• Alexandra Smith

Mother's Day

It's been a busy couple weeks. As Gwen gets bigger, she requires more hands-on care in the hospital. Zach has been there a lot while I work. It's been a tough balance, but we're doing what we can.


Right now I'm sitting with Gwen in the NICU. I will be spending Mother's Day and my birthday here. We were very optimistic that she would be discharged this week, but she needs more time.


Work

It's been going well. It's nice to have something to work on during days when I can't see Gwen. Some days I get really stressed because I can't imagine taking care of Gwen and working full-time. Last night a made a list of all the rational reasons that this shouldn't worry me.


Gwen

She big. Like 6.5 lbs. big! And strong! This week, her favorite food is her fingers. Or anyone's fingers. She also loves holding hands. She smiles a lot, but these aren't social smiles; they're comfort smiles. She still gets constipated every few days, then has an explosive poo. I hope we break this routine soon. Last Sunday she spray pooped all over the place. It was scary.


Bubble CPAP

Gone as of Wednesday, April 29, and Gwen has not needed additional support from another breathing apparatus. This makes us optimistic that she will not leave the hospital on oxygen.


Head Ultrasound

As some of you may know, Gwen was born with a Grade 2 brain bleed. Grades 1 and 2 mean the bleed is not as severe.


Early on, Gwen's admitting neonatologist believed she had the bleed right when she was delivered, but that it quickly stopped. She also explained that most premature babies are born with a brain bleed. This is also something the NICU staff made me aware of before Gwen was born.


For Gwen's second-to-last head ultrasound, it showed either damage to her frontal lobe, which- as explained by the neonatologist- would cause issues with Gwen's motor skills, or "ultrasound error." I am happy to report that it was the latter and that Gwen's last head ultrasound showed everything had cleared up.


Eyes

Still premature. Follow up in two weeks.


Ears

Gwen had her hearing test this week. All newborns have one before discharge. Preemies can have these as early as 36 weeks. Gwen did not pass her hearing test despite studying very hard. She will have this repeated before discharge.


Bottle Feeding

This is what's keeping Gwen in the hospital. As I've shared with some, preemies take a while to learn bottle feeding. For them, it's difficult to simultaneously suck, swallow and breathe like full-term babies do when feeding. Since Gwen required bubble CPAP for so long, she got a late start on practicing feeds.


She's doing alright. She's had a couple full bottles. She usually takes 10-20 mL for most feeds, though. When she eats, she usually has a bradycardia, which is scary. When that happens, you have to immediately pick her up and start burping her.


We hope that doing stuff like speaking positively to her, practicing on dolls at home and equally feeding her more will her get a better hang of it.


Home Preparations

Eeesh. I didn't realize we had so much to do. Keeping the house dust-free is rough. Not to mention, our dogs are shedding and need bathed before Gwen is discharged. We're trying to get there, though. We're also trying to make the backyard nice so we have a safe and comfortable place to go when we need out of the house.

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