Monday, January 29, 2007
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
Posted by dgf at 6:41 AM