Environment - Our house was a good 6 degrees cooler than the NICU. Poor Andrew's hands and feet kept turning blue cause they were so cold. We turned up the heater, put socks, mittens and a hat on him. Even swaddled him to help keep him warm. Finally after a few days he body temperature acclimated and he is no longer blue.
Sounds - The NICU is like any other hospital room/Intensive Care Unit. There are beeps and alarms going off everywhere. There are nurses, doctors, and family talking. In all honesty, I think I would go crazy working there because there is never silence. Going from that to a quiet nursery was really hard for Andy even though I was sleeping in there with him. I ended up playing either a podcast or turning on Netflix just so he had some noise and I could drown out all of the thoughts running through my head.
Schedule - This has been the hardest one for us and we are still working on it. The first night I don't think I got more than two hours of sleep total. He cried all night. Between all of the changes he was going through and Jack and I being new parents and just simply not knowing what to do made it even worse. The nurses kept him on a 3-4 hours schedule where they would change and feed him. We tried keeping that schedule as best as we could, but there is one big difference. They got to go home after their shift to sleep...we were getting no sleep. And yes I know that saying sleep when the baby sleeps...but what if your baby isn't sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time? Also, the nurses would do a lot of their test and other things with the babies during the night so they could spend time with the parents during the day. Again great while in the NICU, a nightmare when they are home. It took us a few days but we finally got him to sleep between 1.5 hours to 2 hours at a time during the night. Hopefully, this will continue to increase the older and more comfortable he gets.
After this week, I feel like mom's who had a C-section was discharged right away with their babies and doing it all alone need a medal. I got a few extra days in the hospital to heal, a few days home without my baby so I could sleep, and I have an amazing husband that is there when I need help. I just don't know how those women do it!