We’re just about at the end of December and already the boys are three weeks old. In some ways it feels like they were just born a few minutes ago, but in other ways it feels like they’ve been around forever. We’re really enjoying getting to know them, and we’re grateful for the outstanding care they get at the hospital. We’re also excited to get them home at some point soon.
Kristen and I spend a fair amount of time with them every day. When we get to the hospital, we do a three-minute scrub, just like we’re going into surgery. If you visit the boys in our home when they get here, you can expect to be asked to do something similar until the summer of 2016. 🙂
All three boys continue to make many positive gains and all are growing. Here are their weights and lengths as of December 30th:
- Samuel: 3lbs, 10oz | 16.93 inches long (43cm)
- Jacob: 3lbs, 12oz | 15.16 inches long (38.5cm)
- Charlie: 3lbs, 6oz | 15.16 inches long (38.5cm)
I had a prediction that at least one of the boys would be 4 pounds by New Year’s Day, so Jacob may make me look good.
On Tuesday, we got to hold all three boys. It started with a question to the nurses on Monday. We wanted to see if Jacob, who is doing so well, could visit with Samuel to give him some brotherly love and help him kick it into gear on the breathing. The nurse told us their policy and how it was unlikely, but she came back a few minutes later with “surprisingly good news” and an offer to hold all three at the same time for some photos. That was an instant heart-melt for both of us, and we couldn’t wait for Tuesday. The pictures turned out pretty darn good.
Samuel continues to have his struggles with his breathing. He’s on the Vapotherm machine still, and his oxygen levels range anywhere from 24% to as high as 39% on the 28th. The goal is 21% – which is what you and I breathe without any effort. The 39% was an all-time high for him on the Vapotherm machine, and that’s not a good thing. That was a bad day for him.
Sammy can’t tolerate being on his back for very long and all the time spent on his stomach, with his head turned to the side, is causing his head to be misshaped a bit. He’s not having as many interactions with us as his brothers, so he’s got a long way to go. But we give him lots of hugs, kisses and pep-talks each day. It’s not a competition with his siblings, but it’s hard to see them doing so well and while Sammy works so hard to breathe. He just gets exhausted.
We talked to the doctor on Monday and he says the PDA that Sammy has is about 2x what he normally likes to see. Samuel’s is about 3mm, where the typical PDA is 1.5-1.8mm. Treatment options include waiting it out – which is the current course – or try indomethacin, the same thing that Charlie had. It work well for Charlie, and I’m not entirely clear why it’s not being tried with Samuel. Now’s not the time for me to play doctor, though. These guys are good at what they do, so there’s a method to the madness.
Still, let’s keep things in context. We’re not even to 34 weeks of gestational age yet, so it’s not entirely unexpected for at least one of the boys to not be doing as well as the other two are doing.
Jacob is the rock star so far. This week we “popped the top” on his incubator and he is able to maintain his own body temperature at an acceptable level, so far.
He only has a few things hanging from him these days. He has his feeding tube up his nose and into his belly; he has his heartbeat monitors and he has his pulse-ox monitor on his foot. He continues to have “brady’s” periodically, but he self-recovers quickly.
Since he’s now in the open air, we’re getting to interact with him more. We have clearance to just come in and pick him up if we want. We still are mindful that he’s a premature baby who needs a lot of sleep and just a little interaction, but it’s hard to ignore him since (a) he’s so darn cute and (b) when he’s alert, he makes eye contact and wants to interact!
Kristen brought in some clothes and we’re now able to dress him. Kristen put him in a premie outfit on Tuesday and it actually fit! Unfortunately the little guy couldn’t keep all his milk down, and he threw up all over the outfit. So I changed him into a new onesie. On Wednesday, he threw up all over Kristen!
Just as I’m getting good at changing diapers, we now throw in a new wrinkle of complexity: clothes. So I’m going to have to get used to unbuttoning, changing and then reassembling. I’m slow now, but I’ll get it in time.
Jacob continues to be socialized with breast feeding, but he’s still in the very early stages. I hope he’ll be in full swing by next week. He’ll start getting a bottle on Friday. He should be in a regular bassinet by then too.
Charlie may be the smallest boy in weight and I’m beginning to understand why: He’s the biggest pooper! This kid has diaper explosions all the time and changing his diaper’s an adventure. The nurse and I had a funny experience changing his diaper today. We’ll skip the details, but let’s just say it took us four diapers before he finally stopped pooping!
Seriously though, he’s doing very well. Just like Jacob, he’s down to the bare minimum of wires connected to him. He’s breathing completely on his own, and I’m guessing it will be just a few more days before he can pop his top too. I think gaining some more weight will help get him there.
He likes his pacifier a lot and when his eyes are open, he’s constantly interacting with you, examining all the things that are going on around him. He’s a snuggler and loves hanging out with mom.
Here are some photos from the past few days.