NICU day 61 and 2 months old

Today Emmett is two months old. And we’ve been here 61 days now. With any luck we’re about 2/3 of the way through this NICU journey.

I went into the office today so D was here most of the day. He seems to be doing better with his breathing and reflux, though they were having to chase his oxygen levels all over the place today. He’d desat and they’d turn his O2 up — and then he’d high-sat and they’d turn it down. They’re still having to suction him a fair amount, but he sounds better than he did the other day.

This evening I hurried back to the hospital after dinner so I could get here for his 8:30 cares and give breastfeeding another shot. I’m happy to say we had, by far, the most successful session to date. More about that below.

So here’s what’s going on at two months…

Adjusted age: 35 weeks

Stats: 5 lbs 5 oz and 17.5 inches. Like last month, I created the image below before they did his evening weigh-in. I figured like last month he’d maybe be an ounce or so off but wasn’t expecting him to put on a whopping 110 grams tonight!

Milestones: Getting moved to an open crib, stepping down to low-flow nasal cannula at 1 liter, beginning to breastfeed.

Sleeping: So far so good, but as I mentioned last month, at this gestation most preemies sleep pretty well. Within the next few weeks he should start showing his true colors.

Eating: 45 ML of breastmilk every three hours via NG tube, plus 26kcal of fortification added to my milk.  We got to try breastfeeding for the first time last week, and as of tonight I think it’s finally starting to click with him. I think it was a combination of him feeling better, simply getting bigger and more mature, and I think a lot of it was that I was more comfortable. For the past several days the lactation nurses had been telling me to hold him a particular way (“cross body” hold, with my hand holding his head), and I had been following their direction, even though it felt unnatural to hold him this way (I had always preferred to nurse Theo in a “cradle” hold, with his head in the crook of my arm). But since I had never fed a preemie before, I followed their direction. Tonight I did what felt natural to me, and was far more successful. Moral of the story? Listen to your instincts, mamas.

He still isn’t able to get much, but he was rooting around, opening his mouth and truly giving it his best effort. And several times he would latch and actually get in several good sucks before losing his “grip.” He probably would have done even better, but he got a vicious bout of the hiccups about halfway through and I could tell that just wiped all his energy. It was just such a relief to see him actually doing what he should, though, even if he needs more practice. I think the most discouraging part about the past few days is that he just didn’t seem to know what he was supposed to do. We’ll probably try weighted feeds tomorrow (where they weigh him immediately before and after to see how much he got), now that he seems to be actually getting a little. As he gets more and more by breast, they’ll start subtracting that amount from his tube feedings.

Personality: Like last month’s update, it’s still pretty early to see much personality shine through, but he’s certainly gotten more vocal about when he’s unhappy with something lately! Whether it’s reflux or those horrible eye exams he isn’t shy about speaking his mind.

Likes: Being held. His oxygen and heart rate are always at their best when one of us is holding him.

Dislikes: Reflux and eye exams. And boogers.

Mama: is down to pre-pregnancy weight but feeling pretty squishy still. I went to barre for the first time postpartum last week and am hoping to start making that a regular habit again.

I’m back at work now so that I can save the rest of my leave for when E comes home. It’s actually been kind of nice to be back. I only go into the office twice a week (usually Mondays and Fridays) and I work from the hospital Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I’m thankful to have such an understanding employer, and this schedule allows me to have two “consecutive” days in the office (Friday and Monday), but still lets me get 2-3 days of hospital time in between so I don’t feel like I’m missing E too much. I also have most of my standing in-person meetings on Mondays and Fridays, and all the others I can easily call into. I’ve discovered the kids’ play room on our floor is quiet, has a desk, and is rarely used (the only kids allowed in the NICU anyway are siblings and they’re probably spending most of their time in their brother/sister’s room), so it’s perfect for taking calls.

I’m still obsessive about pumping (even though I despise it), but I’ve been able to stretch it out to every three hours during the day and and 4-6 hours at night, while still increasing supply. Currently getting about 33-35 oz per day, which is way more than he’s eating right now and we’re running out of freezer space in both the kitchen and the garage freezer!

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Birth, one month, two months.

Birth, one month, two months.

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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