Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sept. 4-5 (24-25 days)

Highs and lows. That's what I've been experiencing as a post-partum mom. I really don't have much to complain about, I suppose, but I'm just so anxious for Lincoln to progress (even though he's ahead of the game). Yesterday Lincoln had some great success with bottle feeding! His night nurse fed him two full bottles (40ml each) at two of his feedings. So, when I got there and tried to do the same.....he was tired. I had never given him a bottle before, so I was super excited. He took a bit of my bottle, but mostly was just tired and had a hard time swallowing so he coughed a lot. At his gestational age, it's really hard to suck-swallow-breathe, so you have to lay them on their sides to take a bottle and point the nipple to the side of his mouth so any milk pools in the side and doesn't choke him. It's complicated and doesn't feel terribly natural. I was sad that it didn't really work very well for me and left for the afternoon pretty bummed. Later last night I returned to the hospital with Brent and was able to give Link more than half of a bottle without any trouble! We always first give him the option of nursing. When he gets annoyed with that, we move to the bottle and whatever he hasn't eaten of his 40 ml, they give him through his tube. It's a slow and frustrating process.

Today we focused on nursing. I was frustrated and sad because he just sat there while I tried, and I really want to make that our primary source for feedings. The nurse called in a lactation specialist, and she worked wonders (as always). She showed us how to stimulate him so he'd be more alert and gave us both a pep talk and tips. Sooner than later, he latched on and fed (on and off) for about 20 minutes! It must have been exhausting for him, because when I tried again at his next care time, he wouldn't even wake up. Naturally, that left me frustrated again. I wish I wasn't so emotional about it all, but it's all I can think about right now and the most important thing to me. Poor Brent must be wondering when he's going to get his sane wife back.

On a happier note, Link is up to 4 lbs. 11 1/2 ounces! His nurses are now preparing us for discharge. We have several videos and trainings to participate in before he's able to come home (plus the other obvious milestones he has to reach). Sometime this week he should be taken off the caffiene that keeps him from forgetting to breathe or his heartrate going down significantly. Many babies have these all the time even with the caffeine, but Link doesn't have a single one recorded. He has 7 days for the caffiene to wear off and then has to go 5 straight days without significant dips in either of the aforementioned. He also has to be able to take all his feedings by bottle and/or nursing. Other than that, we're home free. They're predicting about three weeks from now. I bought his carseat yesterday and his bedroom is pretty much ready. What a change it will be to have him home!!! I can't wait.

Friday, September 3, 2010

9/3/10 33 Weeks gestational age!

Lincoln is up another ounce from yesterday!!! Unfortunately, he's doing far too well to be in a private room still and a new 25 week old baby was just born, so Link got moved to a row of non-private areas where he'll stay for the remainder of his time there. We'll have to get used to the lack of privacy during nursing/kangaroo time/etc. but we're grateful that we got to ever be in a private room to begin with! He took 20 ml of milk in a bottle for his nurse this morning before we got there! This is GREAT news. Unfortunately, he had another bum day at nursing. He wouldn't even perform for mommy's birthday!!! Ha ha. He's doing great though. We love him soooo much! Enjoy these new pics featuring a onesie handmade by the oh-so-crafty Melissa Fowler! Ha ha...I suppose it's about time we toughen the little guy up a bit!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

22 Days in the NICU 9/2/10

In the words of Dr. DeMarie this morning during rounds, "This is Master Lincoln. He's just cruisin' along. You'd never be able to tell he was a 29-weeker." I just loved that he called him Master.

Link weighed in at 4 pounds 7.2 ounces today! That's a whole 2 ounces more than yesterday! I guess I don't have to worry about getting that expensive carseat that can take babies under 5 pounds anymore. At this rate, he'll be well over 5 pounds when he's discharged. Unfortunately, the weight alone wont get him home. He had two great days of nursing, and then today he was just fussy the whole day and didn't want to have anything to do with the "nip drip." Has he caught on to the fact that he can get 38 ml of milk every three hours with zero effort through his tube??? Let's hope that he'll perform a little better tomorrow. It is my birthday, afterall.

My friend from church, Katie Willis, came to visit for a couple hours today. Not only did she drive all the way down and bring me a yummy lunch, she left her own two month-old with a babysitter so she could do it! Now that's a good friend! It was fun to chat with her and introduce her to Link's world. Katie also has put in some time in a NICU as her little one had to have a couple surgeries shortly after birth. It's nice to be able to chat with those that have shared experiences. Most parents get to go through an extremely different process in the first months of their babies lives. It's hard to let go of the expectation of normalcy and deal with all the trauma, and chatting with others who can empathize is helpful. I'm starting to wonder about what I can do in the future to help other premie moms to cope with their unique situations. There is a parent support group at this NICU, and though I've had little interaction thus far with them, the president remembers Lincoln's name when I see her on occasion and asks me how he's doing. That always impresses me since there are at least 15 or so other babies in the unit currently. They also gave us an adorable little hand-knit blanket and hat for him. Throughout this whole process we really have been the recipients of the goodness of others.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

20-21 days Aug. 31st and Sept. 1st

Sorry, I'm slacking! Things are going great! Link has been labeled the "Stealth Baby" of the NICU 'cause he's cruising right along, bypassing all the things that could be wrong with him at his early age! The last couple days we've made some great breakthroughs in nursing. I was introduced to what is called the "football hold" and it has made all the difference. Don't get me wrong, he's not fully feeding, but we're making improvements. The nurse today said that she predicted he'd probably be home in 3 weeks if he kept going at this rate!!!! SOOOO exciting! Originally they told us Oct. 22nd (his due date) and 3 weeks from now is a whole month before that!!! I'm trying not to get my hopes up...but can you blame me? YAY!

Additionally, I feel like we're bonding a lot more with Link. He seems to love the time that he's awake and hanging out with us. He looks at me in the eyes and just generally seems happy and more at ease. He responds much better to touch now, and I feel like I can hold him and kiss him like a normal little baby. We're moving on up!

Oh, and today Link weighed in at a whopping 4 pounds 5 ounces! He's gaining so quickly!