First off, it’s been four weeks since Eddy was born. Until now, he’s been roaring along, piling on the weight, passing his tests, and basically had everyone thinking he’d be home by the end of this week.
That’s not going to be the case, however. The last milestone he has to make it to is cue-based feeding. That is to say, he has to demand food when he’s hungry and take it orally rather than through the tube.
Before he can start that, however, he needs to be taking a certain percentage of each feeding orally…and unfortunately, he’s not there yet. He has had huge meals in the past, but once he has one, he has a period of downtime where for the next few feedings he’ll only take a few cc’s of milk and then has to get the rest through the tube. And it’s not like he’s full — at the start of each meal, they check his stomach contents and he’s usually empty.
So, as you can imagine, we’re disappointed. We’re sick of the hospital. And we’re ready for him to come home. That said, we have to settle in, be patient, and let him do his thing, because right now, it’s all on him and all we can do is wait.
So he passed his car seat test, which means no more wires all over him to track his heart rate and breathing. Now, he’s down to just the feeding tube. We’re seriously in the home stretch here. All he has to do is pass his cued feeding and he’s clear.
When that will be is open for debate. He has some issues with falling asleep while breastfeeding. He’ll take a nearly-complete meal one feeding, and then three hours later will be falling asleep partway through.
We’ll see. That “home by Friday or Saturday thing” is looking a little more sketchy right now, though.
Eddy, looking a little smug.
So we’re chugging along toward the finish line, I think. Eddy’s taking more and more of his food via the nipple rather than the feeding tube. He’s packing on the pounds. His eyes track as a pair most of the time now and his motions are getting smoother.
Tonight: the car seat test.
That means they’re serious about him being home sooner rather than later! He’s also got a cranial ultrasound (possible because they look between the un-fused skull bones) on Friday, which will be his last.
Hee hee hee. My boy is coming home! (And I’ll probably continue this Tumblr and talk about his first year at home.)
Last night, we sat in the NICU, like we do on weeknights. Eddy took nearly a third of his meals on Day 19 via the “natural” method instead of the tubes. At the 8 p.m. feeding, of 47cc, he took 41 of them via breastfeeding.
We were betting on when he’d come home. Kate was betting Valentine’s Day. I placed my wager at longer, being conservative as a way of keeping my hopes from getting away from me.
And then the nurse on-shift that night was talking to us a little later, and said in an off-hand way that he could be home next week.
The “H-word”! Someone besides us actually said the H-word!
I laughed — in disbelief, of course. We’re both excited by the prospect, but also not wanting to believe it. Getting our hopes up to have them thwarted would make this even more difficult than it already is.
And for those of you reading this, I encourage you to think the same way we are. Do not presume that Eddy will be home next week. In fact, you should act, think, and plan as if he were going to be home in 5 weeks, when he’s close to his “gestationally complete” date.
We did plan, though. Because we have to. I’ll probably spend this weekend at home, getting the house ready (building crib, cleaning, etc.). And Kate will probably start spending every night with him to get him switched over to the idea of on-cue breastfeeding and I’ll schlep new clothes and supplies to her every couple of days.
I’m afraid he looks a little like Kuato from “Total Recall”…
You know. “Quaid…start the reactor…free Mars.”
So yeah, clearly it’s been awhile since I’ve updated this — a lot going on as you can imagine. And the days all just blur together at this point.
The good news is, Eddy continues to make excellent progress! They moved him out of acute care and into an isolette around Day 4 or 5. This last Saturday (Day 15), they moved him from the isolette to a crib! Awesome!
He’s becoming more vocal, his eyes are tracking more smoothly, and he’s moving his head around when he sleeps on his stomach (picking it up to switch sides). This morning, the nub of his umbilical cord fell off.
So yeah, the little guy continues to amaze. As of yesterday, he’s up to 5 pounds, 2 ounces and 18.5”!
The next big steps are breastfeeding consistently and on-cue, and then passing the “car seat test”…and then he can come home.
Tuesday the 18th, I got back to the office, still emotionally wiped-out, running low on quality sleep, but ready to get back to the grind. Physically, I was feeling a lot better, and was ready to go ahead and get on with things. I wound up talking to a lot of people about what went down, did my work, and then went to the NICU to see Eddy and Kate.
Lesson: expect to have to tell your story repeatedly, especially if something weird happened, like your wife sleeping through much of her labor.