“Think chubby babies!” I kept telling everyone. We were pretty successful given how young they were – both muppets weighing in over two pounds. (I’ve already discussed how one’s perspective changes to the point were two pounds can be “chubby.”)
And I’m sure you’ve noticed, many of the recent posts talk an awful lot about food – both going in and come out. Well, weight is still a big deal. Before the boys can come home, they must meet three criteria:
1) Regulate their own temperature. Both Search and Destroy are off the temperature probe and may even start rooming together next week.
2) Remember to breathe all by themselves. We’re still experiencing some A’s and B’s (apnea and bradycardia) but vastly improved.
3) Eating via bottle or breast. We’re going to start seeing how they feel about bottles next week.
All three significantly involve size. And so far, this seems to be their biggest strength. We have finally reached the point where both boys are soaring upward. After four weeks as residents of the Hotel NICU we are rapidly approaching three pounds.
Each morning, Jon and I get an update. The medical staff use grams. I’ve had several people ask me to translate to pounds. But telling you how much they’ve gained in grams is so much more impressive! So I propose a compromise. I will continue to update everyone in grams since I like being able to say, “Search gain 50 grams today!” (Also, that’s what I’m told their weight in each morning.) And you can use the nifty preemie grams to pounds conversion chart I have conveniently posted below. (Click chart to enlarge.)
What I find amazing is that even though I see them twice a day, even I can see that they’re really growing. They’re starting to fill out and develop those classic chubby cheeks. They seem less fragile. (Although I’m not sure if that’s just because we’re getting used to them.) Can you even imagine how big they’ll seem when we bring them home at five humungo pounds?
Each week the NICU developmental therapist observes the kids and provides a report on their strengths and “sensitivities.” It appears that even at their tender age no one can escape performance reviews… Destroy’s report notes that he makes sucking gestures when he’s hungry and startles at loud or sudden noises. (I’m going to disregard the latter in this post since I’m almost 30 and startle at loud or sudden noises – so smart kid.)
This morning Destroy began making his mouthing and sucking motions about 20 minutes before breakfast. His nurse dipped his pacifier in milk and decided to see how he’d react. Destroy went bonkers over it; he sucked on it for 2-3 minutes! (In the world of a preemie, 2-3 minutes is a big deal.) Here’s hoping this means he’ll do well when we trying to move from a feeding tube to a bottle. I know he’ll prefer the bottle in the long run; he hates the feeding tube but loves the feedings. So we’ll just take baby steps toward sucking, swallowing and breathing – all at the SAME TIME.
Destroy’s nurse reiterated that the muppets were doing really well. “Fingers crossed – you’ll have them home in three and a half weeks. That’s the goal.”
Suddenly that doesn’t seem so far off. Of course a lot can happen in three weeks. But at the very least it means they’re star preemies right now.
So we’ll keep getting excited about weight gain and resulting developments. Before we know it, Search and Destroy will be home and we’ll be introducing all our friends and family to our giant babies.