Saturday, December 12, 2009

Introducing: The MVP

I know that last post (or double post, since I haven't figured out the mobile phone thing yet) left you all hanging.  Sorry about that -- I've been a little busy.  The MVP (a.k.a. the artist formerly known as DJ) arrived on Wednesday, 12/9 at 5:35 pm.    I'm posting this from the NICU, where he will be spending an some time getting a little extra help.

There was a little drama the night before he was born, as I implied in an earlier post.  During labor, they track the baby's vitals through sensors, monitoring how he reacts to the contractions.  Our doctor, who we chose in part because she is not at all alarmist, described his charts as "not at all reassuring" -- apparently, his heartrate would decelerate at odd times relative to the contractions.  By morning, he seemed to have stabilized, but the doctor told us that if it started happening again she'd order an emergency C-section.  Fortunately, The MVP played out the rest of the day like the champ he is.  There was also a little bit of health drama for mom, though nothing too dangerous and everyone pulled through for an on-time arrival, au natural.

 The first family portrait.

The NICU team was on hand "just in case", due to the premature date.  When The MVP first showed his face, he immediately let out a hearty cry and, based on that and his pink color, the NICU team started packing up to leave.  However after his initial maturity assessment, which put him at 35 weeks, he began "grunting" and his oxygen saturation levels started dropping.  They initially told us they were bringing him to the NICU as a precaution and that he might just be there overnight. However, after further assessment they identified further issues and decided to hang onto him for what looks like may be one to two weeks (though they refuse to even estimate).  Those issues initially included labored breathing and low oxygen saturation, some fluid in the lungs, grunting, jerky and jittery movements.

Since Wednesday night, he's made pretty steady progress.  By Thursday night his supplemental oxygen was basically just air, they fed him actual food through a gavage tube that goes down into his stomach (rather than just using an IV), and they let us hold him for the first time since right after he was born.  Today they ramped up the feedings to every three hours, two of which were from a bottle, took out his oxygen tube completely, and we were permitted to hold him for maybe a combined 7 hours.  He's been taking really well to being held, exhibiting less of the "frantic" behavior that he's had on his own, when he does things like rip out his gavage.   He's been a lot calmer and more alert today.

Some quality time with mom.

The big milestones they are looking for before they release him are around eating.  He needs to be able to regularly eat from a bottle, in an amount sufficient that an IV isn't necessary.  We're a ways off from that still, but he's been making great progress.  He's doing 10cc per feeding and needs to get to 30.  He's doing three bottle feeds per day and needs to get to 8.  He also needs to really attack the nipple like Berkeley grad students going after the only vegetarian pizza.

Leaving the hospital without our baby was a big bummer for us, but maybe nobody is more bummed than the grandparents, who have not been able to meet The MVP due to swine-flu precautions in the NICU.  We've been whetting their appetite with pictures and videos shown on camera LCD screens, and they are very anxious to meet him.

 Chillin' like Bob Dylan.

These photos are a day old.  I got some really great ones today that I really think show the progress, and I'll try to post them when I can.

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