Three Weeks of NICU Life

Today the babies are three weeks old so we have officially logged three weeks of NICU time. Our NICU is fantastic, but no matter how great the NICU is, the reality is that we still have four babies in the NICU. I am finding that being in the NICU is a bit taxing and I just want the babies to be big enough for home. (Obviously, I would be terrified to take them home right now as they are). I just have to keep in mind that just like bed rest, this will be a short time in the scheme of it all.

Since the babies are 33 weeks gestational age we started introducing bottles during feeding time. Up to this point, all of the babies have been fed via a tube every three hours. Before they are fed, “cares” are completed. This involves checking their body temperature, changing their diaper, moving their pulse ox to the other food, and oral care (swabbing their lips and mouth with a sponge dipped in peppermint water). If they cue (look alert, root, suck on a pacifier) during or right after cares, they are given a bottle to try. At this point, we don’t expect them to take the full bottle, but we want them to suck on it a few times and/ or at least hold the nipple in their mouth. While most people expect that eating is instinctual, it is not for preemies. They simply do not have the suck-swall0w-breath movements coordinated just yet. We closely monitor them while feeding to make sure they take a breath and don’t end up with a mouthful of milk they can’t swallow.

Early in our stay, nurses warned me that feeding was the most difficult part of the NICU and boy they were right! It is a slow and painful process. For the most part, Harper and Sydney do not cue (yet). They have few times, but not much. Mason has a few times, but Rylin has started to on a more consistent basis. When they have cued, Sydney, Harper and Mason have taken about 2-5 milliliters at a time. Rylin is figuring this out a little better and has taken up to 30 milliliters! That princess wants to learn how to eat. Whatever the babies don’t take in, goes into their gavage bag and they are tube fed the rest. Bottle feeding is literally exhausting to preemies so Harper, Sydney, and Mason have all gone on oxygen to help them a bit. I hated to see that tiny backslide, but really it is normal and not a huge deal. Nurses have told me that in the next few weeks it may click more for them. Let’s hope that is the case. In the meantime, I need prayers for patience and grace. I have to keep in mind that given their gestational age, the babies are really doing great.

Here are some pictures of events from the past week:

20120810-075807.jpg Harper jail broke to visit his siblings and got a little cuddle with Sydney. So sweet!

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George figured out how to use the Boppy pillow to feed Rylin. She took the most from him on the first day.

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Sydney and I gave bottle feeding a try. She took 3 ml that time. She may be tiny, but she tries just as hard as her brothers.

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George got a chance to feed Mason too. Notice we have a different Boppy for him? We actually have FOUR Boppy pillows 🙂

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The nurses are so cute and love to dress the babies to match their sheets and sometimes each other. One day I found Rylin and Sydney dressed in matching pajamas. Notice how Rylin fills them out, but Sydney pulled her right arm and leg in and curled up since she had extra space.

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Harper was the first to go on oxygen and soon after Sydney decided she wanted a puff too. Then, my breathing champ, Mason felt left out and also got some oxygen. At least they didn’t need to go back on CPAP. Oxygen is just delivered via a nasal cannula so we can still see their cute little faces.

20120810-082012.jpg Harper

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Sydney

20120810-082031.jpg Mason

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Rylin

 

hugs!

Amber

18 thoughts on “Three Weeks of NICU Life

  1. The babies are so precious – another week or so will make a big difference; we’re keeping them in our prayers and including praying that day isn’t far away when the doctors release them to go home — a day of rejoycing but you’ll miss those wonderful nurses and their care…just think how much they will miss all of you!

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  2. I love the updates and pics. The babies look just precious. I honestly don’t see how you manage to find energy to keep the blog going. Easier now than it will be once they are home!

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  3. They are doing so great! I can’t believe Rylin is already eating so well! It took Lily several days to become a consistent eater, and the twins were 37 weeks. It’s truly about the last thing to kick in. And I bet you’ll need four Boppies! We definitely needed two.

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  4. They really are doing great! My three were born at 33 weeks and didn’t do bottle feeds until a week and a half after that. You are so right, NICU time seems to drag on so long, but you will look back soon and think “Wow, I can’t believe we were there for only (x) amount of weeks. It felt like an eternity.” All four babies are so super cute and look wonderfully healthy! So happy for your family. 🙂

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    • You are so right, we will look back at this one day and realize it was just a short amount of time. I agree, the babies are quite cute 🙂 I have been meaning to email you forever, but never seem to find the time. We will eventually have to meet up. In fact…we met a family with triplets at the NICU here so you should absolutely connect with them. 2/3 of theirs are now home.

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      • I would absolutely love to meet up with you when you feel up to it. Play dates would be epic…7 kids! 🙂 Email me anytime. Oh and if you want to pass my email/blog along to the other triplet family you’re welcome to!

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      • Omg, play dates would be epic. Can you imagine if we invited the other triplets? 10 babies from three families!

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