Baby Emmett, breastfeeding, NICU

NICU day 67

Today was a good day. Last night was another fussy night because of the reflux, but we’re still seeing way fewer events.

The best part of the day was that we had a major breakthrough in breastfeeding. Part of that is definitely thanks to the tongue tie clip, but a big part is thanks to the nurse who suggested we try nursing with a nipple shield this morning. Without going into too much detail (because my coworkers and father-in-law read this blog), the nipple shield helps create a shape that makes it easier for a baby with a tiny mouth and under-developed muscles to latch onto (think more bottle nipple than human nipple), and also helps reach the roof of their mouth, which stimulates their sucking reflex. The difference was like night and day, and he actually nursed for about 15 minutes straight instead of the on-off-repeat cycle we’ve been on.

Unfortunately, toward the end of his feed, he had a pretty big brady. The nurse said that’s a common issue for preemies. The whole suck-swallow-breathe thing can be tricky for preemies to coordinate and he must have forgotten to breathe temporarily, which made his heart rate drop. The nurse warned us we could start seeing those pretty frequently now with feedings, which is kind of disheartening. Just when we overcome one hurdle, a new one presents itself.

The rest of the day went really well. I came home around noon and D headed back for the afternoon and will stay there tonight. I’m happy to report we have officially reached 6 lbs!


Baby Emmett, breastfeeding, NICU

NICU day 66

Last night I spent the night at the hospital. Like the night before when D had stayed, Emmett had a pretty long night of just general fussiness. The good news is, he’s having way fewer events than he has lately. But that reflux is just brutal. He spent pretty much the entire night grunting, punctuated by the occasional crying spells. So I didn’t sleep well and was up a lot. It was kind of like … having a newborn.

This morning, after a quick attempt at breastfeeding (still not really getting it), I left the hospital to meet D at the pool for Theo’s swim lessons. Since I was running late, I decided to pump on the way, something I’ve done many times. I’ve mastered the art of pumping and driving. I have a hands-free setup, so I simply get everything situated before I start the car, and then unhook once I get to my destination. I usually wrap a cardigan around myself so it’s not so obvious to the cars next to me. Well, I may have been driving a little fast, trying to make it to the pool on time (I bet you can guess where this is going). Yeah. I got pulled over. While pumping.

I had a moment of panic when I saw the lights. Although a cardigan is sufficient cover from drivers in the lane next to me who probably aren’t looking too hard into my windows, the thin, semi-sheer fabric didn’t exactly hide the outline of my pumping shields. Or the noise of the pump, for that matter. So much awkward. Thankfully, I think it was even more awkward for the police officer, who quickly let me off with a warning. I think he wanted to get out of there even faster than I did.

I had a good day with Theo, watching him swim, and then meeting up with some friends with kids his age for lunch and play time. Then I had to rush back to the hospital (once again pumping in the car, but this time paying close attention to the speed limit!), so I could meet the doctor for E’s frenectomy (tongue tie clip). I was nervous about the procedure, but it ended up being very quick and he hardly cried at all. The eye exams were 100 times worse. They immediately put him on me afterward to nurse — both for comfort and because they want him extending his tongue as much as he can right away. It went a little better than this morning’s session. He’s still kind of a lazy nurser (which will hopefully improve with practice and maturity), but I could already tell his latch was improved, so I’m hoping we continue to make forward progress.

He’s still hanging out on the oxygen tank at 1/32 liter and hardly having any events (knock on all the wood). He got a bath this evening — first time in the sink — and did pretty well. Weight was up 58 grams, bringing him to 5 lbs 15 oz. He very well may crack 6 lbs tomorrow!