I fully intend to, at some point, get back to blogging about crafty fun stuff. I still have several posts that I want to share of things that I have been making, including some loose ends to tidy up from Lydia's birthday posts. But life isn't exactly back to normal in any sense of the word. For now, the questions keep rolling in about what is going on and how are we all doing. This blog started as a way to send out quick pictures and updates to family and friends back when Lydia was born. It is fitting that, for now, I need a single place where I can post all that is going on as efficiently as posible. Crafty stuff will return soon, as will normal life...right?
First of all, we are lucky! I have now had two children prematurely and both have been over 5 pounds and relatively strong. I have seen numerous families in the NICU with really early/ really small/ really sick children. No time in the hospital is easy (and I was crushed to hear that we may be here for 2-3 weeks instead of the one week that I was hoping for) but some families that have month long or longer stays, many of whom don't live as close to Knoxville as we do. So, I am trying not to whine or complain. But if you want to know what us going on and you ask a hormonal new mom who is also recovering from surgery, it may sound a little dramatic.
The details: tomorrow Joshua will be one week old, so the reality that the initial hope for a one week stay in NICU was pretty far off is settling in. It was easy to get caught up in the hope that he would be fine because he has made great progress. Everyday, and sometimes every visit within a day, brought news of a tube or a test being removed from his life. We saw a doctor yesterday and were told that he only has one hurdle left, feeding appropriately and that is where progress has slowed.
After loosing the IV that kept him hydrated, the warming crib, the supplemental oxygen, and finally the pressurized air that kept his lungs open, Joshua's tiny body has been challenged to do the work that these machines once did. We got excited because his progress was so quick and so steady. He just got tired.
Joshua is getting all his nutrients through feeding tube with a plan to gradually increase the ratio of breast milk to formula as I am able to produce more milk. He currently takes 4 ounces a feed and if I work really hard I can make close to 2. So that aspect will take some time to correct itself. As of yesterday, Joshua was still losing weight. He is in the normal range for amount lost after delivery, but he is small (currently 4 pounds 14 ounces) so it certainly effects his ability to expend energy. He, like many babies has been fighting jaundice. It hasn't been so bad that he needs treatment yet, but that will also tire a baby out.
So, for now he is getting a higher calorie formula or my milk mixed with extra caloric fortifiers. I am pumping, labeling, storing, cleaning equipment (about an hour long process) after each attempt to get him to nurse (about an hour to an hour and a half process every three hours) so I am sleeping in small spurts and not doing much else. Joshua is working on regaining the weight he list, then on getting stronger, then learning to/ having the energy to nurse, and finally on nursing more than he is taking the feeding tube. It's a process and it won't be completed according to my schedule/ needs/ level if fatigue, but compared to many of the other babies here we are lucky. We only have ONE hurdle to cross. Once he can eat we can leave, but it's a little more involved than I had hoped.