Week number nine finds me roaring out of the gate at five pounds six ounces - up three ounces from the day before.  Tonight when my folks stopped by, I eagerly imbibed 50 milliliters, same as the day before.  Contentedly, I slept:


Meanwhile, in the neighborhood back home signs of spring are starting to make themselves known.  The forsythia on our street, for instance, are starting to bloom:


Also, this morning scouts reported back to me that Dad had, at long last, finally finished painting my room.  This news pleased me:


Ah, but then I received news that I will be receiving my third eye exam today.  This news displeased me greatly.  Angrily, I slept:


The next day things went much better once I got the chance to watch a little ESPN Classic.  Here I am predicting the outcome of a field goal attempt during a particularly close playoff game - no good:


Later I had a bottle feed with Dad followed by a nice little nap in his arms:


The next day I did a quick victory lap for lucky number day sixty - sixty is a nice number.  Here I am bedside enjoying a hearty laugh with Mom:
 

Let's zoom in nice and tight so we can get a better shot of my face:


Mom told me that her workmates held a nice little celebration in honor of my arrival. Check out the cool cake that was made for the event:


Later the doctor stopped by while my folks were visiting and told them I might be going home next week - you could have knocked me over with a feather.  News of my impending discharge almost took my breath away:


Nevertheless, I was somehow able to find a way to sleep my way around the issue:


The next morning Mom and Baba paid a surprise visit. They told me all about the baby shower that would be taking place later that afternoon back at the homestead. Check out the festive decorations:

My parents' friend, Michele, is a whiz in the kitchen. Look at the cakes she made from scratch with colors she mixed up to match the ones in the safari pattern that will be used to decorate my room:



A splendid time was had by all despite the rain - at least that's what I heard.
Anyway, the next day my folks did a dry run of something the hospital calls "rooming in," whereby I go take a ride to a room across the hall from the neonatal unit with Mom and Dad and see how well I do without having to call in the nurses other than routine needs.  Hey, I'm always up for an adventure:


Guess what? Everything went just fine.



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I just want to warn you before I unveil the highlights of week ten:  this week is going to be a short one.  And not because of Passover, Easter Sunday, and the upcoming Patriots Day holiday weekend.  I know, I know - the anticipation is killing you.  This is my first blatant attempt at foreshadowing ...

Anyway, week number ten started off on a "heavy" note:  I hit the six-pound mark! According to my currency converter, this means I am worth approximately ten dollars sixty-eight cents here in the U.S.  Interestingly enough, the joy of being in a new weight class carried over into Story Time - this week it was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Here I am pretending to be Mike and using my Mom's finger to operate the steam shovel:


I am highly impressionable, as you know. Last week at Story Time, it was the Amazing Adventures of Superman.  Here I am pretending to take flight:


Three plus three.  Five plus one.  Two plus four.  Anyway you calculate, it all adds up to six.  A tip of the hat (times six) to dear old Mom for her magic formula that helps me grow.  Here's an action shot of me on day sixty-four pounding my Mom's milk while Dad the shutterbug is distracted by thoughts of Cincinnati chili topped with cheddar & finely chopped garlic:



No doubt about it:  parenting is hard work.  But ultimately rewarding.  Mom has learned to take cat naps wherever and whenever she can:



I just can't say enough good things about my current place of residence - it really is a full-service hospital with a wide range of programs and services.  For instance, here's a shot of me on my way to karate class:



But every time I think about teaching Dad a lesson by breaking his camera in two, I am reminded of my karate instructor's stern admonition that the martial arts are a means of self-defense and that violence is to be employed only as a last resort:



Day sixty-six happened to be my Dad's birthday, so as a gift I decided to forego additional oxygen support for most of the day - the first time ever!  When Dad stopped by that day for a visit, I didn't say a word and let him figure it out for himself.  Boy, you should have seen the look on his face when he finally noticed that the regulator on the oxygen machine was set to zero.  I'm such a rascal!



Please forgive me if it seems that I'm a little obsessed with food, but hey, I'm not the only one.  Here's a shot of my Mom demonstrating her patented burrito wrap:


Day sixty-seven was the most important one yet - today Mom, Dad and me will be "rooming in" again at the hospital, only this time for real.  Goal for the day:  taking care of Baby Nick without the need for hospital staff to intervene.  If all goes well, then this will be a prelude to Baby Nick finally being allowed to go home with Mom and Dad.  Here we are earlier in the day psyching ourselves up for the big event:



I'm happy to report that everything went better than expected. Rooming in was a total success!  By the end of the day I was pretty giddy from all the excitement and began the official countdown once we were in the homestretch.  Here I am with only four minutes to go:

 

 Before the day was up, Dad finally got his chance to photograph the X-ray machine with the ridiculously long neck that's been painted to look like a giraffe:



At this point things look very promising for me, but I'm not quite out of the woods yet.  Ultimately, I have to pass the big car seat test.  That is, can I sit in a car seat for at least forty-five minutes without triggering any alarms?  Will I make it out of the hospital on my first try, or will I be sunk by a case of the dreaded hiccups?  Nervously, I clutch my blanket as I sweat out the results:



Stay tuned to this webspace to see if I pass my final exam ...




So ... pass or fail? Home run or strikeout?  Touchdown or safety?  Birdie or bogie? Hot tater tots or cold french fries?  All-day recess or after-school detention?




Well, I'm happy to report that I knocked it out of the park!  A slam dunk.  The car seat didn't even know what hit him.  Dad had no doubt - said he knew it all along:


I, on the other hand, given what I've gone through these last ten weeks, was a little more skeptical - but nevertheless relieved:



So, what does this all mean for Baby Nick?  It means I'm coming home, silly!  On Easter Sunday no less - two days shy of my ten week anniversary.  I went ahead and took the liberty of calling the front desk to find out what time check-out is.  The answer?  Tomorrow afternoon around 1:00.  Exhilarated by the great news, I spontaneously launched into the cabbage patch dance.  Dad caught me on film in an unguarded moment:



Before I go on, I need to state for the record that my pal, Cow-ie, has been a faithful friend who has stuck by my side during good times and bad, from start to finish.  Back in the "Q & A with Baby Nick" I indicated he was my most treasured "possession," but in truth he's been a most loyal animal companion.  I regret that I ever called him a possession, because he's his own animal, indeed.  Cow-ie, my dear pal, will you ever forgive me?



On the day of the big discharge, there were a lot of preparations to be made - prescriptions to be filled, medications to be checked, instructions to be absorbed, advice to be heeded, yearbooks to be signed, electrodes to be attached:


One o'clock soon came and went.  Same with two o'clock.  Farethewell three o'clock. Adios four o'clock.  As the hours dragged by, I eventually realized that discharge would be not be a quick or easy process.  I began to feel like an extra on the set of "The Long Goodbye":


Finally, after my folks signed a million papers (actually, just a few), Mom and Dad put me in my car seat in preparation for my first ever car ride.  In a very short time I would be heading to a place called home, or - as the hipsters like to say - "my crib." At this point I could taste freedom:


Of course, who wants to be in a hospital when one could be at home? And yet, a part of me was sad to leave, since everyone here has been so nice and has worked so incredibly hard to do what's best for me.  Baby Nick had a lump in his throat as he breathed fresh air for the first time in his young little life.

Here I am outside the hospital entrance with Mom and Nurse Shauna, as I wave goodbye to my former place of residence. Parting is never easy: