After numerous ultrasounds and doctor's appointments, the doctors decided that it was best for me to come early, at 37 weeks instead of 40, because my growth had begun to slow down. Whether it was issues with the placenta or simply the "fishbowl theory" since mommy is so small, the exact reason wasn't there, but everyone agreed that it was safest for me to arrive early.
Mommy was scheduled for an induction at 7 PM and she learned the first rule of parenting before even arriving at the hospital, when the nurses delayed her arrival by 4 hours. After a long day of conference calls, errands and stress, mommy, daddy and I headed off to sleep at the hospital. (Below is a photo of mommy and me - I’m in the tummy! - in my room just 5 minutes before we all headed to the hospital.)
Whoa!!!! California earthquakes rumbled mommy’s tummy every 3 to 5 minutes for 12 hours. Despite all of mommy’s hard work, I knew the secret for why my heart rate kept deccelerating after each quake…but it wouldn’t be ‘till the afternoon when everyone else learned why.
At 4:10 PM, Dr. Gross reached into my swimming pool and pulled me out….brrrrrr!!!! After they unraveled the two loops of cord around my neck, I let out a big yell to let mommy and daddy know that I was ok. Daddy met me at the table with 4 funny looking men dressed in blue and cut my cord. The doctors were concerned at how small I was (4 lbs, 6 ounces, and 16.5 inches) and they wanted to take me to a special hotel called the nicu, but not before I got to give mommy a big kiss. Daddy followed me to the hotel. After some hugs from daddy, and my grandparents, they put me into a tropical paradise, a balmy 98 degree, high humidity oxygen tent.
I woke up in the tropicalville only to find out they put a few tubes into me, but the nice ladies taking care of me explained that it was for the best and told me if I kept breathing like a big boy I would finally be able to receive hugs from mommy. Despite being in the tent all day, I posed for some photos, spent time with my parents and had visits from all my grandparents as well as uncle Alex.
At 12:05 am, the nurse took me out of the tent and I got to breathe room air…..yummy, but wow is it cold. I begged her to call mommy and daddy so that they could come and hug me. At 12:10 am, I got the best hug from mommy and she smelled so good and was so warm. She and daddy traded snuggles as I nuzzled on both their chests….it was the best.
When the sun came up, they decided to pull out the needle in my belly button that had been tracking my oxygen levels and they told me if I was a good boy, I could start eating in the afternoon. Mommy and daddy visited me for feedings every three hours including night time, so I got to see them at 8 pm, 11 pm, 2 am, 5 am. I received visits in the afternoon from all of my grandparents.
I started the day focused on learning to eat so that I could get the IV needle out of my hand. Little did I know that this would be the hardest day of my life and one of the hardest for m
ommy and daddy. You will see in my pictures, that mommy covered the IV with a girly looking sock to protect me from scratching my face. I had two good feedings in the morning, but noticed that mommy came to the 8 am feeding in a wheelchair…..uh oh! Just before my feeding, the doctors took out the staples in mommy’s tummy and part of her tummy opened up. I was reassured when she fed me and held me and she was still warm, smelled good and was able to love on me. I overheard the doctors telling mommy she had to take it easy, so I decided from that point forward to be a really good and mellow baby.
I struggled with my feedings throughout the afternoon because of my worries for mommy, but really started to get the hang of it as the sun went down. Daddy told me that he would be the one teaching me how to eat since mommy only likes twigs and berries.
Mommy and Daddy visited me for my 2 am feeding and I really wanted to show them how much progress I had made. By morning, I had done so well, that when Mommy and Daddy came to my 8 am feeding, the nurses had pulled out my IV. I did have a small setback though – I had a little bit of jaundice and was put under phototherapy. Phototherapy is a lot like sitting out on the beach with some cool shades. With the darkness of the early morning and the spotlight on me, I was truly the center of attention. I practiced both my Stevie Wonder impression as well as my “cool cat” look. My trip to the beach was meant to break down the bilirubin levels that I would eventually poop out…and I did. That night I gave mommy and daddy some good entertainment and laughs. They were both changing my messy diaper (how many parents does it take to change one premie diaper?) when mid-change, I decided to kick my legs around and give them the double whammy. I shot out the fire hose and blew it out the back simultaneously. Although mommy says that it hurts her wound to laugh, I took pleasure in watching both mommy and daddy in hysterics. They needed it!
Mommy and daddy were very sad when they came down to see me this morning because it was time for them to leave the hospital without me. While I was making progress, got off the phototherapy light and began to eat more, I was still just under a skinny 4 pounds. They doctors said I needed to “chunken” up. The good news is that mommy looks tiny in regular clothes since before today, I had only seen her in an oversize gown.
Mommy and Daddy stayed with me through my 3pm feeding, and boy, did I impress. I was extra motivated through the end of the day to show them that I wanted to come home too. A new nurse showed up for the shift and she was the 10th nurse to tell my parents that I was “the mellowest” kid ever. Mommy and daddy just laugh when they hear that, but I’m gonna chill them out. Mommy and daddy returned for the 9pm feeding and I when I saw the tears in their eyes when they left me, I was determined to get serious about this feeding stuff and knocked back twice as much of mommy’s milk during my midnight feeding.
Today is mommy and daddy’s 7th year wedding anniversary and I started with a bang! They visited me at 6am and the nurse told them I had chowed. I again ate well and at 7am the doctor came by to let them know my bilirubin level was normal, so my day at the beach had been a success. We had another great 9am feeding and then mommy and daddy returned with my grandparents at 3pm. I spent some extra time with granddad because he is going home tomorrow. He’s been a huge help throughout this journey and I know mom and dad would have been very stressed without him.
We had a “lactation class” and everyone said that my technique rocked and I got an A+. My weight was still low though. After the 6pm feeding, I told mommy and daddy to go out and have a nice dinner for their anniversary – just to disprove their friends that said that they’ll never have “quiet dinners” with a baby.
Rise and Shine! Mommy and Daddy walked in at 5:45am to find out that I had gained 35 ounces and I am now just over 4 pounds, and still eating well. I also proved to regulate my own body temperature so I will likely graduate to a crib from the warming bed. At the 9am feeding, I sucked down 50ccs of milk from a bottle (that's a lot for a 4 pounder!) partly because daddy kept telling me to pretend I was chuggin' a beer, but more important because of what I heard the doctor say to my parents. He told them that if I continued to put on weight and behave, I will likely go home this week.
I was hungry this morning when mommy and daddy came in at 5:50am. I had eaten "ok" overnight and had gained a little bit of weight (5 grams), but not as much as I had wanted. We also had another small setback...apparently, I've been so motivated to pound the 1st half of my feedings, that I forget to breathe when I chug. I'm still learning coordination of suck, swallow and breathe and although I've almost got it down, I had 2 small incidents overnight where my oxygen saturation level dropped. It's quite common in babies but since I'm so small (just barely over 4lbs), and I didn't gain a lot, the docs want to keep an extra eye on me. As you can imagine, mommy and daddy were sad but they understood and they want me home when I'm ready.
Mommy and daddy returned for the 3pm and 6pm feedings and we got our 1st family photo. Below are also some shots of mommy feeding me and daddy snuggling me. The doctor tells me that if I keep eating, one day my chest will be as big as the one I'm sleeping on. No oxygen incidents today as we're focusing on "pacing" when we eat.September 25th
Today was a great day! It began with a 30 gram weight gain and some great feedings. The doctors came by and again hinted that home was only a few more grams away. Mommy and daddy began to fill out discharge paperwork and they even brought in the car seat for my upcoming car seat test. I will sit in it for an hour and the nurses will make sure I don't drop my chin and constrict my airflow.
I think all of these visits to the hospital combined with the midnight pumpings are starting to take their toll on mommy and daddy. One of the nurses caught mommy and daddy sleeping outside on the lawn in between feedings and I gave her an extra 20 bucks to take a photo of it.