Poor Azure seems to be in a catch-22 situation.
The reflux has raised its ugly head and is causing us some concern after feedings. She spits up a bit, but not all the way, only into the back of her throat. You know, cutting off the airway and all. Thus, she stops breathing and her heart rate drops and she has a brady alarm. We are not talking about a little dip here. We are talking about a heart rate below 100bpm and oxygen saturation levels in the 40% range. These require more than a little pat on the back and encouraging words like, "take a deep breath honey". We are talking vigorous stimulation and grabbing the oxygen mask off the wall and taking, in my opinion, way-too-fucking-long to come back around. This occurs during.and.after.every.meal. Not fun. I am thinking about renaming her Brady R. Trunks (the R. being for Reflux). All of this requires that she remain upright after her feedings. I have held her, the nurses hold her, they even tried putting a bouncy seat in her bed and propping her up with rolled blankets! It sort of works, sometimes. Basically, if I am holding her I can start stimulating her before she crashes all the way.
The Hard Place:
She's backed up again. The girl needs to have a movement. She is tooting her way through the day but she needs to actually get something out besides air. This is best done while she is on her belly with her knees tucked up under her and her butt sticking up in the air. We know this, we can count on this. However, see "The Rock" above.
Upright and lay-on-tummy do not co-exist. The result, one uncomfortable Azure. One tired but resigned-to-find-a-solution mother and a Pissed-off-Asshole of a father. Pissed-off-Asshole is T's way of advocating for her when I am not there. If I am there he tells me what he wants and I tell the nurse. If I am not there, he has to do it himself and he is, well, not as politically correct as I am. The good nurses, like Fabulous Nurse, know this. They know us, they know Azure and they work with us.
Ok, now for the good news. (Yes, I have that too!)
She is maintaining her own temperature. She no longer needs the bed warmer and will soon be moved to a bassinet. I believe the bassinet signifies official "Grower and Feeder" status. We are close, we are oh so close. Want more? Good, I have more.
We nursed last night for the first time. We are not very good at it yet, but we will keep trying. Considering her very small mouth and my very NOT small nipples. It could be a challenge, but she roots around a lot and is a voracious sucker. I am not ashamed to admit she is a bit intimidating with the suckage. *cringe* More? You want more?
Ok, she is now 4lb 1oz. (1860grams) and 16-1/2 inches long. Today marks 37 weeks gestation and tomorrow will be 3 months old.
I started watching "Little Man" this morning while I pumped. (I do that, tape movies and shows and then watch them in short bursts while pumping.) So far I have cried three times. When Nicole the mother gets to hold Nicholas the micro-preemie for the first time I just lost it. It is something that many people just don't understand. That and minimal stimulation times when you are not allowed to touch the child or talk to him or play his music or read to him or do those things that you feel make you a mother. When what you want most of all in the world is to mother and you are not allowed to do those things. That is so hard. I am sure I will have more to say once I have seen the rest. So far though, I am loving it. It is touching and so deeply deeply personal and close to home.