happy and I adore this shot of Lily! She is really such a bug!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the nighttime story...
Go Lily - she's a DiGiuseppe...
YES... Charlie - we love redhair...
And again - precious pictures...

I'm really glad you posted the restrictions - I just hope people respect them which I was gonna comment on Joe's facebook last night but opted not to. As much as we all want to see and hug these little cherubs - it's much better to be safe. We have a lifetime of snuggles awaiting us...

Al My Love, Auntie :) xoxoxo

The Home Cook said...

Congrats on surviving Day One. :) Charlie looks very happy to be home.

And thank you for the PSA about RSV. I never knew how serious it could be and I'm glad you guys are being extra cautious. Hopefully I can get over to see Charlie and Lily before Katie arrives.

Emily said...

I hope people don't give you a hard time about the RSV rules. You have to do what's best for those babies, and it's not always going to make you popular!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, you are not kidding...that baby girl is adorable!! Love the latest pics of her! And Charlie, what a sweetheart....I'm so excited for you two to have him home!

Colleen said...

Even though you've only posted one picture of Lily each day recently, I love them both! She looks so content and hopefully she knows it's almost time to go home!

So happy Charlie's first day home was fabulous!

JoLynn said...

First, let me say congratulations on having one baby home! And yeah Charlie for being first! He really has been fantastic with minimal issues. Both kids. I remember the pull of one being home and one still in the NICU. Soon you will get to see them both sleeping next to each other.

Second, great idea to post the RSV tips. You are the parents - stick to your guns and don't feel bad about it. Our NICU had little red stop signs that we clipped on the kids car seats that said "Please wash your hands before touching mine" and that works pretty well. We got them from the RSV medication providers. Another suggestion is to make sure coats (or other items worn multiple times) are removed before holding the babies. That is something not usually thought of but coats carry a lot of germs due to infrequent washing.

Enjoy having him home! Hopefully Lilly by the end of the weekend.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see Joe isn't letting anyone down with his new role of heading up the cuddles and naps division :)

It's so nice to see Charlie finally home! He looks so content in everyone's arms!!! I'm going to pray extra tonight that Lily will make it home this weekend. She looks so cute in the picture of her sleeping. Her cheeks are starting to look like Charlie's cheeks! So cute!!! She's so petty!

Congrats again on Charlie being home! Also, Happy Birthday to Aunt Jill... I'm sure holding Charlie was the best present ever!!!

PS. What an informative blog about RSV. Good job!

Anonymous said...

My son was born at 35 weeks and we had to take all the flu/RSV precautions. People were offended but they just had to deal with it. He did get bronchiolitis when he was 12 months and even then it was scary for me. Your little ones are so precious, and I don't blame you for protecting them. That's exactly what good parents do.


Aunt Tanya said...

Welcome home Charlie :)

I remember the first winter when my nephews came home. They were 25 weekers and are now 2 and healthy and strong. They played the hide out game suring the RSV season and remained healthy:)

I blogged about their NICU expereice as well.

Kara said...

Congratulations on surviving the first 24 hours with Charlie home! His sister will be home soon, I just know it.

Good for you on being strict on the RSV fears. My son was a preemie, and his lungs never have quite recovered from it. He's now 3 and still gets constant colds that hang on for forever- I'm sure it's because his lungs are still a little weak. And last winter, at 2 years and 4 months old, was hospitalized with RSV/bronchiolitis. We were only in the hospital for 3 days but it hung on for SIX MONTHS and was quite miserable for us all. So I'm very glad you are being diligent about it! People will just have to understand that they aren't going to get to cuddle those beautiful little beings just yet!

Jade said...

So glad that he is home!! I'm sure that even though you aren't getting sleep, it is a beautiful sound. Hope you do get some sleep though.

Jen said...

Both of the babies look so good. I love the picture of lilly here so sweet.

Great post about RSV. Belle got it at only 4 and 1/2 months and I wish we had done more at the time

Sonya said...

Good for you Charlie!! So happy you have him home and I'm sure Lily's homecoming is right around the corner!! So excited for your family!!

Anonymous said...

My son was born early and we had to take the same precautions during RSV season. It will drive you insane to be a hermit that long but is absolutely worth it. My son also qualified for a Synagis shot that helped reduce his symptoms if her were to come in contact with RSV. It wouldn't prevent him from getting it but would help him fight it off if he did. Our insurance covered the whole bill. It did take some effort to get him the first shot...including a personalized letter from his pediatrician and his pulmanologist. But it was worth it to keep him healthy. Now he is a very helthy 2 year old.

Anonymous said...

Even with my twins being born full-term, I didn't get a wink of sleep the first night either...every ohh and ahh had me jumping out of bed to check on them. I hope your nights gets better soon...and you guys settle into a nice routine...obviously after the little bug makes her appearance at home as well. =)

Daniela G

Little Wonders said...

Sleeping in shifts at night was the ONLY way DH and I got any sleep for the first, oh, 3 months after our preemies came home ;) Good luck! Also, great job on laying some ground rules about handling your babies ... especially restricting who can hold them. I know it's so hard and you don't want to feel like a jerk - but your biggest job this flu season is going to be keeping them healthy. You are doing an awesome job!!

twin momma said...

My twins were born at 32 weeks and the first RSV season were were extremely careful of people touching the kids.... still at the age of 1 we are being very careful coming into this RSV season as well as the added stress of H1N1.

Stand your ground, as only you know what it is like to be in the NICU. Take hand sanitzer every where you go, buy Lysol wipes in bulk and do not be afraid to tell strangers....NOT TO TOUCH THE BABIES!!!

Margot said...

The first 24 hours home are a bit crazy, but it does get easier. 2.5 years later, Will and I still laugh about Maggie's first night at home.
Charlie looks so comfy at home with his family. I hope Lilly can join you all soon!

Courtney in CT said...

Sounds like you're doing great! And I love Charlie's emerging red hair. :o)


Anonymous said...

I am so happy that Charlie is home with you and enjoying it! Hopefully you guys will get on a good sleep schedule soon. I am also crossing my fingers that your little Lily will be home with the rest of the family by the end of the weekend.

Thoughts are with you guys!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Take care of yourselves. try to sleep when you can. :) TRY. :) people should and will understand the limitations on visiting. the most important thing is keeping those babies healthy. Hope Lily did well today- and word yet on her homecoming?! BTW- GORGEOUS picture of her today. Have a great weekend!


Rebecca, from CT said...

So, not much sleep was had Charlie's first night home. I'm sure it will take him some time to adjust to his forever home. In the NICU, there is always something going on, lights on, monitors beeping, people talking. Hopefully in a few days (or weeks) he is sleeping better for you both. Lily looks so precious sleeping away!! Hope she gets to come home soon!!!

Jennifer and Daniel said...

Great idea to post the rules for can never be too safe...

Anonymous said...

i love the pictures, especially the ones of Roy and Charlie!! and yayy for Charlie being a potential redhead... and Lily being, well, adorable beyond words. =) i am so, so happy for you two, and your entire family.
<3 nikki

Kat said...

Be so careful with RSV and heed their requests!

My son who BTW was full term but a bit underweight for a 41 week baby had RSV he was in the hospital and quarantined at home for another month. He was so so sick the entire winter and also managed to get bronchialitis twice as a result of getting RSV at 3 months of age.

Sorry for the soapbox rant but I feel for you all.