After one week and one day of being in the NICU, it was finally time for little Mr. Casey to come home. Woohoo! Yes, Casey is the name we decided upon after pulling a name out of a hat that I still could not settle with. It just did not seem right. I can’t even remember the name. Even though the name “Case”, which was on our list, didn’t make the hat, Brian thought Casey might be a good name because, at the time, he was the commander of Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea and also because of my affinity for Casey Affleck 😊.
We were allowed to arrive at the NICU a couple of hours before the standard visiting hours. We had to complete the “take your baby home” training before we were allowed to leave with Casey. The training included watching us hold and feed him, as well as reviewing documentation about upcoming appointments and things to look out for at home. I was like, “Can you just give me my baby?”. I may be a first-time mom, but this is not the first baby I have taken care of. The nurse eventually dressed him and placed him in my arms. That was an overwhelming feeling of unspeakable joy. I was finally taking my baby home and I was so ready for this moment, or so I thought.
The first couple of days and nights were great. I was tired, of course, but happy to wake up for nightly feedings. While in the hospital, Casey received a mixture of formula and breast milk. I would pump and take the breast milk to the hospital during our visits. However, once he came home, my milk supply declined, despite trying a variety of things, and I was beginning to HATE pumping. With the increase of formula, Casey began to experience colic. Now, when I heard mothers I know talk about colic, they would mention it like it was something that was so easy to resolve. They talked about it like it was something as easy as changing a diaper. Why would they do this? Why did no one tell me that colic is the devil? All during the day, Casey would be playing, cooing, smiling, and taking naps. As soon as five or six o’clock in the evening came around, he would start crying uncontrollably. I did not understand what was going on. At his follow-up appointment, one week after being released from the NICU, the pediatrician recommended some things to try, but nothing she mentioned worked. I scheduled an appointment with a pediatrician at the clinic on our military installation. She recommended we change formulas and try mylicon drops. We went through about four different formulas, mylicon drops, gripe water, vibrating mats, and things I’m sure I forgot about before we finally found a more expensive formula that worked. Alimentum was like Jesus changing the water to wine. He hated the taste of it and would not drink a full serving. I learned somewhere on the internet that I could add a few drops of alcohol-free vanilla extract or simple syrup to his bottle so he would start to drink it and then gradually ween him from it. That worked really well. His colic symptoms disappeared and he became the best baby EVER. He did experience some reflux as well, but that was nothing compared to colic. That was the longest month and a half I have ever experienced. Thankfully my mom was still there while all of this was going on. She was able to give us some relief. Brian still teases me about one particular night when he came into Casey’s room and I was rocking him like I was possessed. He said my eyes were bucked and the rocker was almost falling over (LOL). Initially, Brian did not think the rocker was a necessary buy for the nursery, but he soon found out that it was our best investment. Casey was so used to being rocked to sleep when he had colic, that we had to use the rocker to help put him to sleep until he was about 12 months old. Casey’s sleeping habits...now that is another story!