March 30, 2004
I've spent the last couple days home with Molly as Denise worked. It's been wonderful and exhausting. You wouldn't think feeding and changing a little one every three hours would wear you out, but it does.
She wakes and fidgets when she gets hungry, even crying a little bit in a cute, sighing, premie kind of way. Her cheeks are getting fat, and she's definitely filled out in the last two weeks into a little baby rather than the little old man she resembled at first. Her eyes are beginning to stay fixed on objects, and her irises are turning a dark gray-blue.
I get up several times a night to check on her. It's kind of a catch-22: if she's making sounds, I check if something's wrong; if I don't hear any sounds, I check if something's wrong. I guess I should get used to that, eh?
March 24, 2004
A Week with Molly
It's hard to believe we've had Molly home for a week. She already has us calling grandmothers for this and pediatricians for that, but the mystery that is baby has been easy so far: feed, burp, clean.
She's getting her cry now, kind of a high-pitched, short sigh that sounds cute. But I suspect it'll grow quickly into a full-throated bawl. I'm bracing myself.
Denise is faithfully feeding every three hours, although I have caught her hitting the snooze button a couple of times for the 3 a.m. feeding. :)
March 21, 2004
My Spring Break ends today, and tomorrow I'll have to leave Molly during the day and deal with the real world. In just a few short days, I've fallen into her rhythms of eat, sleep, poop, pee that she imposes on us, and I have to admit it's soothing, almost satisfying, to provide for a baby's simple yet compelling care. The pleasure of focusing on the needs of my child melts away the normal stress of time and work and replaces them with self-contained, insular existence: helping Molly grow. Nothing else matters, and that's okay.
March 19, 2004
Things I've Learned So Far
Having Molly home for 48 hours has taught me the following:
1. That baby's ability to sleep is inversely proportional to your need for sleep.
2. That "poopy," "peepee," and "blanky" are actually medical terms.
3. Washing your hands 50 times a day makes your knuckles raw. Very raw.
4. My Dolby Digital 5.1 Home Entertainmnt System so lovingly assembled from hand-picked parts has no purpose in a baby's existence.
5. Cats instinctively compete for attention with babies.
6. Either develop negotiating skills or you'll change every diaper.
7. Cursing is not allowed, even in front of a four-week-old.
I'll have more lessons as I am taught them.
March 18, 2004
All Day With Molly
Molly wants more and more food, even after breastfeeding, and we're obliging. I can already see that I'll get to know the neighborhood drug store intimately, having already been there to pick up Molly's iron drops today. I can't find premie diapers anywhere, though, so she's wearing oversize newborns right now. Looks funny.
The real pleasure of having Molly home is time. I got some seriously-postponed yardwork done, and we're watching the Stars for the first time in more than a month. All while spending the day with Molly. Hooray, Molly.
March 17, 2004
Molly's finally home with us! We spent an exhausting night "rooming-in" at the hospital with Molly to practice caring for her. The nurses didn't say, but they were grading us to make sure we fed and changed her on schedule. I've gotta say waking every three hours to care for an infant is no small feat. On behalf of all children everywhere, let me thank all the moms out there.
Molly dipped a little in temperature during our stay, so our only real drama was making sure she warmed to an acceptable level, which she did. We had lots of parting information given by a parade of caring people, all of which was lost when we got that little girl in the car. The whole world truly looks different when your little one is out in it with you.
We arrived without event, and Denise commenced to feed and burp, while I and mother-in-law set about taking care of the ten-thousand things we still haven't gotten done in preparation for Princess' premiere, like washing all the new clothes and cleaning every surface. I realized that, for the first time, I actually wanted to shave so I could touch Molly against my face. Talk about profound, life-altering changes. :)
I'm sure we'll get little sleep tonight watching her. But it's worth it.
March 16, 2004
And We're Off
We're off to stay overnight with Molly at the hospital. If all goes well, we'll be bringing her home in the morning!
March 15, 2004
Like a Baby
Molly looks like a normal baby now, albeit a tiny one. Her clothes are just a little big, but she's in a regular crib, with no extra heat. We get to take her in another, more comfortable room to feed her, and she's gulping down 42cc from a bottle in a very short time. The last step before bringing her home will be "overnighting" at the hospital, which is a test run alone with Molly in a private room.
So, tomorrow, we're going to be spending our first night alone (kinda) with Molly. Wish us luck.
March 14, 2004
Home By Wednesday?
All kinds of news today. This morning, we disconnected Molly from all her monitoring equipment and fed her in a small adjoining lounge. It was incredible to simply have her free and unattached to her incubator. Her beauty and fragility are underscored when she's away from the ICU beeps and sterility. The nurse practitioner then gave us news that they were ready to wean her off the incubator and into a regular crib. Oh boy.
The nasal tube was removed, so we saw Molly's face for the first time without any devices/tubes/tape obstructing it. I think she looks like me, but then I'm biased. :)
Then, this afternoon, as I slept for five hours, Denise and her mother, Linda, got
news from Dr. Simpson that they wanted Denise to overnight with Molly Tuesday or Wednesday. That means Denise spends the night with Molly in a room that adjoins the ICU as a prelude for taking her home the next day. Holy Cow! Molly could be home by Wednesday if all goes well!
March 13, 2004
All Bottle Feeding Now
Molly is gulping down milk at such an impressive rate that the doctor put her on all bottle feeding--no more tube. She practically inhaled 32cc today in less than ten minutes, a sure sign of vigor and maturity. Her legs and arms have filled out because of her steady weight gain. Today, she's 3 lbs, 10 ozs.
It may be hard to tell in the pictures, but her hair is light brown now, just like her mom's. Her eyes focus on us, and she seems to purposely look around when she's held. She also has embraced feeding from the breast. Molly's energy is such that Denise was able to nurse her for 30 minutes, although milk production is low.
In other news, Denise had a shower at Aunt Jennifer's house. Several good friends showed up, we made off with a pile of stuff for Molly, and we accepted a very generous money donation from all those sweet guys at Siemens Dematic, my former employer. Thanks, guys. And thanks Jennifer for being a superb host.
Craig and I hid out and played UT2004 the whole time.
March 11, 2004
Bottle Feeding and Board Visits
Molly had some interesting visitors today: Cook Children's Board of Directors. They were touring the NICU, and the nurses used Molly to demonstrate the new ($35,000) incubators she's in (next to wall) and hint that a few more would be nice. Man, she's already flown; what next, Harvard calls?
We're going to bottle feed every other feeding now, since she's doing so well. This puts her close to going all bottle and breast for her food, one of the last big steps to going home.
March 10, 2004
Molly fed like a champ today. It took about 30 minutes and lots of coaxing for Molly to finish about 30cc from the bottle yesterday. Today, she gulped down the whole 32cc in less than 20 minutes like thse had been feeding from the bottle for weeks. The nurse commented that it was remarkable that one so small was feeding so well. She weighed in last night at 3 lbs, 9 ozs, the first time she has surpassed her birth weight.
Every day she looks a little different, her face lengthening and her body filling out. It's remarkable. I don't think a month is too optimistic for her trip home.
March 09, 2004
Business as usual with Molly this evening. It doesn't take long watching to figure out when she's ready to eat. She doesn't cry, but she makes some of the funniest faces, sticking her tongue out, yawning, squirming, and looking around for the nipple. Otherwise, she's very alert, her eyes are mostly under control, and her weight is slowly but steadily increasing.
March 08, 2004
I had a late night with Open House at school, so a quick note to say that Molly now weighs 3 lbs, 7.5 ozs, and ate almost all her 32cc meal from the bottle with me, with no spit up. I also personally witnessed the oft-mentioned "monster poopy" Molly has been known to produce. Ewwww. Does it get worse?
March 07, 2004
The PIC is Gone
Molly's PIC line has been removed. That means she's getting all nutrients via breast milk and formula. All that's attached to her now are wires for heartbeat, breathing, and temperature as well as her nasal feeding tube. She's much easier to hold and maneuver.
Breastfeeding is going very well. Molly is taking the nipple readily now, with longer periods of sucking and swallowing. This is very encouraging for one so young to be actually breastfeeding.
We had a wonderful, full day with her today. Her feeding is at 32cc and her weight moved up to 3 lbs, 6.5 ozs. She's a "feed and grow" baby according to the nurses, which means it's just a matter of time before she's home.
March 06, 2004
Some great moments today feeding Molly. She feeds well from the bottle, but she's still spitting up, so we're going slowly with the amount. She also breastfed, kind of starting and stopping randomly for a while. She seems to suck and swallow with no problems, so it's just a matter of teaching and encouraging her to feed.
It's a beautiful thing watching the body do its thing: providing food, giving birth, and fighting infections are simply everyday miracles I took for granted. No more.
March 05, 2004
Molly's On the Bottle (so to speak)
Big news today. Molly began feeding from a bottle, taking in about 2/3 of her milk before the rest of the 25cc was put in her feeding tube. She seems to suck and swallow with little problem, although she demonstrated her milk spitting technique for me as I fed her for the first time. It's magical to interact with her in a more tangible way than holding hands and changing diapers. Also, her weight is stable, even though her IV is discontinued.
Denise's fellow teachers brought food and a very generous money tree by tonight. My faith in the human spirit has been reaffirmed by the outpouring of friends and strangers in the last few weeks. Thanks to everybody. We are all in this together, aren't we?
March 04, 2004
Molly fed from a bottle a little bit today. She'll take a small amount, and the rest of the 25cc is finished through her feeding tube. She's also doing a "non-nutritive feeding" with Denise, which basically means she's practicing breast feeding.
Her weight has been steadily increasing for a couple of days to the point where she's at 3 lbs, 5 ozs today. Her skin color looks good, and she's responsive to our voices and touch in a positive way.
I added one pic to show her relative size.
March 03, 2004
Very Good News
Molly's head sonogram revealed no changes in the ventricles, which indicates that no further bleeding has occurred. We were holding our breath on this one because it could have been very serious. But Molly seems fine, and what bleeding there is has been deemed minor.
I had to laugh at her predicament today. The nurses had retaped her nasal tube today, which left her cheek sticky from the previous tape. Try as she might, she couldn't pull her face away from the blanket, and she got frustrated, making for some very funny faces. Yes, I fixed it for her.
March 01, 2004
The second head sonogram is tomorrow, with results for us Wednesday. We need to see that the blood in her ventricles is being absorbed. I'll feel close to being out of the woods when that news returns positive.