Feeder Growers. That’s what our babies are called now. I’ve never had a baby that came into this world knowing how to eat. Most people don’t ever experience this. Most people have big fat hungry babies who just instinctively know what to do. In the NICU world, lots of babies don’t know what to do. My babies included. Specifically they don’t know how to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. Obviously we worked on the most important part of that first – breathing. But now that we’re getting pretty good at breathing, we just need to learn how to eat. And we need to grow. Hence the name “feeder growers.” I know that Mason meets the criteria for a “feeder grower.” I’ve been told that Logan and James are “feeder growers” too but I’m not sure because they are starting to eat just yet. But I’ll take it! The title “feeder growers” also means that we aren’t critically ill anymore. That’s a huge deal! Yay triplets! Let’s hope they stay that way. I know things can still change.
Here’s my favorite picture of the week. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ve probably already seen it but I’m sharing again because I love it and I don’t care that most people have already seen it. Now that I’ve rambled on about it, here’s Mason with his first bottle!
He did great! No desats (low o2) and no bradys (low heart rate) and he drank 14 mls that time. He’s taken as much as 26 which is over half his bottle! For those of you with babies (or anyone who has given a baby a bottle) the weird angle is intentional. The occupational therapist wants him in this position so we can control how much he gets. This way he only gets about 1/2 to 3/4 of a full nipple so it’s not too much.
We haven’t made lots of changes this week but we have made some pretty huge progress. All 3 boys have come down on their breathing support! We got new nasal cannulas this week too. The new ones are clear so I can see their faces better now! And they’re all doing great. Only 1 minor hiccup this week. Here’s a short weekly update:
Mr. Mason had a great week. He was weaned all the way down to 1/2 liter on his nasal cannula. This is huge. 1/2 liter isn’t much support at all. They actually send babies home on this amount of oxygen. (I hope we go home without it but there’s a pretty good chance one of our boys will heed oxygen at home). Mason’s blood gas wasn’t very good yesterday (high CO2 and high bicarb) so his doctor bumped him back up to 3/4 liters. But we added a medication to fix the bicarb and his gas was better today. So he gets to stay where he is on his flow (and he gets to keep eating).
If you skipped the top part or didn’t see me on Facebook or in person this week, the biggest news this week is that Mason got to start PO feeds and non-nutritive breast feeding. What does that mean? Well PO feeds are feeds by mouth (as opposed to by feeding tube like we’ve been doing). Non-nutritive breast feeding is basically practice for Mason. I pump first then Mason gets to practice breast feeding but nothing (or very little) comes out. He’s doing great. He latched on the first time and seems to know what to do. Now that he’s gotten a bottle though he gets frustrated when nothing comes out. Hopefully we can try real breast feeding this week. The lactation nurse said he’s ready. I know I am ready. And very nervous!
Here’s a few pictures of Mason:
Dad got to feed Mason too!
Logan has had a good but quiet week. He’s down to 2 liters on his nasal cannula now. And he’s doing great! He hasn’t seemed to notice when the doctors wean his support. Don’t tell him! Once he gets down to 1 liter he may be able to start non-nutritive breast feeding too. I think he needs to be on 1/2 liter before he can start with the bottle. Hopefully soon!
I know I’ve said it before but Logan is super sweet. He’s really laid back too. He lets out little cries every now and then but he usually calms himself down before anyone gets to him. He usually has to share a nurse with a tiny little girl who takes up all the attention. But Logan does great! He’s also the only one of our babies who will still tolerate being swaddled. But he does try to escape. I’ll look over and he’s fighting to get his hands free!
Here’s a few pictures of Logan:
Mr. James has had a great week too. He’s also down to 2 liters on his nasal cannula. And doing great so far! Like before, don’t tell him. James still has the TPT (feeds going into his intestines) so he probably won’t get to start PO feeds until he can start tolerating milk in his belly. Hopefully we can try that this week some time. Then he’ll probably be the last to get a bottle or any form of breast feeding.
James’s only issue seems to be his reflux and perhaps some gassiness. He’s definitely our cranky baby. But he’s gotten better this week. He’s consolable for sure. And he’s not the loudest or crankiest baby in our pod either. There’s a little girl in there who has him beat by a long shot!
I’m starting to think James really likes the NICU and doesn’t want to go home ever! Remember when we thought James would be the first one home by a long time? Well not anymore! He’s going to come home last at this rate! And he’s been the least sick of the triplets!
Here’s a few pictures of James:
And here’s cranky James:
The good news is that I’m learning what James likes and doesn’t like. He likes it when I pat his back. But not when I rub his back. He likes to swing. And he likes to be held. But he doesn’t like position changes (physical therapy is working on this) and he doesn’t like being put back in bed. And he loves sleeping on his belly. Great news. He can’t sleep on his belly when he comes home! I hope they stop spoiling him before it’s time to go home!
Thanks again everyone for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We’re in the home stretch. This part may be the hardest because the babies may take a while to get the hang if breathing and eating. And in case you don’t remember, the babies are in charge.
I apologize if I left anything out. I actually wrote this earlier but forgot to save it so I had to start over from scratch!