NICU day 31 and 1 month old

Today Emmett is one month old. When Theo was a baby I wrote monthly update posts to keep track of milestones, and while this time around is obviously very different, I’ve decided to start those up again. I don’t have the energy to write a daily post and a monthly update, though, so as long as we’re in the NICU, the monthly updates will be combined with my daily updates.

First, the day 31 update:

Overall, Emmett had a good day, though he had a few more events today after a streak of several days with very few. It wasn’t enough to be concerning, but definitely noticeable. I’m hoping he was just having an off day and this isn’t going to become a trend. Dr. P visited today and let me know she didn’t plan on turning the pressure on his oxygen down for another several days, even though everyone thinks he’s ready. Like the doctor I had talked to yesterday (Dr. B), she too tends to take a more conservative approach. There are several doctors that rotate through the NICU and they all seem to have varying philosophies on how aggressively to proceed. Doctors P and B tend to be on the more conservative side. Dr. L is definitely the more aggressive one, and the others fall somewhere in the middle. I will say, at least right now I’m a lot more comfortable with taking a conservative approach that won’t wear E out and will let him focus on gaining weight. Speaking of, he’s up another 40 grams today and is now a full pound over his birthweight!

Now for the 1 month update:

Adjusted age: 30 weeks 5 days gestational.

Stats: 2 lb 14 oz (I created the image below before tonight’s weigh-in and don’t have the energy to change it) and 14.5 inches.

Milestones: Everything is a milestone at this point. Breathing via high-flow cannula at 21% oxygen is probably the most notable, though

Sleeping: This section will probably be one of the more robust ones subsequent months. As for now… he’s a great sleeper? But he’s supposed to still be a belly baby so that means nothing right now. Since T was such a terrible sleeper, I still have high hopes the universe will give us a good sleeper this time.

Eating: 25ML every three hours via NG tube, plus 28kcal of fortification added to my milk. Pumping still sucks but my supply is doing well.

Personality: Yet another section that will be more robust as time goes on. If it’s even possible to read anything at this age, I think he may be very social like his big brother. He loves being handled and whenever the nurses come around for cares, he gets very alert and stares up at them.

Likes: kangaroo care, sucking on his pacifier or hands.

Dislikes: having his blood drawn.

Mama: has had a really easy recovery. Guess that’s the silver lining of a small baby. Unlike with Theo where I couldn’t sit down for a week, I didn’t even feel like I had given birth the next day this time. I’m about 4 lbs. away from my pre-pregnancy weight, despite the fact that I’m completely ravenous and eating everything in sight. I was like this with Theo, too. Way hungrier while breastfeeding than while pregnant. Gotta love the extra calories making milk burns.

Writing down some of these milestones felt a little silly this early, but it will be good to have a benchmark for future months. I will say, starting these monthly updates made me excited for what’s to come, and for the first time since E was born I’m actually thinking about the future instead of just trying to survive the day.

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NICU day 26

Today was a good day. Emmett has reached 30 weeks gestational age (happy to be out of the 20s!) and put on another 30 grams, bringing him to 2 lbs 10 oz. Another huge milestone is that he graduated to the high-flow nasal cannula, so we said goodbye to the snorkel mask.

I’ll admit, as much as I missed seeing his face, I was very hesitant to get rid of the CPAP since he had been doing so well on it. We’ve had an amazing past few days with very few events, and I worried that this might take us back to the days of multiple desats and bradys. Happy to report that so far, things seem to be going just as well on the high-flow. I don’t think he’s desatted at all today and has only had one bradycardia, which was very brief and self-resolved.

In addition to changing up his breathing support, we’ve also increased his milk intake to 23 ML per feed, and have gradually reduced his feeding time from an hour to a half hour (still every three hours). They had previously stretched out his feedings to an hour since he kept desatting as his tummy filled, but since he hasn’t been doing that, they were able to get him back to 30-minute feeds, which is the standard.

In an effort to minimize any stimuli and allow him to conserve calories (and gain more weight), the nurses are now only doing his cares (diaper changes, repositioning, etc.) every four hours, instead of every three. Which means now if I want to hold him for the entire stretch in between cares I need to do it for four hours! I did it today, but by the end I was hungry, had to pee, and my boobs felt like they were going to burst with such a long stretch between pumping (and having a baby on my chest certainly didn’t help!). But dammit, I was determined to make it the full four hours. I was talking to another NICU mom the other day and she had also talked about “powering through” the long holds to give her baby maximum skin time with minimal disturbances. The sacrifices we make as moms, right?

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