Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 Days in the NICU

It's been 10 days since was born. 10 days in the NICU. I feel like an old pro at it now! I was so uncertain on how to act, who to look at, how to speak, what questions to ask. Now, it feels like old hat. It's taken about 10 days for me not to want to cry each time I see Reese in her isolette. It's hard to wrap your brain around the fact that your baby will be in the NICU for an uncertain amount of time. Today, I feel okay with it. Ask me tomorrow though, cause it may be a different story! 

I do think that when a parent checks into the NICU they should give you a glossary to take home to study. There are so many terms the nurses use and it's hard to keep up. I think I finally have them straight. After having them explained to me 100 times. I'm sure there are many other terms, but thankfully we aren't familiar with those. Let me give you a little vocabulary lesson!

A Brady - when the baby's heart rate slows down

Apnea - when a baby stops breathing for a short period of time

Episodes, spells, events - when a baby has a Brady or apnea

Gavage - a feeding tube (picture a cooked spaghetti noodle) inserted into a baby's throat that goes directly to the stomach

cc's - amount of milk a baby drinks. 35 cc's = 1 oz (I think)

Those are the terms we hear on a daily basis.

Now that you are up to speed on the terminology, let me give you an update on Reese after 10 days in the NICU.

* She has surpassed her birth weight (3 lbs 14 oz)! She's up to 4 lbs 1 oz.

* Her milk volume has increased to 35 cc's (1 oz). This will be her max for awhile (I think). 

*She bottle feeds about 2-3 feedings a day. Usually when Brian & I are there. 

* She will drink about 20 cc's from a bottle. She needs to do 35 consistently before she goes home. 
My personal best with her is 21 cc's. Brian is 23! I'm going to pass him one day!

* The other feedings she is gavaged. If she drinks less than half of her bottle she gets gavaged. 

* She has apnea & Brady episodes a few times a day. Her episodes usually last 2-3 seconds and she comes out of it on her own. This means the nurses do not have to interfere in any way. That's good news.

* Reese has to be episode free for 3 straight days before going home.

* She is still unable to keep her own body temperature outside of the isolette. Her isolette is kept at a comfy 84 degrees. She does get very cold when out of her isolette for 20-30 minutes. She has to be in an open crib for several days before going home. 

I think that's it. The neonatologist (preemie doctor) told us yesterday that Reese is considered a "feeder and a grower". That is her only job in the NICU. I like to think it is the highest status you can have in the NICU. She also told us the doctors are not concerned about her at all. Reese is doing everything she should be doing for being at 32 weeker. All of the behaviors she is exhibiting are typical of a 32 week gestational age baby.  This is all good news and puts us at ease. It does seem like she has a long way to go, but the doctor said that once her brain develops one area everything else will come into place very quickly. Doctor said Reese MIGHT come home mid-December. Here's hoping.

The best part of my day

Let's not forget this handsome boy!

Jaxon is handling his sister being the NICU very well. Last week was rough on him. He was whiny and ornery, but what can you expect? This week we are more in the groove of things and he's doing better. Whenever one of us gets back from the hospital he asks, "How's Reesey? Is she doing great?" Usually that is followed up with one of these questions, "'Did she drink all of her milk? Did she poop? Did she cry a lot? Did she ask about me?"
Today he says, "Mom, I'm going to call Reesey a crybaby because she is a baby who cries. Babies cry a lot you know."


Susanne, Chris and Kate said...

Glad to hear that Reese is doing well and you are getting into a routine. I can't imagine how difficult it is to see her in NICU. Those are very special doctors and nurses! We're praying that she stops having episodes, stays warm and eats so she can come home for Christmas! I love how concerned Jaxon is about his sister!

Mary said...

I got a little emotional when I was reading about Jaxon asking about her...wasn't expecting that...Just thinking about you guys having to go back and forth between them must be so hard : ( Hoping it will only be a couple more weeks!

Ami said...

I didn't even think about it until now...But UMC NICU gives you a fabulous book all about what to expect in the NICU. WHY DIDN'T I GIVE THAT TO YOU? You should "suggest" that TMC create one and tell them what kinds of things you wanted to know!