Saturday, January 30, 2010

21


Braden has been hanging out at 21% oxygen for a few days now which is great because that is essentially room air. The only step left before he is completely off oxygen support is to turn the flow off. Right now it is currently on a half a liter of flow every minute which is like having wind blow in his face. But the doctors are keeping an eye on this positive progress and will likely give him yet another chance in the next few days to come off oxygen support completely.

He had another eye exam which went well and they are so pleased the scary eye doctor is not coming back for 2 weeks!

Bottle feeds are going back and forth. He gets really tired at the 30 minute mark and that is as long as they will give him to complete the bottle. He has not completed a bottle in a few days, mostly due to his reflux and the fact he just gets tuckered out. Regardless he is putting on the pounds and weighs 5lbs 12 ounces!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Side of Rice

We walked into the NICU tonight to find our sweet boy had been spitting up, a lot. The doctors think he has reflux so they are adding rice cereal to his feedings in order to help thicken things up and hopefully avoid major spits.

Braden actually spit up into his cannula today (maybe another way of him telling us to take it off!) and they tried to see how he would do without it again.... only to put it back in a few hours later. He is just not ready as he still breathes shallow and strains constantly, especially when sleeping.

We are turning into the veterans of the NICU and I have to admit it is starting to get hard to see people come and go so quickly as we just sit tight and wait for our turn to leave. Don't get me wrong, we are counting our blessings, but this situation ichallenges you at times and I am so ready for the chapter at home to begin.

We are having a few showers in the coming weeks and I am so excited as I feel like it will begin to make our soon to come reality, well real!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little Show Off

I was in a meeting at work on Friday when I got a picture of Braden from Brian via my cell phone saying, "notice anything different?" As I peered closely I noticed his cannula was not on and I called Brian exclaiming, "Is he off oxygen?!"

Brian said when he got to the assessment Braden had pulled his cannula off his face and was using it as a chew piece in his mouth. Once again he was trying to show us he was a strong bot and as the doctor came over to evaluate they decided to give him a shot without oxygen support.

I drove to the hospital about an hour later ecstatic to walk in and see my little man off the cannula... until I saw his monitors beeping and alerting nurses that he was struggling. So as quick as he came off he went back on, but he gave it a shot! Of course I took out the video camera and captured Braden without all his gear on right before they reapplied a new cannula. They are going to watch him the next few days before determining if he has chronic lung disease at which time they would take additional measures to help him get stronger.

video

His feedings are going well and he passed the 5lbs marker!! He took 2 bottles in a row and almost completed his feeding each time. This is important because one criteria to leaving is he must be taking full feeds via bottle every 3 hours. So we have a ways to go, but headed in the right direction!

He also had a follow up eye exam and things seem to be the same as last week, which is a good thing.

So our little man is trying to break out of the NICU but that is to be expected, he is a little fighter and in the words of the nurses and doctors, he is an outright miracle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who Put My Baby On the Floor?

Walked into the NICU yesterday only to discover...
video

It was actually quite adorable, even if the chair swallows him. They are trying out some new positions to see if it improves his reflux.

Braden is making some progress on bottle feedings taking an ounce of milk from the bottle for mom! I also just talked to his nurse and he is 4lbs 15oz!! It is amazing to hold him against me and see and feel the noticeable difference in his size.

Only now that could be working against him as the doctors are keeping an eye on if he is gaining weight too fast... the kid can't win! Hopefully it is all protein and muscle versus water weight... we shall wait and see over the next day if there are additional steps to take.

He is trucking along, we just don't want him to become the size of an actual truck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Raise the Roof

The roof is up and Braden officially came out of the isolette and is in a big boy crib!!
He earned this step by regulating his temperature and meeting the weight requirements. A few days ago I mentioned he was flirting with 4lbs... well he is already up to 4lbs 10 ounces! It is amazing how different he looks with chubby cheeks and multiple chins :)

Another huge piece of good news came when they did another chest x-ray to see if the valve between his heart and lungs developed appropriately and it appears that is normalizing as well and they do not need to recheck it until he is 6 months old!

On a more entertaining note, Braden continues to be one of the favorites amongst the nurses, despite the fact he is known to be a little on the stinky side between the gas and gifts he leaves us in his diaper. Rumor has it that odor will get better once the supplements are removed from his milk... fingers crossed :)

Many people ask me when he is coming home and it is actually still 4-6 weeks away. We continue to try to feed him the bottle but he is far from consistent at this point so this is the biggest hurdle we are working on with him outside of him being weaned off oxygen, which should come with time.

Thank you again for the prayers and thoughts. We feel them all and it has strengthened our ability to get through this process.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mom and The Mirror



Braden continues to do well. He is packing on the weight flirting with the 4 pound milestone. He is also regulating his temperature. Weight gain and temperature regulation both lead to him coming out of the isolette soon.

Braden also had a eye exam today to determine the progress of his retinal development. The exam is a little uncomfortable for babies and so when we went back later to hold our little man he slept the entire diaper change and kangaroo hold, an abnormal thing for him on a typical day but he was obviously exhausted from everything going on.

This was his second eye exam and he is showing some indications of abnormality, however, they are mild and somewhat expected given how sick he was the first few weeks. He will be tested again next week in order to determine if the development is trending in the right direction. So we hold our breath a bit, but again these are things you prepare yourself to address with a preemie.

We enjoy every moment with him including times like these where I use a mirror to see him as he lays on my chest. Overwhelming to be with such an amazing little man.... and a picture I will treasure for my entire life.




Sunday, January 10, 2010

Changing Gears

I head back to work tomorrow on a part time basis and I am already soliciting advice on the transition and balance ahead of me. This has been an unusual road and we continue to keep Braden first as we do what is best in the long run for our family.

Braden is doing great. He continues to figure out the bottle as he took 12 ml from dad and 19ml from our nurse! This is a big step but a long process as he works towards full feeds. It is still amazing to watch his face figure out how to suck, swallow and breathe. Gammy and Nana got to hold him this past weekend which was a joy for them both as it was for Braden.

Braden has started to meet with the physical therapist in order to keep the range of motion in his limbs healthy as well as shape his head which tends to turn into a toaster oven slot shape if not placed on his back enough. Toaster oven was the official description from nurses.

I have realized kiddos come with no instruction manual and I hope I get the swing of things soon as I am terrified at the thought of him being my responsibility, but look forward to it all the same.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pass The Milk

Last night we got a surprise when the doctor said Braden was going to be tested feeding on the bottle! He was giving all the right cues earlier in the day and given his gestational age of almost 33 weeks we prepared to give it a go!

They were certain to remind us to have no expectations as this is a big step that takes preemies time to master since they are swallowing, breathing and sucking all at once. It was so amazing to watch him discover the new tastes in his mouth and watch his eyes look all around at us as if to say, "what is going on here?". He only got down about 5ml out of 30ml, but we were thrilled to have some small progress while also avoiding episodes of him not breathing, which is common when they are learning about the bottle but obviously still scary! We will work him up to full feeds over time trying the bottle once or twice a day as we hope to pack on more pounds to his 3lbs 7oz frame.

We continue to be amazed at his progress as he attempts things he was not meant to do for weeks in a normal situation! The doctors say he is a super star given how sick he was in the beginning and we feel so blessed at all the progress he has made so far. See video for short clip of Braden attempting to eat.


video

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Poop For the Record Books

Welcome to motherhood. Braden is one month old today and he let me know he was becoming a big boy by delivering the biggest poop.... EVER. I was so lucky to not only because I got to clean this event but my son decided to continue the "celebration" in mid-wipe, therefore getting it all over my hands and his isolate. It was unlike anything I have ever witnessed... it just would not stop. OK, sorry to gross you all out, but this is new territory for me. Braden's nurse recorded his episode as 2 large poops, yes 2 because 1 just did not do it justice. Ah yes, I realize I have more poops and barfs, yes my son LOVES to barf too, ahead of me. Welcome to motherhood.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Braden celebrated snuggling with mom. He is doing well, still working to cross same hurdles of further lung development and toleration of his feedings. Hope everyone is kicking off the new year in style.