It’s 10 p.m. and I’m settling into my evening routine of pumping one last time before bed and recapping the day. I don’t know whether I’ll keep doing daily updates — I’m kind of hoping things get more boring at some point, but for now there are still a fair number of changes each day so here I am.
I spent the night in the NICU last night, after tucking T into bed. Overall, we had a good night. The lactation consultant said I was doing so well with my milk production that I could drop to every four hours at night as long as I was still pumping every two hours during the day. Sleep is good! I did wake up once to Emmett crying, but he is so quiet I can barely hear him and I have no idea how long he had been crying. This isn’t something the nurses monitor unless it sets off his alarms, or he’s loud enough someone hears him from the hall. But since I barely heard him from six feet away, it really made me glad D and I have been making sure one of us is here at night. By the time I woke up and got to E he had worked himself into such a frenzy that he temporarily stopped breathing and his heart rate dipped, setting off all the monitors. He recovered, but those episodes are always a little unnerving. The rest of the night was fine, though, and I think we both slept pretty soundly.
After yesterday’s PICC line removal, the doctor attempted to place a new line today, but couldn’t get it in and so we had to go back to IVs. It was disappointing, but he felt the IV was doing a sufficient job for now, and didn’t think it was urgent enough to force the PICC. He said if they got really desperate they could go in through his groin, but that that would be a little more invasive and not as comfortable for him. To make up for the lack of fluids we would send through the PICC (the IVs don’t handle quite the volume), they decided to increase his breastmilk feedings from 1 ML to 3ML (still every three hours), one day ahead of schedule. He has handled the increased feedings like a champ and was moving everything through his stomach fine, but it still wasn’t coming out the other end. So they gave him a suppository this morning, and another this afternoon after no progress, and he finally had a good poop around 8 p.m. I’m told sometimes their immature little systems just need a bit of a nudge. We’re hopeful things move as they should from here on out.
The great news is that he’s finally starting to gain weight, after pretty steadily losing over the last week. Even after that big poop, he is up 10 grams, so we’re hoping the increased feeds will help him continue to grow and that we’re on the upswing now (even for term babies, it’s normal to lose weight after birth).
His bilirubin levels were a little high again so he went back under the lights this afternoon. They’ll test again in the morning to see if he can come off them.
I got to hold him again tonight, but this time only for about an hour, since he needs to spend as much time as possible under the bili lights. It was still wonderful, but I’m hoping to get a longer hold tomorrow.
Some volunteers from a NICU parents support group stopped by tonight, so that was nice to talk to someone who could relate. The group is run by moms whose children are NICU alumni and they visit every Tuesday. I think this group will probably be an important resource for me. Almost a week later, the shock of what happened is just now starting to wear off, and I think I’m coming to grips with just how long and difficult of a road we have ahead of us. In a quiet moment by myself this afternoon, I suddenly found myself crying out of nowhere. I’m sure the postpartum hormones don’t help, but I’m also feeling a lot of guilt. Guilt for even mentioning in my last pregnancy update post that I was “over pregnancy” and “ready to meet my baby.” (I swear, I didn’t mean RIGHT NOW!) Guilt for not going into L&D a couple days earlier when I first thought something might be off. Guilt for being so reproductively defective. Obviously that last one has nothing to do with anything I actively did or didn’t do, but why does it seem like some people just have so many more challenges than others when it comes to having babies? My OB doesn’t think this is related to our losses in any way, but no one seems to have any theories on why this happened, either. I’m certainly glad we don’t want any more children after this. Because if the miscarriages hadn’t scared me away from getting pregnant again, this sure as hell did.
Anyway, sorry to go down a dark road. Emmett really is doing about as well as he possibly could right now. I just know I will have some stuff to work through for quite a while. D and I both probably will. But tomorrow E is one week old! He took a pacifier today (who knew they made pacifiers that tiny?) and the nurses all marveled about how good his sucking was, which will hopefully help him out when it comes time to breastfeed eventually. He was also quite alert several times today, which was really great to see. In just one week, he has changed so much and I’m looking forward to his continued progress.