63 days and counting.. He had a great weekend on his PO volumes and breastfeeding seems to be getting a little easier for him. He is still on continuous NG feed at night to help conserve his energy and keep the reflux settled more. Tomorrow they are going to add a PO and take off a 3 hr block of his continuous. They hope to add another PO two days after that until we are all PO. Their policy is 100% PO feeds for 48 hours before he can go home, as well as passing his carseat challenge. (He's been off of all oxygen support for about 2 weeks now) He had his 2 months shots yesterday and tolerated it fairly well. So they have his circ scheduled for Tuesday. Im just hoping that he doesnt have a big set back from the procedure. My due date was this coming Saturday, so the initial prediction of him staying until the due date was pretty accurate in our case. Meanwhile, Atlanta is under another winter storm forecast and my older kids' schools have already cancelled classes tomorrow in an extremely cautious decision based on the debacle from 2 weeks ago. So no NICU visits for me until this is over.
Update: DH was able to go by the NICU after he left work. Now Little Ricky is starting to desat and has slept most of the day. and the pediatrician on call told the NICU nurse that we will need to wait until his 6 month bday to have him circ'ed since he is now too old for a local anesthesia ... Not the end of the world, but I was hoping for a good report. I guess it's good we aren't trying to bring him home in this messy weather forecast. Just bummed.
Re: On the homestretch..hopefully!
I will say, when my DD was working on feeds, she was still having trouble taking all PO on like a weds, but SLP decided to give us go ahead for ad lib feedings on Friday and that was the day of her last NG...she apparently just knew it was time to perform and we came home that following Tuesday! It's amazing how they rally when it's time! I'll be thinking about you guys!
EDIT to add: It does seem to take forever to get to PO feeds, depending on the NICU's protocol. In our case, he had to get below 2 Liters on the High Flow before he was allowed to try his first bottle or non-nutritive breast feed. I think we were about 5 weeks in, before he had his first bottle.. I'd have to look back at the picture dates to verify that timeline. So don't feel bad if it takes your little one awhile, too.
He's still developing his suck-swallow-breathe reflexes when it comes to eating. They have been using Dr Brown's bottles with him for a few weeks to help offset the reflux and stridor. (high pitched squeaking sounds he makes when eating or sometimes without eating).. The ENT confirmed the Stridor is coming from a "highly inflamed edema" of his esophagus and vocal chords due to reflux. He's been on Prilosec now for about 5 days and it appears as though it's starting to help.
The problems I've had with nursing him, is that I have a strong let down and over supply and so I pump off the first couple of ounces so I don't drown him. But he has a very tight clamp-on latch so his jaws quickly wear out and can't stay latched for long.
So at most I've been able to nurse him for 12 minutes before he's too tired to stay latched, but he still shows he's hungry, so he is allowed to take a bottle after that and usually still takes about 30 from the bottle.
Hope that makes sense,, little sleep here and the coffee hasn't kicked in just yet
Just spoke with his doctor today and he has been without the NG tube for nearly 24 hours. He was getting continuous feeds overnight and PO's during the day, previously. Doc said he did really well on his own, going 2.5-3.5 hours between feeds and taking 35+ per feed over night. WOOHOO
He has to go a solid 48 hours for them to consider it a success.
Also, they are taking out the liquid protein out of his milk, as his weight gain has been very satisfactory and the dr does not want me having to put it in his bottles at home.
I dropped off his carseat last week after the last ice storm, just in case he was very close to release and they wouldn't have to wait on me if I got iced in again. However, I was told today that they require me or DH to be there the first 15 minutes of his car seat test, since it involves outside equipment that we are bringing in and I'm sure there's some liability with them doing that. So I hope to be getting back there by tomorrow evening if the weather does in fact warm up.
The only other thing the dr mentioned is that they have had the head portion of his crib mattress elevated for his reflux. She is going to test him on tolerating a level mattress. She said if he can't tolerate it and must be inclined, then he will probably come home with a monitor since we wont' be able to do "Back to Sleep".
I asked her if she thought I was being too ambitious in thinking he could come home mon-tues since I have to plan for childcare for all of my older kids, as our schools are on Winter Break next week, and she seemed to think those days as a very likely possibility, as long as he doesn't have any major unforeseen setbacks.
We are going to have to wait until he's closer to 6 months for circumcision (long story) so hopefully there won't be any other factors causing a set back.