One thing I got immediately was a hands-free pumping bra. This should come with the bottle kit! Trying to hold the pumps the entire time is extremely frustrating. If you move wrong, the milk drips out and you've lost the "liquid gold" as the doctors call it.
My hospital is extremely pro-breast feeding, so as soon as I was moved to my postpartum room, my nurse was teaching me how the use the pump that was already at my bedside. She even squeezed my breasts to see if anything came out (weird) and I already was producing colostrum a few hours after baby's birth!
At first, I was almost embarrassed to take the few drops I was producing to the NICU to be frozen, but the nurses kept reminding me that it's "liquid gold" and that he'll get so little right at the beginning that the bottles with a few drops will be perfect.
But then on Tuesday night (2 days after birth) I produced 1 ounce of milk in a sitting! I was really excited. So it looks like my milk is coming in really well and I'm being extremely dedicated to make sure that I produce as much as I possibly can.
It will probably be a few more days or a week or so until they start introducing food to the baby (straight into his stomach). At first, the point is not nutrition, it's to start colonizing his intestines with the helpful bacteria that my milk has in it. They'll see how he does and slowly introduce more and more. He won't be able to try a bottle until he's around 32 weeks, so that's another month plus of gavage feeding.
Pumping is not fun. I'm doing it about every 3 hours from start to start. It takes about a half an hour. Then there's tons and tons of cleaning of supplies. It seems like as soon as I'm done and thinking about what to do next, it's time to pump again. BUT...it's the one thing I can really do to help my son and in that way, it really helps me feel like I am a part of his care.
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- Head Ultrasound today showed that the brain bleed has not changed which is really great news. Hopefully it will clear itself up. Issues to watch for will be clots or increased bleeding.
- Bilirubin levels have gone down which means baby is no longer at high risk for jaundice, so his lamp was turned off, his little sunglasses came off (and I got to take them home) and he's in a nice dark, calm environment.
- It's really common in baby's this young for a valve between the lungs and heart to be open. When the baby is in the womb, mom's blood has oxygen already in it, it skips the lungs and goes directly to the heart (through this little artery) - like a short cut. All babies have this shortcut, but it usually closes when the baby is first exposed to oxygen right after delivery. His is not closed and he's showing a few symptoms, but not the major ones. They are deciding today or tomorrow whether to treat him or not, but it looks like they will. The risk is that the drug constricts all arteries and can cause an intestinal perforation which would have to be fixed with surgery. Additionally, if the drug does not close the artery, a small clamp would have to be placed, also with surgery. Hopefully one of the simpler solutions will work.
- I changed baby's diaper today! He's had the same nurse for the last 3 days and she is fantastic. She gave me some mementos to take home to make a scrapbook for him; his sunglasses, a tiny little (clean) diaper, and a heart shaped monitor sticker. She also showed me how to change his diaper which was really cool. It's the first thing I've been able to really "do" to take care of him.
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A note about comments...
As you may have noticed, I've been posting more negative comments. One reason is that although they bother me less and less as time goes on, I want to let everyone help me deal with them rather than just dealing on my own. I'm still partially surprised, partially not at the "meanness" of some people, but that's the world... I've also had a few comments that I still haven't published, just because they totally twist my words around. Like saying that a nap is the most important thing to me. That's not what I said. I would still have preferred to be in the hospital if he was still inside of me, but once he was born, I desperately needed to get my strength back. If I get sick, I can't see my son.
I also realize that my blog has only the slightest shred of anonymity. Many people know my true identity. There were reasons that I didn't want to share every decision with "the public" but I'm kind of over it. I would not have changed one decision except that I would have only transferred one embryo. I'll probably post more about that later. I've shared my infertility and pregnancy roller-coaster pretty freely in my real life and have only received support. I know there are people out there that would not support me, but there are enough who do and would that if a broader audience finds out, so be it. With that...I'll post his name and a picture later this week.
Last word. This blog has meant so much to me over the past year. I don't think I could have dealt with some of things that have come my way without getting my thoughts out on here and receiving support from the infertility community (and beyond). Thank you.