Our foster child came home December 20 and, once again, we had a baby in our house. We were excited about celebrating Andrew’s birthday and Christmas with this new addition.
Unfortunately, I got sick on the 22nd and quarantined myself to my craft room. I set up a blow-up mattress and only came out when I absolutely needed to – we wanted to make sure we did everything possible to prevent the baby from getting sick.
The other unfortunate part about all of it was that it left Andrew to take care of the baby almost by himself. He brought her to her first follow-up appointment alone, fed her, and got up with her in the middle of the night. All on his birthday and Christmas. Thankfully, we had a lot of help from Andrew’s brother who also did some night duties.
During her first week home, she started to have diarrhea. Maybe from the stress of changing environments (NICU to our house)? What we do know is that it caused her to have a horrible diaper rash. The doctor recommended switching her to a soy formula (which I am glad I chose not to switch because come to find out, soy has a negative effect on one of her medications) and adding rice cereal to her formula. As a bonus, the rice cereal helped with her vomiting and spitting up. She also gave us 4 different medicated creams to alternate.
We were using all the creams, water wipes to decrease irritation, and letting her air out when able (which was a mess but it was worth it). It took about 2 weeks for the diaper rash to go completely away but it eventually did.
During the diaper rash fiasco, Andrew’s mom starting watching the baby during the week while we worked. We started to get into a groove and things felt normal.
We got a call from the county visitation specialist to schedule visits with her parents. We also were asked to be at the first Child and Family Team (CFT) Meeting where they would go over the plan for the parents and the youth. We got a call from the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer stating she will want to visit the baby twice a month. We got a letter from her attorney stating she wanted to speak with us about the youth’s health and plan of care. Lastly, the baby’s aunt scheduled her first visit since leaving the NICU. This baby became very popular. 😉
The CFT Meeting was informative but awkward. They spoke about the baby for maybe 30 minutes and the rest of the time was about the parents and what they needed to do to reunify. I felt like the parents may have been more comfortable speaking about their plan without us there. And we were asked to bring the foster youth which we did; however, that distracted the parents because they wanted to hold and interact with her (of course they would) but that didn’t leave them time to focus on what was being said. It was nice to finally meet them, though, and we could tell they love her bunches. (As a side note: there has been an additional meeting since then and we were not asked to go or to bring the baby.)
The CASA volunteer has been really great to work with. She is a retired pediatric nurse so we had lots to talk about (including the baby). If you don’t know what CASA’s roles are, I will add more about them in my educational section.
The visit with the aunts went well. They got to spend a lot of time with the baby at our house. I will admit, it was kinda awkward at first but we just and got to know each other. The visits were at our house while waiting for the county to approve their family friend’s house who lived locally (once approved, they would be able to take the baby to this house for overnight visits).