I should be 28 weeks pregnant today. Mondays were the day I got to jump to the next week. It’s surreal to be staring at my baby through an isolette instead of staring at my growing belly (not to mention, my body is almost back to normal again, which is weird too). Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be here, and some days I still feel like I’m dreaming. I kind of alternate between just going through the motions in a daze and feeling completely overwhelmed with reality. But at least for now I feel like we’re settling into a pretty good routine, and balancing home life and NICU life – something I was told was one of the hardest parts – hasn’t been as hard as I’d imagined. Part of that might be my tendency to time manage better with a really full plate. But I think a huge part of that is having an equal partner in D, and having a child at home who forces us to maintain some sense of normalcy. And even though D went back to work, his work is very flexible and he’s able to do a lot of it from the hospital. We manage to have dinner together most nights, and lunch together pretty frequently as well. It’s not an ideal situation by any means, and some things like sleep, housework and the dogs have definitely taken a back seat. But overall I’d say the balancing part isn’t as bad as it could be.
I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. E’s alarms kept sounding – he had several desats, even though his oxygen was turned up to 28%. He also had a few bradys, which are always a little unnerving. The good news is, his bili levels were low again (1.5) so he got to come off the lights. It’s normal for them to come on and off several times – and even term babies sometimes deal with this – but I’ll be happy when the lights are gone for good. He’s eating like a champ and we’re up to 16 ML every three hours, which is considered a full feed for this age. From here on out it’s just fine-tuning as far as feedings go, depending on his weight and other needs. The doctor mentioned starting him on vitamin D
(and something else I’m blanking on right now) and iron. But those will just go in through his feeding tube. Typically preemies get to start bottle or breast feeding around 34 weeks — 33 at the earliest (they have a hard time coordinating sucking, swallowing and breathing before then). But in the meantime, we’re told the pacifier can help develop his sucking, and when we’re doing skin-to-skin I can sort of follow his lead and if he makes his way toward the breast (some babies will do this instinctively – pretty amazing), to let him. As of now he’s still pretty tiny and immobile when we’re doing kangaroo care, so I don’t see that happening any time soon. But that’s encouraging to look forward to.
Speaking of kangaroo care, today’s was kind of a bust, which was really disheartening. He just couldn’t keep his oxygen levels up, even though his oxygen is usually higher when he’s on me. He just seemed kind of stressed out and not breathing well, so the nurse ended up putting him back in his isolette after only about 15 minutes. Incidentally, right afterward she suctioned a large booger out of his nose and then he started breathing a little easier. She said we could try kangaroo care again later, but I had to leave shortly afterward to get home and take T to a birthday party.
D spent the afternoon at the hospital and will stay the night tonight. He said E had a really good rest of the day with no alarms or anything. Maybe it really was just a booger. Amazing how something seemingly insignificant can cause such problems for a preemie. At one point this evening the nurse redid his cannula and D was able to snap a rare photo with E’s face more visible while it was briefly off. He really is growing and changing fast, and I think he looks a bit like Theo! His weight was up to 921 grams today, or just over two pounds. Keep growing, little Emmett!