On August 20, my daughter Amy, gave birth to Killian Andrew, 11 weeks early, 2# 15.5 oz.
Five weeks ago, and since my last post on the subject, Amy’s water broke while on bed rest at home. She spent the next 5 weeks on bed rest at UM hospital, until last Monday morning, when she felt something slipping down the birth canal... it turned out to be the umbilical cord. 12 minutes later, baby Killian arrived via emergency C-section.
Needless to say, my husband and I dropped everything and rushed to Ann Arbor, a 3 hour drive, to meet our new grandson and congratulate his happy and exhausted parents...
Both Killian and Amy are recovering well. Killian will spend the better part of the next 2 months learning to do a few things that he needs to be able to do before he can go home: suckle, swallow, and breathe at the same time, and regulate his own body temperature. In the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) they closely monitor all his systems 24/7, making sure that everything goes well as he grows and matures. He is in very good hands.
Amy, determined to breastfeed the little guy like she did her other 3 kids, is pumping milk, which they trickle through his feeding tube every 3 hours, as tolerated by his as yet immature digestive system. Gradually, he will transition from tube to breast. Then he can go home.
He’s such a little cutie. I spent the better part of a week at the hospital peering through the clear top of his isolette... watching him stretch, hiccup, cry, and sleep. I got to change three diapers and help a nurse change his bed when he had peed all over the place. He really likes having his head cupped in my hand, while I gently press on the soles of his feet. No rubbing, though... for preemies, it’s just too stimulating.
I stayed at a motel during my visit and what with all the excitement, had a little trouble sleeping. Sleepless most of Friday night and into the wee hours of Saturday morning at about 4:30 I figured I could either toss and turn the rest of the night, or I could head over to the hospital and catch a nap in the recliner in Killian’s room. So I showered, dressed and headed up to the NICU with my journal.
In the semi-darkness of Killian’s room, I wrote this for him:
You are 5 days old today.
You have a tiny feeding tube... it’s orange.
You have 3 different wires attached to stickers to measure your breathing, heart rate, and temperature.
There are cute little whales on the stickers.
There’s a red light attached to your left foot
to measure O2 saturation.
You have a nasal cannula delivering a little oxygen,
but mostly you are breathing the same air as I am.
You have a PICC line in your right foot that gives you amino acids, glucose, essential fats, vitamins, electrolytes...
The nurses call it your “meat and potatoes.”
Every morning you get a little IV caffeine to jump-start your system.
The nurses call you "mornin' Joe."
Every 3 hours you get a teaspoonful of your mother’s milk through your feeding tube.
A tiny boy needs tiny food.
Like a hummingbird.
You are adorable.
Everything normal and in exquisite miniature.
Every so often you open your tiny jet black eyes.
You are very pink with the softest skin I’ve ever felt and covered with fine, downy, blonde hair all over.
You even have a little brown hair on your head.
On the day you were born, you were pretty plump,
plump from all those days in the amniotic bath,
but now you are a little skinnier and sort of wrinkly.
All that extra fluid got wrung out by your kidneys, which are working just fine.
I have changed your diaper 3 times and you were
Little Mr. Pee Pee pants every time.
You are lying on a little mattress, inside an isolette called “Giraffe” that goes up and down and tilts and weighs you.
Every 3 hours you get your temperature taken, blood pressure checked, diaper changed,
and a gentle repositioning by your very nice nurse.
From back to side to the other side to belly.
You have a purple pacifier, that you like pretty well, especially when you’re upset
and a t-shaped bean bag to cuddle your head as you sleep
and a papoose-like flannel bed liner that can be gently wrapped around you to made you feel contained and secure.
Inside the isolette it’s warm and humidified... a mini-sauna... the next best thing to still being in the womb.
Except for a tiny diaper, you’re naked.
Your favorite thing is “kangarooing” with your mommy... that’s when the nurse lays you on your mommy’s chest so you two can cuddle, skin-to-skin, and take a nice little nap.