Friday, June 8, 2012

I love our kids' doctor

Once again, I think we have the greatest pediatrician. Elliott's assigned doctor was the same one assigned to Truman when he was a feeder-grower and has served as his pediatrician ever since in a Baylor NICU graduate clinic. Elliott's growth rate is slowing since we are doing two nursing sessions a day, which means that milk doesn't get fortified with Human Milk Fortifier like the expressed milk does. (He's up to 4 lbs, 6.5 ounces by the way). I spoke with his doctor about it this morning, and he said that since Elliott is still gaining weight on a daily basis, it's more important that he learns to breastfeed well than it is to grow him quickly. One of things I have always loved about Dr. Suterwala is his sense of perspective -- he never loses the big picture in the face of the daily stats and expectations with a preemie.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Four pounds!

Elliott is now four pounds!!  That means he gained almost a pound in week!  As of today, he is also graduating out of the isolette to an open air bassinet and is attempting his first bottle feed.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Three Weeks Old


Chronological Age: 3 weeks
Gestational Age: 31.5 weeks
Current Weight: 3 lbs, 13.7 ounces

Elliott continues to do far better than he should for his gestational age.  His feeds have increased 1.15 ounces per feed.  The time per feeding has decreased to 1.5 hours.  (His milk is fed via tube over a pump.).  In the biggest news, we started "lick and cuddle" sessions on Monday.  These are designed to give the baby some skin-to-skin time with Mama and get familiar with the breast, the smell of Mom's milk, and the physical position of breastfeeding.  Instead of  just cuddling, Elliott latched on for 45 minutes on the first try.  Because he's not yet old enough to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing at the same time, we do this after I've pumped beforehand so that if he does latch, he gets small amounts rather than being overwhelmed.  Every day since, we have tried again, and Elliott continues to latch on.  I wouldn't really call it nursing, but it's a good sign for when we do start learning to actually nurse, and he is getting some milk in the process.  He had a repeat head sonogram yesterday, and the grade I brain bleed has not worsened, nor have any others appeared.  So, we appear to be in the clear on brain damage for Elliott!!!!!

In not so good news, Elliott's brady episodes seem to be increasing, or at least not improving.   While he will eventually outgrow them, bradys are the sort of thing that cause some kids' NICU stays to drag on.  Let's hope that's not the case with Elliott.

He is fully maintaining his own temperature now.  He's still in an isolette, but he is wearing clothes, and they've turned the air control off.  Because he can maintain his own temperature, he was given a bath this morning, and we can now confirm that he does have reddish hair.  We can't exactly decide whether it's strawberry blonde or a light auburn. 


Today is Truman's last day of the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities.  After today, he is a fully mainstreamed, unmedicated, unassisted kindergartener.  Yes, he will still be in the special ed system since he will be pulled out for speech therapy twice a week, and he does require more redirection than most kids, and his teacher is already considering adaptations to help with writing and fine motor delays, but all that is so small compared to what we expected the end game would be when he entered into the PPCD program three years ago.  A permanent transfer to the school where he attended PPCD Kindergarten was approved, so he will spend the next seven years at Moss Haven Elementary.  We love the campus and its staff and are very excited to have Truman there for the long haul (and hopefully Elliott, too, in either 5 or 6 years). 

Truman has an exciting summer lined up with day camps at the Arboretum, Museum of Science and Nature, and Dallas Children's Aquarium, as well as Bible School, tee ball, swim lessons, and a trip to East Texas to spend a week with the grandparents and attend Bible School there as well.  Oh, and sometime this summer, he'll have a baby brother at home.  He is already loving the fact that our swimming pool is open for the season and has asked to swim every day this week.  I've enrolled him in the Mayor's Summer Reading Program and have been trying to get him excited about spending more time having Daddy read to him during the day and earning prizes for listening to books.  We hope maybe by the end of the summer, he'll be doing a little reading himself.  We've also got learning to tie his shoes on the agenda for this summer, too, and in other growing up, Truman slept for the first time last night without a bed rail.  Having a newborn and kindergartener at the same time really does highlight how fast kids really do grow up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23

Elliott has finally made it back over 3 lbs.  Last night's weight was 3 lbs, 0.9 ounces.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elliott Update

Chronological Age: 12 days
Gestational Age: 30 weeks, 2 days
Current weight: 2 lbs, 15 ounces
Current length: 16 inches

Elliott continues to do amazingly well considering his gestational age.  As of this weekend, he is officially a "feeder grower."  He has been off all respiratory support -- no CPAP, no cannula, no oxygen of any kind -- since Saturday.  He has only had one spit up of consequence since coming off the CPAP and is tolerating his feeds well.  He is currently receiving 27 CCs of breast milk every 3 hours.  That just under a ounce per feed or a little over 7 ounces a day.  He no longer has an IV or any other form of nutrition.  He is still receiving caffeine, some sodium chloride for electrolytes, and some vitamins.  Everyone, including the medical staff, seems completely surprised by how well he is doing.  I think the four days of labor bought us important time for steroids for his lungs and magnesium for his brain.

We learned he did suffer a grade I brain hemorrhage, but unlike the hemorrhages suffered by Truman, grade I bleeds generally resolve themselves with no long-term consequences.  His next head scan is on May 30 to see if the hemorrhage has resolved itself or worsened.

We are a bit concerned at this point about bradycardia episodes that he began having over the weekend.  Generally they only last a couple of seconds, and he is able to maintain his oxygen levels and recover on his own.  But, the nurses have had to stimulate him a few times to get  his heart rate back up on episodes over the last couple of days.  While these are common, we really hope he outgrows them soon so that they don't delay his homecoming.

We are also looking forward to his gaining some weight.  At this point, he seems to be stuck between 2 lbs, 14 ounces and 2 lbs, 15 ounces.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Elliott Benjamin, May 10, 2012

After four days of trying to stave off labor, Elliott Benjamin made his early debut into the world at 28.5 weeks of gestation.  He weighed 3 lbs, 3 ounces and measured 16 inches long.  He was born crying and with his eyes open.  He appears to have reddish-brown hair.  He is currently in the Baylor Medical Center NICU and will be there until sometime in July.

He spent his first two days on a conventional ventilator before graduating to a SiPAP machine (a step in between the more common CPAP and a ventilator) on Saturday.  On Sunday, he graduated to a CPAP.  He continues to be on the CPAP, but the nurse practitioner hinted this morning that he might graduated to canula later this week.  He has been on room air this entire time, and we are not aware of any desats or any episodes of bradycardia.

He has tolerated feeds well and as of today is up to half an ounce of breast milk every three hours.  Unlike his brother, there are no additives to increase the calories.  He is expected to be at "full feeds" later in the week and off all supplemental IV nutrition.

Bloodwork yesterday showed some jaundice, so he was placed under the bili lights.  Today's bloodwork shows the bilirubin back down to normal levels, but he will be under the bili lights another day as a preventive measure.

He is on caffeine and antibiotics as a general preventive measure, but is on no other meds and shows no need for other meds at this point.

Although we hoped never to be back in this place, this road is so very different than Truman's road.  Elliott is behaving more like a typical preemie with no particular complications.  Instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop or the latest bad report, we are waiting instead for Elliott to grow bigger and stronger and wondering when he will join our family at home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Well, that's surprising."

Truman's response to a reading of "It's Not the Stork" and learning exactly how Baby Brother got into my belly.