This post has been a few days in the making. I’ve been hesitant to write anything… anything positive at least. I’m still forgetting to breathe half the time. Today, the doctor said he thinks Gabriel is turning the corner from his surgery and is on an upward trend.
One nurse in particular has always been brutally honest with me about Gabriel’s health and progress. Days before he started feeding (remember, feeding tube in his mouth that goes down to his stomach), she told me that babies who haven’t eaten before will spit up, which causes the doctors to stop feeds, then start feeds, then stop feeds, then start feeds. She said this start and stop could go on for weeks until the baby’s stomach and intestinal track “wake up” and can tolerate the feeds. Well, Gabriel had to stop the feeds after two days, but they restarted after 24 hours. He was receiving about a drop of breast milk over the course of an hour for 24 hours. Once they restarted the feeds, he was receiving 2 mL every 6 hours. Yesterday he was up to 3 mL every 4 hours, and today he is up to 5 mL every 4 hours. Gabriel hasn’t spit up any of it! His body is actually digesting the milk! It’s incredible that his stomach contents are suctioned out and observed for progress before re-feeding him the residuals and then giving him the breast milk. Gabriel had his first breast milk poop today! He had passed the meconium so we knew his bowels were working, but today our prayers were answered for poops 🙂
Gabriel is still on the ventilator, but the settings keep improving. By the end of this week, he should be off the vent and either onto the CPAP or high flow nasal cannula. My anxiety over Gabriel extubating himself (or being extubated because of human error) is debilitating. That kind of trauma would set him back. Speaking of trauma, he had his second eye exam today. I stayed in the room so I could see what the ophthalmologist was doing and so I could see Gabe’s reaction. It was bad. Very bad. The nurse said she’s never seen a baby “dislike” the eye exam as much as him. As soon as it was over, and it didn’t last long, I was able to comfort him with my voice and touch. That’s a very uplifting and encouraging thing to me… plus, his eyes look great so far.
Now for the discouraging part.
I haven’t held Gabriel since his surgery two weeks ago. I knew it was better for him to just rest and not be held. I thought today would be the day, so I asked. His doctor said no. It’s crushing to hear, “No, you cannot hold your baby”. Even though Gabriel has made tremendous strides, he still isn’t stable enough to be held. “Maybe in a few days.” My logic begrudgingly agrees that he needs a few more days to see if he is tolerating the feeds and to get him off of the ventilator and have the breathing tube taken out because he doesn’t need another bump in the road… but my whole being yearns to hold and comfort him.
Gabriel is really doing better, but it’s me who’s having the hard time. I still feel like I’m twiddling my thumbs before something else happens… and yet, he’s fought his way to this point and he’s still fighting. Gabriel has been trying to pull his tubes out every time his blanket opens, hence the mittens 🙂