August 22, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Look the base of the neck.  Do you see it?  Yes, my friends, Andrew officially has a fat roll! (FYI, the white thing sticking up in the picture is a thermometer taking his temperature during hands on.)

Look how long he is now!
We never thought we would be so excited about weight gain!  He's really beginning to grow, and the change is just amazing.  Each day we go in and it seems like he is bigger.  He is just under DOUBLE his birth weight - he came into this world at 640 grams, and now 55 days later he is 1270 grams (2 pounds, 13 oz).  We are so happy about this, because weight gain is so critical to him coming home. 

Gaining weight will help lungs get stronger, which will let them reduce the pressure in the CPAP.  Once that is down, and the dreaded replogle (suction to the stomach) comes out, they can begin to work his belly.  Right now, the feeding tube goes right to his intestines, and he gets a constant drip of food throughout the day (right now, 7 ml/hour - so about 1 oz every 4 hours).  They will pull the tube back into the stomach and see how he handles the feed into his stomach.  Then they will begin to compress the feeds into shorter time frames, since ideally he will take an entire feed in about 30 minutes.  This will get him ready for bottle feeding!

All of these milestones have us thinking back to when Andrew was first born.  We remember looking around the NICU in our first weeks and realizing ours was the smallest baby in our room.  It was hard to find hope.  Across the way was a family who often visited around the same times as us.  Their little girl seemed so big, and the mom was holding her baby often, doing kangaroo care, able to kiss and cuddle her child.  I admit I had a huge lump of jealousy as I watched them interact with their child, as I sat next to our isolette touching Andrew tentatively with a hand or finger.  Well, as days and weeks went on, we got to know the family and wouldn't you know it, C & L had a similar story to ours.  Their daughter was under 2 lbs at birth too - she's about 10 weeks older than Andrew.  Just knowing that allowed me to shift from jealousy to inspiration - if she could look so big and strong, then so could Andrew! 

We were able to pay this inspiration forward this week.  J & I have attended several NICU support group meetings, which they hold each Friday.  We enjoy meeting other parents who are going through the same experience, and to give hope to new families who have just arrived to the NICU to a world of uncertainty, fear, and the roller coaster.  This week we met another family whose son is about 2 weeks old, and was about the same gestational age as Andrew when born.  He only weighed 1 lb, 1 oz at birth, but is doing well so far.  The parents are still in shock, as you could expect.  Yesterday, we invited them to come over to our isolette to see Andrew - and to see what 8 weeks could do to a micropreemie.  They thought he was a giant!  But it gave them hope.  They then invited us over to their isolette, to meet their son Nathanial.  It brought back lots of memories...he was so tiny.  Tiny, and perfect in form.  Peacefully asleep, wrapped up in a little nest.  Pictures don't do it justice, just how small Andrew was at birth...but here are a few to remember.

Dad's hand next to Andrew

Andrew at one day old
We are continually amazed.  And blessed.  And can't wait until the day we bring him home!


Anonymous said...

How can one not believe in miracles when they see this! Andrew is a constant inspiration! Keep fighting little man you have an important purpose to fullfil and everyone is eager to see what that will be.

Big hugs to you and yours,

Libby said...

Bring on the fat rolls! I can't believe how big he is.

So glad to that you've found fellowship with other parents and can be a source of inspiration.