Monday, January 29, 2007

Miles FAQ


Here are some answers to our readers' most frequently asked questions:

Q: Have they given you a date to bring Miles home yet?

A: M-Day remains officially unspecified, but based on his momentum our best guess is somewhere between 5 days and 3 weeks.

Q: How much does he need to weigh before he comes home?

The key benchmarks are not weight or age, but breathing, temperature maintenance and feeding. Miles has been doing well on all three, but still has to master feeding before he can come home. This means taking all of his food by bottle or breast for 48 hours. He's now doing this for about half his feeds, while the rest are still coming via gavage tube through his nose. But the trajectory is very good (he was only doing 1/3 of his feeds this way a few days ago). He can now polish off a bottle of milk (a little over 2 oz) in about 15 minutes, down from half an hour not long ago.


Q: What's your best guess on when you'll get to take him home?

A: When Miles was born (Nov. 18), the doctors told us to expect him to be ready to come home (assuming no major complications) around his original due date (Feb. 8), give or take a week. Feb. 8 is now approaching, and Miles remains on track to graduate by then. Our nurse today suggested it might be sooner, as in a week or so. A few days ago, we each made our own predictions: Feb. 2 (Dean) and Feb. 5 (Lisa).

Q: Is the wait driving you crazy?

A: Well, we were crazy to begin with . . . .

We're anxious to get Miles home, but at the same time, we don't want to rush him.

Q: Will he come home on any special monitors or other special equipment?

A: Swedish Hospital does not send babies home on apnea monitors and only rarely on supplemental oxygen. Miles no longer needs oxygen (other than what's available to you and me) and we have learned to recognize any bradycardias and apneas that may occur during feeding . . . other than that, we will have confidence and belief that our baby will be fine. Oh yeah, we took an infant CPR course too.



Q: What is that red blotch above his lip?


A: It's a hemangioma (strawberry birthmark). It is a badge of the circumstances he has come from, as these are common in premature babies. It will continue to get bigger and then it will get smaller and likely eventually disappear. This process could take a handful of years. Our pediatrician will keep a close eye on it to make sure that it does not impede his ability to feed.

Q: Can you take him out in public? Can you have visitors?


A: Premature babies like Miles are especially vulnerable to infection. Our neonatalgist told us that we have "full license to be hard-core protective" about Miles. We need to be very careful during cold and flu season, especially this year. We can walk outside and go in public to a limited degree if no one touches him. We can have visitors if no one is sick. We will be encouraging extensive hand-washing.

Q: Will you take time off of work when Miles comes home?

A: Lisa - Lisa's original maternity-leave plan seemed to dissolve as quickly as her third trimester. Luckily, her employers have been creative, patient and understanding. At this point, since we still do not have a baby at home, she is obviously not ready to go back to work. Once we collect our child and get him home for a bit, we may have a better idea of what the future might hold.

Dean - Dean will take some time off and then work from home a bit and ultimately return to the office, likely a bit red-eyed.

- Lisa & Dean

Park It


We took a break from the hospital this afternoon to explore Seattle's newest tourist attraction, the Olympic Sculpture Park, before it is destroyed by thoughtless hooligans.




Of course, there's one other person we wish had been there:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Snow Business


We escaped from Seattle Satuday afternoon -- the first time either of us had been more than 5 miles out of town since Lisa checked in to Swedish in October.


It was a glorious day, and we finally got to see some of the snow that has been piling up in the mountains. We spent a couple of hours snowshoeing near Snoqualmie Pass, near Gold Creek Basin.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's a Miles, Miles, Miles World

We just live in it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gearing Up


While Miles practices feeding in the Special Care Unit, the Falvy hive is buzzing with activity.

Lisa is busily decorating the nursery and pouring over web sites and reviews of baby equipment, while I am attempting to manage the recycling of myriad cardboard boxes from our readers' generous shower gifts and other equipment procurement efforts.

This vast logistics operation moves forward under tight security, as we prepare for the momentous events of M-Day.

-Dean

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Milk Run


Miles has topped three kilos! No, we're not talking about a drug bust. We're talking weight. He's up to a mightly 3120 grams (or 6 lbs. 14 oz., if you prefer). It can't be long before we have a 7-pounder on our hands.

This amount of baby definitely feels different in hand. There's a heft and solidity to the fully swaddled package that wasn't there before.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pacifier in Our Time

Miles is getting better and better at bottle-feeding.

But he still loves his binky.

Big Time

Miles is up to a mighty 6 lbs. 4 oz., a development we're quite excited about.

Nevertheless, it is a little sad to see him outgrow some of his cutest preemie clothes. It seems that almost every day we need to retire a great outfit.

Like this one:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Miles is Two



Months old, that is.

Time to celebrate with another video!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Little Big Man


Miles evidently finds his new surroundings congenial to growth. In a bold move, he has broken through the 6 pound barrier, weighing in last night at 6 lbs. 2 oz. Other than that, he's just practicing sleeping, breathing and eating, like a good boy.

-Dean

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Showers


Lisa and I would like to extend an official Miles Files thanks to Judy and Stan Gregg for hosting a splendid baby shower on Saturday, as well as to Julie, Mitch, Lori, Tim and Grandma Margee for all their work in putting the event together. Miles would like thank everyone who braved the swirling snows to attend. He is delighted with all his new outfits, conveyances and assorted amusements.


Miles enjoyed a fine first full day in the Infant Special Care Unit. He is putting the charm on a whole new set of nurses. Tonight's weigh-in netted all of 5 lbs. 15.6 oz. You know what comes next.

-Dean

Monday, January 15, 2007

Moving Up and Moving Down


The big move to the second floor is history! Miles bade a fond farewell to the NICU this afternoon after 56 days.

Although we knew for several days that Miles was working his way to the top of the NICU class, graduation to the second floor came suddenly. The doctors made the decision on rounds this morning, and by 1 p.m. we were ready to roll.



We packed up his art work, breast milk stockpile and binky bag and rolled him and his oxygen tank right out of there. Just like that! We took great pleasure in erasing his name off of the Nursery Five roster. It seemed so easy . . . and a very clear reminder that we really do get to bring our baby home SOON.

So what is the difference between floor six and floor two, besides the obvious elevation? Simple, floor six is intensive care and floor two is special care. The nurses on the floor two care for four babies, while those on floor six care for one to three. The whole goal of the Special Care Nursery is to get the babies ready to go home, while the NICU goal is to keep the babies alive. See, simple. Our baby is getting ready to come home.


He's so ready in fact that he is practically packing his own bags. After installing him on the second floor, Dean and I left for a few hours this afternoon. When we returned for his 6 p.m. care, the nurse told us that Miles had pulled off his own nasal canula and gavage tube. She felt that his O2 levels looked strong enough to leave the nasal canula off. Miles has been breathing without any assistance since late afternoon and seems to be doing well. The gavage tube was reinstalled until he can prove that he can nipple feed for 12 hours straight. We are working on this task.


It's been several weeks since we'd seen Miles' little face tube-free. Back when he was on CPAP, we could see him without it for a few minutes every four hours, when it was being changed. But the nasal canula has been a constant presence since then.

Seeing Miles in his new room with a view on the second floor, breathing without any assistance at all, was an unexpected delight. We feel like we've turned a corner and can now really begin to visualize bringing him home.

-Lisa and Dean

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cue the Elevator

Rumors are swirling about Miles' impending move to the second floor and the Special Care Nursery. It could happen any day now. The nurses in the NICU are getting a bit verklempt at the thought of Miles' impending graduation. As are we! After eight weeks in the NICU, it feels a bit like home. We've never known our baby outside of Nursery Five. We have never observed a breath of our child without the comfort of the intensive care nurses (who are awfully fond of him) just a step away. We have never walked with our baby in our arms - at least no further than his tubular connections permit. We are beginning to think about loving him and holding him without the constant reminder of his many monitors - and this frightens us to our bones, no less. BUT......we are beginning to try this on for size. We want this child home and to care for him and to give him as much peace and love as we can.

Like all parents, we have to eventually face the facts. Miles is a big boy now. He's up to 5 lbs. 10 oz. We can't keep him in the NICU forever. (Although it would be an intriguing premise for a sitcom.)

Lisa and Dean

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Meanwhile, in the outside world...



Rubber Ducky



Miles makes bath time so much fun!

Click on the video and you'll see why.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Miles News Roundup


Miles is off to a flying start in '07. Today he celebrated the end of his seventh week. In the past few days, he has reached full feeds (~13ml of milk/hour) and is digesting everything well.

His IV line was removed yesterday, there being no further need to give him nutrition through it.

And finally (drum roll please) he began breast feeding today. He seems to be pretty excited about it.

The nurses are beginning to talk about graduating him down to the second floor (the special care nursery) in the not-too-distant future. It's hard to even contemplate leaving the NICU after seven weeks. But, there you have it.

-Dean

Monday, January 1, 2007

Welcome to the Miles Files

A warm New Year's welcome to all our readers from carepages.com! We are starting 2007 right with a new, improved Miles blog at blogspot.com. After all, an early adopter like Miles deserves only the best in blogging technology. This new site gives us more capacity for photos and other multimedia gizmos. Plus, we are looking forward to the day (not here yet) when the medical trappings of carepages.com will be purely anachronistic.

Lisa and I spent a festive New Year's Eve with Miles at the NICU. Miles enjoyed his first tub bath, cleansing away the detritus of 2006 and getting a fresh start for his second calendar year.

His weight has reached the lofty proportions of 5 lbs. 4 oz. -- exactly double his birth weight. Weigh to go, Miles!