Ledger is one week old today. We have made lots of progress over the last 7 days, but are still in the hospital.
After his initial admission to the NICU, he was placed in an oxygen hood at 30% oxygen, given IV fluids and antibiotics, and had chest x-rays performed. In his first 24-hours, he was weaned off of the oxygen supplement and was fine breathing room air. We were thrilled when he was out of the hood, because we could finally hold our baby boy (shown on left)! His respiration rate continued to be between 80-100 breaths/minute -- well above normal for an infant. Because he was breathing so hard, he was not allowed to breast feed. A naso-gastric feeding tube was placed and Ledger was fed formula and as much colostrum as I could pump every 3 hours.
Over the next few days, Ledger's breathing began to regulate and I was able to attempt to breast feed when he was 2 days old (Thursday - May 7) Luckily, my milk came in pretty quickly, so I had something to offer the little guy! :) His weight was measured before and after feedings, so if he wasn't getting enough from me, we could still supplement via the NG tube.
I was officially discharged from the hospital on Thursday night. Luckily, there were plenty of rooms avaliable in the mother-baby wing, so I was allowed to "board" in my hospital room for free as long as Ledger was being actively breastfed and the room wasn't needed for someone else. Our hospital room is large with a queen-sized bed and a huge window the overlooks the entire city. Being allowed to stay with my baby throughout his treatment has been a blessing!
On Saturday (May 9) Ledger was removed from IV fluids! His feeding amounts were bumped up from 15 ml/feeding to 45ml/feeding to ensure he was getting his required fluids orally. A PIC (peripheral to central) line was placed to allow continued IV antibiotic therapy (seen in his left arm in the photo right). We were told that Ledger would need to stay in the hospital until he finished his entire 7-day course of antibiotics. Since we had been given an original timeline of 2-3 days, we were shocked to hear we would have to stay so long!
Over the weekend, Ledger had lots of visitors. Since he was still in NICU, his visitors were limited to immediate family. Grammy & Grandpa Michel, Omah & Papa Hensley, BoomPa & BoomMa Powell, Aunt Emily, and Aunt Jaime.
Sunday (May 10) was my first mother's day. I really enjoyed spending time with my family and my sweet son. As a mother's day gift, we were able to bring Ledger out of the NICU and into our personal room for feedings. It was truly a great feeling to wheel him out of the NICU for the first time! One of the hospital lactation consultants noticed that Ledger had a tight frenulum under his tongue preventing him from extending his tongue out very far. The doctor clipped his frenulum in the hopes that it would increase his ability to suckle and nurse. Unfortunately, he did not nurse well most of the day -- resulting in increased supplements through the NG tube and increased frustration for mommy!
Monday (May 11) our doctor gave us permission to have Ledger in the room with us full time!! We only had to take him down to the ICU for weight checks and treatments. It was wonderful to be able to nap with him and just sit and watch his little face all day long! Ledger must have been sick of having his NG tube taped to his face, and he finally reached up and pulled it out. (We took the opportunity to get pictures of our son without any tubes on his face -->) We tried an "on demand" feeding schedule, but did not meet the goals that were set for us, so we had to place another NG tube that evening to supplement his feedings.
Today, Ledger continues to do very well. His breathing has been in the normal range for 4 days now and he has maintained his birth weight! We are still working on nursing -- getting better all the time. We are hopeful that we will be dismissed tomorrow after his last dose of antibiotics at 2 a.m. :) Please keep us in your thoughts as we near the end of our stay in the NICU!