Wendy, Sydney and I visited Colton today at the hospital. Sundays and Wednesdays are the only days that Sydney gets to come into the NICU to visit. There is supposedly a 20 minute time limit for siblings to vist and poor Sydney starts worrying about the time the minute she walks in the door! However, the nurses are cool about the time as long as the kids are on their best behavior. Sydney got her "baby brother time" today so she was happy.
It's strange sometimes walking with Sydney into the same NICU where she spent the first 12 days of her life. I can remember how scary those times were for Wendy and I. However, Sydney is now one of the tallest girls in her class. I have to brag a little and also mention that she is also one of the brightest. She also is a very loving child and Wendy and I couldn't be more proud of her. She is a visible reminder of hope for us that Colton one day will be out of this NICU and will, God willing, be a happy and healthy boy.
If you have never been inside a NICU (and I hope most of you reading this never have to), it can be intimidating. Little micro preemies on ventilators, alarms going off warning of low heart rates, desaturation, etc., and a stress level in the air that you can almost cut with a knife. Admittedly, Level II NICU is not as intense as Level III. However, it's still a far cry from a normal nursery. I feel bad for Wendy because she never got the experience of a normal delivery where family and friends come see her and the baby in her room. However, I plan to make Colton's homecoming a very special day for all of us. A homecoming that we hope will come sometime this month.
Colton continues his slow progress on his feed. He is still on oxygen (nasal cannula) to assist with his bottle feeds and alleviate the desaturation events that are common with acid reflux. He was doing great up until the 8:00 feed last night. He desaturated twice and had an apnea episode associated with one of those desaturations. They had reduced his oxygen from 70% to 30% during the day yesterday. Between the bottle feeds and reduced oxygen, it was just a bit too much for him. He's now back on 100% oxygen and will likely be until Monday. We are hoping it's just a minor setback but illustrates that we will have a ways to go before we get him home.
He now weighs over 5lbs. 10oz. so his weight gain has been a positive sign for the last few weeks. His neonatologist is happy with the positive weight gain. However, the ability to take bottles without wearing down too much (desaturation) is key to knocking down the next milestone.
The daily trips are starting to add up not only in mileage (over 2,500 miles driven since Jan. 31 without ever leaving Houston) but in wearing us down. However, he's in one of the best NICUs in the country so the daily drive is a small price to pay for the level of care he is receiving at Texas Woman's. It's nice having doctors who have "been there - done that" when it comes to dealing with preemie issues. It makes things better to have doctors who remember why they went into medicine in the first place - care of people. We've truly been blessed with some good doctors and nurses whose bedside manner matches their medical experience.
We'll continue to update everyone via this blog. Stay tuned for more updates, including pictures and videos. All the best to you and your family....Love, Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton.