Just some random bits and pieces.
The nurses and doctors are all impressed at his nursing ability. One of the doctors mentioned twice that he had a latch score of ten. I just assumed she was just saying that as an expression. But evidently that is an actual scoring system. And preemies don’t usually get tens. His latch really is great. I think that his latch is better at one month (negative 3.5 weeks adjusted) that Lorelei’s was… ever. Though, I’m basing this partly on my lack of pain, and since I’m only nursing him twice a day it really isn’t a fair comparison.
As soon as he wakes up when I am there he starts rooting around and trying to eat through my shirt. When that doesn’t get him anywhere he tries to eat his hands. The other day he spent several minutes latched onto my knuckle. The doctors are all impressed that he seems to do quite a bit better nursing than he does with the bottle… except that nursing wears him out more.
Pumping is going okay for me. I still hate it. And my supply is still nowhere near what it was when I was pumping at work for Lorelei. But with the help of Fenugreek and paying close attention to timing, hydration, and duration, I have bumped up my supply enough to not worry that it is in immediate danger. I’ve been pumping more than Rowan eats this whole time (he’s gone from drinking half an ounce at a time to drinking about 1.5 ounces), so I have a bit of a freezer stash, too.
I want to talk to the doctors and NP about some of the details I will need to know once he is home. How different will it be than with a full-term baby? Will we have to be careful about taking him in public? What about daycare? How long should I expect to have to give him bottles to help bump up calories? Do I need to add formula (the last vestige of my former priorities is the fact that I have never actually bought formula)?
I’m worried about the timeline for going back to work. I think my FMLA technically runs out at the beginning of July. But that only gives me a few weeks at home with my tiny preemie who, based on my due date, could still potentially have been hanging out in my uterus. He will probably be acting a lot like a newborn, what with the cluster feeding, and night/day confusion, and screaming. I know some people donated time to the Kiel foundation for me, but I can’t actually see any extra time on my benefit balances. So I need to figure out what is going on. And if I am allowed to use that time to extend my time off by a few weeks. Or if I will need to discuss taking a personal leave of absence. I hope that something can be worked out (and if any coworkers are reading this… I am coming back! I just need to figure out how to do what Rowan needs while balancing work responsibilities).
He does at least have a place to sleep when he gets home. The crib is sidecar to the bed now. It doesn’t have sheets yet, but at least it is put together. Really, we are pretty close to ready for him to come home. I want to get a noggle for my car, need to get a scale, need to get ceiling fans installed, and need to figure out where the heck the pieces to our monitor are. Newborn diapers are washed, sposies and wipes are stocked up, clothes are washed, car seat is installed (for now, it will have to be uninstalled for the car seat test).
And yet, my calendar for this coming Thursday exclaims, “37 weeks!!” Which is the date I was dreading for a potential induction. Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahhaha.
My sister and brother in law came to see him today. Maegen exclaimed that he is always so much smaller in person than he looks in pictures. To me he looks normal now. And full-term newborns look like giants. But yet he is still less than five pounds at a month old. In some ways it is easy to settle into this as my new normal. But then I realize how not normal this whole situation actually is. Especially based on the reactions of others. It occasionally hits me that most newborns have never had IVs coming out of their scalps, or feeding tubes, or failed PICC line attempts. Most people couldn’t tell you what a failed PICC line attempt even means.
I occasionally find myself feeling angry when I see full term newborns. And pictures of people’s vacations are making me downright stabby. The SCN is on the same floor as the mother/baby ward. So I occasionally see parents leaving with their giant babies in car seats that they didn’t even have to make sure went down to four pounds.
I just finished a book recommended by a friend, Half Baked by Alexa Stevenson. It is her memoir of her daughter’s time in the NICU. Her baby was far far more premature than Rowan, and had many brushes with death (and trigger warning, she had a twin who died in utero, so don’t read the book if that is going to be too hard). But many many of her feelings are my feelings, and I enjoyed it immensely (if you can really immensely enjoy a book about a baby who almost dies).
I already used my pictures from today. So here is a cute one Zach took last night.