We had SUCH a BIG day today!!
1. Everett has been weaned off of all oxygen supplementation!! I got to see his sweet face for the first time this morning! Though he still has an oral-gastric tube in which is taped to his chin, he no longer has tapes and tubes across his little cheeks. It makes a world of difference! His oxygen saturation has been wonderfully steady as well. The pediatric intensivist made rounds today as it was the regular neonatologist's day off. He warned not to be alarmed if Everett gets tired over the next day or 2 and needs to be put back on oxygen for a time as his birth was extremely traumatic for his respiratory system. He added that his gut feeling was that Everett would be ok with the wean, but wanted to let me know that it's not uncommon for a baby that took such a hard respiratory hit to take a little step back after making such progress.
2. I was offered a first attempt to breast feed! I think it went well. Everett latched on very briefly a few times and seemed to have a good grip on the whole "suck swallow breathe" rhythm. However, after 2 days of fussing about not eating and taking comfort in a pacifier, we still have an awful lot of work to do. I can continue to try every 3 hours to nurse him and will follow up with a bottle of breast milk. He did take some milk from the bottle today after nursing for a bit. He took 25 mls. Not too shabby for a first feed. I am hoping this will allow him to rest comfortably and make our subsequent attempts to feed a little more successful. Whatever happens, I know I can get the milk to him somehow - regardless of the mode of transport. (though, don't think for a second that I won't fight tooth and nail for us to figure out actual breast feeding. We can do this!!)
Brent had gone to the house this morning to do some laundry, check on the kiddos and have a little break from hospital life. Mommom came to the hospital to visit with me and to sit with Everett for a bit. It was really special to have her there while attempting to nurse. I am so grateful for that time, her advice, and un-ending encouragement.
3. After the feeding, I found that Brent had returned with Mary Louise and David in tow. The nurses in the NICU were more than happy to allow us to just pop in with our wee ones so that they could meet their little brother. All were in awe of how big Mary Louise and David have gotten. They were both very good - David got a little restless but didn't bother anything. Mary Louise was totally enamored with Everett: "das ma yittle brother Everett! Da baby in Mommy's bel-yee wite dere!" Everett had a case of hiccups while they were there which concerned Mary Louise to no end. She was also concerned about all of the monitors and stickers on his little body. "baby have a yittle bo-bo and Mommy have a yittle bo-bo." "Mommy in da hospital cause she has a yittle bo-bo."
David's first words about Everett? ha - "Das a foggie! Mine have it?" Everett received a most treasured NICU treat today: his first Frederick T. Frog positioning bean bag. David has 4 and has one with him at all times still today. It was funny to see how pristine, white and crisp they once looked. David's are so dingy and stained from "helping" with gardening, riding in wagons, assisting with Play-doh time, and whatever else David decides to get into.
Brent took Mary Louise around a bit in the NICU to show her where she was given her very first bath, her first bottle, her first bed. She listened very closely and actually told me all about it when we returned to the hospital room.
It was amazing to see our little ones together.
I spoke with the NICU doctor today about goals for discharge for Everett:
1. He must be able to maintain his temperature on his own (as of now, he is still under the radiant warmer)
2. He must maintain his blood sugar. Though his birth weight was great, he's not eaten for 2 days and is down to about 6 pounds now. He must be able to eat full meals and maintain his own blood sugar. Since he is starting to feed, they will now begin to wean his TPN (total parenteral nutrition) until he is no longer on it at all.
3. He must be regularly gaining weight - approximately an ounce daily. Currently, he is to nurse as long as he wants. Then he is offered a bottle of breast milk. There are no set amounts he has to take in - they are just seeing what he can do. He is eating every 3 hours. I tried to nurse at 2 today - he did pretty well - latched a few times (as I said above)- but was very tired. I gave him a bottle and he nippled very well taking in 25 mls. I went back at 5 for another round and he nursed like a total rock star! He fed for about 20 minutes from each breast then followed with just over 20mls of bottle. At that rate, he'll out weigh Mary Louise and David by the end of the month!
In addition, when I returned at 5, the radiant warmer was off! He is swaddled in a soft cotton blanket and has one of Mere's totally famous and awesome NICU knit hats on but is otherwise maintaining his own temperature! His nurse for the day told me she has this weekend off and wanted to tell us goodbye and best wishes as she doesn't expect to see us here on Monday when she returns!!
Brent and I are going back at 8am to feed again and give Everett his first bath! What a day!!