Monday, April 4, 2011

NICU, part 2

Noah’s second week in the NICU seemed to move much more slowly than the first one. If I were to be perfectly honest, I was miserable most of the time. With the exception of one dinner out with Brian, my mom, and the kids, I didn’t step foot off of the hospital campus. I remember feeling really lonely and overwhelmed. Brian was spending most of his time at home with Ben and Grace, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was pouring every ounce of energy I had into teaching little man how to breastfeed. While the doctors and nurse practitioners in charge of his care supported my desire to breastfeed, they were much more concerned with him simply gaining weight and getting discharged. There was more than one occasion when they pressured me to supplement him with bottles, and they insisted that nipple confusion didn’t exist. In my heart, I felt like that was not the right thing to do. I stuck to my guns, but it was not a fun position to be in. I was constantly second guessing myself. I was a hot mess of hormones, fatigue, and worry. Both Brian and my mom received multiple phone calls from me where they couldn’t even understand what I was saying because I was blubbering so much! Thankfully, with the end of this week came the end of Noah’s NICU stay! We brought him home on Day 15, April 3rd, 2011. Here are some pictures and a recap of his progress during his second week in the NICU:
Day 8 - March 27th - His weight was 5 pounds, 7 ounces today (he lost a little). He is making SLOW progress with eating because he tires out very quickly. Today's positive was they turned off the bili-lights and the heat lamp and we were able to put him in his clothes!

Day 9 - March 28th - Today he was 5 pounds, 6 ounces. The loss is most likely due to him being removed from the heat lamp and having to regulate his own body temperature. We moved out of the NICU today and into Intermediate Care. Ben and Grace still are not able to visit him, but the Intermediate Care Unit has a small window and the nurses allowed me to hold him up to the window so the kids could see him. Ben's face was priceless!

Day 10 - March 29th - Nursing, nursing, and more nursing. His feeding tube is still in his nose, and unless he nurses for atleast 15 minutes, he still gets 1/2 of his feeding amount in the tube. He typically can only last for about 8-12 minutes, and I can barely get him to eat at all during the 11pm, 2am, and 5am feedings.

Day 11 - March 30th - We got to the point where we felt that we needed to remove his feeding tube completely so that he could nurse as effectively as possible and also to see if he could gain weight without it. I offered to nurse him every 2 hours instead of every 3, so they moved him to a small room that had a couch where I could sleep with him (instead of coming back and forth from the Ronald McDonald House). He lost weight again this day.

Day 12 - March 31st - In addition to breastfeeding we worked on finger feeding and arranged to get a Supplemental Nursing System (you'll have to google that one). He lost weight again and his bilirubin levels were also back up, so they decided to put him back under the lights. It's safe to say I was at my wits end at this point and I felt like we would NEVER get to go home!

Day 13 - April 1st - His bilirubin level went back down, so they discontinued 1 of the lights that was on him. The SNS was really helpful (although a complete pain in the booty to use) and he FINALLY posted a weight gain. 15 grams! (Who new that I could get so excited about 15 little grams).

Day 14 - April 2nd - His bili went down again so they discontinued the 2nd light. Our doctor told me that if he posted a gain overnight that we could be discharged tomorrow. Elated. I was elated!

Day 15 - April 3rd - He gained and we are home bound! He passed his car seat test, Brian and I took an Infant CPR crash course, and we were ready to go. We were discharged at around 2pm. I could not wait to have our whole family together and to sleep in my own bed! Family of 5, here we come! Noah's discharge weight was 5 pounds, 8 ounces.

Finding his fingers!

Snuggling with Mommy!

My sweet boy! He made all of this bearable!
A proud Daddy!

Noah's home away from home for his 1st 15 days, complete with pictures of his big brother and sister.
Passing the car seat test like a rock star! Ready to head home!

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