Baby Emmett, breastfeeding, NICU

NICU day 9

Today was a relatively uneventful day, as far as E is concerned. They increased his feedings to 9 ML every three hours. Tomorrow they’ll go up to 12 ML and will also start fortifying with a high-calorie supplement to help him put on weight. Speaking of weight, he is finally officially back to his birthweight. Actually, he’s a little above (860 grams vs 840 grams, but still rounds out to 1 lb. 14 oz.). So that’s all good news.

His breathing was a little all over the place today. For much of the day he was on 21 percent oxygen, which is essentially room air. But he had a few desaturations, so they’d turn his oxygen up a bit. But then he’d be hitting 99-100 percent oxygen (sweet spot is between 88 and 98 percent), so they’d turn his oxygen down. Repeat, repeat. It was a bit of a dance, trying to keep a balance. He had a few more brady episodes today (heart rate drops), but not nearly as many as we had yesterday. We got to do kangaroo care again today around 2 p.m. for almost two hours and it was blissful like yesterday. My sister-in-law came to visit for a bit this morning, and our friend Matt cooked us dinner this evening at our house. I’m back at the hospital and will be staying the night. It’s pretty quiet here right now and the night nurse is someone I like. Overall, it was a good day.

The one sour part of my day was fighting with insurance. I have been trying for a week to get a breastpump sent to me (thankfully the hospital has given me a loaner in the meantime). The issue is, I need a hospital-grade pump, and the insurance company seems to think that’s not necessary. It drives me absolutely batty that the people in charge of approving or denying insurance claims don’t even have the medical knowledge that should be required to do so. My insurance plan clearly states that a hospital grade pump is covered when medically necessary. And since prescribing a hospital grade pump is nationwide standard protocol for preemies — and I have a preemie — you’d think this would easily fall under the “medically necessary” category. A regular pump isn’t typically good enough when you’re trying to bring in your milk: A) by solely pumping and not nursing (nursing is much more effective) and B) weeks or (in my case) months ahead of schedule.

When I’d initially called to order the pump last Friday, they’d said they were shipping it Monday. When it hadn’t arrived by Tuesday, I called, only to find out I’d been denied (thanks for notifying me?). The insurance rep kept asking me if I had tried a regular pump first and I had to keep repeating myself that that’s not what my doctor prescribed. At one point she even asked me if I’d tried “just nursing him.” (Uh.) They told me my doctor needed to provide a statement of medical necessity – which is pretty much what I thought the prescription was, but okay, fine. So I called my doctor and explained what I needed. No problem, they’d send that over that afternoon. When I still hadn’t received my pump today, I called again. They claimed they had never received the statement of necessity. I had my doctor send it again. They still claimed they hadn’t received it. But then changed their story and said because it was previously denied, I couldn’t file the claim again for a year. I ended up escalating to a supervisor, and an hour later, they finally agreed to cover it. I’m still fuming. With everything I’m going through right now, this is really the last thing I need to be worrying about. The part that makes me so angry is you know they knew they should be covering it. I’m pretty sure insurance companies deny things and “lose paperwork” on purpose because they know a lot of people won’t fight it or will give up.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll end this post on a positive note with a couple photos. Because it really was a good day overall.

Tiny hand.
Tiny hand.


Tummy time (note, despite the fact that you aren't supposed to put infants on their tummies to sleep, it's actually good for preemies and helps them with their breathing - just thought I'd point that out so no one worries! :)
Tummy time (note, despite the fact that you aren’t supposed to put infants on their tummies to sleep, it’s actually good for preemies and helps them with their breathing – just thought I’d point that out so no one worries! 🙂

3 thoughts on “NICU day 9”

  1. Glad you got the pump worked out. I didn’t have that option with B while he was in the NICU but I was able to rent a hospital grade one. I ended up renting 2 months after we were home until he was on full time nursing without supplement. Insurance….a blessing and a total beauracratic messy curse. Hang in there. Desats…..those were B’s krypton it and I still listen for his breathing to this day. Some things a mom never really gives up. I’m hoping I will shed his monitor before college.

  2. Your “two steps forward” file was outpacing your “one step back” file.
    You can put the not-nice-night-nurse and insurance company in there. 🙂

  3. What a bummer having to deal with the insurance company on this issue, one thing you did not need at this time but I’m happy to hear you got what you needed, bless you for standing up to “them”.

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