Did you know that preemies are still dated by gestational age until the hit full term (40 weeks)? Well, now you do. Anyways, Leapster hit 34 weeks gestation/22 days old on Thursday.
Anyways, 34 weeks is a really freakin’ big deal for a preemie. Most preemies can maintain body temperature at that time, although my little peanut is, well, still too little (4 pounds is the rule of thumb and she’s only 3 pounds 8 ounces). She did gain 3 ounces that day, though, meaning she’s within y ounces of being ready for an open crib. 34 weeks is also when the suck-swallow-breathe reflex develops, meaning it’s time to start trying bottle feeding. I was told this might be delayed because Charlotte is still on oxygen, but I arrived at the NICU on Thursday (34 weeks) to find that her gavage tube was now in her nose instead of her mouth, which is usually done once babies are ready to try a bottle.
Turns out I’d arrived just in time to try her first bottle.
She was hesitant and mostly chewed on it a little, but she got 5 mL of 29 mL down, which is still a start. Until she can do 29 mL in a sitting, she only gets one bottle a day, but at least she tried. And her oxygen stayed up, meaning she can suck-swallow-breathe at the same time, which is huge.
And the day just kept getting better. Turns out our NICU’s dirty little secret is that there is a HIPPA compliant “west wing” (the main room is not HIPPA compliant and is pretty overcrowded and miserable). The west wing is just a room that holds four babies, but it’s palatial compared to the regular NICU. We have our own space with a curtain we can pull so I can pump whenever I need to at her bedside. We were transferred a few hours after her bottle and I feel like I died and went to heaven. It’s the next best thing to her being home.
So to summarize, at 34 weeks/3 weeks she took a bottle, gained a pound above her birth weight, and got moved to the room for easy healthy babies that are considered low risk. I’m impressed kid.
She’s also had her oxygen turned down for the last 24 hours. The next step will be for it to come completely off, but mom isn’t quite ready for that. Last time she really struggled with it off and it made her so tired, so I begged them to leave it on a little longer since I couldn’t stand to watch her fail again. It’s not like we were leaving anytime soon, so there isn’t a huge hurry.
Next we’ll keep trying bottles, show her a boob and see if she’ll take it, and mostly just wait until she’s 4 pounds and can try an open crib.