|you want me to do what?|
Yesterday was a big day for us. We gave breastfeeding a go. With his flow down now to 2.5 liters per minute, the pressures are low enough that we can try. There is still the risk that he could aspirate some milk, so to play it safe, I pumped immediately prior to the attempt – the nurses told me they didn't want me drowning him, which with my supply, was a fair concern.
I was fascinated by the lactation consultant’s early instructions, which were to simply lay him upright on my chest, skin to skin, and that he would smell the milk and crawl to the appropriate place. While he didn't get this at the first go, a little later in the evening, he did, rooting big time and pawing his way over (note to self: ask the nurses to file down his fingernails!) Of course, I probably shouldn't be surprised at what amounts to basic instinct.
In any event, he did successfully latch after several attempts. You would have thought he’d just walked on the moon for all the cheering Kraemer and I did. He didn't make it more than a couple minutes before tuckering out, but given the tough road I've been prepared for by other moms, preemie or not, I felt grateful for this baby step.
Nothing about this journey is without complication, and it seems that it is finally time for me to try to go dairy free. Allow me to overstate the degree of this catastrophe for one moment: things are about to get real. Custard! Butter?!! Some breads? CHEESE??? Cheese, are you sure? And this isn't just butter as a condiment. Butter is in cookies. Butter is in casseroles. Butter is in sauces. My sister-in-law kindly reminded me that Graeter’s would now be off limits. In short, Calder’s stools have improved, but the reintroduction of breast milk every time starts to loosen them up. His bum is a bit red, and he’s been losing weight for the last several days. And so, one of our primary nurses and the doc asked whether I'd consider going dairy free. I plan to use this weekend to stock the kitchen with the necessary supplies, inform myself of what not to eat (I've heard I'd be surprised) and give it all a go starting Monday. We won’t see results in my diet for two weeks, they tell me, and for another week or so in his.
The other big news these days is that Calder is sometimes down to room air, an O level of 21, in his cannula. Not always – he tends to average 24-25 – but often. The first time he achieved this feat was overnight this past weekend, when a nurse who had never cared for him was on duty. It was 4 am when I called for my daily early morning update, and the nurse began the conversation by telling me he was being fussy, which I inferred she felt a bit distraught about, and then as an afterthought dropped that he was anywhere from 21 to 28 on his Os. I had to ask her to repeat herself. I then assured her that no one had ever given me that news before, fussiness be darned.
Despite his truly awesome progress, we did get a reality check when a nurse again predicted that he'd go home in four, maybe five weeks ... and she basically said only if everything continued to go swimmingly. Still crossing our fingers for Thanksgiving!!