Ok, I gave it away from the title of this post. But it is hard to contain my excitement!
Not to be outdone by his sister Sophie, Jack found his way into a bassinet at some point between Will’s morning visit and mine. Since Jack is closest to the door, this is what I saw when I arrived:
I honestly didn’t even make it past Jack for the first 30 minutes I was there.
I mean, seriously, how cute is he?
He’s still cycling on and off the CPAP, but at the rate he’s going, who knows? Maybe he’ll be out and crawling around the NICU floor when we get there this afternoon!
Now Henry had himself a sleepy afternoon, but when Will and I arrived for bedtime, wouldn’t you believe it? There they all were…three little bassinets in a row.
In general, the milestones the babies need to hit in order to be ready for discharge from the NICU are the following:
- Weight of 2.2 kg
- Regulating their own body temperature
- Breathing on their own (no CPAPs allowed!)
- No A’s or B’s (Apneas or Bradys)
- Feeding from a bottle or the breast (no more “room service” from the feeding tubes)
This is not a hard and fast checklist, and we’ve come to realize that even though this whole development thing is biological, nothing about the process is purely scientific. So where do we stand?
As you can tell, we’re all getting very close to the 2.2 kg mark. Everyone seems to be regulating his or her own body temperature (hence the bassinets). We’re in varying states of reaching that third marker — breathing on our own. The same goes for minimizing and eliminating Apneas and Bradys*, which makes sense because they are related to the breathing.
For all three, the last one — the feeding milestone — is proving to be the last one they will master, and like the breathing, it’s harder than you think! Sophie seems to have agreed to some feeding from a bottle in small doses, but any other method besides the feeding tube is generally exhausting. Jack hasn’t attempted the bottle yet, but he too seems exhausted by the thought of having to swallow the milk on his own. Henry, we are convinced, is going to be the champion sucker/swallower when he is ready. He is particularly alert these days, and boy does he love his pacifier. Still, his feedings are back to 1 hour because half an hour made him very cranky (and by cranky, I mean lots of A’s and B’s). He’ll need to shorten those feeds before he’s ready to really explore any other options. But if I know Henry, and I think I do, he’s going to take his time with all this, and when he’s ready, he’s going to kick everybody else’s butt!
Glossary for you non-medical folk:
- Apnea: a pause in breathing that lasts for 20 seconds or more
- Bradycardia (“Brady”): a slow heart rate (less than 100 beats a minute for a preemie…their hearts beat fast!)
How/why does one stop breathing? They just forget to do it. That’s why preemies are often treated with a little dose of caffeine, as a “reminder” to breathe, you might say. To be fair, plenty of adults have sleep apnea too. And even more need that cup of joe in the morning to “remember” to…well, maybe not to breathe, but to generally function and make it through the day (or the morning, or the hour).