Carter comes HOME!

Oh what a week!  We got to bring our little man home, this past Wednesday evening.

We have had many, many firsts this week!  First car ride, first tub bath, first day at home, first time to see sunlight, etc.  I have had too much fun documenting all of these moments on camera!

Smiling b/c I love my Daddy!

Where do I begin?  I LOVE this stage!  I’m in heaven and life could not be better.  Carter is sleeping and eating every 3-5 hours.  We are by no means on a schedule, but we may have a little routine down by the end of this week.

Our little man makes the sweetest cooing noises and rarely cries.  He’s PERFECT!

My girlfriend Kate, and her son Sanders, brought us breakfast on Friday morning. Sanders is 8 months, so it was fun to get some tips from Kate and to see the two boys together!

Carter weighs 6lbs 4oz as of tonight.  He still fits in his newborn clothes but won’t for long.  We are still breast-feeding and he eats like a champ!  We have to give him one fortified bottle a day, so we are able to measure how much milk he’s drinking.  He went from taking 50ml at the beginning of the week, to taking closer to 70ml per feeding.  He’s a growing boy!

We are as happy as ever, and simply love having a newborn in the house.  I am completely guilty of being obsessed with my son and will be posting TONS of pictures on this blog!  But not to worry, you won’t get tired of the posts and pictures because Baby Carter is the sweetest little thing you have EVER seen!

Click here to view our Homecoming Pictures!

3 Weeks Down in the NICU, ?? to go

Yesterday was Carter’s 3-week birthday!

Carter and his teddy

Our little man has passed so many tests this last week, including his most recent car seat test!  They put him in our car seat for 2 hours and continue to monitor his heart rate, breathing rate and pulse.  Many preemies cannot hold their head up, so once in a car seat, their chin will drop and it will close off their airway.  Since infant car seats face backwards, parents have no idea their children are not breathing, until they get home, minutes or hours later.  😦  Good news is Carter passed this test!  My Mom and I call him our little over-achiever!

Chris and I took a 3-hour Infant CPR class on Saturday morning.  Our teacher has been working in the NICU for 28 consecutive years and was a wealth of knowledge.  She explained how and why certain trends have changed throughout the years.   We now know why we put Carter on his back to sleep, why doctors highly recommend pacifiers, and most importantly, how to do CPR on our child.  This lady was absolutely fascinating, reporting the statistics of 28 years of research.  They recommend that every new parent take this class, but unfortunately, they cannot make the class mandatory, except to NICU parents.

Every hospital offers this class and it’s usually free.  One of the Moms in there had taken the class for her first daughter, and it saved her second daughters life.  Her recent newborn daughter has reflux, which caused her to stop breathing.  She was not breathing for a full 8 minutes, until her Mom was finally able to resuscitate her by performing infant CPR.  I highly recommend this class to every parent and grandparent!!

The big question these days is, “when does Carter get to come home?”  Carter’s hospital departure relies 100% on Carter.  Although he has passed all of his tests, he continues to have brady and de-sat episodes.  A brady is short term for brady cardiac, which means his heart rate drops to under 108.  The term desat is short for oxygen de-saturation.  This means that when Carter holds his breath, his oxygen levels drop to below normal levels.  Most all preemies suffer from reflux, and since it hurts, they respond by holding their breath.  He has to go a full 3 days without having any episodes, before the doctors will release him.

I just received a call from the doctor and she reported that he had both a brady and a desat last night.  This was a significant event because the nurses had to stimulate him, to get him breathing and back to normal.  His normal  heart rate ranges between 120-200 beats per minute and his heart rate yesterday dropped to 57.  His oxygen levels desatted to 76%.  My stomach drops, every time I see the NICU calling…for this very reason!!

They finally took out Carter’s feeding tube!! He is doing great with breast-feeding, but since I cannot be at the hospital for every 3-hour feeding, I am still pumping and taking my milk to the nurses. They once made the mistake  of feeding him formula, so it’s somewhat comical, the amount of milk I keep on hand, at the hospital! Chris and I are doing well, just counting down the days until we get to hold him for as long as we want!!  He is such a little angel and I cannot wait to introduce him to you!!

xoxo

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Carter hit the 5lb mark!

"Oh Grandpa, tell Peter the Rabbit to run!!!"

If you count the day Carter was born, which we are, he’s 14 days old today!  Where did time go?!  The little man is doing wonderfully in the NICU.  Below is a list of his recent accomplishments.

  • Hit the 5lb mark!  Carter currently weighs 5.2lbs!
  • Holding his temperature to at least 98.1 degrees during kangaroo care
  • Sucked, swallowed and breathed ALL at the same time, for the first time!!  Translation: He took a bottle for the first time!
  • Ate 9 out of 10ml from a bottle.
  • Passed his hearing test & received a certificate!
  • BREAST FED FOR 30 MINUTES!!

I am most excited for his most recent accomplishment, breast-feeding!  The nurses tell us everyday that he is doing great and should be a very healthy baby when he finally gets to go home.

Many of you have asked me when it will be a good time to come and visit Carter.  Unfortunately, no visitors are allowed in the NICU.  They only administer entry cards to Parents and Grandparents.  The NICU is a large wing of the hospital, so it’s not like a normal nursery, where there are windows to view the newborn babies.

Carter’s estimated release date is February 16.  Once we get him home, you are more than welcome to stop by the house to visit.

Since he was born, the doctors have stressed to us the importance of friends and family members getting an updated tetanus shot.  Within the last two years, they have added pertussis to the tetanus shot.  Pertussis protects you from whooping cough, which could be fatal to Carter, if he were to pick it up.  It’s more common than you would think, as my friend’s Mom, who lives in Houston, recently had whooping cough.  So, if you plan on visiting Carter or any other newborn, within the first 3 months of birth, please be sure to get a tetanus shot.  Click here for more information on pertussis.

I’m still pumping every 2-3 hours and bringing my milk to the hospital.  I will now be working with Carter at 9:00am, 3:00pm and 9:00pm, breast-feeding.  I basically live at the hospital, since it’s easier to stay there, rather than make the hour long commute to home and back.  I won’t lie, it’s exhausting, but I know it’s temporary.  To be completely honest, when you are so sleep deprived, it makes everything seem like a blur and the week flies by!  If I could only borrow the hospital beds, it wouldn’t be so bad!!  At times, I’ve thought about bribing my old Labor & Delivery nurses, to let me take a 30-minute nap in one of the open rooms!

Our little world currently revolves around pumping, hospital feeding times, and visiting hours.  Please know that I’m still thinking of all of you, and love hearing from you!!

xoxo

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Carter at 11 days old

Our little man is doing very well in the hospital.  He was born at 32 weeks, so our doctors are shooting for a discharge date of February 16, which will put him right at 40 gestational weeks.

Carter shouting, "Tell them I want to GO HOME!!"

Caucasian males have the slowest lung development, with African females having the fastest.  I received two shots of celestone steroid shots before he was born, to help his lungs mature.  The shots worked miraculously, as he needs no assistance breathing on his own.

Since he was born, Carter has graduated from the NICU and is now in Intermediate Care.  He started off in an open incubator, so that nurses could have immediate access to him.  A couple days later, he graduated into a closed incubator.  It was at this time that they moved him to Intermediate care.  He has made even more progress, which has allowed him to now sleep in an open crib!

Graduating to an open crib was the highlight of this week, because it means we can hold him whenever we like!! Previously, Carter could not maintain a temperature above 98 degrees, even if we wrapped him in multiple blankets.  We would get all situated with him on our chests, take his temperature 5 minutes later, and be devastated when the nurses had to take him and put him back in the incubator.  Not being able to hold my little angel was the hardest part of last week.  Luckily, I have an amazing husband who knows how to fight my tears!  As soon as I would start to tear up, he would somehow have me smiling and laughing.  😉

Carter definitely takes after his Mimi, being very long and skinny.  At first, we could only do kangaroo care (skin-to-skin), with Carter a couple of times a day, for no more than 30-45 minute intervals.  Now that he is in an open crib, we can hold him all we want! (Did I already mention how excited I am about that??!)  An open crib also means he gets to wear big boy clothes.  I take new outfits to the hospital every morning and LOVE dressing him!!

As of Tuesday, January 4th, Carter weighed 4lbs 14.3 oz.  This is a very healthy weight for a preemie of his age.  The remainder of his hospital stay will be focused on learning how to eat.  He is not strong enough yet, but in a couple of weeks, we will start trying to bottle feed him and introduce him to breast-feeding.  He has latched onto my breast, but after about 20 seconds, he simply passes out, nipple in mouth!

To feed him, they have run a tube through his nose and down to his belly.  A machine then drips my breast milk through the tube, over the course of an hour.  He is eating 42ml every 3 hours.

I have been pumping every 2-3 hours and taking my milk to the hospital.  I’ve been fortunate and have had no problems with milk production.  The nurses already have reserve in the freezer!

For now, we try not to stimulate or wake him up more than twice a day, so that he can put on more weight.  Any stimulation causes him to burn energy.  He simply digests his food, sleeps and poops, and is doing very well at all three! 😉

Xoxo,

Proud Mommy

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