This week has flown by and it's crawled by all at the same time. Mr. Noah is beautiful, wonderful, perfect, precious, sweet, cuddly, etc... Also, he is LAZY. Trying to teach him to nurse has been a little challenging since he prefers to sleep constantly. Usually, about 2 minutes into feeding him, he cracks one eye open up at me and gives me this look as if to say, "you know, if I don't wake up, they're just going to put some milk in this little tube. Easy breezy. Can you just snuggle me, please, so I can get back to my nap?" News flash, little buddy... you can't come home with a feeding tube, so WAKE UP! :)
We are so blessed that although little man was born 5 weeks early, he had little to no complications. I've kept a little journal over the past week to keep track of his progress. He's doing so great.
Day 1 - March 20th - He was born at 6:15 am and was 5 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He was admitted to the NICU where he had a nasal cannula for oxygen, IV antibiotics, IV nutrition and a feeding tube. He is on a 3 hour feeding schedule: 8,11,2 & 5 am & pm.
Day 2 - March 21st - He was put under bili-lights for jaundice and they reduced the amount they were feeding him due to residuals in his belly.
Day 3 - March 22nd - Discontinued oxygen and IV antibiotics. Mommy's milk came in! No formula + tummy time = little to no residuals in his belly, so they began to increase his feedings again.
Day 4 - March 23rd - we were allowed to start non-nutritive nursing 2 times per shift for "practice". We tried for the first time at 8pm.
Day 5 - I was discharged from the hospital in the morning. We were allowed to start "real" nursing sessions 2 times per shift. I fought the battle of the bottle/paci with the NICU nurses and won! Now he has a sign over his bed that says "NO PACI's" and "NO BOTTLES". They probably think I'm a little crazy, but I don't care. Also, he had his lowest recorded weight today: 5 pounds, 4.5 ounces.
Day 6 - Noah has been tolerating his feeding increases really well, and blowing IV's left and right, so they decided to give him a big increase (from 19cc to 25cc) and completely remove his IV nutrition. This was the first day he showed a weight gain - 5 pounds, 6 ounces. I checked in to the Ronald McDonald House, which is on site at the hospital, in anticipation of needing to be here around the clock to nurse at all 8 feedings.
Day 7 - All of Noah's IV's were removed. We were allowed to start breastfeeding at all 8 feedings. (I skipped the 5 o'clock feeding to go to church, but as of the 8pm, I will not be leaving the hospital until my itty bitty comes home!). He posted another weight gain - 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
So, here we are at the start of Day 8. Last night was the first time I fed him around the clock. I would get up 15 minutes before his feeding time, walk over to the NICU, feed him (or try to feed him while he worked on his Rip Van Winkle impersonation), come back to the room, pump, sleep for an hour and 45 minutes, then repeat. I was worried I would be exhausted, but the Lord has really sustained me through all of this. It wasn't that hard at all to get up each time when the alarm went off. I am comforted by the thought that this is only for a short time. My heart breaks for families who live in these situations for weeks, months, and years with terminally ill children or family members. The family that shares a bathroom with me has a little girl in the PICU with a heart defect. They've been here almost a month and likely still have a few weeks ahead of them. They have FIVE other children at home. My situation pales in comparison and I can't help but feel blessed. (Please pray for them, if you think about it. Parents are Michael & Patricia and their baby girl is Tiana). Anyway, we're hoping that one week from now will find us at home with our sweet boy, assuming he decides to wake up! Even if that isn't the case, we are encouraged by the favor the Lord has shown us so far. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and the ways so many of you are serving our family. We have the best friends and family and we love, love, love you!