I was a mix of nervous excitement when I got to the hospital yesterday. My favorite nurse (Heather) was there and she was atwitter as well.
When it was time for his feeding, she asked if I thought this would be a good time to try. Was he awake enough?
I said no, he was sleeping pretty well, but as she prepared his feeding, he started to root. He kept sticking his tongue out and pressing forward, clearly hungry. I changed my mind and said maybe it was. He wasn't wide awake, but maybe he was hungry enough that we could try.
She asked if I was ready. I said I was ready as I could be. She got us a privacy screen and called the lactation consultant for the NICU.
The LC gave me the "we don't expect him to latch on, just lick around and get the idea" speech.
She gave me a few pointers on how to handle my boob (yet again, being large breasted is a pain in the ass) and then we got him ready.
I held him in the football hold because I am already comfortable with that- that's usually how I feed him his bottles.
She told me to drag my nip down his lips a couple of times and just see if we could get him to get the idea.
I drug my nip down his lip..........and he opened his mouth! The LC said "ohhh.. there he goes!" and I pressed forward.
He didn't miss a beat. He latched on and took about 3 long sucks. Heather was behind the chair and she was cooing. The LC was in front of the chair and she commented that those were perfect strokes, he was actually nursing.
I'm not sure I was breathing.
Then.......he smiled. I could see his little dimple. I exclaimed "He's smiling!" and then I started to bawl. I had no free hand to wipe my tears, so I just let them fall.
The LC said "of course he's smiling. He was born to do this."
He took one more suck and promptly fell asleep.
They were gavage feeding him while we were doing this, so there was no pressure for me to get him food or him to get any. I spent another little while stimulating him a bit. He'd lick and sort of nibble, but that was about it. But for about 30 seconds there- it was happening.
They left us alone while he finished his feeding. The mom of Robbie's little NICU friend asked from behind the screen if I wanted a picture. She was a little shy about asking, unsure if I'd think that was weird. I felt a little weird about it, but also wanted a record. So there is a photo. (No, you do NOT get to see that one!)
Afterward, Heather and LC were so positive. They talked about how great he did. When I got a little shy and said that he "only" took 3 or 4 sucks, Heather said it took her son 8 weeks to do what Robbie had just done. She had a REALLY hard time nursing.
Robbie was SOUND asleep for well over an hour. He didn't stir at all.
I really am not usually the type that buys into all the "magical moment" talk. Whether it's weddings or babies, people tend to romanticize things a bit. I often think that leads to disappointment when all of those moments end up taking 4 months of preparation and planning and then often fail to live up to our dream.
But I can honestly say, THIS was a magical moment. I know it's not that way for everyone, but for us.. it was incredibly special.
In other good news, Robbie is doing great on his low flow O2. I was at the hospital for 11 hours yesterday and he didn't desat one time. One of his leads failed at one point last night (Scaring the crap out of me for a split second until I realized there was NO WAY his heart rate was 15.) but that was the only time he alarmed all day. Amazing.
He did lose a small amount of weight last night (15 grams) which was disappointing but not unexpected. He'd finally had a very large poop, so it was probably that. For now, he's maintaining his weight, so it's something. They upped his volume quite a bit yesterday, so hopefully that will translate into some weight gain in the next few days.
Heather spoke to our pediatrician about the no dairy thing today. Our pedi says I just need to cut out the consumable dairy- no milk to drink and no cheese. I was trying to avoid things even made with butter (which is HARD) but she said that wasn't necessary. Her plan is to watch the EOs until they go down, then introduce dairy and watch them again. If they go back up- we have our solution. If they don't-I can eat dairy again.
I can live with that.
My first baby was due August 16, 2007. If that baby had lived, I'd have a one year old now. Even in the midst of everything going on, the date did not escape my attention. I will always love all my babies. They are not forgotten.
Rest in peace my baby angel.
One of our roommates (G) parents is having her baby shower today. Her family is all in town and several were up to visit, including her sister. Being that there is no privacy at all in the NICU, I could plainly hear them talking about her recent loss. She had an ectopic.
At one point, I heard her lean down and tell G "I'm sorry you'll have to wait a little longer for a cousin." I was grateful to have my back to them so they couldn't see me sobbing. The baby loss club isn't one that needs more members.
Later in the day, she asked me something about pregnancy, and I told her that Robbie had been my third as I'd lost two babies before him. She paused and then started asking questions. You could tell she wasn't sure if it was okay to ask, but I answered plainly and honestly. I told her I'd heard her talk about her loss and how sorry I was. We talked a little while. I told her I'd say a prayer for them.
I hope you'll keep her in yours as well.
It was quite a momentous week- LOTS OF PICTURES! (And no - you STILL don't get to see my boob.)
My first bottle!
My big boy bed. Too bad they took it away later.
I snuggled up into my bendy boundary thingy but I left my hat behind!
I am dragon! I say rawwr!
Baby gangster flashes signs:
Mommy feeding me for the first time:
I can help!
My daddy is my hero.
If I drown in a towel, is that irony?
Mommy's eye view, part deux.