Today marks seven weeks since Emmett’s birthday. I admit I had hoped he’d be home by now. On average, preemie babies go home around 36 weeks and 2 days. Emmett is now 36w4d, so he’s taking a little longer. But we’re closer than before–and impatient as ever!
Since my last update, Emmett took the new fortified milk much better. A brief explanation on why the fortification, since they always say “breast is best”: Preemies are doing rapid bone growth and brain development to catch up, and need the extra calcium and protein that they would have gotten in the third trimester. Breast milk doesn’t have all that so it’s supplemented. Studies have shown that there are long-term effects without the fortification, like possibly being a 1/4 inch shorter. So when Emmett was refusing the fortified milk, the doctors were concerned to remove it altogether. One was even reluctant to change the type of fortification, but it turns out we could use the one he was going to be sent home with.
Now that Emmett is taking the bottle, we’re working on his endurance. He’s still only alert every other feed, but he has gradually increased his food intake. Last week was about 30%, this weekend up to 50%, and last night was 60%. I’m glad to see the increase since it had started to feel like a plateau. Hopefully, *fingers crossed*, he keeps this up and we can remove the feeding tube shortly. If he can continue to eat and gain weight for about two days without the tube, then he can come home. He still chokes on the bottle or forgets to breathe when he’s falling asleep at breast. That’s known as a “brady”, short for bradycardia, a slow in the heart rate. I wouldn’t call it an episode since it lasts for a second, but it’s scary enough. At home we won’t have the handy alarms beeping at us, so I’ve been watching for signs and we both took the infant CPR class.
At best, I’m guessing Emmett could home this weekend, but I’m mentally preparing myself for next week. We continue our regular routine of my visiting during the day and Ben at night. Weekends are trickier with Milo. Ben and I are rarely in the same place at the same time! Milo has noticed the long haul too. At school, he now tells people that his baby brother LIVES in the hospital. Tonight, when I was putting him to bed, he said “Mommy, I want to keep you forever [in his bed]. But you go to the hospital a lot.” Crushing, I tell you.
One plus side about having Emmett longer in the hospital is that he’ll be that much stronger and healthier when he comes home. For one, he’s reaching 6 1/2 lbs — that’s bigger than Milo was! He needs the fortified milk until past full term, possibly up to six months. Ugh, I hope not! It all depends on his growth and we’ll be visiting the pediatrician weekly. For now, it gives me some relief at night. The pumping alone is exhausting. It’s hard to imagine breast feeding, bottle feeding, and then pumping.
I wasn’t good at taking pictures this week. I keep trying to take some action shots but 1) my boob is in the way 🙂 and 2) it’s extra hard to juggle an infant with wires and a phone. And honestly, I’m usually just soaking up as much of my Emmett as I can. It’s possible I don’t need to be there all day–other parents, moms, don’t seem to–but Emmett seems to enjoy my company and I miss him!