Monday, April 23, 2012

Light at the End of a Long Tunnel

I've written about Elise's doctors before, but I must write about them again. They are incredible individuals that I am in constant awe of their knowledge and skills. Elise has a team of 5 neonatologists that rotate schedules. For the next two weeks Elise has Dr. Pyle. He has four daughters of his own and is a guy that you'd love to sit down with while sharing some beers and laughs. He is hysterical when it's appropriate, but very serious and direct when he needs to be. Out of all five doctors, Dr. Pyle is the most aggressive when it comes to Elise's care. He pushes when he thinks Elise can step it up, but he patiently waits for her to gain weight and grow stronger before he does too much. I can't say enough about Elise's entire neo team, but we are pretty partial to our favorite Dr. Pyle!

Today when we arrived in the NICU and I saw Dr. Pyle's name on Elise's board, I knew feathers would be ruffled (in a good way). Many changes took place today! Elise is now on 1.5 liters of vapotherm (down from 2 liters). He has increased Elise's fortified milk to 30 calories because he is not completely satisfied with her weight gain. He says he looks at weigh gain over a week's time. Although she gained weight last week, she didn't gain everyday (which is needed at this point).

The biggest (and best) change today was Dr. Pyle telling me I was going to start breast feeding! Up until this point Elise has been doing non-nutritive sucking, after I pump, to get used to sucking on a breast rather than a bottle. Today, I actually got to feed her! Our nurse called lactation to the bedside to make sure we were doing things correctly and Elise was comfortable. The lactation consultant was very impressed with how well Elise did for her first time!

The lactation consultant said it is very promising that breastfeeding will work for Elise. This is wonderful news because I've read and heard from other preemie mothers that sometimes preemies don't do well with breast feeding because of their prematurity. I look forward to the bonding that will occur between Elise and I when I get to feed her on a regular basis. However, due to her still needing fortified milk, four feedings a day can come from the breast, but the other 4 must be pumped bottle milk with the extra 30 calories. The bottle feeds can be Daddy feeds! In a way, I feel like Grant and I are both very lucky with the feedings. I get to breastfeed her, but there will also be times that she will need to take a bottle from her daddy.

Elise currently weighs 3 lbs 15 oz-- so close to 4 lbs! Dr. Pyle said if Elise's weight was the only issue at hand, he would send us home today. However, before Elise can come home, she needs to prove she can take all her feedings from the breast or the bottle. It would also be wonderful if she could be completely off all respiratory support (i.e. oxygen). I asked Dr. Pyle, "if everything goes just 'peachy' from here on much longer do you think we have in the NICU?" His reply? TWO TO THREE WEEKS! It definitely looks like we will be home before my official due date of May 20th.

It has been a very long and worrisome tunnel in the NICU since February 8th. Many times, we had to search hard for the light. However, we are seeing the light now!

Yesterday, Auntie Lulu (Karen) got to hold Elise for the very first time. She also snagged some beautiful pictures for us. Enjoy! P.S...We don't mean to leave Daddy out of the pictures...he was enjoying his time with Ami and Grande. 
I love my grandpa!
Our 'serious' muffin

"Yes Mommy, I will be good for the nurses."
"Ok, but don't start sticking your tongue out this early." 

Can't get enough of this tiny tot

yay! chin rolls! We are getting BIGGER!! 

It's exhausting being precious
"Hi Auntie Lulu!"
Excitement is building! 
G & J & E 

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous news Jess!! She is getting so much bigger, I love watching her grow through all the pics!! xoxo love you!