Baby Emmett, breastfeeding, NICU

NICU day 71

After the drama late last night with E’s bad reaction to his shots, the nurse ended up putting him back on wall oxygen at 1 liter and gave him some Tylenol for his fever. He actually ended up having a pretty calm overnight and a relatively uneventful day today. This morning they were able to put him back on the tank and gradually turned him back down to 1/64 liter and he stayed there the rest of the day. He still had a fair number of desats today, but they were brief and only into the low 80s/occasionally high 70s — nothing like the scary 32 percent desat he had last night.

I had a pretty long conversation with his doctor today, and he feels confident last night was just a bad reaction to the vaccines, and that the worst is behind us. He also believes by the time his four month shots come around, he’ll be big and strong enough to handle them without any major issues. I’ll definitely bring it up with his pediatrician when the time comes to see if she recommends staggering them at all instead of doing them all at once. I will say, despite what happened last night, I’m still 100 percent pro-vaccine and believe the benefits far outweigh any negatives. As scary as last night was for me, he was in good hands and never in any real danger. At the end of the day, I trust his doctors know what they’re doing, and I trust that his pediatrician will know what to do in two months.

Another interesting conversation I had with his doctor today was around his progress and eventual release. He surprised me by stating the only thing still keeping him here are his feeding issues. He’s gaining weight like a champ (and is up another 40 grams tonight, bringing him to 6 lbs 4 oz), and he’s on the lowest oxygen support possible — a level of support we could actually go home with (though I’d still prefer not to, and the doctor thinks it’s unlikely we will either). The occasional desats E has are a product of shallow breathing and breathing pauses, but not any central apneic issues — and we’ve seen firsthand that bumping up his oxygen eliminates them altogether. The doctor said IF we had to bring him home on oxygen, they’d have us turn it up to somewhere around 1/8 liter, which is more than he needs, but would ensure he didn’t desat. So in theory, he could figure out nursing tomorrow and go home in a few days. Which is crazy. Also, highly unlikely. The more likely scenario is that he will take a few more weeks to figure it out, during which time he’ll kick his oxygen habit altogether as well. To be honest, I’d be okay spending a few more weeks here and getting to bring him home completely healthy and “wireless.” As long as this road has been, it would feel like it wasn’t quite over — like part of it had followed us home — if he came home still on oxygen.

It’s exciting to see how close we’re getting. I’m looking forward to closing this chapter on our lives and leaving the NICU behind for good.


Baby Emmett, NICU

NICU day 64

This morning I arrived at the hospital to find Emmett completely off oxygen! D and I had gone to a concert last night (our first night out together since E was born) and apparently the nurse had taken him off oxygen shortly after I left the hospital yesterday evening. He did great overnight and was doing fantastic when I got there, so I had high hopes this would finally work (even though we had taken him off oxygen once before, only to have to put him back about 12 hours later). Unfortunately, a few hours later (and after I had already posted to Facebook bragging he was off oxygen support), it was clear he was getting tired and desatting more than normal again, so they put him back on. He’s still only at 1/64 of a liter, which is virtually nothing, but apparently that “nothing” makes all the difference to him. My brain knows he’s making big strides and it’s only a matter of time before he’s off oxygen for good. But my heart hurts. I really got my hopes up this time.

He otherwise had a good day. That 1/64 of a liter is really so minimal, yet just what he needs right now, and he had a very boring afternoon with much fewer desats than average. D went back to the hospital after dinner tonight and said he’s been doing well this evening too. He gained an impressive 118 grams tonight, bringing him to 5 lbs 11 oz.

Cannula free, take two.
Cannula free, take two.


Baby Emmett, breastfeeding, NICU

NICU day 63

Today was a pretty good day. They were able to drop E down to 1/64 on his oxygen tank, which is virtually nothing, and his oxygen saturation looked really good most of the day. For a little while it was bouncing up then down, but it never stayed at either end, and by late afternoon it was more steady than I’ve seen it in weeks.

I got to try breastfeeding twice again today. The morning session was a bust; afternoon was a little better. The lactation nurse stopped by for the afternoon session and we had a long chat about plans and expectations. I felt much better after talking to her. She said we’re doing everything right, and that all we can really do is keep practicing. Some babies just take a while longer to figure it out, especially one born as early as E and with as many breathing problems. The whole suck-swallow-breathe coordination is surprisingly complicated for a preemie. She also thinks getting his tongue tie clipped will help, so I’m both looking forward to and dreading that. It’s a quick procedure, but I’m sure it’ll hurt.

It was a relatively uneventful day, which was nice for a change.