Our Lil’Bean is now six days old. He has shown great progress and growth. When he was born his apgar score was an 8, which seems pretty good to me.
I wanted to share some of his experience with the NICU. For more general information on hospital NICU’s here is a site I found:
Some of the key factors of being pre-term and exiting the NICU are: maintaining body temperature, maintaining blood sugar, heart rate, breathing and learning to eat.
Lil’Bean spends most of his time in an isolette with lots of wire attached.
Every three hours the nurses do “cares” where they take his temperature, feed him and change his diaper. It is during his cares that I am able to be with him and participate. After we get him changed and fed I get to feed him and then I get to hold him for about an hour, then it is back to his warm cozy box.
He has done fine with his breathing, and hasn’t required oxygen since he’s gotten here, which is a wonderful blessing.
We first take his temperature. That is the main reason he is in the isolette, to help maintain body temperature. The times I have taken his temperature it has been between 99.1 and 97.9, which both are acceptable. Slowly through this week they have dropped the temperature in the isolette. The starting temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (sorry I don’t know the conversion to Fahrenheit). The last time I was able to visit the temperature of the isolette was at 30 degrees Celsius. The goal is that he will be able to maintain his body temperature on his own and he will no longer need to be in the isolette.
Up until yesterday Lil’Bean had an IV. Initially they used the IV to administer antibiotics. They did some blood tests and there were no signs of infection, so only one round was needed. They also were using his IV to give him sugar water, to keep his blood sugar from dropping too low. He was doing great at maintaining his blood sugar so they took him off the IV all together.
His first IV was in his hand. They replaced that IV and placed the next one on the left side of his head. It was sad to see an IV in such a vulnerable spot. They removed the second IV and put a third on the right side of his head. The poor little guy has gone through a lot of poking and prodding his first week of life. But I am grateful he no longer needs an IV now.
For the past three days Lil’Bean has been receiving phototherapy. This is where he is stripped down to his diaper and his eyes are covered. A special blue light is placed on top of his isolette. This is treatment for jaundice. He has a small case of jaundice and the light therapy helps break up the biliruban in his kidneys which causes his skin and eyes to have some yellowing. It looks like the light therapy has been effective and he is no longer under the blue light.
Lil’Bean also has a feeding tube. I am currently pumping in hopes that I will be able to breast feed. They increase his feedings a little bit each day. They started him at around 20ml and he is now receiving just over 30ml, which is about a tablespoon and a half. It doesn’t seem like much, but really to me it seems like a lot. Each time I pump, I hope for a little more milk. The most I have ever pumped is 12ml, which seems minimal. But I am hoping and praying things will increase soon. It should help when I am able to go back to the hospital again, which I am planning on doing tomorrow.
I have breast fed him a few times. At this point where he hasn’t quite got the coordination to feed on his own, and they call it, “recreational breast feeding”. He will suck for a few minutes, but then he gets tired and falls asleep. I am told this will be our biggest challenge to overcome.
“Little white boys”, so they say, have the hardest time learning how to feed efficiently when they are born prematurely. I have faith that he will get it before too long and that we will soon be on our way home. Just if I could get my body to cooperate! I had a difficult time with milk supply with Lil’Miss. You can read about it here. I really would like to be able to do this for my son, I hope things start to work out!!
Overall Lil’Bean is doing great and is making small steps of progress each day. Lil’Miss is getting over her cold and is returning to her spunky, active, self. So I will be dropping her off at a friends home childcare tomorrow so I can spend the day with my Lil’Bean. What an adventure!